Method How You Can Make a Difference

Help Others

Want to “give back” because of your gratitude for the life you lead? Have you ever thought about wanting to make a difference in your community? Volunteering is a great way to do this, and whether your volunteering is done online or in-person, there are many opportunities for helping others.

Volunteer with What You are Good At

Sometimes the organization for which you are doing the volunteer work might want you to tap into your own skillset when helping out. If you are a Startup Introvert with a useful expertise, it could be requested of you that this is the area you do your assistance in.

The Key is to Help Out Any Way You Can

Of course, there are also volunteer opportunities that may have nothing to do with what you are good at. Within that context there are frequently a variety of different ways you can volunteer. Most important is to make a difference in the lives of others. Check back on the following link to soon learn how to make a difference as you grow your business!

Education Media and Reading

Yianni Stamas Reflects on the History of “Lights Camera Read” and its Evolution through Performing and Workshopping at a Series of NYPL Branches in NYC

Theater Group Performance

Yianni Stamas revealed to us that “Lights Camera Read” was originated many years ago by him and his wife along with other performers in the Inwood Manhattan Branch of the New York Public Library. The event was so well received by both kids and their parents, the troupe was asked to do another magic and reading experience.

Other Troupe Appearances

The Stamas family consisting of Yianni and Alison, along with their then toddler daughter, did a couple of different free shows at the Washington-Heights-Inwood “Y” that were open to the public and included entertainment, librarians talking about reading programs plus fun activities and free stuff giveaways.

The NYPL Library Magical Mystery Tour

Lights Camera Read evolved over a period of years and ultimately became a fixture in 3 other NYPL branches including one in midtown, another on the east side, and finally a branch in the upper west side.

Workshopping to Making a Difference

“Lights Camera Read” had gone from being a kid favorite, to now being an ongoing media workshop done in partnership with the late Rodger Taylor. Also, during this period pre COVID, the Magic Neighbors Theater Group partnered with Lights Camera Read to do a special show for homeless children in a Bronx branch of the NYPL.

Fun Experiences

The magic tricks, snow person costumes and other items used to entertain event goers have been traded in for other methods of creating community. The motivation for the Stamas’ in terms of creating “Lights Camera Read,” “Magic Neighbors” and other community building events, was not just to get communication going in their neighborhood, but was also to have fun experiences that their then toddler daughter could participate in.


A Bit of Lights Camera Read History


Lights Camera Read was a popular NYC community educational program that was done over a period of years at locations of the New York Public Library throughout NYC. This occurred with the help of partnerships with Video Film Web, the Magic Neighbors Players, and the Platinum PIAs Awards.

Media Workshops

Lights Camera Read was sponsored by the New York Public Library as a workshop for teens who came to the library to study after school. Weekly classes focused on community service as well as the development of writing and media creation abilities.

Platinum PIAs Nominees

The workshops were co-taught by the founder of Lights Camera Read in tandem with the much beloved writer/librarian, the late Rodger Taylor. Some of the workshop participants were later nominated for Platinum PIAs as seen on the library’s website.

Magic Show

There was also an affiliated traveling family show for younger kids that was called The Magic Neighbors Players and included stories, magic tricks, and fun costumes. This troupe performed at various branches of the New York Public Library. One memorable performance was done at a library branch in the Bronx for homeless kids. The Magic Neighbors have their own website. Plus, since 2009 the Manhattan Kids Guide has been sharing information about the troupe.

Lights Camera Read Mission

The overall mission of “Lights Camera Read” is to inspire kids to read more, specifically books that were later made into movies. The phrase “The book was better than the movie” is a common reaction by those who read the book prior to seeing the motion picture. The two mediums of books and movies were compared looking at their differences in terms of components used for storytelling.

Student Produced Works

An important part of “Lights Camera Read” sessions, were the videos that were shot of stories written by the students themselves such as at this staged reading that was done by teen participants at a Midtown New York Public Library branch.


The birth of Lights Camera Read is attributed to a community costume parade that occurred in 2009 along Broadway Boulevard in NYC, specifically Northern Manhattan. The event was staged by the husband-and-wife team who also did a succession of Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood events that followed this one. The procession that started it all consisted of over 100 Inwood and Washington Heights kids and their parents and was covered by local media outlets including New York 1. The procession would stop at prearranged community businesses whereupon the owners would give the kids treats. It was the bringing together of community and local businesses.



How to Use Your Novel to Inspire Your Film

Can You Get a Development Deal with Netflix?

There are many folks who are writing novels, but not quite as many creating feature films. Have you written a novel? Have you been thinking of making it into a motion picture? Truth be told, this process is a lot more involved than you may want to to take on. Unfortunately the times of creating a digital film for Netflix have come and gone. Netflix is now producing their own movies and unless you can get a development deal under their brand for your picture, the reality is that it is going to be difficult to be shown on their streaming platform that has a built in audience of subscribers.

The Old Days Made Things Easier

Remember the the home made low budget thrillers that used to be released bu the now defunct companies such as Blockbusters? This was a time where literally you could grab a camera and film your novel leading to likely getting distribution for it. Home video was eating up content and wanted more and more. People then were more accepting then about getting a roughly made thriller. In the past we used to interview people who made movies literally but doing long takes, with very little editing, next finding a spot for their product on the now defunct Blockbuster.

Getting Your Creativity on Amazon

So what are your options today in terms of self publishing your novel and then getting distribution for the film you make based on your novel? The answer is self publishing and self distribution. You see, once your novel is completed you can put it on Amazon quite easily, to to their site for more information. And using self distribution to get your feature film online is also simple. You could put on Amazon also.

Do You Niche Products?

In other words it is a breeze to publish your novel and get distribution for you movie. The hard part is doing the MARKETING for prompting people to actually PURCHASE you eBook novel or PAY to see your movie in streaming format online. It is not impossible though, especially if you have a niche product on a topic that is of interest to a certain faction of the market that is underserved.

The Solution

In other words, find out an area of interest for which there are people who are looking for books on that subject manner and films as well. Then you can use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media and search ads to attract interest and sell you book and motion picture online.


Life is Our Creation

Everyone is Creative

Lights Camera Read was created with best of intentions trying to bring USA Creativity to the forefront for young people. If the youth read books and hold creativity in high regard, they will discover that EVERYONE is Creative, no matter who they are.

Learning in the Library

Creativity is both good and bad personified, so even those who are not thought of as creative, can participate. It is a state of mind. It is a jumping off place. Back when Lights Camera Read was first initiated it was the Inwood Manhattan’s Library the partner of choice. Several exciting events for kids were done at various libraries.

Bye Bye Library

All was going well, even giving birth to an awards show that celebrates the best in human nature, those who are making a difference. But then that all changed. It was decided it was okay to knock down the current Inwood library, with the promise that when the new condos come to be, there will still be a place to dream. American Creativity. The best of intentions.


Our History is of Education

Working with the NYPL

Lights Camera Read got its start as a site for family activities in upper Manhattan, then landed a contract with the New York Public Library and participated in a teaching program at a library branch in midtown Manhattan.

Our Neighbors are Magic Neighbors

The Library collaboration for hire grew out of the Magic Neighbors theater and circus arts theater company, the head members of which became hired for teaching the educational program along with a full fledged librarian.

And the Direction Changes

Sadly, the librarian who was Lights Camera Read’s educational partner passed away, so now Lights Camera Read creates its own opportunities.


The Evolution of Lights Camera Read

Over the years, Lights Camera Read has evolved from an organization that did their activities in the New York Public Library for kids that has evolved into an educational resource for workshops and other forms of educational activities, now largely for adults. For example, Lights Camera Read recently worked with Home Business Achievers to create eBooks.

artist steps

Technical Aspects of Writing an eBook

Possible Alternative to Donations

Groups, especially nonprofit ones, are often seeking new ways to bring in donations. One path that few travel but could be profitable is to create your own eBook for sale. In the post before last we explored writing an eBook, so now we are looking at creating one in terms of the technical aspects involved.

Promoting Group

You are going to want to promote your your group and therefore might want to consider setting up for digital downloads.

There are various ways that you can harness the power of Online Marketing and the tools that go with it. There are two basic ways to implement this part of the sequence of events. The first is to use eCommerce in the conventional approach which is the selling of a physical product. The term physical product means that the customer will order a product on your website and you will then send it to her or him as a package. If you have physical products, it is likely you will have such a system set up. But there is another kind of delivery system that is possible that we encourage you to look at: digital products.

Digital Products

Although you may believe your business to be one of physical products, there is another way that your knowledge can be put to good use: digital products. For example, you can set up a marketing system in action in conjunction with your eCommerce or Amazon approach.

Sales for Your Group

It is better to have digital products if possible that you sell in the form of eBooks, MP3 (audio) or MP4 (video). Creating such elements can be daunting if you have never done it before. But if you put your mind to it you can definitely achieve this process. The great thing about digital products is that the customer can order and then receive delivery instantaneously in the form of a digital download. This means you can fulfill an order literally as you sleep!

Future Sponsors

The key to success for this kind of delivery system means that first and foremost you need to have a great product. This is where you tap into your knowledge or that of someone you are working with. First figure out what your customers and your future clients want insight into, then serve it up to them either as a written, audio or video product.

Education Platinum PIAs

Innovation in the Creation of Workshops

Workshops at the New York Public Library before the Coronavirus.

One of my favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes is:

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is something that we have always strived for. When working with students we not only teach them through workshops skills that are used in the real world, but we also make it a priority to encourage them to be creative in the seeking of new ideas.

US Make a Difference

Many say that nothing is new, which to a certain degree may be true, but it is only through the work of innovators that new ways of doing things comes true. Some of the students we have taught in the past went on to win Platinum PIAs Awards, now called “US Make a Difference” Awards.”


We do not have as many workshops as we used to, and many of them are online, but we continue to push forward with the hope that our students go on to do what they really want to do and innovate along the way!


Write Your Own Book

The Written Word

At Lights Camera Read we put the light often time on readers but it is time we explored writers. Readers can make great writers because they have spent a tremendous amount of time enjoying books so they know the domain and often have an easier time than others to transmute that experience into the written word.

Get the Words Out

Have you ever tried to write? Do you write? Do you want to write? If you have never written and are afraid at what the result will be, fear not, there are lots of ways to make writing easier. For example, it is important to figure out the methodology that is just write for you. Will you write into a notebook. Will you use a laptop? Or even your phone? How will you get your words out?

You CAN be a Writer

The bottom line is that the best way to write is to write. Remember the phrase “writing is rewriting.” The first draft rarely will hold together. So given that fact, allow this to motivate you as a writer. What you write does not have to be stellar. Though it most likely is better than you think. One method is to write, write, write and never stop. Then take your rough draft and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Do this for the full document a number of times and you will not just be a reader but a writer as well!