The Monster Project: Making Movie Trailers at Marrs and McMillan

Imagine being imprisoned for something you didn’t do. Then imagine retelling your experience in the form of a film for others to examine. Male and non-binary students at Marrs and McMillan middle schools are doing just that this fall in conjunction with The Monster Project, a collaboration of WhyArts and Omaha Public Library.

The project is based on “Monster,” Walter Dean Meyer’s award-winning graphic novel about Steve Harmon, a 16-year-old African American boy who is wrongly put on trial for robbery. The book uses a mixture of a third-person screenplay and a first-person diary format to tell the story of Harmon’s trial.

WhyArts teaching artists Matt Bross and Tom McLaughlin have been working with the students this semester to create movie trailers for their own lives.

The project concludes Dec. 20 with a pizza party and screening of the trailers. For more information about youth outreach programming opportunities at WhyArts, contact Stephanie Anderson, WhyArts director of programmig, at

Above: photos by Matt Bross