Santa Clarita resident and Hollywood stuntman Blake Pocquette has teamed up with teen actor Max Purget to create a program aimed at helping Native American youth realize their potential.
The free two-day Spread Your Wings program gives kids ages 10-18 stunt and acting training while allowing them a taste of what the film industry is like.
“In the movie business, there are literally hundreds of jobs on a movie set,” Pocquette said, adding that the program allows kids to see those opportunities that are available to them.
Pocquette and Purget are both from a little town in Oklahoma, where the program debuted in June, and are citizens of the Cherokee Nation, so they know firsthand the lack of opportunities for native youth.
“This has been a dream of mine to help native youth find a path into the film world and open up more possibilities for them in the future,” Pocquette added. “There’s a big need for native youth programs that develop career skills. … We just want to give these kids motivation.”
They hope the program can help native youth find a path into the world of film, with kids traveling from all over the state to be a part of the first Spread Your Wings training.
During the program, kids were taught basic stunts, such as swordplay, fight scenes and forward rolls, and safety techniques in lessons led by Pocquette and stuntman Ryker Sixkiller, along with acting basics, like how to read a script and memorization techniques. And, they even got in front of the camera.
“Kids really love that stuff, and they never have an opportunity to do any kind of training like that, especially (in Oklahoma),” Pocquette said, adding that it allows them to break out of their shells.
“I have learned so much in the last seven years as a child actor, (and) I was excited to share acting tricks I’ve learned along the way from some of the best in the business,” Purget added. “Working with great native role models like Blake and Ryker is an amazing experience.”
Pocquette hopes to continue to bring Spread Your Wings to native youth across the nation — including in the Santa Clarita Valley — and to any Native American tribe that is willing to have them.
For more information, visit spreadyourwings918.square.site.