Thirty ideas from people under 30: The Artisans

They are explorers and activists, artists and educators, farmers and faith leaders – even mayors. And they have trenchant suggestions on how to improve the world.

Drake Doremus: Big-screen mentor

Fred Hayes/Paramount Pictures
Co-Writer/Director Drake Doremus on the set of 'Like Crazy.'

At 28, Drake Doremus could pass for 20. He's irrepressibly youthful. The director of "Like Crazy," a prize-winning movie at the Sundance Film Festival, thinks improving the world can be done on both a big and a small scale.

He believes, for instance, that everyone should have a mentor. "I've been lucky enough to have some killer mentors who also made a huge difference in my life and career," he says. "Now I am trying to give back and do the same for others."

As a student at the American Film Institute, Mr. Doremus realized that "film is so personal. It's not a one-size-fits-all thing." An instructor at the AFI, Barry Sabath, "inspired me to find my own voice."

Now Doremus participates in an AFI mentorship program to help out student filmmakers. He feels this is important because "films changed my life, and they have the power to change the world. They can change lives for the better because they examine the human race."

"On a broader scale," he says, "I think we need a more flexible attitude in the way we educate kids."

Doremus himself was so immersed in filmmaking as a teenager that he never formally completed his studies.

"I found the structure in high school to be totally alienating. Schools should find ways to let kids have more freedom to study the things that engage them, with choices more like the ones we get in college. Let kids find their niche and they will learn and contribute so much more."

– Peter Rainer, Los Angeles

Next: Sameh Wadi: Ambassador in a chef's coat

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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