Clip Tips are a series of video shorts created by creative visionary Clay Achee along with a team of local actors, puppeteers, filmmakers, light engineers, musicians, sound producers and editors with two grants from the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. Created to address kid-centered concerns using humor and relatable mentors, each short video provides tips to strengthen social emotional resiliency and well-being while digging into topics that young people face. Each tip follows the familiar format – with Xavier, a young puppet coming into O’Neil’s Barbershop for a haircut. The series was inspired by a video created by Achee and his team using one of Beyond The Garage’s characters Action Jackson dropping off Xavier for a haircut. This first video provides background for the Line4Line program and features barber’s O’Neil Curtis and Jimi Jump. Shot during one of Line4Line’s free haircut for reading programs children watched entranced as Xavier was brought to life by Achee and puppeteer Mike Honore. This inspired a Project Assistance Grant to the Arts Council to create a series in which puppet Xavier shares his frustrations with barbers and local community figures who provide solid advice and simple strategies on how to approach each issue. In 2022 a second series of Clip Tips was produced with funding by Louisiana Department of The Arts and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.
The Clip Tips project was inspired by Sesame Street which 50+ years after it first debuted on PBS in 2019, continues to remain a blue star trend setter in early childhood education. This program was groundbreaking at its time for using puppets within an urban landscape and regular relatable people of diverse backgrounds, races, ethnicities and abilities to address issues that children face.
Line4Line supports building strong readers, creative thinkers and doers, with the goal of establishing programs that create a more resilient, caring community. We believe that change best happens when people put aside their fears and biases and look at issues from a whole new angle. We empower people to be mentors as we know that everyone has a story to share that can help others navigate life.
The Clip Tip Project was conceived by Line4Line co-founder Lucy Perera to put a twist on social emotional learning. Working with puppeteer, film guru, musician and self proclaimed rabble rouser Clay Achee, Perera and Line4Line founder O’Neil Curtis devised a plan to create an education series geared to kids and adults that breaks down tough topics using humor and acknowledging the historical significance of the barbershop as a place for community building. In the early summer of 2019 the team finalize topics they wanted to cover, and Achee began writing scripts and casting his crew of creatives and techs. Achee also designed and sewed puppet Xavier. In the fall of 2019 over a series of two days, the group came together to film the 5 shorts. Using O’Neil’s Barbershop and Kernan Ave Park as locations, the videos feature barbers/mentors O’Neil Curtis, Keith Davis (Jimi Jump), poet Xero Skidmore and Curtis’s daughter O’Nya.
In 2021 a second series of Clip Tips was envisioned as part of Line4Line’s Change the Narrative pilot which uses books and art to build print motivation, critical thinking, creative problem solving and social emotional learning. This program brought Line4Line educators into Merrydale Elementary to work with all students in all grade levels every week during the fall of 2021. As part of this program Achee and Arts Educator Elizabeth Foos met with Merrydale students to get input on the subject of the next two videos. Taking what they learned from the kids, and with input from O’Neil and the Line4Line team. Achee and Foos wrote two new Clip Tips which were filmed on site at O’Neil’s Barbershop in early 2022. Starring: Xavier Jackson, John Gray, O’Neil Curtis, Jimi Jump and Mike Honore and Produced by Line4Line and Beyond the Garage Productions, Music “Susa Phunkshun” by The Michael Foster Project, Director Clay Achee, Writers Elizabeth Foos & Clay Achee, Director of Photography Fred Mince, Editor Jordan Peck, Puppets by Beyond the Garage, Xavier Puppeteer Mike Honore’ , Assistant Puppeteer Chloe Marie, Sound Mixer Ben Moore, Production Assistant William Loveland, Intern Taylor Kinchen. These two new Clip Tips explore Accountability and Dealing with Stress. Two relatable hot topics that when left unchecked have an effect on us all.
Click the links below to View the Videos
Clip Tips 2022
“Accountability” Featuring O’Neil Curtis and John Gray
“Dealing with Stress” Featuring Jimi Jump and Mike Honore’
Clip Tips 2020
Line4Line is thankful for the efforts of actors, creators, barbers, volunteers and friends for their work to create Clip Tips. This project was supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, as administered by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment of the Arts.