Inside the community room at the 7th Police District station, a group of high school students sits crouched in a circle, oblivious to everything around them and anxiously awaiting instructions.

Every Saturday morning for three hours, six to 10 teenagers pitch film scripts, rewrite story outlines and argue about the art of film. Possibly because of their overwhelming enthusiasm, it isn't unusual for students to cut each other off in mid-sentence, raise their voices and even prompt an officer on duty to look in on the octagon-shaped room to make sure everything is all right.

Ranging in age from 15 to 19, the students come mostly from poor and working-class neighbors of Anacostia in Southeast. With pens and notebooks at ready, they discuss a million topics before reverting their attention to the reason for being there -- film making through the Lights, Camera, Action! program.

"I really wanted to join the program because I want to pursue acting as a career. I've wanted to act since seven," said 15-year-old Rayvon Hicks, a sophomore at Anacostia High School who dreams of attending Howard University's School of Fine Arts and majoring in drama. "The best thing about this program is that it helps broaden your vocabulary and writing skills. I've learned how to write scripts and how to present it" said Rayvon, a self-described comedian who is one of three students with perfect attendance.

Allison Silberberg, 31, the founder of Lights, Camera, Action! and a media screenwriting professor at American University, seems motivated by average students like Rayvon. The Alexandria resident, Texas native and onetime chief research assistant for then Sen. Lloyd Bentsen expressed a desire to share something meaningful and inspire the young men and women.

"I'm here to help them dream and create dreams," said Silberberg, who has written scripts for film and television. One of her television scripts was an episode of "Mama's Family" starring Vicki Lawrence.

"Whether or not they become filmmakers doesn't matter. I just thought I could make a difference. If I have made some small difference on one person, it was all worth it," she said.

Shirleta Dansby, another Anacostia High School student, said Silberberg's Lights, Camera, Action! program has benefited her. "I really have to admit that I joined the program just to do something on Saturdays. I had nothing to do. It seemed constructive and I'm enjoying it," said the demure 19-year-old who aspires to become a nurse.

Dansby and Hicks are two of the 13 students picked for this pilot program by Silberberg and Marion Howard, the dean of students at the high school.

Said Howard: "They won't be getting Carnegie units {credits toward graduation} for the program, but I think it is a good one. It helps students work on their writing skills. They see it in a different way rather than a straight English class. It gives them a look at another career."

"The students {in Lights, Camera, Action!} are not just the honor-roll ones or the particularly bad ones who don't measure up. They are average students," said Howard who has been teaching Spanish and working at Anacostia in one capacity or another since 1967.

Troy Mitchell, 17, "was walking through the office because I thought Ms. Howard and Silberberg had {selected} me," said the senior who has applied to the University of the District of Columbia and plans to major in business management. "It was a mistake but when they asked me I said sure. I've learned how to write a movie script correctly and become a movie critic. I try to remember everything that goes on in movies now," he said.

"The best thing about the program is that it expands my mind. I'm interested in film and this summer I wanted to work with video cameras," said Mitchell who wrote an unfinished play last summer.

Troy's mother, Ruth Johnson, is encouraged by the program. "He has shown an interest in being creative and this program helps that. I've encouraged him to work in the media as either a journalist or camera person. He hasn't decided what he wants to do yet," Johnson said. "I kind of want him to make up his own mind."

Silberberg embarked on the project with the hope of procuring financial backing and funding from city agencies and the private sector.

To date no money has been raised.

"I started making calls back in September or October {1993} to as many places as possible. I wanted to involve the church, school, police and everybody. I applied to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for $5,000. They don't decide to the end of April or beginning of May," Silberberg said.

In the meantime Silberberg has gotten some support from a nearby church and grocery store. She has also managed to get several high school children to incorporate new words in their vocabulary and movies such as "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Of Mice and Men" in their viewing.

Besides participating in and receiving a copy of a 26-minute movie and earning a certificate of graduation, the students completing the course will receive a cap with the LCA initials on it donated by a sporting goods outlet based in Los Angeles.

Silberberg can also thank Project Accord, a program that builds employable skills for high-school-aged children, for technical support. Project Accord started Classroom 2000, a multimedia room that allows Anacostia High students to work on a variety of computers and cameras.

D.C. police officer Sherwood Ballard, 31, a four-year veteran assigned to Anacostia High School since October, earns Silberberg's largest praise.

Ballard, who met Silberberg about two years ago when he called American University looking for a script writer, has a strong interest in film himself.

"We got to talking one day and she told me what she was doing. I told her to come over to Anacostia and introduced her to Ms. Howard. She had a choice between Ballou and Anacostia," said Ballard.

"I've been so blessed to meet people like Sherwood and Ms. Howard. They've been so instrumental in getting this project off the ground," Silberberg said.