Friday, August 24, 2007

Influencing Hollywood - Act One

Something has been brewing in Hollywood. No telling when it started, but it really started cooking in 1999. Turns out individual Christians there were thinking the same thing: that boycotts and protests don't change anything. No, if Hollywood was ever going to be influenced for good, it would take Christians to transform it. And not from the outside, but Christians working within Hollywood.

When this small group of writers and producers got together, they decided to start an organization that would train Christians to be top-notch writers, producers, and other industry professionals in Hollywood. And they've been holding classes ever since.

Born as Act One: Writing for Hollywood, the program now known as Act One, Inc. has graduated a class of writers every year since then and has added courses for Hollywood executives, TV writing, and more. Many of the graduates are already working in the entertainment industry in Hollywood.

According to the web site at, "Over 100 Act One Alumni currently work at various levels in the entertainment industry as producers, writers, development executives, directors, as well as technical and administrative assistants. Our alumni are also finding recognition in a wide circle of conferences, think tanks and film festivals as speakers, panelists and instructors on a broad variety of topics relating to Christianity, entertainment, the arts, and popular-culture."

Want a taste of what they're doing? Here you go:
  • Clare Sera, a graduate of the Writer's Program (WP) '99 will co-write the family action-comedy Captain Abdul's Pirate School based on the book by Colin McNaughton.
  • Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy) will star in The Least of These for writer-director Nathan Scoggins (WP 'o5) produced by James Duke (WP '01) and Christina Lee (WP '03).
  • Cheryl McKay (WP '99) wrote the screenplay for The Ultimate Gift.
  • Clare Sera (WP '99) wrote for the feature Curious George and recently sold a pitch for another animation feature film to Paramount Pictures.
  • Nina Shelton was hired to write scripts for Naomi Judd's Hallmark Channel.
  • Christ Foley's screenplay Stubborn Creek has been optioned by Origin Entertainment.

How about some awards?:

  • Scott Teems' screenplay I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down won the Emerging Narrative Screenplay Award in 2006.
  • Elizabeth Beachy's screenplay Pulse took first place in the '06 Nashville Screenplay Showdown.
  • Kimberly Wilson-Lauziere was selected for the Cosby Writing Program and ABC/Disney Talent Development Program.
  • Stephen Chang won the $50,000 ABC/Disney Writing Fellowship (the second Act One alumnus to win it).
  • Jessica Reider, Melissa Dogero and Steven Chang, who all came out of Act One's TV Spring Training Program, were finalists for the 2007 Warner Brothers Writing Workshop.

There's plenty more, but you can read it for yourself at

The faculty at Act One have their own impressive credits, too:

  • Dean Batali, That 70's Show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hope and Gloria.
  • Ron Austin, Mission Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie's Angels, Matlock, and The Father Dowling Mysteries.
  • Janet Scott Batchler and Lee Batchler, Batman Forever. Their adventure feature Smoke and Mirrors is currently in development with Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones set to star.
  • Brian Bird, producing The Last Sin Eater. According to the web site, this is "the first film in his Believe Pictures partnership with Michael Landon, Jr. for Twentieth Century Fox." He's also working on Not Easily Broken for T.D. Jakes Entertainment and Sony/Screen Gems. Bird's credits include Touched by an Angel, Evening Shade, Step by Step, and The Family Man.

There's more... oh so much more. I hope I've given you enough to be as excited as I am about what is happening in Hollywood. Act One has accomplished a lot of work since 1999, and they deserve our support and our prayers.

Thom Deason, the Executive Director of Act One, recently wrote, "The next time you watch your favorite film or television show, remember to pray for everyone working to make it look easy, and for Act One as we work to train Christians in Hollywood."

1 comment:

Tomás Aquinas said...

This is very good satire. I did not realize it at first until I saw the credits including Disney movies. For years Christians have been properly shocked by Disney's blatant favoring of homosexuality and inclusion of non-Christian themes such as thinly-veiled Hinduism in "The Lion King". The violence and sexuality that is deeply imbedded in such as Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible is enough to make any good Christian cringe.

Have you considered writing for Landover Baptist Church? Here are their movie reviews: