Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Screenwriting workshop at Vanderbilt

Act One, Inc., a nonprofit organization that trains Christians for careers in mainstream film and television, is coming to Nashville this summer. Act One (not to be confused with the movie "Act One" in a post below --ed.) will hold its much-lauded Writing Program at Vanderbilt University May 16-June 10. The Writing Program is a four-week intensive course on writing for TV and film, taught by Hollywood professionals. It will also be held in Los Angeles, at the Oakwood Toluca Hills, from July 7-Aug. 5.

Act One Writing Program Director Chris Riley notes: “The goal of the Act One Writing Program is not to produce religious scripts, but rather writers whose work is truthful, artistically excellent, and reflects a deep respect for the audience. We’re looking for gifted writers who love movies and television, writers who want to enter the mainstream Hollywood marketplace well-equipped to compete with the best writers in the world, telling the most powerful and entertaining stories in the world. Beyond that, we encourage our writers to take their Christian faith seriously, integrating their faith with their art as they seek a creative approach that welcomes the inspiration of the Holy Spirit into everything they write.”

The Writing Program is more than just classes, fostering in students a respect for the audience and an awareness of the need for entertainment that will improve our lives and our culture. Our impressive faculty is made up of over fifty working writers and producers, including Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose), Ralph Winter (X2:X-Men United, Fantastic Four), Barbara Hall (Joan of Arcadia), David McFadzean (Home Improvement, What Women Want), and many more.

Act One students are finding success in many levels of the entertainment industry’s creative community, finding representation at Endeavor, CAA, and other top agencies, and landing writing and producing jobs at DreamWorks, Imagine, CBS, HBO, PAX, MS-NBC, and FOX, among others. Alumni David Hansen claims “the amount of scholarship, the degree of professionalism and the keen wisdom of the Act One Writing Program is simply an unparalleled gift to burgeoning script writers. I can hardly believe it exists." Featured by Newsweek, The Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, Details, and Premiere, Act One has been hailed by industry veteran Ron Austin (Mission: Impossible) as playing “an indispensable role in bringing young Christians into the mainstream of Hollywood."

Act One can only accept thirty students into each program. The application process is very competitive, so interested writers are encouraged to begin the process as early as possible. “The Writing Program is by far the most thorough, most inspiring, intensive screenwriting program I've seen anywhere,” notes screenwriter and faculty member Janet Batchler. “You can waste years of time tiptoeing around the edges of the entertainment industry, or you can come to Act One and learn what you need to know in four weeks.” Applications are due by March 1.

For more information about Act One, visit our website at, or contact Becca Bennett, Program Coordinator, at 323-464-0815 or To interview Act One founder Barbara Nicolosi, contact Drew Stanfield at 323-464-0815 or

Also in 2006, Act One will hold a training program for entertainment executives. For details, see our website or contact Rob Kirbyson at 323-464-0815.

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