Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you can't write a script for a Hollywood blockbuster.

So say the creators of Act One: Writing for Hollywood, an interdenominational program dedicated to training Christian screenwriters.

"Act One's mission is to help committed Christians bridge the gap between the Christian subculture and Hollywood," says Barbara Nicolosi, director of Act One. "You have to become a master of the art form if you're going to be a communicator of the truth."

Nicolosi says the goal of Act One is not to produce "religious" screenplays, but rather screenplays that reflect a Christian worldview.

Act One's month-long screenwriting training conferences connect Hollywood hopefuls with successful Christian screenwriters and producers. Act One's location and connections assure its quality: The program is based on the campus of First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood and sponsored by Inter-Mission, a network of 3,000 Christians in entertainment.

Established writers Karen Hall and Brian Bird, and producer Ralph Winter, are just three of the many professionals who serve in various roles in Act One. Through the month, students learn practical elements of screenwriting, including creating incarnational characters, choosing a good story, and the visual components of cinema, as well as show-biz survival skills: pitching a project, working with agents, and staying on course as a Christian in the industry.

Act One also offers a script critique service, networking opportunities, and all-around encouragement for writers.

"I really felt like I got topical, current, valuable information about how the business runs, what to expect in meetings—I really got a leg up," says Clare Sera, a class of 1999 alumna.

Sera had been writing scripts for theme park shows before coming to Act One with a movie idea. During her time at Act One, she developed her idea into a script that so impressed executives at DreamWorks that they hired her to write an animated feature.

"I felt confident in that script because it had gone through the Act One channels," says Sera.

The program is not magic, the screenwriters still need an incredible amount of talent and tenacity to make it in Hollywood, but Act One is doing all it can to help other Christians duplicate Sera's story.

For information about the Act One: Writing For Hollywood programs, visit its Web site at www.actoneprogram.com or call 323.462.1348.

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Cinema Verities | Even when they're writing fiction, these Hollywood insiders bring the truth to bear.
CT Classic: Can Any Good Thing Come Out of Hollywood? | An interview with producer Ken Wales.

Act One's Web site has information on training, applying, and the programs in both Chicago and Hollywood.

Related Christianity Today articles include:

The World Behind the Movie | Why Hollywood has a hard time getting Christianity right, and how we can tell when it does. (Jan. 29, 2001)
From Davey & Goliath to Homer and Ned | Steve Tompkins believes God has a sense of humor. (Jan. 26, 2001)
Horror Stories for Christians | Believers dream again of a breakthrough film. Left Behind is not it. (Dec. 6, 2000)
Jennings on Jesus | ABC anchorman Peter Jennings discusses what moved him as he filmed a special on the life of Christ. (June 26, 2000)
Redeemed Bad Boys of the WWF | Former professional wrestlers confront this multimillion-dollar industry's dark side. (May 26, 2000)
Won't You Be My Neighbor? | At the center of Mister Rogers' cheery songs and smiles lies a God-ordained mission to children. (Feb. 29, 2000)
NBC Purchases Chunk of Pax TV | Will the network retain its family focus? (Nov. 15, 1999)
Christian Filmmakers Jump on End-times Bandwagon | Bestseller Left Behind is slated for the big screen (Oct. 5, 1999)
The Movie Missionary | David Bruce uses film reviews to introduce web surfers to Jesus. (Nov. 9, 1999)
PAX TV off the Ground | Viewers fed up with televised sex, violence, and crudity have a new alternative. (Oct. 5, 1998)
Will New Christian TV Network Beat the Odds? | Due to be launched in August, Pax Net will offer family-oriented programming that addresses issues of faith. (April 27, 1998)
Producers Rediscover Religious Themes (Nov. 17, 1997)
CBS Sends Mixed Signals, Critics Say (Oct. 7, 1996)

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