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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Last October, Act One was contacted by an AMC film crew that was shooting a documentary on - according to the producer - "Religion in Hollywood." We were in the middle of the Act Two Advanced Screenwriters Workshop for a group of our alumni, and the film crew asked me if they could come and shoot some of the sessions. The producer-director of the piece was Jesse Moss, and Act One gave him and his people pretty open access to shoot classes, and interview students and faculty.

During his interview with me, in the middle of the questions about being a Christian in Hollywood, he asked me - what I thought at the time was - a weird question, "So, what political party do you belong to?" I was taken aback, "Whaaaaaaaaat?" He asked me directly if I would be voting for Arnold Schwarzeneggar. I remember blinking in confusion and saying somethng to the effect of, "What does that have to do with anything?"

Now, I understand that the question had to do with everything.

Some of you will have read the NY Times article or have seen the documentary last night on AMC. Turns out, the doc wasn't on "Religion in Hollywood" at all, but rather on "Republicans in Hollywood." After 30 minutes of stuff about Arnold and Charles Heston and five young Republicans at a cocktail party, the doc segues into the Act One section. The implication clearly is that, if you are a committed Christian, you must also be a Republican.

The doc also interviewed Patty Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) and made the same implicit connection by doing so. I've been at events with Patty where she has clearly identified herself as a Democrat. She said at UCLA, "Becuase I am pro-life, very often I have to hold my nose and vote Republican." The doc also incorrectly id'ed Patty as being the "Founder of Feminists for Life." She isn't.

So, we're annoyed this morning at having been duped. I would never have allowed Mr. Moss access to Act One if he had been upfront that his project was about politics. Act One is absolutely non-partisan. I will, no doubt, spend the day, answering queries from faculty and friends and alumni, assuring them that Act One isn't part of the Republican insurgency in the industry.

Mr. Moss owes us all an apology, and a correction in the NY Times.