Friday, October 28, 2005

Helping Narnia

Friend and fellow media saavy Catholic guy, Tom Allen, asked me to post a link on my blog to this site. It has all your Narnia promotion needs.

Happy to help, Tom!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Coming to a Town Near You?

Several folks have emailed asking me for my speaking schedule for the next few months. Most of these are not open to the general public, however, I am always eager to set up another talk whenever I am anywhere. So, if I am coming to your place and you want to set up a talk for your church, school, prayergroup, college or bridge club, emailor call our Event Co-ordinator Becca ( or 323-464-0815) to start the wheels rolling. I am particularly available to meet with any millionaires in your town who might want to help us, um, save the planet through entertainment....

November 9-11 - Nashville for the Entertainment Media Summit

November 20-22 - Connecticut for Turkey Day with Nicolosis

December 3 - San Jose, CA - "Living as a Disciple in a Media Age", for the Women of the Third Millenium Conference

January 7 - Dallas, TX - "The Importance of the Arts in the Life of Faith", for another Women of the Third Millenium Conference

February 3-4 - Las Vegas - Act One Screenwriting Weekend

February 8 - Omaha, NE - Legatus

February 9 - Appleton, WI - Legatus

February 11-13 - Nashville Pastors Thing (I think...)

February 14 - Wichita - Legatus

March 4-5 - Phoenix - "The Church as the Patron of the Arts", for Holy Trinity Apostolate

March 9 - Des Moines, IA - Legatus

April 6 - Milwaukee, WI - Legatus

April 7-9 - New Platz, NY - Mastermedia Summit

November 14 - San Antonio, TX - Legatus

November 15 - Houston, TX - Legatus

Monday, October 24, 2005

Continuing to Stretch the Limits of "Hiatus"

People are always writing me asking me to plug their blogs. I mean to do it for everyone who asks, but then I never seem to get to it and then have to live with their thinking I'm uppity and exclusive and/or not as good a friend as they thought.

But here are a couple friends who are variously new to the blogosphere with whose friendship I am particularly loathe to play fast and loose. So, here I am interrupting the hiatus to tell you, if you miss me while I'm hiatusing, you'll find comfort on the sites of...

The Great and Good Philosopher of Arts and Faith, Alice Bass, blogging from Hollywood East in Orlando over at The Fairfax. I met Alice through the intercession of the dearly beloved Clare Sera, who said something like, "You two MUST, MUST, MUST get together." (I always tend to find the triple MUST an irrisitble force.)

Then, there is my clever, clever friend Patrick Coffin, blogging over at Seize the Dei. I met Patrick at this weekend's Angelus Awards Reception (Btw, Patrick, what were you doing there?), and found myself shrinking with shame because I haven't linked to his blog yet. Patrick and I go way back to our days shilling for Fr. Bud Kieser. There is nothing like funny and excruciating common memories to bond you with a person. You all will love Patrick. As my sister Valerie once said to me upon meeting him, "He's like a male you!" Pretty much.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Act One in Ft. Lauderdale

Each year, hundreds of aspiring screenwriters flock to Hollywood with scripts in their hands and stars in their eyes. This year, Hollywood is coming to them. Next stop? Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Act One, Inc., a Los Angeles-based training program for writers and other film industry professionals, is partnering with Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale to present the Act One Screenwriting Weekend, a conference for professional and aspiring screenwriters. The workshop, slated for November 4-5, 2005 at the church, is an intense, practical overview of screenwriting basics, the current film market, and the Christian’s responsibility to positively impact popular culture.

Participants will study the craft of screenwriting – from story development and structure to character, dialogue and screenplay format – with a panel of accomplished Hollywood professionals led by Christopher Riley, an award-winning screenwriter (After The Truth, 25 to Life, Actual Innocence), author (The Hollywood Standard), and the Director of the Act One: Writing For Hollywood program. He’ll be joined by his wife and screenwriting partner, Kathy, as well as Azusa Pacific University professor Dr. Thom Parham, a screenwriter and script consultant whose credits include JAG, Touched By An Angel, Steeplechasers, and Inside Out. Jack Gilbert, the head of Act One’s television program and former director of the prestigious Warner Bros. Writers Workshop, is also scheduled to attend.

The conference ends with an optional session on Sunday afternoon, November 6, at Calvary Chapel following the last service. The free event, which is open to the public, will feature a moderated question and answer panel with the Act One faculty members as well as a film clip screening and a discussion on faith in film. Anyone interested in the Christian response to popular culture are welcome to attend.

“South Florida’s longstanding reputation for quality and creativity in film makes it the perfect city for an Act One conference,” says Conference Coordinator Lauri Evans Deason. “And we’re thrilled to be working with Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale to help provide new inspiration and community for local writers who share our common goals of excellence, artistry, professionalism, and spirituality.”

The screenwriting seminar begins at 7 p.m. Friday, and continues all day Saturday. The registration fee (which includes study materials and breakfast and lunch on Saturday) is $175 for students and early registrants. After October 31st, the cost to attend is $195. Further information and online registration is available through the Act One website at HYPERLINK "" Space is limited, and early registration is encouraged.

The free, open session on faith and film begins at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Lauri Evans Deason

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

From Val My Incredibly Talented Opera Sister

Greetings folks! This email is just to let you know that I will be singing Rosina in Rossini's Barber of Seville with Commonwealth Opera next weekend. If any of you are in the area and can come I would love to see you! Commonwealth Opera is in Northampton, MA, just north of Springfield,MA and ten minutes from Amherst.

This is a wonderful opera, very funny - a great intro for those of you who might not have seen an opera yet. It is sung in Italian, but there are English surtitles over the stage. It is with orchestra and promises to be a great show - so here is the website if you would like to come.

I hope to see you there!

Valerie Nicolosi

Mezzo Soprano
(860) 334-2269
Management: Gary Grice
(570) 735-5909

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Act One Comedy Conference, Oct. 20

See Barb at GodBlog

I'll be on a panel with friend and fellow blogger, Mark Joseph Friday morning at the first annual GodBlog Conference. Mark is one of the contributors to the Ariana Huffington blog.

The event is at Biola University in La Mirada. Our panel is 10:30am. I suppose I should conduct a break-out session called, "Failing to Hiatus."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Disney Re-Discovering It's Soul...OR...Greed Makes People Funny

Have to share a funny story from the day of the Narnia screening. The screening was very controlled -- only about ten people in attendance besides the Disney and Wladen promotional folks. There were some prominent religious lieutenants there who are being courted to raise the same groundswell of support for Narnia that they did so astoundingly for The Passion of the Christ.
(Note that I was the only Catholic invitee in the room...evidence that Catholic leaders are pretty much worthless at rallying their troops....oh for the healing of the Reformation!)

Getting to the funny part...

So, after the screening, all the religious leaders were all awash in enthusiasm and tangible relief that the film had retained its Christian allegoriness. The Disney head of PR guy, picking up on the religious leaders' enthusiasm, started getting all happy and chatty himself, leading to the following paraphrased exchange...

A CHRISTIAN LEADER: I want to congratulate you all for preserving the religious themes in the work so beautifully.

DISNEY GUY: Of course, we wouldn't think of doing it any other way! We aren't going to shy away from religion at Disney. After all, who ever decided that going to church was a bad thing?

BARB: (to herself, for once) Um,... Miramax?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Narnia: Deep Magic

I am going to go on a brief hiatus from my hiatus here because I had the great privilege yesterday of seeing the highly anticipated The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from Disney/Walden. I haven't been so eager to see a film since The Passion of the Christ, nor felt the same sense of relief and joy!

The movie is lovely. The print we saw had some special effects still in stages, but it didn't detract from the stunning vision the movie radiates off the screen. England is musty and dreary. Narnia is a wonderland. Tke kids are going to love it. They are going to want to walk through that wardrobe with Lucy time after time.

But best of all, contrary to Peter Jackson's agenda-aversion manhandling of Tolkien's classic, here, the tone of LW&W is as close to the book as probably could have been achieved. All the lines the Christians are worrying about are in there. All the scenes you want to see are here and lovingly rendered. So everybody can relax and get ready to enjoy, and we can all take the Wonderful World of Disney back into our hearts -- and save the studio for 2005! Truly, our forgiveness is completely saving...

People particularly want to know if Aslan comes off as a Christ-figure, or just some warm and fuzzy magic lion. Well, I personally cried every moment Aslan was on the screen. But then, I walked in with my character development done by my Jesus thing. I so wanted to be Lucy and Susan, with their heads resting on his body on the stone table. I wonder if people who don't love Jesus will feel the same? So, I am going to say that Aslan is absolutely discernible as a figure of Jesus -- for those who have eyes to see.

Which is a way of saying that this movie may have a little of The Passion problem. Madeleine L'Engle says in her book on writing, Walking on Water, that we Christians should live in such a way that our lives wouldn't make sense if our Faith wasn't true. We tell our Act One students that they should write that way too. Their stories shouldn't make sense unless they begin from Christian presuppositions. C.S. Lewis' Narnia books are very much like that.

So, this adaptation of his books on the big screen - in being true to their source material - will be tremendously, heart-fillingly comprehensible to those of us who love Jesus. And probably a bit strange to those who don't. But whereas The Passion was disturbingly incomprehensible to non-believers, this film will be fascinatingly so. I want to be clear, there is plenty of stuff to love and enjoy here for non-Christians. But they aren't going to get why we Christians are going to be in ecstasy here , any more than the pagans got why we cried copious tears at The Passion. What I am saying is, be prepared for this new Narnia film to be foolishness to the New York Times, and a stumbling block to Daily Variety.

But I have to return to the look of the film here. Whereas Jackson's Middle Earth was mostly dark and dripping, with the battle scenes looking like collisions of filthy, toothless Viking corpses, this movie is much more resplendent and ethereal. The battle scenes here are not gory and disgusting. They look like a dream of Medieval Knights with red flags flapping and silver armor shining...and, you know, charging unicorns and fawns and things.

There was a discussion afterward as to what ages of children could see the film. People were saying 8 year olds could handle it fine. I agree. But I also think littler kids should go. I never buy into this idiocy that we are supposed to protect kids from our own faith story. I remember folks saying that about Prince of Egypt - that the scenes of the Israelites in slavery were too impressive for young kids. To borrow from Anne Lamott, I think this kind of weak-kneed semsitivity makes "Jesus want to go lap gin out of the cat bowl." The vision of Aslan getting shaved and killed is no harder to take than Jesus being scourged and crucified. A generation of children protected from these things breeds a generation of little unmotivated narcissists.

Bring your kids to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! Bring them again! On opening weekend! This movie is deep magic.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

See Barb in Nashville

"Can You Not Read the Signs of the Times?”

Hollywood and the Church: One Year After The Passion

A presentation and discussion featuring,

Barbara R. Nicolosi
Act One, Inc., Hollywood, CA

Tuesday, October 18th, 7pm-9pm

Founder’s Room (1st Floor)
EMI Christian Music Group
101 Winners Circle.
Brentwood, TN 37024

- Signs for hope in the entertainment industry

- How Hollywood’s sudden openness to spirituality is both an opportunity and a challenge

- Christian movies are not in where they end – but in where they begin.

- How should the Church greet Disney’s Narnia and Sony’s Da Vinci Code?

- Act One’s upcoming Nashville screenwriting program

Ms. Nicolosi is a screenwriter and the founding Executive Director of Act One, Inc., a non-profit, interdenominational program to mentor Christians for mainstream Hollywood careers. She has an M.A. in Television and Film from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and has been a script consultant on numerous film, television and video productions. Her screenplay on the life of Emily Dickinson is in development with Reel Life Women Productions of Bel Air. She wrote The Work, a Spanish Civil War drama from IMMI Pictures of Beverly Hills, and she is currently co-writing a Christmas movie with Benedict Fitzgerald (The Passion of the Christ). She is on the Executive Committee for the City of the Angels Film Festival and has been a judge for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Humanitas Prize, the Angelus Student Film Awards, and the Gabriel Awards. Ms. Nicolosi is the co-editor of the 2005 Baker Book release, Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture.

A $10 free will donation to support Act One, Inc. will be taken at the door.
Space is limited – please RSVP to
Or call 323-464-0815 for more information.