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 ...

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