InThe Sound of Music, Maria is clearly not an asset to the abbey, obviously destined for other things.

"Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her," the Reverend Mother sings in "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" "Many a thing she ought to understand."

"But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say?" replies one of the nuns.

"How do you keep a wave upon the sand?" replies the Reverend Mother.

Barbara Nicolosi was once that "wave upon the sand." Young, eager, and strong-willed—much like Maria—Nicolosi thought she wanted to be a nun for life. But her out-of-the-box ideas weren't a great fit, and in the end, she was asked to leave the convent.

Initially distraught, Nicolosi finally found her calling—to Hollywood and, eventually, to teaching. In 1999, she founded Act One as a means of helping Christian scriptwriters hone their craft and find their way in the entertainment jungle.

According to its website, Act One was founded "to address the most serious problems reflected in the work of Christians who set out to write for mainstream entertainment: a sense of artistry, a commitment to professionalism, and a network with other industry professionals. In addition, Act One provides Christian writers with guidance in focusing and maintaining their spiritual growth, enabling them to better integrate faith with industry professionalism."

Act One alumni have gone on to secure jobs in TV and film—including one grad who helped write the script for Curious George, now in theaters. Act One also now mentors budding executives and is branching out to other specialties.

Nicolosi, the executive director, teamed with other Act One faculty to write Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film, and Culture, ...

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