Saturday, May 24, 2008

From Barb's E-Mail Bag

Dear Ms. Nicolosi,

Greetings from Alberta, Canada. I have made aware of your work through a variety of sources, beginning with Rob Bagdazian at Thomas Aquinas College and most recently, from Phil Taranger up here in Edmonton, Alberta. I have been following your blog and know a little of Act One, all of which very much peak my interest. Looking at your thoughts and visions, I thought you might be interested to hear of another "act for the cause" up here Canada.

I work for a new Catholic Fine and Liberal Arts college, Living Water College of the Arts. We are located in the country, outside of the small rural town of Derwent, 2 hours east of Edmonton. Our mission is to provide technical training in the Arts, inspired by Faith and informed by Reason. So our goal is to effect the renewal of art through proper education of the artist, in a program integrating Art, Faith and Reason. In brief, we aim to develop the entire person of the artist, thus maintaining a balance in every aspect from intellectual to emotive.

The three year Fine Arts program offers technical skill training in Visual and Performance Arts, utilizing traditional media (painting, sculpting, theatre) and new media (digital filming, computer graphics, sound recording). Liberal Arts, as the other half of the program, immerses students in classical Philosophy, Theology, Science and Mathematics. Taught simultaneously and in an integrated fashion, these elements engage and build upon each other, much like the education received by classical artists of antiquity. In the Fine Arts program, mentorship will also be included. For one term in their 2nd year, students will apprentice with a professional in their chosen field.

Our hope is to bring back a traditional approach to art, which will aid the artists in understanding their craft as an imitation of objective truth and beauty. Artists provide such a necessary work to the public; so many just need to understand their duty in this regard. The College is not yet open. We are in the middle of operational fundraising at the moment, but there is much promise, and the student interest we've received affirms that this sort of education is needed.

Your work and Act One show that you realize this need, and I have been heartily encouraged by the many that are participating as well. I hope that we might network with each other to continue the furthering of God's kingdom on earth. If you can, please view our website:, to know more about us. I am always available if you would like in touch with me, either by phone or by email.

Thank you for your work and action. We need it in today's lukewarmness. God bless you.

Onward and upward,

Nicole Dunn
Assistant Director of Development
Living Water College of the Arts
Box 100, Derwent AB, T0B 1C0
(780) 741-2488

Hi Nicole -

Thanks so much for your message letting me know about Living Water College. I am happy to post your letter up on my blog so as to help get the word out about your efforts. Obviously, I am very glad to hear that such a project is in the works. It will hopefully be very successful and the first of many others.

I would only recommend that, as you don't have unlimited funds, you grow slowly, and take the time to do one thing well before you start too many others. It took us at Act One about five years to figure out how to train screenwriters effectively. It needn't be that long, of course, but you want to build a reputation for excellence, and taking on too many disciplines at once would inhibit that. Just a thought.

God bless -


-----Original Message-----
From: D

Subject: My book

I enjoyed the article about you in World Magazine and looked you up on the web.
I agree with your comment on most of the Christian movies, they are feel good and enjoyable Hollywood and for that I am thankful. I wish someone would produce some of Catherine Marshall life, she was my role model many years ago.

I am writhing you to ask for your opinion on a possible film from my book. _________ Publishing has released it this week and it has both a comic side and a story of how the Lord got a hold of my life as an adult and planted me in the inner city for the past 22 years.

This may seem presumptuous but if I sent a copy to you would you skim it and tell me if it has any potential as a story.

I look forward to the Carmelite movie and thank you for taking the time to read this.
In His Grace Alone:

Dear D. -

Thanks so much for your message and kind words about the article in World, and your good wishes for the Carmelite movie. Please do keep that latter in your prayers. As with everything in Hollywood, we need to raise the money to get the project off the ground.

Congratulations on your new book! As someone who generates book concepts nearly every week but never seems to bring them to completion, I really appreciate your accomplishment.

At this point, your publisher is your best advocate to the entertainment industry. The folks who liked your story enough to publish it can make a compelling case to producers who might take the project on as a movie. Any publisher worth its salt has some contact with an agent who represents their books to the entertainment industry. You should speak directly to your editor on the project and ask them to shop the project for you.

It would take me a couple days to read your project and then formulate some kind of opinion for you. And I generally get paid for this kind of assessment. It's what I do along with writing. You should pursue the free avenues open to you in this regard.

Best of luck to you. God bless -


Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 7:25 am
Subject: Where do you go with a good story?

Dear Barbara,

I have a funny story to tell. It has Catholic themes, although I don't think it's didactic. It's meant to be entertaining with a point. I have access to enough capital sources to make a reasonably budgeted independent movie but I don't know where to start or who to contact with the talent to make a good movie. As I study the script requests coming to me from Hollywood sources it's apparent that what they're looking for is not what I have to say.

Here's the logline and the synopsis:

. . .

Any suggestions?


Dear Mike -

Thanks for sharing your movie idea with me. Really, the best response I can make is to express that you really don't know what you are asking of me here. I'm not trying to be uncooperative, but it would be like you coming to me saying you have an idea for a skyscraper. "How do I get a skyscraper of the ground?"

How was it Jesus put it, "If you answer my question, I will answer yours." It is a very complicated answer.

But seriously, I guess you can try and flesh out your idea as best you can on paper, then make appointments to pitch it to production companies who have produced projects that are similar in tone. Moviemaking is like Major League Baseball. You have to be in the game to be in the game.

God bless and good luck -


From: M.T.
Sent: Fri, 16 May 2008 6:40 am
Subject: French actor

Dear Barbara,

I am writing to you from Paris, my home town. I am contacting you because you work to reveal God’s presence in people life through films. As we work for the same Master I think and hope we can join our forces.

I decided to change my life five years ago after five years of study in business and a year of working experience in marketing and sales between San Francisco and New York City. I took three years of acting lessons in Paris with a great French actress, Axelle Abbadie. Since then I have been acting in several short movies and I played also in three feature films. In addition to that I wrote a few movie-scripts and recently directed a short movie that I produced.

Today my greatest wish is to continue playing for others as an actor; but I also feel the need to continue telling stories through the movies I direct.

Above all I put the love of God at the centre of my life. That is why my greatest ambition in life is to serve God and testify his love through the movies I make. No matter what happens, whatever I achieve or not, that is what I am struggling for.

You can find my résumé, 2 pictures and an Internet Link for my short show reel attached.

I do want to come to the USA to work as an actor. But I need to find an agent.
If you find my profile interesting; can you please give me a hand?

Dear lady, I do not know what you can do for me; if it is possible for you to give me a hand. I just hope to find the right people to keep going forward in Jesus’ path. I am fighting to put the gifts God gave me to his service.

Looking forward to hear from you. Thank you so much for your time.

Best regards,


Dear M.T. -

Thanks for your message. I am always happy to hear about fellow believers who are seriously pursuing what Pope John Paul II called "new epiphanies of beauty" through the arts and entertainment media.

Unfortunately, helping actors get agents is not something I am set up to do. Marketing yourself as an actor is as important an aspect of the craft as acting, and as with the latter, there are no shortcuts to achievement in this aspect. No one is going to spare you the hard work of having to attend auditions, get head shots, sell agents and casting directors. If you aren't up for these as the doorway into being able to act, then you aren't really up to the acting profession.

You could certainly check out the website They have resources for people starting out in the business. But nobody is going to find you an agent. That is something you have to do.

Personally, when I get this kind of request from hopeful anonymous folks from "out there", I am always reminded of a trip I made to Mexico once with a wealthy Mexican friend. I said to her, "How is it that you don't even seem to notice the destitute people lying all over the street?" And she shrugged sadly and said, "There are just too many poor, aren't there?"

Good luck to you and God bless -


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