Actress Jenn Gotzon on NAB and the Faith ‘n Film Summit


Actress Jenn Gotzon’s unique take on the NAB Show and a chance to view conference content for free

Producer Brian Grazer with Jenn Gotzon at London's World Premiere of 'Frost/Nixon.' Watch for Jenn in 'Doonby' this Fall.

Rising star Jenn Gotzon (Frost/NixonDoonby, Hulk) provided Two Handed Warriors with a unique take on the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB) and pre-show ‘Faith ‘n Film Summit.’ (Las Vegas, NV, April 10-14.)

Jenn and her husband producer/director husband Chris Armstrong (Crossroads, and ‘Crash the Superbowl’ Doritos finalist The Chase) have actually served as the “face” of NAB on billboards, magazines, and print items. (Photo below.)

The opportunity grew out the new power couple’s commitment to the value of NAB. This year marked the 5th year Chris and Jenn have joined the more than 90,000 registrants in attendance.

Jenn related how “I started attending NAB with Chris in order to support him as a filmmaker. Now, after five years, I’ve learned so much about the world of production, post and technology, that it’s been extremely helpful for my acting adventures.”

Faith ‘n Film Summit

This year the pre-NAB Show ‘Faith ‘n Film Summit’ provided Jenn and Chris with an even more intense experience. NAB partnered with the 168 Film Project–a Hollywood incubator for filmmakers of faith–to create a unique opportunity for Christian filmmakers, artists, pastors, youth leaders attending NAV seeking to grow in their filmmaking and social media expertise.

Faith ‘n Film panel, “Market Forces in Faith and Family Content,” moderated by 168 Founder John David Ware and featuring Ken Wales (Amazing Grace), Brian Bird (Touched by an Angel), Paul Crouch (TBN), and Ted Baehr (Movieguide).

Panel discussions with Christian industry insiders, specialized workshops, an inter-denominational worship service, and special screenings made for a powerful day. There was a near universal sense that the time had come for Christian filmmakers to go to the next level so that the quality of productions matches the quality of the ideas presented.

Jenn reported: “Chris and I learned so much from the extraordinarily talented panel of pro’s in Hollywood. Their wisdom, expertise, and insight helped us grow in both our understanding of story and in the next stages in innovative distribution outlets.”

Today’s NAB Virtual View: A FREE Chance to See What You Missed in Las Vegas!

Jenn and Chris posing with a larger than life photo of, well, Jenn and Chris at the NAB show

Filmmakers who couldn’t make it to Las Vegas, can take part in a special NAB online event premiering todayNAB Virtual View.

The FREE online event features all the Original Keynote Speakers, as well as a Live Q&A with key THOUGHT LEADERS, and special ON DEMAND SESSIONS.

Virtual View is part of NAB’s commitment to capture the “most desired content from the show”–the exhibitor demonstrations–and surround them with live sessions, live expert chats, and real-time buyer-seller interaction:

“While nothing replaces the face to face interaction of the show, we believe digital media professionals will garner a lot from these online demonstrations coupled with the availability of company representatives for online Q&A.”

Plus, organizers are also confident that the 90,000 professionals who DID make it to Las Vegas, will find Virtual View “a great way to revisit and reconsider products and services of interest.”

Sessions start a 10am EDT TODAY and will be available on-demand for the next 90 days.

Register here to join the day’s proceedings. It’s FREE!



One-on-One with Creator and Executive Producer of the “CSI” Franchise, Anthony E. Zuiker
Interviewed by Stuart Levine, Assistant Managing Editor of Features at Variety

Anthony E. Zuiker Anthony E. Zuiker You’ll just have to tune in for this one to find out what it is about. We’ll hear Anthony will talk about one of his latest ventures in digital distribution of great content, and how he is taking advantage of technology’s capabilities to deliver some classic content via new mediums.
Anthony E. Zuiker
“CSI” Franchise
Stuart Levine

Variety‘s David Cohen interviews Chris Cookson, President, Sony Technologies, and Alec Shapiro, SVP, Sony Broadcast and Production

David Cohen Chris Cookson Alec Shapiro 3D production, its influence on the 3D experience, and the adoption of 3D are the primary topics of this dynamic exchange with leading experts from Sony. This group discusses 4K, 24 frames, and the impact of them on the value proposition for 3D. Their thoughts around 3D in the home and broadcast 3D, as well as lowering 3D production costs, future proofing 3D content, motion flow, how new technologies should not take away from the art of production, and Sony’s goals to create digital products that can do everything a 35mm can do.
David Cohen
Chris Cookson
Sony Pictures
Alec Shapiro
Sony Broadcast and Production

Creative Cow – Steve Schklair, CEO/Founder, 3ality Digital

Steve Schklair Join Creative Cow’s Debra Kaufman as she checks in with 3ALITY on their NAB Show and what trail they will be blazing moving forward.
Steve Schklair
3ality Digital

One-on-One with John Welch, VP & General Manager, Making Fun

John Welch Game industry veteran John Welch, General Manager of Making Fun, which was recently acquired by News Corp., chats with DMW CEO Ned Sherman about opportunities in the fast-growing social gaming market, including where he sees the areas for growth, how to compete with Zynga and the future of gaming for Facebook and other social networks as well as smart phones and tablet computers. According to Welch: “It’s pretty clear that Zynga won the first inning of the ball game and has a healthy lead going into the second and third innings…I think that the hallmark of the next few years in social gaming is that we are all making better games now and competing to innovate and better engage users for a long time.”
John Welch
Making Fun, a
News Corp. division

Click here for FREE registration

Opening Doors for Others: An Interview with Writer-Producer & Mentor Brian Bird

Brian’s latest project ‘The Shunning’ premiers this Saturday.

Prolific writer-producer Brian Bird is co-founder of Believe Pictures (with Michael Landon, Jr.) with the mission of developing and producing “high quality, entertaining, and life-and-faith-affirming, films and television depicting positive images and compelling moral stories.” Bird and Landon wrote and produced two novel inspired films for Fox and they are currently writing and/or producing three films: When Calls the Heart, Deep in the Heart, and The Shunning (Premiering this Saturday, April 16, on the Hallmark Channel at 9pm/8pm Central).

Brian also writing a separate screenplay for the Fox Searchlight film, Captive, the true story of Ashley Smith and the Atlanta hostage crisis from 2005. He will also produce the film along with Ken Wales and Ralph Winter.

Brian’s credits include more than 250 episodes of the hit CBS series ‘Touched By an Angel’

Previously, Bird served as Co-Executive Producer and senior writer for four seasons on the series Touched By An Angel and his TV writing/producing credits include more than 250 episodes of Touched By an Angel, Evening Shade, Step by Step, and The Family Man, as well as numerous TV and feature films. His script Call Me Claus was the highest rated cable film of 2002. Brian also wrote and co-produced Tri-Star’s 2009 film Not Easily Broken.

On a more personal note, I have met few Hollywood filmmakers with as great a commitment to personal mentoring as Brian. As an official mentor in the Act One program and the Visual Story Network, as well as an unofficial mentor throughout the industry, Brian has distinguished himself in his willingness to invest in the lives of young writers and producers.

In celebration of the premier of The Shunning this Saturday (Hallmark, 9pm/ 8pm CDT), I asked Brian a few questions about the film, about the greatest influencers in his life, and about origin of his incredible commitment to mentoring.


Interview with Writer-Producer Brian Bird

GDS: What excites you most about the film?

Brian Bird: One reason is because I think we have very faithfully recreated both the world of the Amish, and one of Beverly Lewis‘ most important novels.

Brian worked with T.D. Jakes to adapt ‘Not Easily Broken’ for the big screen.

GDS: Do you think people will relate to a film set in such an “other” world?

BB: Absolutely, even though the storytelling is set among the Amish, I think it’s a very universal tale that all families can relate to because it deals with how we try to pass along our values to our children, and how they have to choose the values they are going to live with.

GDS: Any personal stake in the film?

BB: Well, The Shunning makes a very important statement about the theme of adoption — which is very significant to me as an adoptive father of two daughters. That statement is this: love is thicker than blood when it comes to our family relationships.

Horton Foote’s screenwriting taught Brian to default from plot to character whenever you can.

GDS: Let’s talk about people who have influenced who you are and your career as a filmmaker.  First, an easy one, what films have influenced you most?

BB: I’d have to say The Mission, Cinema Paradiso, and Tender Mercies.

GDS: How ‘bout screenwriters?

BB: Let’s see, Horton Foote (To Kill a Mockingbird)—whose screenplays taught me that plot and character are intertwined and always default to character if you have a choice. William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)—whose body of work as a screenwriter taught me that you have to know the rules in order to break them.

Also, Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons)—whose screenplay taught me about striving to be epic in my writing. And then there’s Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity series)—whose screenplays taught me to strive to be taut in my writing.

GDS: Any other kinds of writers influence you?

“Tony Gilroy’s screenplays taught me to strive to be ‘taut’ in my writing.”

BB: Well, C.S. Lewis was formidable in shaping my worldview, and Francis Schaeffer formidable in shaping my ideas about art and its influence on culture.  Oh, and also Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, who helped me understand that great literature should take the reader’s breath away. Of course, there is also the Bible, which has been an uber-influencer for me.

GDS: Any others?

BB: I’ve had some very significant mentors.

GDS: Like who?

BB: Well, in no particular order, there is Ted Smythe, Mass Media Professor Cal State University, Fullerton, who told me not to be afraid of ideas outside my worldview because in the marketplace of ideas, truth always rises to the top.

“Morgan Freeman …told me that there is only one race of people — the human race — and two kinds of people: good ones and bad ones.”

Don Ingalls, legendary TV writer-producer, great-uncle, who gave me my first network TV writing assignment and told me nepotism can open a door, but skills have to keep it open.

Morgan Freeman, legendary actor who directed my first feature film (Bopha), told me that there is only one race of people — the human race — and two kinds of people: good ones and bad ones.

Rick Warren, my pastor, who told me not to preach in my writing, but just to ask great questions.

Michael Warren, legendary TV writer-producer who gave me my first TV staff writing job, told me he was leaving the door open for me as long as I would promise to leave it open for others. (See, Michael Warren’s Greatest Influences.)

GDS: Did any of them influence how you approached The Shunning?

TV legend and mentor Michael Warren launched Brian’s career by opening the door for him on a CBS one season wonder, ‘The Family Man’ (above). It was all that Brian needed to prove himself.

BB: (Laughs) All of them, but maybe especially Michael Warren, because of what I just mentioned. When he gave me one of my first opportunities in show business he made me promise to leave the door open for others behind me.

GDS: How did you do that in The Shunning?

BB: I chose to give a newer, younger writer an opportunity to write this film rather than writing it myself.  We hired Chris Easterly—a graduate of Act One’s screenwriting program who had served faithfully as a writer’s assistant on Touched By An Angel—to write the teleplay for this film, and he knocked it out of the park.

GDS: Isn’t that taking quite a risk on behalf of a younger “unproven” writer?

BB: It wasn’t charity on our part. We needed somebody with some real writing chops to do this work, and Chris showed himself approved. I left the door open for a very gifted young man in the same way Michael Warren left the door open for me in 1990.

GDS: So you’re leaving a legacy?

BB: That is certainly my intention. And I know that Chris will do the same thing for somebody else when he comes into his Showbiz kingdom.


Don’t miss The Shunning: Saturday (April 16): The Hallmark Channel at 9pm (8pm Central).

Follow Brian: On his blog: The Art of Story, The Craft of Screenwriting and More, or on Twitter: @brbird.

Other Two Handed Warrior TV Writer and Filmmakers:

Sheryl J. Anderson (Charmed, Flash Gordon, Dave’ World)

Dean Batali (That 70’s Show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hope and Gloria)

Brian Bird (Touched by an Angel, The Shunning, Not Easily Broken)

Kevin Chesley (The Hard Times of RJ Berger)

Chris Easterly (Unnatural History, The Shunning)

Jessica Rieder (Leverage, Hawaii Five-O)

Monica Macer (Lost, Prison Break, Teen Wolf)

Korey Scott Pollard (Rizzoli and Isles, Lie to Me, Monk, House, Grey’s Anatomy)

Kurt Schemper (Emmy Award winner for Intervention)

Michael Warren (Happy Days, Family Matters, Two of a Kind, Step by Step, Perfect Strangers).

Faith ‘N’ Film Summit with Emmy Nominated Actor Corbin Bernsen (Psych), Writer Brian Bird (Not Easily Broken), and Producer Ken Wales (Amazing Grace)

Faith N Film Summit Panel includes Ken Wales: Producer of 2007 hit Amazing Grace ($32M)

LAS VEGAS, NV — The Faith ’N’ Film Summit will be held this Sunday (April 10)  on the eve of the National Association of Broadcasters Convention (NAB Show)–April 9-14. In partnership with the 168 Film Project (an incubator for filmmakers of faith for nearly a decade), the day long event boasts media leaders focused on the intersection of art and faith, who will share Hollywood storytelling and story-selling secrets for attracting audiences.

The Summit schedule includes a non-denominational worship service, a panel discussion, film screening, classes and networking opportunities for filmmakers, artists, church media professionals, pastors, youth leaders and ministries seeking excellent faith-based content. For complete Faith ‘N’ Film Summit Agenda Click here.


Emmy nominated actor turned writer-director Corbin Bernsen will screen his 2010 film 'Rust' followed by a Q&A

Actor, writer, director Corbin Bernsen will screen his film Rust, followed by Q&A. Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Bernsen is known for his starring roles on PsychL.A. Law, and three Major League films, (with Charlie Sheen), as well as guest spots on top shows such as Castle. Bernsen’s directing credits include Rust and two other faith-based films due in 2011 — 25 Hill, and Barlowe Mann. Bernsen describes his motivation:

“Not only is it currently good business to bring faith to film, it’s important on a variety of other levels.  We as a society and a global community need to counter the growing trend toward doubt and fear. For me, the best way I know to do this is by introducing faith back into our society with the one creative tool I know best; film.”.


Panelist Brian Bird co-wrote 2009 faith-based hit with pastor T.D. Jakes after helping open the door to faith-based programming as a writer-producer on 'Touched by an Angel'

A panel discussion entitled, “Market Forces in Faith and Family Content,” will feature producer Ken Wales (Amazing Grace), writer/producer Brian Bird (Not Easily Broken, The Shunning, Touched by an Angel,), Paul Crouch Jr., VP of administration at Trinity Broadcasting Network and film reviewer Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of Movieguide.

Panel moderator John David Ware, founder/president of the 168 Film Project, (an incubator for filmmakers of faith for nearly a decade) commented,

“I am amazed at the depth of the filmmakers, instructors, music and comedy associated with this event.  Don’t miss it.”

The Faith ’N’ Film Summit will run from 8:30 AM – 9:00 PM at the Las Vegas Hilton Pavilion 9.

UPDATE:  Actress Jenn Gotzon’s Report on the Faith N Film Summit

MORE ON FAITH-BASED FILMMAKING: If You Live It, They Will Come: How Blind Side & Soul Surfer Point Christians to Better Filmmaking through Better Stories