Picture this. Rustic wood and linen umbrellas. Waves crashing on a rocky shore. Palm trees and string lights under a blue and orange sunset. Dreamy, right? This was the setting of our alumni dinner Sunday night in the Pacific Palisades, just north of Santa Monica. Several alums gathered with students and friends of Regent for a night of networking under the stars.
We connected with alums who now work for DreamWorks, ABC Family and Disney. Some are starving artists making it work out here while others have hit their stride and are on their way. They gave us advice on moving out here: “Rent in North Hollywood.” And on keeping your faith strong in a hostile environment: “You have to have people. The loneliness is more damaging than anything.” We asked them questions and they shared their stories…and their business cards.
We also heard from Hollywood producer Ken Wales, who—while he’s most famously known for his work on the movie Amazing Grace—is an integral part of Hollywood history.
Remember Gidget? He surfed with Kathy Kohner Zuckerman whose father Frederick was inspired by their adolescent rendezvous in the Pacific and created the character. Know the song Moon River? It almost didn’t make it to the movie, but Ken found a way to save it. Walt Disney personally funded part of his USC education. He introduced Blake Edwards to Julie Andrews and stood as best man at their wedding. And for you video geeks out there, he was the first to rig video assist so film could be immediately reviewed on set—before it was trademarked.
Impressed yet? I know we all were. And this guy loves Regent. His heart is for the next generation of Christian filmmakers and he’ll do anything he can to help promote their success. This is a guy people in Hollywood say is “good to know.” Sure, but it has less to do with his connections and more with his heart. Ken Wales is a man who loves God and who’s been faithful in his life and work. His accomplishments may be remarkable, but the truth is that Ken is a testament to what God can do with a life surrendered.
Needless to say, it was a fabulous night: dinner, inspiration, connection, and the beach. Doesn’t get much better than that. Except maybe our first celebrity citing of Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer…RegentLA