Posts By Amanda Morad

29 May 2014 AmandaMorad

I Love L.A.

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Regent University - television setHere’s more from Hollywood Experience 2014 student, Alicia LeBlanc, who sums up the highlights of a busy first week in Los Angeles:

Pre-trip:  I came to the Hollywood Experience having already made the decision and steps to move to L.A. in a few months. What I was hoping to gain on this trip were some tools and advice for next steps to take as far as getting started in the industry and settled.

Saturday, May 10 – We arrived in L.A.! I feel very welcomed by the amazing folks at our apartment complex. Also, I’m learning how to pronounce “La Brea.” Read more

22 May 2014 AmandaMorad

The Hollywood Experience

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I can’t believe it’s been a year since I went on Regent’s first Hollywood Experience. With all that’s happened since then, some days it feels like another lifetime. But seeing photos and hearing stories from this year’s crop of students studying in Los Angeles, it feels like only yesterday I was walking those Miracle Mile streets, sitting in that L.A. Film Studies Center class, and dreaming those big Hollywood dreams.

This year, several students are sending us posts from the trenches at the 2014 Hollywood Experience. Our first blogger is SCA alumna Alicia LeBlanc (’11), MFA in Script & Screenwriting. Read more

31 May 2013 AmandaMorad

What’s Next?

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Regent University - Hollywood streetToday we took our last walk through the Miracle Mile, down Wilshire Blvd., into the Los Angeles Film Studies Center.

It was bittersweet. Most were ready to pack it in and go home to spouses, children, significant others, or just their own beds, while others were already making plans to return.

Conversations about what’s next have been stirring as we approach the end of our trip. Our questions to speakers have gotten more specific and we’re hanging back after class to chat not about the ins and outs of writing TV, but how to move to L.A.; what churches to try; what neighborhoods to avoid; what it’s like having kids here; all to start building to the ultimate question: Can I do this? Read more

30 May 2013 AmandaMorad

Warner Bros. …Not Brothers

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Regent University - Warner Bros.As the trip comes to a close and we begin to feel the true weight of exhaustion, we put aside the yawns for one more day to visit Warner Bros. studios.

We got the “unofficial” tour of the familiar lot from Katherine Gaffney, Regent’s newest faculty spouse. Katherine (and Sean between stints in the office) took us through all the soundstages and back lot areas, amused as we geeked out over ER and Gilmore Girls trivia (Personally, I just about melted at the door of Luke’s Diner, currently transformed into a set dress shop). Read more

20 May 2013 AmandaMorad

Get Tough

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Let’s be real here. This is probably some of the hardest creative work most of us have ever done. The photos, tweets and Facebook posts make it look so sunny and fun, and don’t get me wrong, it certainly has. But it has also been incredibly challenging.

Regent University - Hair

This pretty much sums it up.

The schedule is packed; we’re working collaboratively, being taught by some of the best, and toughest, writers in the business, consuming coffee by the pound, keeping late hours, walking everywhere we go, and soaking in all we can.

Sound exhausting? It is.

But something keeps us going. What centers us in Christ as we give 110% to every single moment? Our spiritual community.

Regent University - Bel Air Prayer

Students prayed with intercessors at Bel Air Presbyterian Church last weekend

We’ve laughed and cried and prayed together. We’ve helped encourage each other in our work and wrestle with the tough questions of living the Christian life in this industry. We’ve had two students face really difficult situations back home while they’ve been here. We’ve argued over the use of capitalization in action lines and learned not to take criticism personally. And through it all, we’ve grown together in Christ.

Each day before the classes and the writer’s room begin, a student on the team leads a chapter from the devotion book “Getting Through the First Draft of Your Life” by scriptwriter Kris Young. In it, Kris unpacks the writer’s life: the discipline, the rejection, the isolation, the success, all of it. Over 40 chapters, he draws out a spiritual philosophy for writers: One that we’ve all gained from tremendously.

Regent University - Klein Devotion

Student Jacob Klein leads the team in a daily devotion.

Kris came and spoke to us this week about the hunger In ‘n Out Burgers can’t fill. “Movies and religion feed the same hunger of the heart,” he said. “The hungry heart drives most of what humans do in their waking hours.”

As storytellers, that puts great responsibility in our hands to feed hungry hearts with the work that we produce. Kris encouraged us to consider the weight of that carefully and to allow that knowledge to make our stories better.

Regent University - Kris Young

Kris Young speaks to students.

I could write a small book unpacking his two-hour lecture alone, but suffice it to say, we were all challenged to connect our writing life and our spiritual life so tightly that the two cannot be identified separately. And that’s what we’ve been practicing every day in L.A.

“Being” a writer is different than “doing” the act of writing. Over this trip, as our creative and spiritual worlds have found more overlap than ever, each member of our team is closer to finding the intersection of their talent and their calling. That’s not an easy journey to take, as we’re discovering. But it’s made easier when you fight it out with others facing the same thing.

Home and the “next step” are only a few days away, but while we’re here, come what may, we’re in it together.

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Amanda Morad is blogging from Los Angeles as she participates in the Regent Hollywood Experience, a  two-week total immersion experience in the professional world of Hollywood television.

17 May 2013 AmandaMorad

Breaking Bread with Television Greatness

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In the 1995 rom-com While You Were Sleeping, Michael Rispoli plays a creep of a neighbor to Sandra Bullock’s character Lucy. One night on the stairs of their walkup, he invites her to the Ice Capades, curling his lip as he says, “I know a guy.”

Here in Hollywood, everybody knows a guy. If they’re smart, they know a lot of guys…and gals. A theme that keeps emerging from this trip is the power of relationships in this business. Nobody gets anywhere without them. I lost count of the instances where one of our speakers credited a piece of their story to someone else saying, “this guy I go to church with,” or “this other mom at my kid’s preschool,” or “a neighbor of mine…” It’s all about good relationships.

Regent has fostered some pretty amazing ones out here, like our lunch host yesterday at CBS Studio Center, Michael Klausman, president of CBS Studio Center & Senior VP of Operations, CBS Television City.

We toured the grounds with Joe Soukup, Vice President and General Manager of Studio Center, and stood in on a hot set of Entertainment Tonight between visiting the currently dormant set of Parks and Recreation and strolling down New York Street where the city scenes of Seinfeld were shot. It was absolutely surreal.

During lunch, Klausman encouraged us, as all good leaders do, to “be bold.” Former Regent video blogger Hope Ammen did just that and is now interning at CBS Studio Center this summer. “You gotta take the initiative to get started in this business,” he said. “You also have to be willing to start in the mail room.”

That, we can do.

Here’s just a snapshot of our trip to CBS Studio Center:

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Amanda Morad is blogging from Los Angeles as she participates in the Regent Hollywood Experience, a  two-week total immersion experience in the professional world of Hollywood television.

15 May 2013 AmandaMorad

The Webseries

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Regent University - Writers' RoomSo we’re in Los Angeles to write a webseries, right? But what’s it about? Writers simultaneously love and hate that question. They love that someone’s interested in their work, but they hate that the question forces them to summarize—almost trivialize—what they devote their time and passion to for hours, days, weeks, months at a time. Nonetheless, here’s the TV Guide version of the series we are writing throughout the trip:

“The mystery of the hotel night manager unravels as the bellhop and the desk clerk engage with the guests he draws there who come to stay and leave a little of their brokenness behind.” Read more

14 May 2013 AmandaMorad

Dinner on the Pacific

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Regent University - PacificPicture 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. Read more

10 May 2013 AmandaMorad

When Hollywood Takes You By Surprise

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Regent University - LA viewLos Angeles. Land of possibilities—a world unto itself where anything is possible. We’ve been here less than 12 hours and already, the Regent Hollywood Experience is going off-book. Once all 13 of us made it to our apartments (pictures and videos forthcoming), we had a welcome meeting. You know the type: introductions, information overload, lots of questions about what to expect.

But this particular meeting also included just the kind of surprise all of us have been anticipating for months. Award-winning filmmaker Christine Swanson, who isn’t on our speaker roster but is a film school friend of Regent professor Booker Mattison, just stopped in to meet and share with our group. Completely impromptu. She shared her story, her triumphs, her failures, and her advice to budding writers aspiring to make our mark on this crazy business one day. Read more