Author Archives: Jamie Ball

SAVE THE DATES…make plans to join us for the next two big Salons…see below for details!


Five years ago, the Salon hosted our old friend Filmmaker JON BOKENKAMP as he embarked on a brand new television series that he created for NBC. That show has been a big hit and now he’s back to tell us all about the joys and pitfalls of working on a major network television series.

Yep, the NBC-TV show THE BLACKLIST all started in the brain of Kearney, Nebraska native Jon Bokenkamp. It is well into its fifth season, and continues to bring in 5 to 6 million viewers each week for its thrills, chills and secrets.

It stars James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington, a high-profile criminal who voluntarily surrenders to the FBI after eluding capture for decades. He tells the FBI that he has a list of the most dangerous criminals in the world that he has compiled over the years and is willing to inform on them in exchange for immunity. However, he mysteriously insists on working exclusively with a rookie FBI agent Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone.

After growing up in Kearney, and a degree from USC, Jon first directed and starred in a documentary about drive-in theaters, AFTER SUNSET. His feature directing break came with BAD SEED (aka PRESTON TYLK), starring Luke Wilson, then writing gigs for features TAKING LIVES with Angelina Jolie, and two starring Halle BerryPERFECT STRANGER and THE CALL.

Jon is the ultimate Nebraska Coaster, as his wife and kids live back in Kearney and he splits his time between Nebraska and Hollywood. In 2012, he realized a longtime dream when he reopened the shuttered World Theatre in Kearney as an art house and very successful alternative screening venue for Central Nebraska.

What does it take to create and then run a major network show? What is the typical day of a showrunner? What are the pressures of keeping a show fresh in its fifth season? How does one commute to Hollywood from Nebraska? These are just a few of the questions you’ll be able to ask Jon at the November 12th Salon. It’s taken us five years to get this busy writer/producer back to a Salon — don’t miss it!


ALSO…Coming Soon to the DECEMBER 10th Salon & HOLIDAY PARTY…

The NCC will welcome Megan Elliott, Director of the brand new JOHNNY CARSON CENTER FOR EMERGING MEDIA at UNL. She’ll be sharing news from the new program (due to begin admitting students in 2019), and also be presenting the latest Carson short film that was made in part by students and faculty at UNL and submitted for Oscar consideration. THE HEALING OF HARMON will screen for us, along with the writer, the director and many of the actors and crew.

 

December’s Salon, as always, will also be our glamorous and
festive Holiday Party — one of the biggest Salons of the year.
Stay tuned for more information…and SAVE THE DATE!


AND…Brigitte’s Documentary is Coming Back to Los Angeles for you…

At the October Salon, we met Brigitte Timmerman and saw excerpts of her film UmoNhoN Iye The Omaha Speaking about saving the language of the Omaha Native American tribes. Now you can see the whole film here in LA at the RED NATION FILM FESTIVAL on NOVEMBER 15th at 6pm. Hope to have many NCCers in attendance. Details here.

The best in late night comedy has long been a home for Nebraskans like Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett and the many stand-up comedians who have graced their stages. Now a comedy writer currently living in Lincoln writes forJames Corden and the LATE LATE SHOW. Come meet him at the September 10th Salon!

According to Twitter co-founder Biz StoneTim Siedell (@badbanana) is single-handedly responsible for “inventing comedy on Twitter.” At our September Salon, Tim would like to apologize to all of you in person.

Back in the early days of Twitter, Tim was a lifelong Nebraskan and UNL graduate in Journalism running Fusebox, a boutique advertising agency in Lincoln. Before that he was an ad guy for Swanson Russell, Ayres Advertising, and Bailey Lauermanagencies in Nebraska. Somehow, while being creative director and blogger and comic book author, he managed to amass a half a million Twitter followers. TIME Magazine calls him one of the funniest to follow on Twitter.

Today, he slings jokes and pitches bits to James Corden for the LATE LATE SHOW at CBS Television City in Hollywood. In fact, three of the shows Tim wrote on in 2018 are nominated for Emmy awards later in September – THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN, 2018 CARPOOL KARAOKE PRIMETIME SPECIAL, and the 60TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS.
 
How does one go from writing commercials for Runza Restaurants to suddenly writing with “Weird Al” Yankovic?

How does a guy who has never lived anywhere except Lincoln suddenly find himself in New York City, writing for THE NIGHTLY SHOW WITH LARRY WILMORE?

How does a comic book author get named “Top Comedian” on Twitter three years in a row, when he’s not even a comedian?

Tim isn’t quite sure either, but he’s happy to talk it through with you in hopes of finding answers.

It’s a pretty good guess that the Salon on Monday, September 10th is going to be hilarious. Come have some laughs with your NCC family and bring Tim all kinds of good vibes before the Emmys.

Salons are a great way to network, catch up with old friends and new ones, and have a taste of home in Hollywood.

July 9th Salon with Theatre Director Ryan Bergmann

Calling all NCCers from earlier eras…especially the early 2000s. Come see what our old pal Ryan Bergmann has been up to in his career as a big time theatre director! In this 25th Anniversary year of the Nebraska Coast, we celebrate the successes of the people who make all Hollywood Nebraskans proud.

Fifteen years ago, if you came to the Hollywood Salon, you were greeted by the smiling face of Ryan Bergmann. Ryan ran the Salons back then, and was making his way as an actor and budding director. Flash forward to 2018, and Ryan is directing a major show (his second in a row!) for the Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre. Ryan is taking a quick break from tech rehearsals to join us at the July Salon to tell us all about the making of this world premiere musical – and his new fame as a Theatre Director!

Born in Lincoln and raised in Omaha, Ryan went to Millard North and majored in theatre and German at Truman State University, then studied at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. He discovered the Coast Connection soon after arriving in Hollywood 17 years ago, and boy was the NCC lucky to have him. Ryan hosted the Salons for several years, and was a key volunteer in the early 2000’s. Since then, he has been building a career in the theatre, as Assistant Director, Producer and now Director for one of LA’s major stages.

He specializes in new works and developing theatre arts that foster communication and acceptance of all communities. In 2015 Ryan and his partner in crime, Janet Roston proudly established Mixed eMotion Theatrix for theatre, dance and multimedia.

“Mutt House, The Musical” will open at the Kirk Douglas Theater later this month and run through early August. Ryan’s previous directorial work includes, “Die Mommie Die” (Kirk Douglas and Celebration Theatre), “Niagara Fall” (Theatre of NOTE), “Bronies the Musical” (LA Fringe, Best Musical Winner), “revolver” (Celebration Theatre), “The Real Housekeepers of Studio City” (LA Fringe, Best of Fringe Winner).  Ryan’s most recent producing work includes, “Anaïs, A Dance Opera” (Greenway Court Theater and international tour), “Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera” (King King), “The Next Fairy Tale” (Celebration Theatre), and “BASH’d: A Gay Rap Opera” (Celebration Theatre).

World premiere of MUTT HOUSE, THE MUSICAL  — Ryan McCartan (recent Fox remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie) heads the cast of a fun and furry musical tale for animal lovers of all ages. Featuring 20 original songs and a cast of 10, Mutt House is the story of quirky outsider Eddie Corbin. Bullied all his life, Eddie has finally found a place to call home — a neglected downtown animal shelter. When the city threatens to close the shelter, Eddie must do something he’s never done before: stand up for himself and fight for what’s right. With the help of six zany mutts, he faces his fears and makes an unexpected human connection in the process. This life-affirming musical, in the tradition of Annie, is filled with singing and dancing fun for the whole family. Kirk Douglas Theatre820 Washington BlvdCulver CityCA 90232$39-$59; (213) 628-2772www.mutthousethemusical.com

Come see Ryan at the July 9th Salon and help us celebrate his new success. We’ll be making plans to take a big group to see his new show – stay tuned for news about that.

WANT TO WORK ON THE NCC SPEC COMMERCIAL?
The Nebraska Coast is 25 years old this year. And to celebrate, we’re planning to make a series of three commercials for the NCC by the NCC. To showcase all the talent in our group, we are calling on you! We’ll shoot this summer in one day at a location to be determined. Once the commercials are completed, we’ll promote them on social media both back home and throughout Hollywood–and hopefully it’ll be a catalyst for more collaborations in the future. The project is being directed by Jeremy Lerman and produced by Todd Nelson & Ehren Parks.

Please submit resumes (and reels, if appropriate) for:  Director of Photography, Production Designer, Editor, Casting Director, UPM/Line Producer

Please submit to nebraskacoast@gmail.com with your name and department in the subject line. If you’re not a department head yet, but would like to apprentice/shadow, please let us know in your subject line what position(s)/department(s) you would like to be considered for. We are not yet casting, but will let actors know when we are ready for headshots. Thank you!

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Salon with Actor & Artist Christopher Darga

Safe to say, you have never met a talent quite like Chris Darga. Actor, Fine Artist, Sculptor Extraordinaire. He’ll be making a return to the Salon after more than 20 years, and boy does he have some stories for us.

Christopher Darga is a face you have seen countless times over the last 20 years. On television in HERE & NOW, SHAMELESS, THE MIDDLE, MODERN FAMILY, DEADWOOD, CHEERS and SEINFELD. This guy works so much his IMDb page goes on for-frickin-ever. (Frankly, it would be far easier to list the handful of shows he has NOT appeared on!) He’s also in a ton of features like CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE and BRUCE ALMIGHTY and DUDE WHERE’S MY CAR? and HUDSUCKER PROXY.

 

You get the idea. He’s a working actor. Rare breed, making a living doing what he loves.

But that’s not all. For the last dozen years or so, Chris also has made a name for himself as a fine artist and sculptor.

Portraits in oil and bronze are his specialties, but after JURASSIC PARK he began exploring paleo and now his model dinosaurs grace museums around the world.

Here’s just a sampling of his art, in oil, in bronze, in resin and other media:


Chris grew up in Detroit, where he caught the acting bug and never looked back. He got his Masters in Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the mid-1980, where he honed his craft on the boards of Howell Theatre and taught acting classes. While at UNL he played Hamlet and Dracula (NCC’s own Todd Nelson played Van Helsing and got to stab him through the heart with a wooden stake nightly!), along with leading roles in American Buffalo and many other plays. A move to Hollywood followed soon after, and film and television has never been without his talents ever since. Painting and sculpture became a way to stay busy between roles, and well, the rest is (art) history.

Chris was a guest at one of the first Salons ever, and now he will be returning in our 25th Anniversary year. Monday will be a real treat that you won’t want to miss, whether you love his acting work or his art. Come and be inspired. Hope to see you tomorrow at the Culver!

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Monday’s NCC Salon with Actor & Artist Christopher Darga

Safe to say, you have never met a talent quite like Chris Darga. Actor, Fine Artist, Sculptor Extraordinaire. He’ll be making a return to the Salon after more than 20 years, and boy does he have some stories for us.

Christopher Darga is a face you have seen countless times over the last 20 years. On television in HERE & NOW, SHAMELESS, THE MIDDLE, MODERN FAMILY, DEADWOOD, CHEERS and SEINFELD. This guy works so much his IMDb page goes on for-frickin-ever. (Frankly, it would be far easier to list the handful of shows he has NOT appeared on!) He’s also in a ton of features like CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE and BRUCE ALMIGHTY and DUDE WHERE’S MY CAR? and HUDSUCKER PROXY.

 

You get the idea. He’s a working actor. Rare breed, making a living doing what he loves.

But that’s not all. For the last dozen years or so, Chris also has made a name for himself as a fine artist and sculptor. Portraits in oil and bronze are his specialties, but after JURASSIC PARK he began exploring paleo and now his model dinosaurs grace museums around the world.

Here’s just a sampling of his art, in oil, in bronze, in resin and other media:

 

Chris grew up in Detroit, where he caught the acting bug and never looked back. He got his Masters in Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the mid-1980, where he honed his craft on the boards of Howell Theatre and taught acting classes. While at UNL he played Hamlet and Dracula (NCC’s own Todd Nelson played Van Helsing and got to stab him through the heart with a wooden stake nightly!), along with leading roles in American Buffalo and many other plays. A move to Hollywood followed soon after, and film and television has never been without his talents ever since. Painting and sculpture became a way to stay busy between roles, and well, the rest is (art) history.

Chris was a guest at one of the first Salons ever, and now he will be returning in our 25th Anniversary year. Monday will be a real treat that you won’t want to miss, whether you love his acting work or his art. Come and be inspired. Hope to see you Monday at the Culver!

Salons are a great way to network, catch up with old friends and new ones, and have a taste of home in Hollywood.

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NCC’s DOWNSIZING Screening with Alexander Payne Q&A and our 25th Anniversary Holiday Reception at Paramount Studios

The NCC is turning 25. To celebrate, for the December Salon Paramount Pictures invites you to a screening of DOWNSIZING with Director Alexander Payne.

We’ve been hosting many of the team behind Downsizing at recent Salons, and we’ll have more coming in 2018, but at the December 11th Salon — along with a special screening of the film — we will welcome back our old friend and Nebraska favorite son, Director Alexander Payne.

This is the biggest film of his career to date, and the first to use a multitude of visual effects. Come see what they raved about at festivals from Venice to Toronto — and what the country will get to see at Christmastime and right through Oscar season.


Written by Alexander Payne and his longtime
writing partner Jim Taylor, the film stars Matt Damon,
Christoph WaltzHong Chau, and Kristen Wiig.
<watch the trailer here

 

Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small.  People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world, and with the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life changing adventures.


Come see the film, join the Q&A with Alexander, and toast your Coast Connection friends at holiday time. We can’t wait to see you on Monday night December 11th at Paramount Studios!

Nebraska Coast Connection presents The Hollywood Salon…
 Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

THIS MONTH ONLY at Paramount Studios:


Paramount Theater

Paramount Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue

Hollywood, CA 90038
(enter Melrose Gate)

 

This invitation is non-transferable — ID required to enter studio

This event is free, but RSVPS REQUIRED by Mon 12/11 at noon. Seating is limited, so please let us know if your plans change. For Paramount Security, all guests must provide full name.

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Monday’s Nov 13th NCC Salon welcomes back Paramount VP Jim White

Jim White grew up in Carter Lake, Iowa, just across the way from Omaha. After studying at Bellevue University and University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, he has built a career focused on human resources and organizational development for the entertainment industry. His career path took him to live & work in 22 countries, and companies like Blockbuster, Universal Music Group, Video game company Activision Blizzard, and music tech company Napster.
 
For over ten years, he has been Vice President of Human Resources at Paramount Pictures. There have been lots of changes at Paramount recently, and Jim will give us an update on all the latest happenings, including the eagerly-awaited Alexander Payne film, DOWNSIZING, coming from Paramount in December.
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Jim has a long-time commitment to community involvement and philanthropic development. He’s on the board of
Beyond Shelter, a non-profit that combats poverty and homelessness.
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He’ll also be filling us in on his work for United Way’s HOMEWALK, a fundraising walk to support efforts to end homelessness, coming up in downtown LA on Saturday, November 18th.
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Jim is the author of the book, The World Is a Safe Place, another part of his making a difference in the world.
  
Hope to see you at the November Hollywood Salon Monday night, November 13th at the Culver Hotel!
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Nebraska Coast Connection
presents The Hollywood Salon…
Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

Salons are always on the Second Monday of every month.  7:30 to 10:30.
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

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Sept 11th NCC Salon with DOWNSIZING Post Supervisor Heidi Vogel

Alexander Payne’s new film DOWNSIZING just premiered at the prestigious Venice and Telluride Film Festivals to great reviews. Over the coming months, the Hollywood Salon will be hosting members of the team who made the film.

Our September Salon guest on Monday night will be DOWNSIZING’s Post Production Supervisor, who–like Director Alexander Payne–just happens to be from Omaha!

Heidi Vogel has worked as Post Production Supervisor on feature films for more than twenty years. Her credits include PULP FICTION, JACKIE BROWN, GOOD WILL HUNTING, KILL BILL: Vol 1 & 2, PETE’S DRAGON and THE INTERN. 

Most recently Heidi worked on the much anticipated DOWNSIZING with Matt Damon and Kirstin Wiig for Alexander Payne, whom she has known since seventh grade in Omaha at Lewis & Clark Jr. High.

After graduating Boston University, Heidi began her career in post production as John Sayles’s assistant and Post Production Coordinator on MATEWAN, EIGHT MEN OUT and CITY OF HOPE.

Later moving to Los Angeles, Heidi did a brief stint at the Sundance Institute, where she met producer Lawrence Benderwho invited her to work on several A Band Apart Productions, including FRESH, FOUR ROOMS and PULP FICTION.

Come meet another Omaha to Hollywood success story, who is working at the highest levels of filmmaking with some of the best in the business.

It’s going to be another great night at the Hollywood Salon TOMORROW Monday, August, 11th. Hope to see you there!

Nebraska Coast Connection
presents The Hollywood Salon…
Where Glamorous Nebraska Meets Down-Home Hollywood.

Salons are always on the Second Monday of every month.
7:30 to 10:30.
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

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June Salon with UNL Dean of Journalism (and a chance to tell YOUR story in Nebraska publications!)

In addition to our esteemed Journalism guest this month, we will also be visited by the UNL Marketing Director, who wants to interview YOU for his article on the NCC. Yes, you could be featured in this fall’s magazines and websites! Please come and share your stories of your coast-connecting. All you have to do is show up at the Salon on Monday. See below for details…

Every so often the Salon welcomes visitors from the University of Nebraska to give us an update what’s happening at the schools back home. On June 12th, we will host Dean Maria Marron from the College of Journalism.

Come hear what great things are going on at UNL and in the world of Journalism.Dr. Maria Marron has headed the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at UNL since 2014. A native of Ireland, she worked as a journalist, editor and public relations professional in Ireland and the United States. She chaired the Journalism Dept at Central Michigan University as well as holding faculty positions at Ohio State, Texas State and Zayed University in Dubai before coming to Nebraska.

She edited Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, one of the premier journals in journalism and was president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Since her appointment in the CoJMC, the college has made big progress including plans for a new major in sports media and communication; created a new digital and social media hub, an innovation/makers’ hub and a new student lounge; remodeled classrooms and revised curriculum.

The college also has won prestigious national awards such as the Grand Prize in the RF Kennedy Awards for Reporting on Social Justice, the Hearst Intercollegiate Journalism Awards, and the Society of Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards, among many others.

This will be Dean Marron’s first visit to a Salon – she wants to get to know us at the Hollywood Coast and help her students find their way into careers here. Let’s give her a great NCC welcome and show her what we are all about!


Also attending the June Salon will be Andrew Swenson, Director of Marketing & Communications at UNL. He’s doing a big article on the NCC for their fall publications, and he wants to interview YOU! Wouldn’t you (and your folks back home) like to see your quote and photo in print and online? All you have to do is show up at the Salon. Here’s Andrew’s pitch:

One of the most important considerations high school students have in evaluating colleges is how well they will be prepared for a great career. Students want to know how alumni have gone on to make it in their chosen fields. As you know, there’s so much more to learn about how the real world operates after you graduate, even if you’ve honed your creative and technical skills. The Nebraska Coast Connection shows our values of community, humility and hard work don’t end at the state line. You are helping Nebraskans make their dreams real. We want to share that story—your story—to inspire students and show them that living their passion is possible. The Nebraska Coast Connection story will be distributed to all prospective students (more than 100,000) and featured in a magazine and online.

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Hey Nebraska Coast Connection I would love to see all of you at my show EVEN IF IT’S WRONG at the Hollywood Fringe Festival that takes place in Nebraska…you’ll recognize it. I also want to offer you $8 tickets for the June 4 Preview by entering code “preview“. For all other shows if you use the code “Cornhusker” you get a $10 ticket instead of a $15 dollar ticket. You can save that 5 bucks to buy me a beer afterwards at Fringe Central which is just half a block away from the theatre. For show times, dates and more info go to http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4625