Author Archives: Jamie Ball


It’s a bold new world for media geeks: video games, streaming, podcasts, subscription programming, 
immersive alternate reality gaming, webseries, interactive content. It ain’t a boring three channel world anymore. And our next Salon guest is on the front lines of the future of media. 

Omaha native Ryan Copple has worked over ten years in digital media with positions ranging from creative development, physical production and business management. He has produced over 200 hours of online content in the geek and gaming arena, including hits like Wil Wheaton’s TableTopthe breakout success Dungeons & Dragons show Critical RoleMicrosoft’s live action adaptation of the popular Halo franchise Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, Con Man and a myriad of other scripted and non-scripted projects that have resulted in several Emmy nominations and other awards.

Ryan’s career began producing the hit digital series Riese: Kingdom Falling which was distributed worldwide on SyFy and NBC Universal. Following the series, Ryan developed an award-winning immersive alternate reality game to accompany the series, a prequel novel published by Simon & Schuster, and a tie-in iPhone game. After the success of this digital series, Ryan went on to write and produce titles for Anchor Bay, BBC America, E One, Muse Entertainment, Content Media and more.

Ryan also oversaw content development and business strategy for Geek & Sundry. Born from YouTube‘s funding, Ryan produced some of the webs biggest geek properties, working with talent like Wil Wheaton, Bryan Singer, Joss Whedon and more. He also launched one of the most subscribed Twitch channels for Geek & Sundry, offering 30 hours of live geek & gaming programming a week, including the multi-platform hit Critical Role, a live D&D stream that has spawned a successful merchandise, apparel and subscription business. Ryan also helped launch an international celebration of tabletop gaming called “International TableTop Day.”


In the studio world, Ryan developed and launched the subscription platform Alpha for Legendary Entertainment, the first live paywalled subscription service, that offered both premium and live geek programming. Ryan went on to oversee programming and content strategy for Lionsgate‘s subscription video division for the Comic-Con HQ Channel, where he worked with some of the top names in comedy and genre like Mark Hamill, Alan Tudyk, and Nathan Fillion.

Currently Ryan is producing Escape the Night for YouTube Red, an immersive escape room style series. Additionally, he is premiering a sci-fi improv comedy podcast entitled Voyage to the Stars as well as penning a new series for IFC called Due Process.

Don’t miss the Salon on Monday, February 11th — your chance to get a glimpse into the future of entertainment and gaming and interactive from one of the pioneering young creators.

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


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

Salons are always
on the 2nd Monday of every month
7:30pm to 10:30pm
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

 

 

ARE YOU WITH THE NCC ON FACEBOOK?
Check it out and become a “Fan” here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nebraska-Coast-Connection/61348913197?ref=mf

 

 

Come see fellow NCCer Caitlin Staebell in The Skeleton Key’s production of “Don’t Tell”, an immersive theatrical experience, opening THIS WEEKEND at Son of Semele Theater – part of the Company Creation Festival. NCC is getting a group to go together on Friday, Feb. 1! Tickets can be purchased following the link below. Don’t miss out! 

 

https://www.artful.ly/son-of-semele-ensemble/store/events/16914?fbclid=IwAR2Pc3DTRN5cvvz_hy4_8dWeFehE65s7LyruUcUjGF1BPcaZ0b8eED3S7LI

MONDAY will be the first Salon of 2019.  And it’s the one where YOU get to show us what you got…

Yep, it’s the return of SALONFEST: THE THREE MINUTE FILM FESTIVAL, our ever-popular NCC mini-film festival! This is where we will show three minutes of anything you want to showcase. Up on the Big Screen.

Salons are a great way to network, catch up with old friends and new ones, and have a taste of home in Hollywood.There’s a ton of talented folks in the NCC, and many of you have created some amazing work in the past year. This is our chance to see what you’ve been up to.

Cue up your latest short, or your reel, or anything you helped to create, and we’ll show three minutes of it at the January Salon. You’ll get a minute to tell us about it, before or after. (Got something longer? Barter with others to share your time…)  For format, we can screen from DVDs, thumbdrives or internet streams.

It will be an eclectic and fast-paced evening…no telling what surprises we will be seeing. Webisodes. New acting reels. Kickstarter promos. All kinds of latest masterpieces. Whatever you want to share with the group — this is your chance to show off.

If you know what you’ll be sharing, give us a heads up on our Facebook page — then we can update everyone here what to expect in the next email blast. Or just show up Monday and surprise us.

Come to share or come to see what your friends have been creating. It’s a great way to get to know all the talent in this group, and to participate by showing us what you got, in a safe and friendly environment. SALONFEST is always one of the most fun Salons of the year.

See you Monday, January 14th, 2019!

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

Salons are always
on the 2nd Monday of every month
7:30pm to 10:30pm
The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California.

 

SALON DETAILS, DIRECTIONS and much more on our website: www.nebraskacoast.com
ARE YOU WITH THE NCC ON FACEBOOK?
Check it out and become a “Fan” here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nebraska-Coast-Connection/61348913197?ref=mf
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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