Author Archives: Todd Nelson

July 10th: BETTER CALL SAUL Writer Heather Marion

A Nebraska writer is on the staff of one of the hottest shows on TV. Her rapid climb up the ladder from assistant to the writer’s room should be a series itself. She’s our special guest at the Salon on July 10th!

Heather Marion is originally from Superior, Nebraska, where she lived and worked in her family’s funeral home.  She attended Concordia University-Nebraska, majoring in Biochemistry, with the intent to dominate the mortuary empire. During a New York City exchange program, Heather became involved in theatre, both writing and acting.  She completed improvisational, stand-up, and sketch comedy training before ditching her embalming tools and moving to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting.

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After working as a development intern for Laura Ziskin, Heather became Executive Assistant to Jill Soloway, showrunner of Diablo Cody’s UNITED STATES OF TARA (Showtime) and co-showrunner of HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA (HBO).  Heather then worked as Executive and Writer’s Assistant to Jeff Garlin during his work as Executive Producer/Co-star of Larry David’s CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO) and star of THE GOLDBERGS (ABC).  Heather became Garlin’s producing partner in 2012, earning the title of Associate Producer of his second feature film, DEALIN’ WITH IDIOTS (IFC/Killer Films).

Meanwhile, Heather wrote and performed in weekly sketch shows at Straitjacket Society and Upright Citizens Brigade, and attended graduate school full time, receiving her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA in June 2013.  She worked as the Writers’ Assistant on season 1 of the Vince Gilligan/Peter Gould Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul (AMC), while continuing to write and produce with Garlin.  She took on a dual Writers’ Assistant/Script Coordinator role for Season 2 while co-writing the finale with Gilligan before promotion to her current position as Staff Writer on the series’ third season.

With one of her original pilot scripts, Bury Me, Heather was included as a writer in Sundance’s inaugural Episodic Story Lab.  She is represented by William Morris Endeavor & Management 360.

Come meet a Nebraskan who is creating one of the best shows in the Golden Age of Television. And her stellar advice for getting started in Hollywood will inspire YOU in your career. It’s going to be a terrific Salon on Monday, July 10th!

Also attending the July Salon will be Laurie Richards, Nebraska Film Commissioner. It’s been awhile since her last Salon visit, so we’ll look forward to her update on what’s happening in film back home. Laurie will be the recipient of the Mary Riepma Ross Award at UNL’s Ross Film Theatre in August–a big honor–Congrats, Laurie!

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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May 8th Salon with Writer/Producer Amanda Green

Our previously announced May guest Heather Marion from BETTER CALL SAUL has had to reschedule to July 10th. The next three Salons in MAY, JUNE and JULY are booked with some terrific special guests…see below and mark your calendars to attend all three!

Our Special Guest:  TELEVISION PRODUCER/WRITER AMANDA GREEN (Law & Order, Lethal Weapon, Mysteries of Laura)

Our guest for the May Salon is a major TV writer/producer with over 350 hours of produced one-hour dramas. Come meet her at the Salon on Monday, May 8th.

Amanda began her career in law enforcement and transitioned into television writing, specializing in crime dramas that allow her to draw upon her wealth of experience in the criminal justice system. Amanda was a writer/producer for eleven seasons of NBC’s long-running crime drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Amanda also wrote and produced FOX’s Lethal Weapon, TNT’s Perception and NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura. Other television credits include Blue Bloods, Outlaw and Trial By Jury. She has also developed projects for major studios and networks including HBO, 20th Century/FOX, and TNT.

Amanda is heavily committed to mentoring the professional development of young writers in the workplace and to supporting professionals in other disciplines transition to television writing. She also teaches screenwriting at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She just returned from heading the first-ever TV writer’s workshop in Lithuania at the request of the US State Dept’s American Film Showcase. Next year, she’ll be teaching TV writers for this program in the Middle East.


You want to learn how to break into TV writing? Want to hear the war stories from the writer’s rooms at the highest levels of network television? No matter what area of the business you are in, Amanda will have secrets for you about maximizing your creative process. Don’t miss this Salon!

 

Upcoming Salons in 2017:
Monday, May 8th with LAW & ORDER Prod/Writer Amanda Green
Monday, June 12th with UNL College of Journalism Dean Maria Marron
Monday, July 10th with BETTER CALL SAUL Writer Heather Marion

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April 10th Salon with Director/Writer Christine Conradt!

Our April guest has written more movies than almost all our other guests combined! Now she’s branching out into directing, including her latest film which just finished shooting in Fremont, Nebraska! Come and meet her and hear all about her latest career moves into directing at the Hollywood Salon on Monday, April 10th.

Christine Conradt
has written more than 60 produced films and TV movies which have aired on Lifetime, LMN, USA, Fox, and Showtime. She has directed three feature films including her most recent Christmas-themed movie 12 DAYS OF GIVING, and produced several others. 

Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Christine got her BFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California. She went on to obtain a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University.In addition to writing, directing, and producing, Christine provides script consulting and development services, gives seminars and workshops across the U.S. and Canada, and has three online webinars available at the Writers Store. She has been a contributor to Now Write! Screenwriting, Now Write! Speculative Genres, Tailslate.net, and Writer’s Tricks of the Trade magazine. She also signed a three-book deal with HarperCollins earlier this year. 

Her latest film directing gig, shot on location in Nebraska, is 12 DAYS OF GIVING: When disillusioned photographer Baxter Billings (David Blue) wins $50,000 in a sweepstakes, he uses the money to help people in need, indavertently becoming his small town’s Secret Santa. One recipient of his good deeds, a 7 year old boy named Westin (Jax Connolly), figures out that it’s Baxter and threatens to reveal his identity if he doesn’t teach him how to play hockey. In doing spending time with the boy, Baxter begins to fall for Westin’s single mother Pamela (Ashley Jones).

Christine is in post now on the film, and she promises to bring us a sneak peek of the work-in-progress, and share stories about the rare opportunity to shoot in small-town Nebraska.

Come meet a prolific screenwriter and one of the biz’s new female film directors. It’s going to be a great Salon on Monday night, April 10th!

Upcoming Salons in 2017:
Monday, Apr 10th with Director/Writer Christine Conradt
Monday, May 8th with BETTER CALL SAUL Writer Heather Marion
Monday, June 12th with UNL College of Journalism Dean Maria Marron

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June 13th’s Nebraska Coast Salon Boffo Farewell Send-Off for VARIETY’s Kirstin Wilder

Longtime NCC fave Kirstin Wilder has been a mainstay at VARIETY for 24 years. This summer she’ll be ankling the Coast to take a position as head of University of Nebraska Alumni Publications in Lincoln. Come to the Salon on Monday to say farewell and send her home in whammo style.

Kirstin Wilder is International Editor of VARIETY, having started with the paper in 1992 as a copy and layout editor. She served as the publications managing editor for five years. VARIETY magazine started publishing in 1905 covering the business of the entertainment industry. She oversees a team of reporters around the world, paying close attention to breaking news stories and putting those into context for the entertainment industry. She also heads up the publishing of daily editions of VARIETY at film festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Venice and South Korea.

Now she’s accepted the position of Director of Alumni Publications at UNL, and she and her family will be moving back to Lincoln this summer. Wilder holds a journalism degree from UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, which named her as one of its outstanding alumni in 2015.

     Kirstin with some of the many celebrities she has met over the years: Oscar, George Clooney, Barbara Eden, Tom Hanks, Jimmy Buffett, Amy Grant, Tina Fey


Kirstin will be our special guest at our June powwow, regaling us with tales of her adventures in entertainment journalism around the globe. Come give her a hug as she prepares for her next chapter back home in Nebraska.

Click on the VARIETY page at right to see the Farewell Kirstin Edition her colleagues mocked-up.

Hope to see you at the
Salon on Monday, June 13th
in Culver City.

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

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The NCC will be featured on WOWT News tonight…

NEWSFLASH…NEWSFLASH…NEWSFLASH…

The NCC and many of YOU will be on TV March 3rd at 6:30pm (Central Time) on WOWT Channel 6 in Omaha…

A half-hour special by WOWT’s Anchor Brian Mastre that includes the Nebraska Coast Connection and many Nebraska folks in Hollywood. Tell your family and friends to watch it on Omaha’s
                                                                                                                  WOWT 6, or you can watch it HERE.

Sad news to report…
World-renowned radio personality Charlie Tuna has died.

One of the most influential voices in radio and television, Charlie grew up as Art Ferguson in Kearney, Nebraska before becoming a radio legend.

He guested at the NCC Salon in April 2008, where he regaled us with stories of his long career in showbiz, from playing records at the school dances in Kearney to becoming one of the biggest stars in morning radio, an announcer for game shows, and getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was an inspirational guest, a great Nebraskan, and we will miss him.

Check out his LA Times obituary…and Charlie’s own website to leave a memorial message.  RIP, Charlie!

 

The next Salon is coming up on Monday, March 14th, 2016
Hollywood Salon
with special guest Film Editor Michael Hofacre

Omaha native Michael has edited for directors like Milos Forman, Michael Mann, Danny DeVito and Jodie Foster on THE FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN, ALI, HOFFA, and MATILDA. He’ll be sharing about all these, plus his new award-winning documentary WALKING MAN.

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

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

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

 

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Abby Miller at the Nebraska Salon on Monday!

Special Guest: Abby Miller, actor on JUSTIFIED & AQUARIUS

Small town Nebraska girl with Hollywood dreams. Yes, talent and persistence really do make dreams come true. Abby Miller is an actor and musician who is making a BIG name for herself…and she’ll be our guest at the Salon on Monday, July 13th.

Clay Center, Nebraska is a town of only 800 people. But their community theatre gave a girl a part in The Sound of Music, and that girl, Abigail Miller, knew at age 12 what she wanted to do for life. Studying theatre at UNL and in London, Abby got to play Ophelia and Helen Keller, and honing her skills with improve and stand-up.

After coming to Hollywood and getting small parts in features and big parts in student films, her first big acting break came on MAD MEN in 2011. That led to a recurring role and 16 episodes on the FX series JUSTIFIED with Timothy Oliphant, as drug-addicted prostitute Ellen May.

Then came along the NBC series AQUARIUS with David Duchovny. Abby plays Mary Brunner in the crime drama thriller set in the 1960s during the time of the Manson Family murders. AQUARIUS was just picked up for its second season. Abby has also been seen on television in PRIVATE PRACTICE, THE NINE, and features CONGRATULATIONS (which she co-wrote), FUZZ TRACK CITY and IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME with Vivica A. Fox.

 

As she made her way as an actor, Abby also found her voice as a singer/songwriter. She is half of the popular music duo, Jen and Abby, which has found quite a following in Los Angeles and on tour around the country. (You might remember Jen & Abby were our musical guests at the NCC Christmas party back in 2010).
 
It seems like only yesterday that Abby showed up at the Coast Connection fresh off the covered wagon from Nebraska. Now she’ll be in the spotlight as our special guest to share her stories of how to create an acting career with grace, humor, integrity and hard work.

ALSO in July…THE CANNES & NEBRASKA REPORT…
An update from
Kevin McMahon, fresh back from buying and selling films at the Cannes Film Festival and putting together a major film slate with investors in Nebraska. Get the latest on what’s selling and how to finance your film from an NCCer who’s out there doing it…

It’s going to be a great Salon. See you Monday, July 13th 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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February 9th’s NCC Salon with Screenwriter Bob Nelson

 A Screenwriting Salon with BOB NELSON and LEW HUNTER                             ….plus a visit from NTV’s  News Anchor COLLEEN WILLIAMS

February is our traditional Screenwriting Salon. This year, we triple the fun with THREE incredible guests.
 

We’re back to our series on the filmmakers of Alexander Payne’s NEBRASKA with the guy who started it all… the Oscar-nominated screenwriter Bob Nelson.Bob was born just across the border from Nebraska in South Dakota but has lived most of his life in the Seattle area. He got his start on a long-running Seattle comedy sketch show. For his very first screenplay, he chose to write about family stories he remembered from visiting his Midwestern relatives. That script, called “Nebraska,” found it’s way to Alexander Payne and the resulting movie ended up winning Bob the Independent Spirit Award and nominations for a Golden Globe and Academy Award.

We are thrilled to have Bob join us for our February Salon. He will be in conversation with our old friend and screenwriting guru Lew Hunter, professor emeritus of the UCLA Screenwriting program, and founder of the Screenwriting Colony.

As if that’s not action-packed enough, News Anchor Colleen Williams will also be bringing her crew from NTV, Mid-Nebraska’s ABC-TV station, to do a story on the Salon and NCC. If you attend the Salon, there’s a good chance that your mom and dad back home will get to see your beautiful face on their local TV.

Miss this one at your peril. See you Monday, February 9th!

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 Second Monday of every month.
7:30 to 10:30.
In the Harry Culver Room at the Culver Hotel.
Culver City, California.

 

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Monday’s NCC Salon is SALONFEST 2015!

 

It’s our Annual Three-Minute Mini Festival: SALONFEST 2015!! The first Salon of 2015! 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 3 minutes of anything you want to showcase. Up on the Big Screen.

Cue up your latest short, or your reel, or anything you helped to create on DVD, and we’ll show 3 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…)

It will be an eclectic and fast-paced evening…no telling what surprises we will be seeing. Maybe Jim Hanna will bring his latest cat webisode. Perhaps the Cypress House crew will show off one of their latest masterpieces. For sure some of your favorite actors will have amazing performances on their reels to show off. Come to share or come to see what your friends have been creating. SALONFEST is always one of the most fun Salons of the year. We’ll have the popcorn ready.

See you Monday, January 12th! 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.


ARE YOU A CHAMPION? Champions are the lifeblood of the NCC. The folks who donate their time or money to keep us going. The NCC is an all-volunteer group, and we can’t do it without you.

We have a special program to reward our Champions with cool stuff, discounts and other thank-yous. Join now, and you’ll be eligible for Champion status for all of 2015! Can you make the NCC one of your causes to support? There are several levels of Champion benefits – find the lone that works for you. If you can’t swing it financially, we always need help to set-up and clean-up at Salons, and there are many other volunteer jobs to help with also. Let us know how you want to pitch in.

See the CHAMPIONS section of our new website to learn how you can be a part of it.  And THANKS for supporting us however you can!

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Monday’s NCC Salon: Script Doctor Michael Brown

The Doctor is in the house.  You (and your unsold screenplay) will not want to miss Monday’s Salon with one of Hollywood’s top screenplay consultants, Script Doctor Michael Brown.You’ve written a wonderful screenplay. It’s your masterpiece. Your baby. And it’s ready to go out and rock the cinematic world. Or is it? Let’s look at the picture a month from now. Your script went out on a Friday to a dozen producers. You were certain that by Monday morning they’d be fighting over it in a bidding war. But the phone didn’t ring. A few days later, the letters started trickling in. One of them mentioned “structural problems.”  They liked the writing, but it wasn’t for them.  By now it’s painfully clear something in your screenplay doesn’t work.  But what?If only you’d shown it to a script analyst before you sent it out.  If only you’d rewritten it with the help of a professional, a veteran script doctor who has worked for the studios, and who knows what producers look for.  Perhaps then you could have fixed your screenplay before you burned it through those producers. Well, now you have access to just such a script consultant at Monday’s Salon.

As a veteran production executive, script analyst, writer, and director, Michael Ray Brown has developed many successful screenplays for both television and the movies. Now he can help you make your screenplay the best it can be!

While a student at the University of Nebraska, he directed six short films, several award-winners. Upon moving to Southern California, Michael began to focus on where it all begins:  the screenplay. As a free-lance story analyst he synopsized and critiqued scripts, novels, and treatments for producers and literary agents. As story editor he cultivated relationships with agents, writers, and publishers to get a first look at new material. Michael subsequently became a staff story analyst for Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century-Fox, MGM/UA, and Walt Disney/Touchstone Pictures. Besides reviewing submissions, he wrote development notes, and evaluated independent films for acquisition.

As founder of script analysis company, Story Sense, Michael’s reputation is unparalleled.  He has recommended and/or developed the screenplays for many successful films, including Lethal WeaponDoc HollywoodThe Last EmperorCity SlickersRegarding HenryUnder SiegeFree WillyWhile You Were SleepingApollo 13BraveheartMy Best Friend’s Wedding, Red CornerContact, and many others. Michael has himself written more than 50 hours of prime-time television and has been a staff writer on eight series, in addition to producing and ghost writing many television and feature projects.

At the Salon on Monday, he’ll bring you tips on how to write a screenplay that Hollywood will love, and how to get it past the gatekeepers. 

The September Salon is Monday, September 8th with Script Doctor Michael Brown. Hope to see you there!


ONE-DAY VOICE-OVER INTENSIVE
with Top Voice-Over Pro MARI WEISS

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18th   10am – 4pm

This one day workshop puts you in the studio, on the mic, with a working professional who can get you started on your VO career. The small class size means lots of mic time and one on one attention, helping you find your strengths, your range, YOUR voice.

The cost for the day (lunch included) is: $195
>>>SPECIAL DISCOUNT for NCCers: only $160<<<
Class size is small so secure a spot now. A $100 deposit required by September 10th. To sign up or for more information, Email: mari@mariweiss.com

Mari is a Nebraska Alum and has worked in Voice-Over for over 23 years, as an actor, producer and teacher. For more info on Mari go to: www.mariweiss.com

“Mari was born to teach this stuff. You will not find a more caring, more helpful and more nurturing teacher out there. Hands down my favorite VO expert. The best investment I’ve ever made in a class. There is no aspect of the business she can’t help you with.” – Steve Lewis, Actor and Nebraskan

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152470483878198.1073741850.61348913197&type=3

 

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