Category Archives: Hollywood Salon

Hollywood Salon: Always the Second Monday of the month at the historic Culver Hotel, Culver City, Los Angeles. The Hollywood Salon is an educational program of events featuring guest lecturers working in film, television, entertainment and the arts, sponsored by the Nebraska Coast Connection.

 
Monday, November 9th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom! 
MICHAEL TUSHAUS – Director / Cinematographer / Editor / Composer

Who ever said you can’t do it all? This month’s guest has talents which run the gamut from technical to artistic, and he wants to share with you how he has made a lifetime career by doing exactly what interested him.

On Monday, drop into Zoom to hear his inspirational story, and about the fellow Nebraskans who have encouraged his creative career along the way. See you then! 


MICHAEL TUSHAUS is a native of Nebraska and received his bachelor’s degrees in both theatre and music from Hastings College. As of 2019 he has been inducted in the Hall of Fame at Hastings, and is now based in Las Vegas and has been making films and videos for over 30 years as a director, cinematographer/videographer, editor and composer. In 2013, Michael formed his production company, Digisphere Productions, which he owns, manages and provides many forms of production resources including, Cinematography, Directing, Producing, Editing, Music Score Composing, and 5.1 Surround Sound Design/Mixing.

Digisphere Productions’ inaugural production, three commercials for Michael’s parents’ bookstore, Prairie Books & Gifts, received two regional Emmy® nominations for Commercial Campaign and Musical Composition/Arrangement and Michael received his first Emmy® Award win for the latter. He received his 2nd Emmy® for his Commercial Campaign for the same bookstore in 2017. In total, his talents have garnered him 5 Emmys® and 17 Emmy® nominations from 2014-2019 for multiple commercial campaigns he has filmed and directed in the Heartland and Pacific Southwest Regional NATAS Chapter regions.

Michael’s love of filmmaking and entertainment started while growing up in Nebraska. He directed his first feature at age 17, and while at Hastings College, he was cast in TO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, JULIE NEWMAR. After graduating with honors, he moved to the LA area where he worked as a theatrical set and lighting designer, master carpenter, and technical director. He also built a robust acting career landing roles in film, TV, commercials, and stage.

Notably, he was the lead in TERRITORY 8 for which he also scored the original soundtrack, and his two latest feature film releases in 2020, for which he was Cinematographer and Producer, ABIGAIL HAUNTING and AN IRISH STORY: THIS IS MY HOME, can be found on Amazon.

Michael has garnered dozens of film festival awards and nominations including nods for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Sound Design, and Overall Excellence awards for his films. Clients include Cirque Du SoleilHuffington PostNBC, & UFC.

You can find out more about Michael’s work at his website www.MichaelTushaus.com and via social media.


Check in with your worldwide NCC Family. Let’s have some fun together!



 

 
Monday, October 12th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom! 
JIM WHITE – Vice President of Human Resources at Paramount Pictures
DEBBIE BENAMI-RAHM – Talent Acquisition at Paramount/ViacomCBS




In April we said we’d be back at the Culver by now..! We understand this is a challenging time wondering how the Hollywood landscape will transform. 

In an effort to support the NCC community, we are bringing you two high-level hiring execs NEXT MONDAY! They will let you know where the jobs can be found and how to hone skills at home, which could allow for a stretch into new career opportunities. There are jobs, and these two will help you find them!


JIM WHITE is originally from Carter Lake, Iowa, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Bellevue University in Nebraska, with his postgraduate master’s degree in adult education/cultural diversity from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. His professional life has led him to work in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Jim has successfully held executive-level careers in such high-profile entertainment companies as Blockbuster EntertainmentUniversal Music Group/Napster, and Activision/Blizzard. For the past 14 years, he has served as senior vice president in human resources at Paramount Pictures. As the first in a trilogy of books, White authored “The World is a Safe Place,” in which he personalized his unique worldview to gently draw people into deeper modes of self-exploration and discovery.

DEBBIE BENAMI-RAHMM.S., MHC, has worked with Fortune 300, Fortune 500 and startup companies. Debbie is currently a member of the Paramount Pictures/ViacomCBS Talent Acquisition team.

Debbie is an acclaimed keynote speaker and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, who has provided her signature “Tap Your Talent“™ speech to corporate leadership retreats, professional association audiences, and universities around the country.
 
 
To attend the Salon, please RSVP via the link below. You’ll get the Zoom meeting info after you RSVP. You will also have an option to make a donation which helps us keep bringing the Salons to you.
 
Check in with your worldwide NCC Family. Let’s have some fun together!

 

Monday, Sept 14th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom! 
Our Special Guest: HEATHER MARION, TV Writer/Producer

Next Monday’s Salon will feature a Special Guest who began working as an assistant in Hollywood, and is now a TV Writer/Producer on one of the most critically acclaimed shows on the air!

Join us as we hear how her personal upbringing in Nebraska and her journey working in various writer’s rooms has led to none other than the creation of her own autobiographical pilot!

HEATHER MARION is a TV Writer/Producer with credits including APPLE’s upcoming series, SHANTARAM, AMC’s BETTER CALL SAUL, and HULU’s THE ACT. She’s developing a true crime limited series with UCP for which she’s Creator/Writer/EP. Heather is also developing an adult animation limited series adaptation of Katherine Dunn’s ballsy novel GEEK LOVE with WARNER BROTHERS for which she’s Creator/Writer/Co-EP.

Fantastically, her unique Nebraska upbringing has been inspiration for her autobiographical comedy pilot BURY ME – about growing up in a funeral home in South Central (Nebraska). The pilot was included in Sundance’s Inaugural Episodic Writer’s Lab. Marion earned her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA and got her start in the biz as a Hollywood assistant. She’s repped by Evan Silverberg at Management 360 and attorneys Ken Richman and Robby Koch at HJTH.

What will be your next Coast Connection? Heather and Jon Bokenkamp connected for the first time last month at our Hollywood Zoom Salon, where Jon was a guest. He shared with her about essential writer’s room software, and we’ll hear about how one pro writer helped another on Monday! Whether you have an interest in writing or producing hit shows, you’ll want to connect with Heather! 

To attend the Salon, please RSVP via the link below. You’ll get the Zoom meeting info after you RSVP. You will also have an option to make a donation which helps us keep bringing the Salons to you. Check in with your worldwide NCC Family. Let’s have some fun together!

Monday, August 10th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom! 
Our Special Guest: JON BOKENKAMP – SHOWRUNNER


We hope you can join us NEXT MONDAY for what promises to be an epic Salon with a showrunner from the heart of Nebraska! Tune in on Zoom to hear how the NCC shaped his path in becoming a successfully sought-after storyteller in Hollywood.

Prior to the Covid realities of working from home, he regularly commuted from Kearney to LA, digitally and in-person. His process now makes him a pioneer of the remote writer’s room! 
 
JON BOKENKAMP created and serves as an executive producer on the NBC drama THE BLACKLIST. A native of Kearney, Nebraska, Bokenkamp’s feature film work includes the thriller THE CALL for Halle Berry and IFC TriStar Pictures, an adaptation of the serial-killer novel TAKING LIVES for Angelina Jolie and Warner Bros., and PERFECT STRANGER for Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and IFC Columbia Pictures. He has collaborated with such directors as Tony Scott (TOP GUN), William Friedkin (THE EXORCIST) and Joe Carnahan (THE GREY). He also served as a creator and executive producer on NBC’s THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, a spinoff of the original series. 

Bokenkamp attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, before graduating with honors from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. In addition to his work in television and feature films, Bokenkamp is the founder and creative director of the World Theatre in Kearney. To adapt to the realities of the pandemic, the World Theater moved heaven and earth to build a new drive-in movie theatre. In a full circle twist, drive-ins were the subject of Jon’s thesis project at USC, the documentary, AFTER SUNSET.

Production of THE BLACKLIST was interrupted due to Covid, and Jon quickly adapted that episode to serve as the season finale – finishing out scenes using animation. We’ll be showing you part of that successful episode, the evolution of the idea, and the preparations being put in place to shoot post-Covid. We also have to know more about the launch of the World Theater’s Drive-InJoin us as we cover these subjects and more next Monday.

What will be your next Coast Connection? Whether you have an interest in writing or producing hit shows, you’ll want to connect with Jon at the next Salon on Monday, August 10th! And mark your calendars – September’s special guest is Writer and Executive Story Editor HEATHER MARION of BETTER CALL SAUL.

To attend the Salon, please RSVP via the link below. You’ll get the Zoom meeting info after you RSVP. You will have an option to make a donation, which helps us keep bringing the Salons to you. 

NCCers have joined us from all over the globe with Zoom.
Check in with your worldwide NCC Family on Monday as we keep up our streak of over 300 consecutive Salons!

Monday, August 10th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Our Special Guest: JON BOKENKAMP – Showrunner

We hope you can join us a week from tomorrow for what promises to be an epic Salon with a showrunner from the heart of Nebraska! Tune in on Zoom to hear how the NCC shaped his path in becoming a successfully sought-after storyteller in Hollywood.

Prior to the Covid realities of working from home, he regularly commuted from Kearney to LA, digitally and in-person. His process now makes him a pioneer of the remote writer’s room!

JON BOKENKAMP created and serves as an executive producer on the NBC drama THE BLACKLIST. A native of Kearney, Nebraska, Bokenkamp’s feature film work includes the thriller THE CALL for Halle Berry and IFC TriStar Pictures, an adaptation of the serial-killer novel TAKING LIVES for Angelina Jolie and Warner Bros., and PERFECT STRANGER for Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and IFC Columbia Pictures. He has collaborated with such directors as Tony Scott (TOP GUN), William Friedkin (THE EXORCIST) and Joe Carnahan (THE GREY). He also served as a creator and executive producer on NBC’s THE BLACKLIST: REDEMPTION, a spinoff of the original series. 

Bokenkamp attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, before graduating with honors from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. In addition to his work in television and feature films, Bokenkamp is the founder and creative director of the
World Theatre in Kearney. To adapt to the realities of the pandemic, the World Theater moved heaven and earth to build a new drive-in movie theatre. In a full circle twist, drive-ins were the subject of Jon’s thesis project at USC, the documentary, AFTER SUNSET.

Production of
THE BLACKLIST was interrupted due to Covid, and Jon quickly adapted that episode to serve as the season finale – finishing out scenes using animation. We’ll be showing you part of that successful episode, the evolution of the idea, and the preparations being put in place to shoot post-Covid. We also have to know more about the launch of the World Theater’s Drive-InJoin us as we cover these subjects and more next Monday.

What will be your next Coast Connection? Whether you have an interest in writing or producing hit shows, you’ll want to connect with Jon at the next Salon on Monday, August 10th! And mark your calendars – September’s special guest is Writer and Executive Story Editor HEATHER MARION of BETTER CALL SAUL. More to come soon!

To attend the Salon, please RSVP via the link below. You’ll get the Zoom meeting info after you RSVP. You will have an option to make a donation, which helps us keep bringing the Salons to you. 

NCCers have joined us from all over the globe with Zoom.
Check in with your worldwide NCC Family on Monday as we keep up our streak of over 300 consecutive Salons!

Monday, July 13th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Our Special Guest: RYAN QUINCY – Animator

As we continue a quarter-century of Salons, we are here for you next Monday with a special treat: a visit with an Emmy award-winning animator! You’re invited to see some teasers from exciting upcoming projects, and hear how the pandemic has been impacting the world of animation. You’ll also learn what took our special guest from Holdrege, NE to Hollywood!

RYAN QUINCY is an animator, voice actor, director, writer, and producer. He won two Emmy Awards for his work on SOUTH PARK, and was the creator of OUT THERE on IFC and FUTURE-WORM! on Disney XD. He’s currently at Netflix developing animated and live action projects for adults.

Ryan’s show OUT THERE was based on his small-town Nebraska roots, and he voiced the lead role of Chad. Tinseltown Coincidence — Ryan and NCC founder Todd Nelson grew up in the SAME childhood room! His family bought Todd’s family’s home in Holdrege where they both grew up.

What will be your next Coast Connection? Whether you have an interest in animation, producing hit shows, or doing voiceover, you’ll want to connect with Ryan at the next Salon on Monday, July, 13th! 

To attend the Salon, please RSVP via the link below. You’ll get the Zoom meeting info after you RSVP. You will have an option to make a donation, which helps us keep bringing the Salons to you. 

 NCCers have joined us from all over the globe with Zoom.
Check in with your worldwide NCC Family on Monday as we keep up our streak of over 300 consecutive Salons!

 
Monday, June 8th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom! 
Our Special Guest: TODD NELSON – Producer, Director 

 

Braska Films Monday’s Salon on Zoom marks 25 years of monthly Hollywood Salons – a total of 300 in a row! What has kept them going? You! Join us as we gather to celebrate the Hollywood Salon’s 25th Birthday and hear from a special FIRST TIME guest who finally agreed to sit in the chair on this occasion – the NCC founder himself!
 
TODD WILLIAM NELSON is a Producer/Director with over 35 years experience in documentary filmmaking, television & feature production and broadcast journalism.

For the last 15 years, his company Braska Films
has produced all the international promos for CBS-TV, now ViacomCBS Global.  Previously he was a freelance producer for CBS and Fox Television, and before that for five years was a Special Projects executive at Walt Disney Studios

Todd grew up in Holdrege, NE where he was a magician with his own local TV show. He put himself through school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a reporter for KETV in Omaha, and graduated with honors from UNL with a double major in Broadcast Journalism & Theater Arts. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Internship program selected him as one of top 15 college students in the country and brought him to Hollywood where he was an intern on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. He was a Post-Production Assistant on the first season of THE GOLDEN GIRLSthen for several years was personal assistant to Director Paul Bogart on multiple mini-series, pilots and movies, including NUTCRACKER with Lee Remick and TALES FROM THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS with Michelle Pfeiffer.

He directed and produced the award-winning documentary film, SURVIVING FRIENDLY FIRE: THE MAKING OF A STREET KIDS THEATRE PROJECT, which screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide. Narrated by Sir Ian McKellen, this film follows a group of homeless LGTBQ runaways as they create a stage play that forever changed their lives.

In addition to his work for NBC Productions, ABC, and PBS, his other films include the documentary HAITI’S HELPING HANDS (about an American medical missionary team in Haiti), Blaise LANDSCAPE WITH WAITRESS, and DISNEY’S PEOPLE BEHIND THE MAGIC

In 1992, he founded The Nebraska Coast Connectiona networking alliance of over a thousand showbiz professionals with ties to Nebraska. For 25 years, the NCC has hosted The Hollywood Salon in Culver City on the second Monday of every month with celebrity & industry guests from all areas of entertainment & the arts.

 
* If you’d like to share a toast at Monday’s Salon, find instructions HERE , and see how to send a video if you can’t make the Zoom live. Bring your drinks!*

To attend the Salon, please RSVP via the link below. You’ll get the Zoom meeting info after you RSVP. You will have an option to make a donation, which helps us keep bringing the Salons to you. 
 
Check in with your worldwide NCC Family. Let’s have some fun together!

 

 

This summer will mark 25 years of monthly Hollywood Salons, and in all that time we’ve never missed a month. April’s Salon was our first-ever to be held as a Virtual Salon on Zoom. It was great to see all the faces of our NCCers and hear how everyone is getting along during the crazy days of this global pandemic. It wasn’t the same as being together in person, but until we can do that safely, it’s all we got!

And we were thrilled to have some folks attending from Nebraska and far-flung parts of the planet — the technology now allows our world to be even smaller, and we plan to keep offering ways for people to join us from wherever they are even when we return to the Culver Hotel. Hope you can make time to join us for the next Virtual Salon this month and keep our connection going. We are here for you!   
-Todd 
 
Monday, May 11th, 2020
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Our Special Guest: CRYSTAL CARSON, Acting Coach
 
Ever wanted to work with LA’s TOP acting coach? Our special guest will be sharing her knowledge and her tried and true audition technique with YOU at our next Salon. You might even get to work with her live! (See below for details…)
 
Crystal Carson has been one of the top acting coaches in LA for 25 years, and is the creator of “The Actor’s Mind” visualization method, “ReActing by Heart” emotional connection exercise and “Auditioning by Heart” audition technique for film and television. She grew up in Nebraska and majored in theatre at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Not a stranger to the life of a working actress, she was a series regular for five years on GENERAL HOSPITAL, had recurring roles on JAG and DALLAS, and starred in films like WHO’S THAT GIRL with Madonna.

Crystal’s many clients in television, film, and stage learn from her the secrets to become masterful actors who book jobs. She began as a sought after teacher at the Margie Haber Studios for 12 years. Crystal now conducts workshops in Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Atlanta, Orlando, Omaha, NYC, and Vietnam.
 
ACTORS…Don’t miss this opportunity to meet and work with a top level coach! Crystal will be working scenes with a few lucky actors over our Zoom call!
 
DIRECTORS…Learn how to improve your game by watching Crystal’s actor communication.
 
Do YOU work with actors? Crystal will share her incredible insight into an actor’s process.
 

Crystal is one of very few elite acting coaches who has devoted her primary career to perfecting the coaching of professional actors. Her outstanding reputation is testimony to her unique ability to inspire others to rise to their potential. A sampling of her clients include: Jennifer BealsDavid Boreanaz, Brian White, Rachel Nichols, Paula AbdulBrenda StrongMelissa Joan Hart, Catherine BachRicardo Antonio Chaviraand she is recommended by Russell Crowe.

To work with Crystal, please download the sides and follow instructions to submit your self-tape by THIS FRIDAY, May 8th. (Use password: NCC ) Submit your self-tape early and you just might get to work with her live! A handful of actors will be selected & coached by the talented Crystal Carson. 


To attend the Salon, please RSVP via the link below. You’ll get the Zoom meeting info after you RSVP. You will have an option to make a donation, which helps us keep bringing the Salons to you. 

Check in with your worldwide NCC Family. Let’s have some fun together!

 

In almost 25 years of Salons, we’ve never missed a monthly gathering – and now in the global pandemic we need our group more than ever. Join us for the First Ever Virtual Hollywood Salon! – Todd
 
Monday, April 13th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon: 
Special Guest: NATE JOHNSON, Leadership and Mindset Coach
 
While embracing social distancing, we want to check in with you – hear how you are doing and what you need. Our guest is an NCCer and expert who will empower us through this crazy time. RSVP below for this month’s FREE Salon!

Nate Johnson is a coach, writer, speaker, and actor from Nebraska. As a professional he has guided his peers as a business development manager at Inc. Magazine, as the founder of a digital marketing company, and as a coach and counselor. 

Nate has also combined travel with leading others. While living in New Zealand he became a whitewater rafting guide, and a cattle rancher in the Australian Outback. Having survived a boating accident in the Philippines, started several businesses, and confronted stage fright to take improv classes, he is no stranger to the emotional highs and lows of pushing yourself to experience your fullest potential. Nate has a lovingly no BS approach to helping his clients wake up to what’s really possible in their lives and then making that a reality.
 
To attend, please email howdy@nebraskacoast.com. We will send you the link to register. This month’s Salon is FREE, but we need your RSVP to get you the info and to be sure we have the right-sized Zoom room!

Give us an update on YOU and check in with your NCC Family.
We’re all in this together, so let’s help each other make the best of it!
 
Monday, March 9th, 2020 
Hollywood Salon: 
BLAISE HOSSAIN – Visual Effects Artist
 
 
Has an image ever told you an entire story, making you feel excited or thrilled because you just can’t wait to see it played out? You’re invited to next Monday’s Salon to meet the VFX artist responsible for creating those images for film and more!

 

Blaise Hossain is an award winning motion designer and visual effects artist based in Los Angeles who creates content for feature film, television, streaming and live event projects under his brand Saffron Ember. Originally coming from a small town in Connecticut, Blaise moved to Los Angeles over 20 years ago to study film production at the Univ. of Southern California. 

After graduating he began his career working as a motion designer at a number of trailer companies producing logo reveals and visual effects for trailers and tv spots on national and international campaigns for theatrical movie releases. At times he has art directed small teams of artists on a trailer campaign and independently creates original work for both live action and fully CG projects.


He also became specialized designing and animating User Interface (UI) for feature films including J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS, the ROBOCOP reboot, and TIME FREAK.

In addition to working on studio films, Blaise visual effects supervised the indie Sci-Fi drama AFTER WE LEAVEcreating various UI sequences, animated matte paintings and other world building VFX for the film which won Best Film at Sci Fi London 2019. See the trailer and stream by following the link above! Currently, Blaise is freelancing at a number of motion design studios collaborating on a number of main title sequences and show opens for film and streaming content.

Come ask your questions and
learn from the incredibly talented artist, Blaise Hossain!