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.

It’s that most wonderful time.
Can you believe your NebraskaCoast has had your back for 30 years?! We started this group in 1992, and we’ve been your Home Sweet Home in Hollywood through it all. And after a couple years of pandemic, boy are we ready to get back together in person!

Come celebrate our 30th anniversary & the holidays with your Nebraska/Hollywood family. We’ll be back at Todd & Marion’s lovely home on the mountain above Pasadena. If you came last year, you’ll know there are plenty of outdoor spaces, decks & gardens & patios — so dress for outside as well as in. 

We’ll have special treats flown in from Nebraska, as well as homemade goodies, hot & cold drinks & desserts. Come before sunset & see the deer frolicking in the meadow from the yurt deck (bears are hibernating, so no worries there!). We’re inviting every special guest we’ve had at Salons all these years, so expect it will be a star-studded evening. Santa’s RSVP’d too, along with all your old and new Nebraska friends in festive attire.

Reserve your tickets today! Be sure to snag the ticket+tshirt deal and pick up your Special Edition 30th Commemorative Dare to Dream T-Shirt. Remember, all proceeds help us continue for the next 30 years. We can’t wait to see you at the party!
The Hollywood Salon Holiday PartySunday, December 11th 3-7pm 

Monday, November 14th, 2022 at 7:30pm PT 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guest: ROXANN DAWSON, Director | Producer | Actor 

There’s something special for you at this month’s Salon! Our guest will be connecting with us from Nebraska, ready to talk about her decorated career as an actor, producer, and director. She has worked on countless A-list shows, and even has experience gracing the stages of Broadway. Learn how she’s doing it all from her new home in the Heartland!

Join us this Monday, November 14th via Zoom to connect with this first time Salon guest. A Salon you’ll definitely want to attend!

ROXANN DAWSON is a triple threat talent, a respected producer, director and actor. She made her feature film directing debut with BREAKTHROUGH, based on the incredible true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds, starring Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter and Marcel Ruiz. An adaptation of Joyce Smith’s memoir, The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection, the movie was released by Fox 2000 earlier this year.

This season, Roxann directed multiples of the Sci-Fi epic FOUNDATION for Apple, based on Isaac Aasimov’s influential book series; as well as the pilot of THE HORRORS OF DOLORES ROACH for Amazon which she also Executive Produced. This season she will also be directing DARK MATTER for Apple. Roxann directed THE MORNING SHOW for Apple, multiples of PENNY DREADFUL: CITY OF ANGELS for Showtime, and multiples of THE DEUCE—including the season finale. Her prolific career includes directing multiples of HOUSE OF CARDS, THE AMERICANS, THE PATH, BATES MOTEL, CHANCE and TREME. Dawson has been the producer-director on the perennial hit SCANDAL, as well as COLD CASE and CROSSING JORDAN. Other credits include THE CHI, THIS IS US, MARVEL’S RUNAWAYS, LOST, THE GOOD WIFE, and HELL ON WHEELS. Dawson directed the pilot and first two episodes of MERCY STREET for PBS and Scott Free Productions. MERCY STREET marked the first American drama to air on PBS in more than a decade.

A native of Los Angeles, Dawson graduated from UC Berkeley as a Theatre Arts Major. Shortly after graduation, she landed her first professional job as Diana Morales in the Broadway production of A CHORUS LINE by attending an open call in San Francisco. Suddenly, she found herself in New York rehearsing with Michael Bennett at the Shubert Theatre. While in New York, Dawson also performed in numerous Off-Broadway and regional theatre productions including plays at Circle Repertory Theatre (where she was a member), Arena Stage, and at CTC, where she played Miranda in Julie Taymor’s The Tempest. A series regular role in Aaron Spelling’s NIGHTINGALES brought her back to Los Angeles, where she continued to act in series and films. She was honored to be asked to return to Broadway to close A Chorus Line as the last Morales.

Soon after, she was cast as B’Elanna Torres in STAR TREK: VOYAGER, and during the series’ seven-year run, she started a family and began her directing career. VOYAGER offered her the first opportunity to direct and she proceeded to direct 10 episodes of the next Star Trek series, ENTERPRISE. In addition to directing, Roxann co-authored a trilogy of novels with Daniel Graham, The Tenebrea Trilogy, published by Simon & Schuster.

To note, Roxann is married to last month’s guest, Casting Director Eric Dawson. They are a dynamic duo with six decades of combined experience in Hollywood. Their family is now based in Lincoln.

NCCers, Mark Your Calendars for Monday, November 14th! Learn about:

  • Working on some of Hollywood’s biggest TV shows. 
  • How the industry has shifted while she has changed career roles.
  • What’s on the horizon: Projects in Nebraska?

Hear her answers and more this Monday!

The Hollywood Salon

with Casting Director Roxann Dawson

7:30-9:30 PM PST | Monday, November 14th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, October 10th 2022 at 7:30 pm PT 
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guest: ERIC DAWSON, Casting Director | Partner at U/D/K Casting

At the heart of some of the biggest TV shows of our time is a Nebraskan. This month’s guest has been a creative visionary, assembling talent for some of the most-watched and awarded shows. He & his projects are Emmy award-winners, & have been shaping the cultural narrative over the last three decades.  A Salon you’ll definitely want to attend.

Join us this Monday, October 10th via Zoom to connect with this first time Salon guest. He’ll be joining from Lincoln after a recent move from LA. 

ERIC DAWSON is an Emmy Award winning television and film casting director. He also was the recipient of the Casting Directors of America’s highest award, The Hoyt Bowers Career Achievement award. He received this award in 2019 for his contributions to the casting profession and in recognition of his body of work over the last thirty years.

Eric and his business partner, Robert Ulrich, founded their Los Angeles based casting company Ulrich/Dawson Casting in 1989. They added Carol Kritzer as a partner in 1992. U/D/K Casting (as it is often referred to) has been the largest television casting company in the United States for over 25 years. The company has cast nearly 200 different TV and film projects and over 4000 hours of television.

Over the last thirty plus years, Eric and his partners have cast some of the most groundbreaking and successful projects in television. Some of their favorite shows include: AMERICAN HORROR STORY, GLEE, GREY’S ANATOMY, CSI, THE BOYS, NIP/TUCK, THE EXORCIST, 9-1-1, ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST, HIGHTOWN, SUPERNATURAL, FEUD: BETTE AND JOAN, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, MELROSE PLACE, THE MENTALIST and FELICITY.

Eric has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards. He won the Emmy in 2011 for GLEE for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series. He was nominated for four years in a row for his work on AMERICAN HORROR STORY. He has also been nominated for 25 Casting Society of America Awards and has won several. Eric and his partners also received a Media Access Award in recognition of their passion for the Employment of Actors with Disabilities. In 2006, Eric’s alma mater, the University of Nebraska, awarded him the prestigious Alumni Achievement Award.

U/D/K just was nominated for two CSA awards for the 2021 season. They are the only casting directors nominated for awards in both the Comedy and Drama categories.

Not only is this Eric’s first time presenting, it will be the first back-to-back Hollywood Salon hosted by each spouse! ROXANN DAWSON is an actress (STAR TREK: VOYAGER) turned director/producer (HOUSE OF CARDS, THE AMERICANS, BREAKTHROUGH) who is set to be our November 14th Hollywood Salon guest. Two must-see Salons!

Eric and Roxann have been married 27 years and have two daughters. Mia is graduating from UNL in the spring of 2022. Emma is at MIT in a PhD program.

NCCers, Mark Your Calendars for Monday, October 10th! Learn about:

  • Remote casting! And how often in-person is required.
  • His instinctive ability to masterfully assemble groups of actors together.
  • What’s on the horizon: Projects in Nebraska?

Hear his answers and more this Monday!

The Hollywood Salon

with Casting Director Eric Dawson

7:30-9:30 PM PST | Monday, October 10th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, September 12th 2022
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guest: CULLEN WRIGHT, Creative Director

There is no place like Nebraska. At times, that brings football disappointments, but in contrast, we celebrate the shining successes of the entertainment grads! Our special guest this month has created a career W.

Beginning his studies in medicine, a filmmaking mentor inspired our guest to make a shift. Join us tomorrow, Sept. 12th via Zoom to hear how this Nebraskan created a thriving 15-year career in the Heart of Hollywood.  See you then!CULLEN WRIGHT grew up in Kearney, Nebraska and attended UNL. He initially began his studies in pre-med, with visions of becoming a doctor. However, after a fateful run-in with Alexander Payne, he ended up switching to film studies.

Cullen has been working in Los Angeles in visual effects for the last 15 years as a freelance artist. Additionally, he worked at the Emmy-nominated VFX studio, BARNSTORM, collaborating on digital effects for productions including ROOM 104MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLESTRANGE ANGEL, and SILICON VALLEY. He is currently directing marketing videos as Head of Video Production for CRYPTEX FINANCE, a crypto company. Additionally, he is in development of an NFT webseries.

Join us TOMORROW, where Cullen will share some of secrets of the VFX world. He’ll be showing how an effect is made, layer by layer. You’ll see excerpts of some of the amazing effects he’s created for TV & film that he’s never been able to share before!

NCCers, Mark Your Calendars for TOMORROW!

  • How was the shift from medicine to film?
  • How does an effect get made and placed in film?
  • What effect is he most proud of? 

The Hollywood Salon

with Creative Director Cullen Wright

7:30-9:30 PM PST | Monday, Sept 12th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, August 8th 2022
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guest: TOM ELKINS, Editor & Director

We have the power to draw our dreams to us. This month’s guest was given the chanced to make movies from his home in Nebraska. Turning this gift into a glittering Hollywood career, he now edits and directs films with some of the great creatives of our time.

Join us this Monday, August 8th via Zoom to hear how his creativity led him from one open door to another. See you then!
TOM ELKINS is now an accomplished Editor and Director, who started out making dozens of 8mm films as a kid in Nebraska. Some of those movies were horror, with titles like THE KILLER TRIKE. His professional career began when he was hired by Herman Cain, then-president of the national restaurant chain Godfather’s Pizza, to make humor-based training videos and TV commercials in Omaha, NE.

He later broke into feature films, initially as a production assistant (GATTACA), then as a production coordinator, with credits that include Mel Gibson’s PAYBACK, and THE BIG LEBOWSKI for the Coen Brothers.

Tom eventually moved into feature editing as an assistant, and had the good fortune of working with — and learning from — Oscar-winning editors such as Mike Hill and Dan Hanley on THE DA VINCI CODE and THE MISSING, and David Brenner on WANTED. He was later hired by Wes Craven’s editor, Patrick Lussier, for Wes’s CURSED and RED EYE, and continued moving up the ladder. Lussier went on to direct WHITE NOISE II for Gold Circle Films, on which he gave Elkins his first opportunity as a feature film editor.

Among other credits, Elkins edited 2009’s thriller, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT, the success of which helped earn him the opportunity to direct (and edit) the sequel, released by Lionsgate in 2013. Soon after, he edited the box-office hit ANNABELLE for New Line Cinema, as well as INFERNO for Ron Howard, and FLATLINERS for Sony Pictures.

More recently, Tom served as editor on the MGM thriller THE PRODIGYOrion Pictures well-received reboot of CHILD’S PLAY and WRONG TURN for Constantin. His two latest films, PREY FOR THE DEVIL for Lionsgate and THE INVITATION, for Sony Pictures, are scheduled for theatrical release in the coming months.

   NCCers, Mark Your Calendars for Monday, August 8th!

  •    – How did he turn Godfather’s commercials into a Hollywood career?
  •    – But he’s in Omaha now! How does he does that work?
  •    – If he has the opportunity to direct, does he prefer to also edit?

   Hear his answers and more this Monday!

The Hollywood Salon

with Editor & Director Tom Elkins

7:00-9:30 PM PST | Monday, August 8th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, July 11th 2022
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guests: UNL Carson Center Graduates

What does the future of Hollywood look like? The answer lies with those who not only dream big, but can shape & create with the latest available technology. This is the very first graduating class of those creative experts.

Join us Monday, July 11th at 7pm via Zoom for a Preview Screening and Q&A to hear their take on the future of the arts. Meet your newest group of co-creators on Monday!

MEGAN ELLIOTT is the founding director of the Johnny Carson Center for  Emerging Media Arts. She will be introducing The Inaugural Class of the Emerging Media Arts Program at UNL. They’ll be telling us about their projects and answering questions. Four projects, nine grads, one night only! Find out more about each of the recent grads here.

1. PROJECT 046 is a psychological horror pc video game where the player explores an abandoned laboratory, discovering the past and the role they played in what happened. Students from the Johnny Carson Center teamed up with a Senior Design team in the School of Computing to collaborate on the design and production; the first interdisciplinary capstone between the two schools.

KAYLA LAPOUR is a technical designer. She is blessed with the opportunities to use her 3D modeling, level design, and game engine skills on games such as Expedition Nebraska, a shipped paleontology game with Nebraska Public Media, and her capstone, PROJECT 046. She loves the creative process from start to finish. ALLISON LUND is from Omaha and is looking forward to pursuing a career in 3D modeling. Prior to UNL, she had not known about the world of 3D. She plans to continue her studies and pursue professional opportunities using 3D art in game design. ANGELA WALSH is from Creston, IA and hopes to pursue a job within the industry as a 3D modeler. MEGAN WHISENHUNT is from Mascoutah, IL and is looking forward to entering the field of 3D animation in the cinematic or gameplay worlds. She would prefer to first work with a digital design company in Nebraska to gain foundational experience.

2. HUMAN ERROR is a scene made into reality from Annie Wang, Mitchell Guynan and Madeline Schmit. Their camaraderie brought their vision to life by each pursuing their strengths and interests.

ANNIE WANG is from Omaha, and directed and edited her final piece. After graduation, she plans to pursue work in post-production. MITCHELL GUYNAN is from Blair and was the cinematographer for HUMAN ERROR. He plans on continuing his freelance filmmaking journey and preparing to move to the coast to pursue a career as a cinematographer. MADELINE SCHMIT is from Lincoln. She hopes to pursue writing for TV, Film, gaming, and film/tv production.

3. IF WALLS COULD TALK is a film by cinematographer Payton Bergkamp. She is excited to tell a beautiful story that she deeply cares about, assisted by a great producing partner and director.

PAYTON BERGKAMP is from Salina, KS. After being DP for her capstone film, she plans to move to the East Coast (NYC or Boston) to pursue opportunities in the camera department.

4. WALKER is a documentary which introduces UNL basketball player Derrick Walker, a competitive athlete who wants to win. However, his season did not go as planned with the team finishing last in the B1G conference. The documentary explores Derrick’s identity through his coach, mother, half-brother, and father.

MIKE RAPSYS was born and raised in Naperville, IL. Mike wanted to incorporate his love for sports with his filmmaking ability in his film, WALKER, his capstone project. He is now working as a Creative Media Specialist with the Nebraska Athletics.

The Hollywood Salon

with UNL Carson Center Graduates

7:00-9:30 PM PST | Monday, July 11th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, June 13th 2022
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guest: CHRISTINE CONRADT, Writer | Director | Producer

Hollywood demands daily diligence. This month’s guest met and surpassed Tinseltown’s rigors and has gone onto produce over 70 writing credits! One of which she wrote and directed in Nebraska.

Join us Monday, June 13th via Zoom to hear how taking one big leap after another led our guest from Lincoln to Hollywood, began a dynamic writing career, and recently inspired her to be a three-time published novelist. See you very soon!
CHRISTINE CONRADT has more than 70 produced writing credits, & has been writing for television for almost two decades. Her movies have aired on HallmarkLifetimeLMNShowtimeUSAFoxHallmark Movies & Mysteries, and UPtv. Christine has directed seven feature-length TV movies, two of which she also penned, and has produced more than 30 indie films and TV movies. Among those films include 12 DAYS OF GIVING, which was filmed in Fremont, Nebraska.

Originally from Lincoln, Christine graduated from Lincoln East High School before moving to Los Angeles to attend the undergraduate screenwriting program at USC and then went on to get a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. She novelized three of her Lifetime movies into YA novels which were published in 2018 by Harper Collins.

Christine is a member of the WGA, west, the Writers Guild of Canada, and the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. In addition to writing, directing, and producing, Christine also works as a screenplay consultant.

NCCers, join us Monday, June 13th!

  • Learn about how Christine stays fresh after 70 writing credits
  • Hear how she almost got forever sidetracked from writing at the beginning of her career
  • After two decades writing for TV, learn about how the business has changed – and how she has shifted with it

The Hollywood Salon with Christine Conradt

7:30-9:30 PM PST | Monday, June 13th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, May 9th 2022
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guest: PRESTON HILLIER, Actor

To succeed in Hollywood, relationships are key. The odds are even more in your favor if those relationships include Nebraskans! May’s guest started his LA career with the help of some friendly Nebraskans who landed him on-set opportunities.

Join us Monday via Zoom to hear how taking one step at a time got our guest from his hometown of Lincoln to credits in over 70 TV shows & films! It’s sure to be a masterclass in navigating the ebb and flow of Hollywood. See you there!

PRESTON JAMES HILLIER was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. Acting was never something Preston would have seen in his future, having been an extremely shy person. It was always something he enjoyed doing, creating with friends and a friends video camera as a teen. It wasn’t until he started taking classes at UNL and acting in plays at the Lincoln Community Playhouse that he found himself truly bit by the acting bug.

In and after college he did lots of local commercials in Nebraska, with familiar companies like Runza, Valentino’s, & Nebraska Furniture Mart. Most of the time there was no pay or pay through Valentino’s gift cards given by the production company.

In 2000, Preston moved to Los Angeles and stayed with a close friend who happened to be a fellow Nebraskan. His connections to several Nebraska Natives in Hollywood helped him get jobs as a PA to learn film from behind the scenes. Doing regular background work on a show got him his SAG card and eventually his first line on television.

Preston currently holds credits in over 70 TV shows & films, and dozens of national commercials including GENERAL HOSPITALMAGNUM P.I., 911, THE WALKING DEAD, NASHVILLE and MAGYVER. Notably, he appeared in 12 DAYS OF GIVING, a film written and directed by a Nebraskan and filmed in Nebraska. Preston will also appear in the upcoming Hulu series CANDY with Jessica Biel, which premieres on the Salon date – May 9th!

NCCers, Mark Your Calendars for Monday, May 9th!

  • Learn about the role he had for four years – but that never had a name!
  • Hear how he saved up for the big move while being paid in Valentino’s gift cards.
  • After being in LA for 22 years, stop by for his best advice on navigating Hollywood.

The Hollywood Salon with Preston Hillier
7:30-9:30 PM PST | Monday, May 9th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, April 11th 2022
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guest: DON HALL, Animator

To win an Oscar, one starts with big dreams. Having supportive, nurturing people surrounding you doesn’t hurt, either! Our incredibly talented guest is coming to share his successes with the NCC on Monday, which have taken him from small town Iowa to onstage accepting an Academy Award.

What questions do you have about working for places like Disney? What was it like being at the 2022 Oscars? And importantly…Hawks or Huskers!? Join us to hear his answers on Monday!

DON HALL is an animator who grew up in Glenwood, Iowa, a hop and a skip over the Missouri River from Nebraska. He always had an affinity for drawing, and his mom supported this endeavor as much as possible. She worked at the local bank, and always had a steady supply of recycled paper to bring home for him to color with.

“I was always encouraged by both my mom and my dad to pursue this, there was never a conversation trying to dissuade me from following this dream.” With the wind in his sails, he started on his biggest dream: to work for Disney.

Don received his BFA from The University of Iowa, and set his sights on CalArts. On his third attempt at applying, he was accepted. Soon after, he began working as a writer, animator, & director for Disney on projects like THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVETARZAN, & CHICKEN LITTLE. More recently, he directed the Oscar-nominated RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, and won his Oscar for directing BIG HERO 6.

NCCers, Mark Your Calendars for this Monday, April 11th!

  • Ask questions of one of the top animators in Hollywood!
  • Find out how a small town like Glenwood has shaped his work.
  • Want to do something similar to Don? Drop by and ask your best question!

The Hollywood Salon with Don Hall
7:30-9:30 PM PST | Monday, April 11th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!

Monday, March 14th 2022
Hollywood Salon…on Zoom!
Special Guests: RANDY J. GOODWIN, Actor 

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a triple threat in Hollywood? Then you’ll want to tune in MONDAY to hear from this month’s special guest. BONUS: he is a quadruple threat, excelling no matter which hat he wears as an actor, producer, writer, and director.

Plus, our guest is bringing his success back to Nebraska. See how he is sharing his expertise with his hometown – Omaha. See you Monday!

RANDY J. GOODWIN was born and raised in Omaha & has had a multi-disciplinary career in Hollywood as an actor, producer, writer, and director. He has starred in more than sixty network television shows and feature films, most recently including STAR TREK: PICARD, THE ROOKIE, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, GREY’S ANATOMY, 911, & NCIS. He also starred in the critically acclaimed drama KEVIN HILL with Taye Diggs, and the hit sitcoms GIRLFRIENDS and ABBY. He also starred as Marvin Yancy, Natalie Cole’s husband and producer, in LIVIN’ FOR LOVE: THE NATALIE COLE STORY, and co-starred in the action series FAST TRACK and the political comedy, LINC’S.

As a writer, Randy has penned over 20 television and feature scripts and has developed a number of television pilots, including the drug and alcohol rehab pilot, ONE-EIGHTY, currently in pre-production in Omaha.

In 2019, he completed his feature film directorial debut, co-writing, producing, and starring in THE JOB, a faith-based drama produced under his Fallen Giant Films banner in LA. Acquired by Sony Pictures faith and family streamer, PureFlix, the film was released on June 1st, 2021. He also produced the horror film, THE CALL, written by fellow Creighton Prep alum Patrick Stibbs, which was released in theaters in October of 2020. Randy also has a cameo in the film.

Yet for Randy, 28 years in Hollywood haven’t just been about fame and fortune. His lifetime goal has been to become successful in Hollywood, learn it, master it, and bring it back to his home state of Nebraska to share it. “I love home, and I want to help young people realize their dreams. I want to give them something I never had…a professional actor who made it “out there”, but [sic] came back. Well, I’m back to help that same 8 year old, like me, who has a big dream to be on the biggest stage in the world. The possibilities are endless…and achievable. I’m living proof.”

NCCers, Mark Your Calendars for Monday, March 14th!

  • Learn how he successfully navigates between his roles as actor, director, producer and writer.
  • Find out what it’s like being on different sets – from big studio networks to smaller independent projects!
  • Have an itch to write, direct, produce, and/or create your film? Randy is excited to share his mastery with YOU!

The Hollywood Salon with Randy J. Goodwin
7:30-9:30 PM PST | Monday, March 14th

Celebrate with your worldwide NCC Family.
Let’s Zoom Party together!