Archive | June 24, 2016

Media Maven Stacey Bradshaw

Media Maven Series Spotlight: Stacey Bradshaw

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Sharing the Gospel on the Big Screen

How did you start acting? (Are you professionally trained or on the go learned?)

I started out by writing, directing, and acting in very short skits for church when I was in my early teens. I was desperate to do some acting and there were no other opportunities. When I was 16, I was able to start participating in a few summer drama camps, which involved 4 hours on the road every day going back and forth. I majored in Theatre at Bryan College, which provided the opportunity to take some acting classes, and I have attended acting workshops at film festivals ever since. However, I would say that personal experience and observing other actors has been one of my most valuable learning tools.

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What impact do you hope your roles will have on people?

I hope that people will connect with the characters that I portray, and will come away with a message of hope and redemption from the stories we tell. I want to have a positive impact on our culture. Life can be messy and hard, but there is always hope. No one is beyond redemption. In these dark times, I desire to help spread the light of Christ into a hurting world.

You are more than an actress, tell us a bit about some of the other hats you wear. 

Writing and photography are two other passions that lend themselves well to the world of film. I’m developing a feature length screenplay right now, and will be doing behind-the-scenes photography for a short film this summer. In the past, I also designed a website for “Wanted” and managed the social media marketing for that film, which I enjoyed. Between those pursuits and other hobbies, interests, and business endeavors, I stay plenty busy between acting jobs!

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What gives you the most pleasure: being in front of the camera or working elsewhere on set?

Acting is definitely my primary passion. I feel the most fulfilled when I am bringing a story to life in front of a camera.

Do you feel it’s important for actors today to know more than ‘acting’ why or why not?

It’s very helpful to work as a crew member on a film before you start acting, because then you have a greater understanding for how the rest of the production team functions and how you can help them in your role as an actor. We’re all members of the same team and no one is above or beneath anyone else. Be humble, pay attention, and try to anticipate each person’s needs before they ask you. Aside from that, just in terms of trying to make a living, it’s great to have more skills in your toolbox so you can keep working between acting jobs. Rebekah Cook is a perfect example. When she’s not acting, she works as a casting director, a script supervisor, an acting coach, a 1st AD, etc.

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What has been your favorite role to date? Which has been your most challenging?

It’s hard to pick a favorite role! Each one is unique and has a special place in my heart. “Touched by Grace” will always be a favorite memory, though, because it was my first leading role in a feature film (additionally, my first *speaking* role in a feature film!), and it was my first time as an actor working with a professional cast and crew. It was amazing! Everyone was kind and helpful, and I learned so much from that experience. My most challenging role was probably when I played “Loreen” in “In His Steps”. My character was homeless, pregnant, and terrified of an abusive ex-boyfriend, and none of those were situations I could relate to in real life.

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From an actress’ perspective what advice would you give to up and coming actors?

Know your standards and be prepared to stand strong against opposition. Know where you’re going to draw the line before you ever step foot on a film set. In the moment, it’s easy to be convinced and get swept up in the pressure to do something you may regret later. In the secular market, it’s a much bigger issue, but even in faith-based films, sometimes we have to say no to things that go against a personal standard. Know your value as a person who is made in the image of God and never compromise the convictions He has given you. Your career is never worth living with regrets.

Where do you see happening with faith-based films in the near future?

I believe we’re on a very good path, with higher quality films being produced. There is a lot of talent available for both sides of the camera and I’m excited for the future of faith-based films! However, funding continues to be a major problem, and we can’t continue on indefinitely without a better means of providing a sustainable income for the filmmakers and actors in this industry.

Random question- What’s your favorite food?

Chocolate!!!

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We recognize that each role is different, how do you prepare for your roles?

Most of my preparation is done by studying the script and looking for clues about the character I’m playing. I look for her goals, passions, fears, motivations, and the kind of relationships she has with the other characters. As a person, I’m more emotional and relational than I am intellectual, so where some actors will try to get inside a character’s head, I focus more on getting inside their heart. I feel my character’s emotions, understand who she is on that level, and then bring that to the screen. I will also talk to the director about his or her vision for the role and any additional information or backstory that helps shape my character.

If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?

Probably much the same of what I’m doing now between film jobs… Pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities to make money from home, writing screenplays, advancing my photography skills, reading good literature, spending time with my friends and family, and a wide variety of other hobbies and activities.

To learn more about Stacey visit:
IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm4951025

Website: http://staceybradshaw.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/staceybradshaw.actress

Instagram: www.instagram.com/staceybradshaw.actress

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Media Maven Juli Tapken

Media Maven Series Spotlight: Juli Tapken

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Bringing Characters to Life that Bring People to Christ

How did you start acting? (Are you professionally trained or on the go learned?)
    From as early as I can remember I have been “acting”. My first experience in front of an audience was at our church when I was 7. We did Psalty’s Christmas Calamity and I had lines and a solo. I was completely hooked after that. I would say, I’m “on the job” trained. From that first experience I went on to do school plays, community theatre, Oklahoma Kids, college (where I studied voice and diction in hopes of a broadcast journalism career, but I didn’t care for journalism), then on to the Branson stage. I have always been involved in church drama ministry, childrens church skits and the like, which is truly where I credit my training. God used those experiences to hone my skill and lead me onto this path I never could have imagined.
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What impact do you hope your roles will have on people?
     I take very seriously the idea that I am representing someone. Someone who has truly faced the issues my characters face. So I want to be diligent in portraying their plight authentically. I hope that for those who have never faced those type issues, they would come away with compassion and understanding of the stuggles people face. For those who are represented, I hope they feel like they are not alone and that there is hope for their situation. The most honoring compliment I’ve ever recieved, is “That was me. I felt like I was watching me.” And I take that as a huge responsibility.
What gives you the most pleasure: being in front of cameras or working elsewhere on set?
    As a Christian, I know that we are created for a purpose. I fought it for a long time,the idea of acting beyond my little comfort zone of church and stage. But when one surrenders to The Fathers plan for their life, there is joy unspeakable. My greatest pleasure is simply knowing I’m where I’m suppose to be, and that I have an opportunity to serve and to encourage others.
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Do you feel it’s important for actors today to know more than ‘acting’ why or why not?
   Absolutely!!! I love to eat, my family loves to eat and so I’m grateful that my inheritance from my dad was a skill (painting) that allowed me to be fairly free with my schedule, and that paid the bills while I paid my dues. Also, characters need to be real, with real skill, so if my chacter is cooking, I should know my way around a kitchen, if she is a bycyclist, guitar player, horse trainer, boxer, I need to know how to do those things, because there are real people who know when you know and when you don’t. If you’re not authentic in your movement, you can lose credibility in the emotion.
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What has been your favorite role to date? Which has been your most challenging?
   This probably isnt the answer you want, but my favorite role is “Mrs. Tapken”, and my most challenging is “Lain’s mom”. lol
 As for characters I’ve played, that’s a hard one, each one is different and precious and a part of me, it’s like naming your favorite kid. The most challenging role I’ve had to date was Susan in ‘Mission Improbable’, there but for the Grace of God, I personally have never faced addiction and domestic abuse, though I witnessed it in my early life. Having to draw from those experiences was painful and challenging, but somewhat healing at the same time.
Who has made the greatest impact on you in this business?
  God has used every soul I’ve ever met to lead me to this place. Some have encouraged and edified, some have shown me how Not to be, some have contributed character traits and habits I’ve picked up through observation, but truly the one person who has had the greatest impact on this career, would be my husband/manager Jeff Tapken. He is the driving force behind me. He is the one who said lets go to Branson and see what happens. He is the one who encouraged me to step out and do film. He is the one who keeps the momentum and the opportunites rolling. He is a man with strong faith in Christ and in me. You would never had heard my name if he didn’t shout it from the rooftops. He knew this was our path long before I did, and I’m grateful that he trusts and obeys the Spirit’s call, because I can be a bit rebellious to it at times.
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Where do you see faith-based film going in the near future?
   I believe God is positioning His people. He is raising up a remnant. I believe that audiences are getting tired of gratuitous sex and violence. I believe they are hungry for something with more substance and truth. And we have just what they hunger for. But I also feel like sometimes faith films shy away from the realities of life on a fallen planet. The bible is very clear on sin and reveals the depravity of the human condition to highlight the Holiness of God and reveal why we need to be saved. Faith-based films have more of a responsibility to be “real” and bring the viewer to an encounter with The Spirit than any other genre. I believe we need to become more brave and resilient toward that calling.
What inspires you most when you see Christian films?
   I’m inspired by God’s Word. Which will not return void. But I also know that His Spirit can surpass our expectations of the vehicle. If God can use a donkey to get His point across, He can use anything, even this jacked actress to show that He is Greater than our sin. He is greater than our struggle. He is The Author of every story, and if we surrender to His will He will lead us on an adventure beyond anything we could ever dream or imagine.
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Random- What’s your favorite food?
   Anything that doesn’t eat me first! I love food!
What is the one tip you would give to others coming into this industry?
   It’s a hard long journey. Trust the process, work work work. Be professional. Don’t do it for fame. Humble yourself before The Lord and allow Him to be your reward. Do all things as if you’re working for Him, not for man. Because at the end of it all He’s the only audience that matters, and when He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” we will throw every award, every applause, every accolade at His feet in honor and glory.
If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
  I honestly have no idea. Even painting is a means to this end. I guess if I’m not acting, I’d be walking by the Crystal Sea, because that would mean the purpose for this life has been exhasted and I have entered into the Joy of His reward!