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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

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!

Actor Nate Parker’s 10 Huge Lessons from Making ‘The Birth of a Nation’

Nate Parker’s 10 Huge Lessons from Making ‘The Birth of a Nation’

Media Maven Penny Carlisi

Media Maven Series Spotlight: Penny Carlisi

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She’s Sharing True Stories of Redemption & Hope

 Just meeting Penny Carlisi of Reveal Film Group one might say there’s one sharp filmmaker. However, after speaking with her you’ll find not only is she an astute business woman full of knowledge, but one with a heart for films that minister to God’s people. She’s a feature film maker of Faith & Family (Unexpected Places, A Horse Called Bear) media and turns testimonies into stories that show the hope we have in Christ. Penny is a regular instructor at GloryReelz and will be a panelist this year. Learn more…

How did the name Reveal Film Group come about?  2016 reveal

We wanted a shorter name that captured the essence of telling or revealing to others the Truth of God.

What impact do you hope to have on people?

We want to point people to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We want people to realize that Jesus saves and redeems regardless of what they have done.  There is always hope in Christ.

Why do you think it’s important to share testimonies through media?

I believe it gives hope to those who are struggling . . . and also to loved ones of those struggling.  When they hear how God has redeemed a person who has struggled and has been restored, it gives them hope that God can also work in their situation.

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Why is distribution so important?

It’s the only way to get the story out.  It’s the only way to get financial remuneration to pay for costly equipment and the next film project.

Which piece of equipment can you not live without?

 Camera and audio equipment.

What inspired you to make redemptive films?  gr 2016 rbg

I wanted people to know of the power of God’s redemption and that even though the situation can seem impossible, God can redeem.

Do you use a location scout or do you scout on your own?

I’ve done all my own location scouting, but I take leads from others also.

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At the end of the day what would you most like to hear people say about your films?

It has given them hope that God is with them and willing to redeem all who seek Him and trust Him. That I’ve told a story in an entertaining and compelling way that wants them draw closer to our Savior.

Penny Carlisi is a gifted instructor teaching how to make your film from script to screen and using Celtx for your production. To learn more about Penny Carlisi and Reveal Film Group visit:

http://www.revealfilmgroup.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RedeemedByGraceRevealFilmGroup/

Media Maven Sharon Wilharm

Media Maven Series Spotlight: Sharon Wilharm

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Woman on a Mission to Showcase You –  Sharon Wilharm

We had the opportunity to chat with Sharon Wilharm (1/2 duo of Mainstreet Films & Faith Flix Founder) about faith and film making. A southern belle that means business, Sharon travels the country speaking at and supporting faith-based festivals and conferences. One of her main goals is to interview and bring news about the film industry with a focus on the independent media makers- you!  Sharon will be one of the esteemed instructors/speakers at GloryReelz 2016. She’ll be instructing a workshop on Raising the Bar: How to Make a Microbudget Movie Look Like a Million. You don’t want to miss out on this game changing class packed with information and demonstrations. Get to know her here:

How Did Mainstreet Films come about?

Fred has a broadcast communications degree and always had a desire to make movies. I had a degree in education and a background in writing and drama. God put us together and opened the doors for us to combine our talents and share the gospel through film.  When we did our first film we lived on Main Street so it seemed like the perfect name. It stuck, and that’s what we’ve been ever since.

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You have now moved into public speaking and teaching. What impact do you hope to have on people?

As a young teen, my greatest desire was to be a public speaker. The problem was that I had nothing to say, or to be more precise, I had nothing to say that anyone wanted to hear. Through the years, I was busy teaching, homeschooling, and filmmaking, so speaking was pushed on the back burner until someday. Well, someday has finally come. And even though I came into filmmaking reluctantly, it’s what God is using to provide my voice. I finally have experience and advice that can benefit other people. My goal is to help fellow filmmakers raise the bar and strive for excellence in all they do.  I hope that by offering simple little tips and techniques we’ve learned that filmmakers can apply the information and ultimately share the gospel with a larger reach. I also hope to take my platform as a female filmmaker and use it to reach mass audiences as well.

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What gives you the most pleasure in the filmmaking process?

I’m all about the personal experience. We can’t always control what happens once the film is complete and leaves our hands, but we can control what happens during the filming process. I try to provide a warm and pleasant experience for everyone involved. I want each and every person involved to feel special and appreciated. I love all the warm and wonderful folks we’ve met as a result of our movie making.

What is FaithFlix?               hs faith-flix-10

In 2013 we attended the National Religious Broadcasters Convention and I saw how all the media were making a big deal over the big time film producers, but no one had any interest in the smaller films or filmmakers. So I decided to start a blog that would focus on telling the stories of the little guys. What’s funny is that even though it’s grown considerably since those early days, and I’ve done plenty of interviews with the big names, still, my most popular posts are the ones where I share stories of films or film folks that most people don’t know about.

Who has made the greatest impact on you in this business?

Between Faith Flix and our filmmaking, I’ve been blessed to meet so many incredible individuals. We’ve been helped by veteran filmmakers who offered advice and wisdom. We’ve been encouraged by film festival directors who took a chance on our films and validated our hard work. I’ve been challenged by actors who bring to the set a compassion and spiritual depth that’s contagious. Honestly, I think I’ve gained a little something from each individual I’ve been privileged to work with.

Which type of cameras do you use and why?    hs sharonfred2

This is totally Fred’s department. He handles all the tech stuff. I asked him and he said Providence was shot on the Sony FS7. It shoots 4K and has a beautiful look. It’s a new camera, and to our knowledge, Providence was the first feature shot with it.

What inspired you to make films with no dialogue?

We were trying to avoid cheesy dialogue and decided to take the advice to “show not tell” to the extreme. We kind of stumbled into it, but discovered that we were much better at telling a story visually than with dialogue.

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How do you cast for your films?

We put out the word on social media and Faith Flix and actors respond. We’ve been amazed at how actors are willing to come from all over the country to be in our films, and with both The Good Book and Providence, we’ve even had actors from other countries. We never intended to have actors coming from such distances, and it made logistics much more complicated, but wow, what a blessing to have such incredibly talented actors to work with. I pray over every single role and take casting extremely seriously. So many factors come into play, but ultimately it’s all about trusting God to connect us with whoever will best be served by the roles we have to offer.

At the end of the day what would you most like to hear people say about your films?

I would like them to be encouraged and to feel like there’s hope for their future.

To learn more about FaithFlix, Mainstreet Films & Sharon Wilharm visit:

www.faithflix.com

www.sharonwilharm.com

www.facebook.com/faithflixfilms

www.twitter.com/faithflixfilms

www.pinterest.com/faithflixfilms