I’m excited to have as a guest blogger one of our teen actresses from The Good Book. Olivia Wright is an amazing young lady who is not only a talented actress but also an enterprising philanthropist with a heart that cries out for the hurting souls around her. When she was only 12-years-old, she founded Tennessee H.U.G.S., an organization to provide shoes for needy children in the U.S. In this blog she shares about her experiences at our acting workshop with Jenn Gotzon and the filming of the church scenes. 

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In my young life, I have been blessed to get to attend many acting workshops, as well as be in quite a few movies. This past weekend was one of the best of my life because of two very new experiences.  First, I was chosen to be in the first evangelical silent movie ever!  How cool is that?  No words, just good old fashioned acting and emotion. The second experience was amazing beyond belief!  Mrs. Sharon, who is the director of The Good Book and  a creative genius, gave me a gift that pretty much changed my life as an actress – an amazing acting workshop. Jenn Gotzon, who is one of the lead actresses in this movie and star of such faith based movies as God’s Country and I Am Gabriel,  led an acting class full of enthusiasm, yet in such an eloquent, soft spoken, and often humorous way.  I have never been so inspired!  I felt as if angels were in the room.  Yes, it was THAT amazing!

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Mrs. Jenn began the morning with having us write down our passions and dreams.  Now, I am all about dreaming big and following the path the Lord has for me.  My momma was instilling  “dream big”  in me when I was just 7 years old , but I felt so encouraged to think about where God wants me to go in my life and  what He wants me to do with my passions at the end of this workshop.   Mrs. Jenn directed us to think of and write down 3 things we can do in a year that were out of the box.  I looked around at all the people in the room, listening to her quiet, careful voice as she had us think about where God wanted us to be in a month, or  even in a year.   She painted pictures in my mind with her words.  She gave us tips from “the business.”  She encouraged us to “step out on faith.”   I listened to her stories about following where God wanted her to be and her obedience in following Him and even a story about when she waited a LONG time to follow God, and I  wanted to cheer when she told us all about her career and how getting started at about 14  has led her to some of the biggest Christian movies that are out today!   She is an amazing woman full of faith!

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At the end, she had us do exercises that really helped us get into character and showed us tricks she had learned in acting schools in New York and through experiences.  Not only did this moving exercise get us ready for our silent film, but for me personally, it helped me  with a character I am portraying in  a play that has been uber challenging for me.  I am Gracie Miller in Tom Sawyer – the total opposite of my own character in real life – and Mrs. Jenn  helped me learn to transform myself to Gracie through her exercises.  As we wrapped the workshop, I asked people around the room what they thought.  One word was repeated over and over:   INSPIRING!  I interviewed a few of the actors, and was told  they all took away a deeper passion for acting through her lessons.   Mrs. Jenn’s  way of  putting her trust in the Lord was infectious, as well as her easy smile and the sparkle in her eyes.   She is passion filled and makes YOU want to be passion filled, too.  It is the Lord shining through her.

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After the workshop we went to one of the most beautiful churches in downtown Springfield, complete with the sun shining through the stained glass windows.  We shot an amazing scene where a  homeless girl comes into the church during  the taking of the offering and everyone  went into acting mode – thinking of how they might act in real life, or taking a character they were thinking of and acting with raw emotion.   Silent.

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I was honored to be a choir member (with my best friend Peyton by my side)  and as I sat and watched the usher pass by Sarah, the homeless girl who “tried” to give her quarter, all she had, I couldn’t help but think of the Bible story of the woman who gave all she had and thought of how she was probably shunned, too.  I watched as Mrs. Jenn’s character came and sat by her in comfort.  I searched  my heart and had to think, “Would that be me? Would I care enough?”  I’d like to think I would.  I shed a tear watching her being shunned and watching the people (actors) with their emotions.   Why did Sarah  come to the church in the first place?  Well, you will have to wait and watch The Good Book to see.    I know I can’t wait to see it in completion.   Kuddos to Mrs. Sharon, who once said she wouldn’t direct any more movies, but who answered the call God gave her and stepped out in faith  to make another movie – a  silent movie, about a Bible, and people with real hearts and real lives ….and the rest is history!

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Written by Sharon Wilharm

I'm a female filmmaker, blogger, and speaker with over a decade of industry experience. I'm passionate about visual storytelling. I know firsthand that you don't have to spend a fortune to make a good movie, and you can tell a powerful story without ever saying a word. My desire with Faith Flix is to educate, inspire, and encourage my fellow filmmakers. I know that Christian filmmakers can make better movies, but it takes education and hard work. I'll help with the education and leave you to do the hard work.

4 comments

  1. Thank you Olivia for this wonderful post. I had heard about the workshop and was so curious how it felt to be there. Your post made me feel like I got to attend. It is nice to hear that someone we admire like Jenn Gotzon was as true, real, and sincere as you would hope her to be. It sounds like you gained a lot from the workshop and this experience. I hope you will be able to follow in Jenn’s footsteps and live your dreams. Thank you for sharing the inside story!

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  2. Olivia, I am pleased to read your reaction to my character’s reaction to Sarah. To know other actors were moved by a scene gives hope that the audience will be moved to. I had a similar experience, holding back tears watching Jenn and Amanda film another very moving scene. Interesting to note that the Bible story you recalled as you watched our interaction was part of the backstory I had created for my character.

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