Cinematic Arts Speakers

Cinematic Arts hosts a number of speakers each semester both in the classroom and at workshops open to the public. The following spoke in early 2012.

dan gordonDan Gordon


Professional screenwriter and co-founder of the Zaki Gordon Institute, Dan Gordon, has been the screenwriting instructor at the film school since its inception. He travels from Los Angeles, weekly, to teach at the Zaki Gordon Institute and also finds time to teach at the Columbia, UCLA and USC film programs.

As a master storyteller, Dan creates indelible characters and relationships, which have afforded actors the opportunity to play some of their most unforgettable roles. From Kevin Bacon’s haunting portrayal of Henry Young in Murder in the First to Kevin Costner’s darkly heroic lawman in Wyatt Earp, from Aiden Quinn’s conflicted spy in The Assignment to Denzel Washington’s towering portrayal of Rubin Carter in The Hurricane. Gordon’s characters are marked by their struggle to maintain their humanity in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Dan Gordon graduated from UCLA as a film and television major and later served as a Sergeant in the Israeli Army. His film credits include: Tank, Gulag, Passenger 57, Wyatt Earp, Murder in the First, The Assignment, The Hurricane, Celestine Prophecy, and Expecting Mary as well as the upcoming Mafia Cop. He is, in addition, the author of five novels. He has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1985.

randall wallaceRandall Wallace


Randall Wallace – the Oscar®-nominated creative force behind the epic storytelling of such critical and box-office hits as BRAVEHEART, WE WERE SOLDIERS and PEARL HARBOR – last Fall brought to life the inspirational excitement of SECRETARIAT, the impossible true story of the racehorse who won the Triple Crown in 1973.    

Wallace’s skill with uncommon yet true tales of loyalty, courage and commitment from throughout human history has set him apart in Hollywood. His films have earned more than $1 billion dollars at the box office, but he is most sought after for something even more rare: a visual storytelling style that can make the past feel completely alive and screen characters from any time period compellingly real.  He turned a forgotten Scottish warrior into a contemporary film hero in the screenplay for BRAVEHEART; adapted a classic Alexandre Dumas novel into an all-star adventure of palace intrigue with his directorial debut THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK; examined the sacrifices of American soldiers with one of the best-reviewed war movies of the last two decades, WE WERE SOLDIERS; and forged a blockbuster tale of friendship and romance against the backdrop of an America under attack in the script for PEARL HARBOR. 

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sterling andersonSterling Anderson


Sterling has written for some of the most popular network television shows, such as The Unit on CBS, as well as NBC’s Medium and Heist. His teleplay The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn, written for CBS starring Sidney Poitier, received three Emmy nominations and won an Image Award. His extensive resume also includes screenplays written for Lions Gate, Disney, HBO, TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures. A graduate in English from St. Mary’s College, the accomplished writer also spent five years teaching screenwriting courses as an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Sterling has written many books including Writing Without Fear (2010) and Beyond Screenwriting (2011). He often guest lectures and participates in panels on screenwriting at film schools and festivals across the country.

shawn nelsonShawn Nelson

Acting Coach

Nelson has taught and coached actors in Los Angeles for over 25 years. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. He has performed in film, television and on stage, and has directed for stage and prime-time television. Nelson’s Hollywood coaching clients include Sela Ward, co-starring in this season’s CSI NY on CBS; Eva Longoria of ABC’s Desperate Housewives; Rebecca Budig, star of ABC’s Daytime Drama All My Children and Tamara Taylor, co-star of Fox’s hit show Bones. Nelson is a college guest instructor, and teaches Film Acting and Directing Actors at film schools and seminars. He is the author of an audio course in acting “The Impersonal Actor,” which is recommended course material at colleges and universities, and has recently completed a college course textbook in film acting.