A trio of entertainment-business vets who have been pals since junior high school are returning to their hometown of East Lyme Saturday. They'll be sharing information and insight with high schoolers who might be interested in TV or film work.
Dave Goetsch is an executive producer and writer for "The Big Bang Theory" and previously worked his way up to supervising producer on "3rd Rock from the Sun."
Screenwriter Ben Brand's credits include "November," a 2004 release starring Courteney Cox, as well as Lifetime channel movies.
Chris Foster has developed a career as an editor of movie trailers. He's done the honors on such films as "Rango," "Marie Antoinette" and "Shrek 2."
It's part of Southeastern Connecticut Youth Screenwriting/Film Day, sponsored by the East Lyme Library Foundation in conjunction with the East Lyme Public Library.
The idea for the event came from Robert A. Linden, a retired physician who is president of the East Lyme Library Foundation Board of Directors.
Linden says, "I knew that these three guys had gone out to L.A. and done big things. ... I thought, boy, it would be interesting to bring these three guys back and talk to East Lyme High School about what they do - especially because all the kids are picking up these cameras now and are going out and making movies."
Working in the entertainment world, he says, "is a great area and an exciting area, but you also have to understand that it may not be your day job. It's just going to be hard to break into. I thought these kids should know about that."
Not coincidentally, two of Linden's three children are in the entertainment business in Los Angeles. His daughter, Beth, is a production coordinator for Discovery Studio's L.A. branch. His youngest son, Todd, is a writer's assistant/script coordinator for the ABC sitcom "Happy Endings."
So when Linden was out in L.A. last August, he met with Goetsch, Brand and Foster in Foster's living room in Pasadena. He pitched his proposal to have them speak to East Lyme High School students.
"They said, 'We'd been thinking about doing this for years, and we love this idea. We're in.' That's how it took off," Linden says.
Goetsch, who is also a professor at the University of Southern California, wanted to make the program interactive - meaning kids should make movies of their own for the panelists to critique. He suggested, too, they open it up to kids beyond those at East Lyme High School.
Students from schools around the region submitted 28 films for the program. (In total, 68 filmmakers worked on those movies.)
Linden had contacted other southeastern Connecticut natives who have gone onto showbiz success about possibly being part of the panel. Stephen Trask, musician and film/theater composer from Waterford, has a strict timeline he must adhere to on a new movie project in California and will probably not be able to come east, as he initially thought. If unavailable, he will be replaced by Todd Linden, who graduated from East Lyme High School in 2001 and now works on "Happy Endings."
Saturday will unfold this way: The panelists will speak from noon until about 1:45 p.m., describing what they do and what education it took to get them there. A Q&A will follow, running from a half-hour to an hour. After an "intermission," several of the films made by local students will be screened. At the end of the day, the panelists will meet privately with the filmmakers to critique their work.
The afternoon is free and open to the public.