“Life Lessons from Remember the Titans”

So, this happened…

I had the privilege of presenting a lecture for Black History Month at the college where I teach Film Studies. My lecture was titled “Life Lessons from Remember the Titans.” I was honored to be asked to speak again; this was my second time. Last year’s Black History Month events were pre-pandemic, which feels like ages ago now, and I was able to present in-person. The subject of my talk was one of my favorite films, Claudine (dir. John Berry, 1974) which is a social commentary about the oppressive implications of the welfare system on the single Black mother and its effects on the Black family unit. I was able to give a short lecture, screen the film for a forum full of attendees and then hold a very engaging Q&A/discussion afterward. This year’s presentation looked much different during the pandemic. I presented via Zoom webinar with the help of our amazing instructional technologist and my dear friend and colleague serving as my moderator. While it was very different from presenting in-person as I’m used to, it was quite a rewarding experience to be able to share my heart with so many gracious and invested attendees, despite this time of involuntary isolation, thanks to modern technology. I’m so grateful that it was recorded so that I can share with you all as well!

If you haven’t seen the film, that’s totally okay; I show enough clips that it will make it easy for you to keep up but it will also make you want to watch the entire thing. Even if you’ve seen it before, I hope this will present the film to you in a new light. If you have the time, I would love to have you check it out and let me know what you think. Please feel free to share as well! *Sidenote: Don’t mind my nerves in the beginning. Forgot I was being introduced 🤦🏾‍♀️😅🤷🏾‍♀️ #rookie #goodtimes

Click here to watch: Life Lessons from Remember the Titans

Music to My Ears: Introducing Executive Order!!

(L-R: Rich Elg, Joseph Olson, Jim Christian) Photos Courtesy of Sarita Cutting/Gina Snowden

I was beyond stoked to have gotten a call from my Auntie G asking me on behalf of Joseph, her partner and lead singer for indie rock band, Executive Order, to be a VIP beta listener for their upcoming album. Of course, it’s always cool to be first at anything but coming from these two, the request meant so much more than that. On first listen I had countless moments that sent me on a sort of nostalgic journey in the spirit of 80s and classic rock, along with shots of blues and pops of country, all reimagined. There are, at times, hints of Bon Jovi or Lenny Kravitz; at others, one of my favorites, The Eagles. But most of the time and with full authenticity, Executive Order’s sound is all their own. Such heart in the lyrics and richness in the sound. This album is satisfying on so many levels and I feel honored to have been among the first to hear it. Now you can get your first taste of this grass roots gem with their premiere single “All Bleed Red.” The song released yesterday and is available for purchase on all the major apps and platforms, but you can listen to the full song here:

You can also listen for free on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/5IqSv0uB7SLbaOvMCycC0y?si=xt7DeyaWQGWr-HKvkcyZiQ

The Home of EO:  www.ExecutiveOrderMusic.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExecOrderMusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/execordermusic/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ExecOrderMusic
ReverbNation:  https://www.reverbnation.com/executiveorder

About Executive Order:

With a strong rock foundation, Executive Order has a sound with a unique blend of each of members’ influences and experiences spanning five decades beginning with the 1960’s.  A heavy bass line, sweet rhythm guitar licks, and lusty vocals may remind you of another time in music history.  Motown and funk influences of all three members are apparent in the melodies, harmonies, and stacked vocals.  At times it’s like listening to the radio on a cross-country car ride, driving through the Motor City on your way to Seattle.  Along with the band’s heart and passion, great detail and care have gone into thoughtful lyrics, melodies, and arrangements on this release. 

Jim Christian, the bass player captures a classic rock melodic feel and the funk of the 70’s with his unique bass lines and Hawaiian soul. The guitarist, Rich Elg, brings to the table a riff-loving vibe reminiscent of guitar heroes of the past decades. The lead vocalist and lyricist, Joseph Olson, pays homage to his Motown, rock, and pop influences through melodies, words, and bridges they inspired.  When you put it all together you have an energetic, unique, and seriously fun, sound from a group of performers who wear their hearts on their sleeve and live for the music they create and present to you. 

A Reflection & My First Podcast Interview

Hello to all my cotton-pickin’ followers; I have missed you! The thing is, life has been quite eventful this past year and I simply forgot to take you on that journey with me. Please, forgive me. I absolutely intend to make it up to you, and I think that my latest treat will go a long way toward doing just that!

As you all know I have been teaching for nearly twenty years now (I know, I can barely believe it myself!). Over this time I have bonded with many of my students — many of whom I am still in contact with to this day. My relationships with them remind me of the long-lasting relationships I have shared into adulthood with some of my own teachers. I remember those who continued to champion me well into my twenties, and some even after that: Chris Paulus, Kirk Vriend, Robin  Schneider, (who all three, came to my college graduation from CSU Northridge); Dan Picardi (who added me as a stop-over on his motorcycle road trip itinerary to SoCal a few years back), Alan Taback, Larry McMorris, and Adam Lazear (whom I still owe a visit and feel quite confident that it is, finally, just right around the corner!); my college screenwriting professor, Jim Lawrence (who, in addition to helping me find my voice, gave me the honor of reading several of his projects and giving him feedback, as he had done for me many, many times); and last but not least, Casey Case (without whom I may never have found my path as a filmmaker and Film Studies professor) have all made a tremendous impact on my life. With each of them I could chronicle specific moments, conversations, and memories that have helped to shape who I am as a person and as an educator. That list of treasured souls is the makings of a blog post all on its own! But my point is, when I think back on my formative years, these are the faces that come to mind and cause me to offer up prayers of thanksgiving for their active presence in my life, even though some of them I have lost contact with in more recent years. These are the lives I reflect upon when I think about my own journey and the kind of educator and mentor I hope to be one day.

What I didn’t realize in keeping my focus on one step at a time on this lifelong path of teaching and mentorship, is that I had no frame of reference for just how far on this journey I have already come. Then, last summer Sam, one of my sweetest and dearest friends who, thirteen years ago, was a precious little 6th grade student of mine, incited a conversation between me and a young man I had never met. What happened after that initial phone call is, in part, a tangible measuring stick of just how many miles I have put in on this road.

Joey James is quite a dynamic young man. At the time I only knew him as Sam’s boyfriend (now fiancé — YES!). I knew he worked at our church, Rocky Peak, as the print and digital media coordinator, and that he also worked with the kids ministry there. One afternoon he called me and asked me to be a guest on the new podcast show he was launching, at Sam’s recommendation. Of course I was flattered because since she was eleven years old, Sam and I have had this kindred connection and it meant the world to me that I mean the world to her. But a podcast? That was an entirely different situation. I just didn’t know that I would have anything of value to add to the conversation Joey wanted to have. My immediate response was “I don’t think I’m qualified,” to which he responded, “That’s perfect!” I had my doubts but in the end I gladly obliged because I would do anything for Sam and this Joey was quite persuasive! Once I had the chance to sit down with him for this podcast interview — which was our first official conversation — I quickly learned that beyond his gift for motion design, graphics and visual storytelling, Joey has a tremendous heart for people — near or far (he also does a lot of mission trips), young or old. He is also a gifted listener, which makes him the perfect host for this show. I am so glad I accepted his invitation. What an enriching experience it has been!

Lauren and Joey smiling post-interview
Joey and me post-interview – what a time!

I am so excited to share this podcast interview with you. I hope it will give you a bit more insight into my life, my heart, and my journey. I also hope that you enjoy it so much that you stick around to hear the stories of other people who are passionate about their purpose and the people they have the privilege of interacting with as a part of their life’s work. Faith Backstage is just getting started but it has burst out of the starting blocks strong; I’m very blessed to have been asked to be just a small part of it. Thank you, Joey, for this awesome opportunity. And thank you, Sam, for seeing something in me worth sharing.

You can find and subscribe to Faith Backstage on Apple Podcasts and Spotify:

Apple:https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faith-backstage/id1503964575
Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/show/2lvCLFOOFzSLGdAIK1nPTZ

Sam and Joey sharing hugs and smiles as they pose for the picture
My Sam with her Joey ❤️

Gunshot Melody: a MUST-SEE!

When I walked into the Electric Lodge, a quaint Venice theater, I didn’t know what to expect, except that whatever beauty unfolded it would be remarkable simply because it was the directorial vision of a dear friend and extremely gifted colleague of mine, Desean K. Terry. I wasn’t able to make it out to see the play in its first run last fall due to scheduling conflicts, so I was ecstatic to hear that it was getting a second run. As I crossed the threshold into the cozy space I was immediately transported into a world of dynamic and poignant characters with charming moments and brilliant insights on critically relevant issues that affect us all. This play is important for so many reasons and I urge you to go out and see it. It will open your eyes and shift your perspective in a powerful way; I guarantee it! Congratulations to the playwright (Dionna M. Daniel), the actors, musicians and crew — and a special congratulations to you, Desean, on a magnificent job! I stand and applaud you all 👏🏾

My Hollywood Melody

Those of you who have been following me for the past several years have seen me share many stories about my journey as a writer and director and you’ve even seen some of my work. But you’ve never seen me as the protagonist in any of my stories. I have made a habit of not being seen on camera but then I had an opportunity to apply for the Shonda Rhimes Women’s Directing Mentorship and while I was well aware of how many women directors would be applying who had a longer resume filled with bigger stars and bigger budgets, I knew this was still something I needed to do for myself. So I took the opportunity to reflect on who I am as a person, my directing style and what I bring to the table. This short narrative is the fruit of that process. I hope you enjoy. Below is my most recent director’s reel as well. Thank you all for sharing in this journey with me; it means so much!

 

Sincerely,

Lauren C. Snowden
AKA The Filmstress

My Latest Directorial Project “Maternity Leave”

Hey, all!

I know it has been a while since I’ve posted any projects I’ve been working on. That’s because I have been focused on writing the past year and a half. But I’m pleased to bring you a new web series called “Maternity Leave” that I directed, which is written by and starring my dear friend, the highly gifted and hilariously funny Angel Laketa Moore. The first of three episodes dropped yesterday and I am posting the link here for you to check out. There will be a special interview episode where Angel and I discuss our collaboration on the series. I hope you enjoy it; please let me know what you think in the comments! Maternity Leave – Episode 1

Happy 2019 and a Little Treat =)

Lauren Snowden – Life Group Story from The Church at Rocky Peak on Vimeo.

Hello everybody!

I must apologize for the extended silence on my blog. Last year was filled with hills and valleys, gains and losses, but I’m thankful to report that I made it on through to 2019! I wanted to share with you a video that was shot about my story at the end of last year and used to kick off 2019 at my church. It also serves as a sort of milestone for me as it was filmed just after my 40th birthday. 40 is a number that holds a lot of significance for many reasons; for me, I am hoping that it also holds the promise of perspective! I am extremely honored that so many saw my story as one that needed to be shared and I hope that it might touch and encourage you or someone you know who needs it. I’m really still in a season of trying to figure things out — and do we really ever “get there?” Nonetheless, I’m determined to keep pushing and I hope you all do the same. Looking forward to this year and all the promise that it holds. Hope to hear from you all soon!

Sincerely,

Lauren C. Snowden

 

Huge Thanks!

IMG_2228Thank you to everyone who attended the Celebration of Life for my cousin, Artina Richardson, on Saturday May 20, 2017. We can’t thank you enough for the kind words, compassionate care, prayers, and financial gifts, which have helped to lessen our burden. We pray that God will abundantly bless you in return.

We extend a very special note of thanks to the staff at Peers-Lorentzen Funeral Service, Tulare CA, for their excellent assistance.

With love,
The Family of Carla Artina Richardson

A Chance to Help Someone in Need (GoFundMe)!

Hello, beloved followers! Long time no see, but I wanted to extend an opportunity and a request, as my cousin is in desperate need. Thanks for reading!

Artina’s GoFundMe Page 

Carla Artina (Tina) Richardson is a 37-year-old single mother of two beautiful children. She is a hardworking woman dearly loved by her extended family and friends. For the past several months Artina Richardson has been literally fighting to breathe. Although the cause is unknown, the diagnoses are definite: she has somehow developed nearly every major chronic and life-threatening lung disorder, including: Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, Asthma, and COPD. But the most dangerous of all is a very rare variation of a condition known as Pulmonary Fibrosis–a disease for which there is no cure. 
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a disease that is marked by severe and progressive irreversible scarring of the deep tissue of the lungs. The condition is most common in individuals ages 50-75. Due to her young age, doctors are confounded by the circumstances leading to her life-threatening situation. 

During Tina’s current stay in the hospital to undergo a biopsy, she encountered several complications: her lungs have collapsed several times, she has had a blood transfusion due to internal bleeding, and her oxygen level continues to stay well below normal. It has been confirmed that she does not have cancer but there is no precedent for her situation, either.

At this point, Tina is still hospitalized. The goal right now is to get her strong and stable enough to transfer to a rehabilitation facility. However, she was just recently notified by her insurance carrier that her medical bills are not being covered due to the fact that her condition is so rare. 

The only hope to improve her prognosis is to eventually have a lung transplant but, at this point in time, she is too sick to even be placed on the transplant waiting list. Right now she needs our help.

Funds raised will support Tina to continue receiving treatment in the hospital and cover the cost of the rehabilitation home to prepare her for the transplant eligibility waiting list. Lastly, because she has not been able to work and is hospitalized in Fort Worth, TX, away from her family and support system, the funds would also be used to provide care for her children.

Artina desperately needs the support of caring and compassionate friends; time is of the essence. Your generosity is very much appreciated!

Here is the link to the GoFundMe page:

Artina’s GoFundMe Page

Makin’ Moves: Nakia Burrise and “Class Dismissed”

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 11.51.58 AM

As you all know, I am passionate about not only creating, but also helping to promote positive media content. I have a dear friend with a vision for such a project and she is making it happen! Nakia Burrise is an actress and content creator with a project called Class Dismissed. Your kids may know her as the Yellow Power Ranger and you may know her from shows like Hart of Dixie and The Middle. But I have had the privilege of getting to know her on a personal level over the past year and she has been a true confidante. To say she is full of valuable wisdom to share would only be touching the surface of who she is; I can say the same about this fun web series she has created. It is only the beginning! Class Dismissed has just completed its first season and now it is time to make preparations for season 2.

Here’s the logline (premise): Four teachers follow their own dreams while trying to mold the minds of their students… God help us all!

Of course, storytelling is never a path without cost – whether those costs are internal (mental and emotional energy) or external (monetary contribution) – and an ensemble web series is not something that can be accomplished alone. I took some time to talk with Nakia and ask her some questions about herself, her faith and her project. I think you will agree that she had some inspiring thoughts to share.

Lauren C. Snowden: Okay, Nakia! What is it that you would like people to know about you – both as a person and as an artist?

Nakia Burrise: First, I’d just like to thank you for this interview opportunity.

LCS: It is my absolute pleasure!

NB: It is a true blessing to have the platform to share a slice of my life with others. First, and foremost I am a Christian! As a Christian I feel there is a responsibility to make sure I am cognizant of the projects I am a part of and the roles I portray. That is why it was so important to me to create a family-friendly comedy series that the whole family can enjoy with clean humor. Many comedy shows today have crossed the line and no longer give us true family content without some sexual connotation, leaving fewer and fewer opportunities for families to sit back and enjoy a show together. That is my goal with Class Dismissed.

LCS: What is Class Dismissed really about, beyond the logline?

NB: Class Dismissed is really about four laughable characters from different walks of life, placed in the same environment without a common goal! Here’s a summary:

Class Dismissed is a hilarious new comedy web series centered on three high school friends, one nuisance and the unpredictable assistant principal: Liz, the sassy TV extra turned teacher’s aide; Anne, the easy going, free spirited first grade teacher who uses yoga and Tai Chi to teach her students Math and English; BJ, the loud-mouthed PE teacher/failed comedian; and Nancy, the nosy perfectionist teacher round out this crazy cast. After years apart BJ, Liz, and Anne find themselves reunited back at the same grade school…only this time they’re in charge. What happens in the teachers’ lounge stays in the teachers’ lounge! Liz, BJ, Anne, and Nancy are the center of each episode, encountering one hilarious circumstance after another. Hijinks, laughter, quick-witted banter, and lots of love make this show the can’t-miss web series.

LCS: Awesome! So, why this show? What inspired you create it?

NB: After leaving Power Rangers years ago, where I played Tanya the Yellow Power Ranger, I needed some financial stability so I began substitute teaching in the inner city of  Los Angeles. Yes, this was a far leap from Hollywood. But, you have to do what you’ve got to do when you have a family. In 1999 I began substitute teaching while still pursuing my acting dreams. My experience in teaching led me to this show idea. There were so many hilarious, yet unbelievable, and heart wrenching experiences that I felt could only be told in a comedy series. My life experiences as an actress and substitute teacher are explored in my show. I believe Class Dismissed‘s characters are truly relatable in many aspects. I’m sure everyone has had one or more teachers who really didn’t teach; they were simply there for a pay check (BJ). Then there is always that one misguided student that likes to disrupt every class (Timmy). But, we often remember those teachers and assistants that spoke life into our souls and kept our heads held high in those moments of hopelessness (Anne and Liz). Future episodes will bring to heart issues of acceptance (ethnic, cultural), faith, and determination. I want my show to build, strengthen, and encourage others through the life experiences of my characters.

I often wondered why God didn’t bless me with another role on a television show right after Power Rangers. But, I realize that life’s struggles and experiences build one’s character, testimony, strength, and trust in Him. My life encounters, intersections, and divine appointments are all a part of my story…and that is what I share in Class Dismissed!

LCS: How do you produce a show like this? What does it involve? Do you have a big team or is this a love-labor crew?

NB: The Lord has been very gracious in allowing me the opportunity to employ a professional crew and actors who love what they do. The first season was 99% financed by my husband and me. I am the creator, executive producer, and co-writer with my dear friend, Thomas Lazare. Putting together a full series production involves many hours of planning, coordinating, and strategizing.  I do not have a production team for my production company so I handle it all. I really love every aspect of being a producer and talent for Class Dismissed, especially because this is my baby. So it is all well worth it.

LCS: Oh, yes. I know that sentiment all too well! Can you talk a little bit about your passion for this Hollywood Industry? How do you see Class Dismissed fitting into (or not) the Hollywood paradigm? What are your ultimate goals for this charming webseries?

NB: I have always loved performing! When I was a kid I loved the Carol Burnett Show. I often emulated the characters that I saw on her show in front of my parents and brothers. They would get a kick out of it. It wasn’t until recently I learned about producing. Well, I had to in order to get my show out to the masses. I really enjoy it as well. Ultimately, I would love to have my show airing on a major network or global streaming provider like Netflix or HULU. Hollywood needs shows like mine. Wholesome family shows are becoming non-existent and there is still a huge audience desiring family shows. We want to meet their demand.

LCS: So, how can we support this project and your efforts to get it out to as many people as possible?

NB: Right now we have an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for season 2 in progress. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to film 12 episodes. A simple $5.00 donation can go far. Here is our Indiegogo link

Class DIsmissed INDIEGOGO

LCS:  Where can we find the first season and get caught up?

NB: We have a website for our show: www.classdismissed.net. We also have a YouTube channel: http//www.youtube.com/c/sovereigntyentertainmentinc

LCS: Can you give us a teaser right here, right now?

NB: Of course! Here is the logline and a trailer for episode 4:
A new exchange teacher meets chaos at Duke Ellington… while Liz is up to her ears in grading science projects…for another teacher!

LCS: It looks great, and I’m so excited for what is coming! Thank you so much for taking the time out, Nakia. I will be looking for season 2!

NB: Thank you, for doing this!

Nakia - theatrical

About Nakia Burrise:
Growing up in Stockton, CA, Nakia began performing acrobatics by the age of five and later ventured into theater, musical theater, dancing, singing, and modeling. While attending Edison High School in Stockton, California, she auditioned for UCLA’s prestigious theater department. She was the only African American female freshman accepted into the theater department that year. By the time she was a junior at UCLA, her professional career had begun. She booked her first role as a series regular on Power Rangers, as Tanya Sloan, the yellow ranger; while simultaneously recording her first pop album with her singing group, Divine. She has since played an array of characters in such shows and movies as Angie Tribeca, Kevin From Work, Hart of Dixie (recurring), Star Trek Continues, New Girl, About a Boy, The Perfect Boyfriend, 90210, The Middle, Rules Of Engagement, Melissa and Joey, Bones, Samantha Who, Boston Legal, Nash Bridges, and Moesha.

In 2006, Nakia founded a non-profit corporation called “A Day in the Life”. The corporation’s mission is to reach inner city children by giving them the opportunity to explore various careers and life options through field trips, presentations, and field work; opportunities that are not readily accessible to many inner city youths.

Also in 2006, Nakia began producing her own projects. She co-wrote the comedy pilot, A Day in the Life with good friend Sonya Shepherd. The project had great reviews. In 2009, she wrote, produced and starred in Crazy Daze, comedy series. Crazy Daze, centered around Nikela and her dysfunctional group of friends as they navigate through the perils of life! The series received honorable mention in various television and film festivals. She is currently the creator, executive producer, and star in the comedy web series Class Dismissed (www.classdismissed.net)