Act One, Inc., exists to create a community of Christian professionals for the entertainment industry who are committed to artistry, professionalism, meaning, and prayer, so that through their lives and work they may be witnesses of Christ and the Truth to their fellow artists and to the global culture.

Our graduates are prepared for careers marked by integrity and excellence, in writers’ rooms, on sets, and in studio and network offices.



Mastering the craft of storytelling to move audiences through the radiance, wholeness, and harmony of beauty.

“In every heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.”
-Christopher Morley


Exceeding the best practices of the industry in excellence, honesty, trustworthiness, hard work, and a “no excuses” mentality.

“Excellence is an art won by training. We are what we repeatedly do.”


Telling stories of substance to beckon audiences toward truth, goodness, and even faith.

“Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.”
-Flannery O’Connor


Sustaining a soul-nourishing spiritual journey of holiness and love made possible by individual and community prayer.

“Prayer may not change things for you, but it for sure changes you for things.”
-Samuel M. Shoemaker


James Duke | President


James Duke is an accomplished filmmaker, pastor, educator, and communicator. As an independent filmmaker, James has almost twenty years experience in film, television, and video production. His credits include writing, producing and directing over a hundred award-winning short films, documentaries, and theatrical productions.  He has produced several feature films including The Least of These starring Isaiah Washington and Robert Loggia, and Ragamuffin about the life of Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins. James’ passion for developing filmmakers led him to found the Inspiration Film Fest as well as serve as the executive director of the Damah Film Festival.
Recently, he served as the president and CEO of Updog Studios, a production company in Florida that seeks to create provocative, thought-provoking entertainment and commercial cinema. James is a successful team builder with strong leadership skills and who enjoys collaborating with other creatives.
As a pastor, James served on staff at his church, Mosaic LA, for 10 years where he oversaw several ministries including film, live production, and family ministries. He’s also served as pastor in communities of faith in Tennessee and Florida.
As an educator, James’ passion for investing in and mentoring the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers has led him to create high school and collegiate-level curriculum taught and fully accredited in schools both in California and Florida.
As a communicator, James has been privileged to speak to thousands of people around the world on the topics of film, faith and culture.
James received his B.A. in Communications from Union University in Jackson, TN. He is also a graduate of the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, and the Act One writing program.
He is madly in love with his wife, Samantha, and their two young children. To schedule James for a speaking event, please contact him at james@actoneprogram.com.

Lara Sumera | Vice President, Programming

Lara is responsible for creating and implementing programs that further Act One’s mission and equip Alumni to make an impact in the industry.  Her love for story-telling was influenced by her humanitarian work abroad, and has worked with local communities in the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Kenya, Mexico, and Chile.  She has lived in England and the Dominican Republic, has backpacked through the Mediterranean countries, and couch-surfed her way throughout the United States.  Currently she lives in LA working with Act One, as well as an independent producer and project coordinator for film projects.

Chris Dalton | Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Chris is a graphic designer, corporate communications director, and writer  with over twenty years of experience. He has written and designed for Fortune 500 companies like Eli Lilly and Lockheed Martin, as well as non-profits, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.

A published author, his articles have appeared in Group Magaine, Relevant Magazine, and other online journals.

Chris is currently writing the feature films Vertical Leap for N’Said Productions and Slight of Hand for a small group of investors out of Arizona. In addition, he is in development on the feature films The Legends of Saint Nicholas, The Adventures of Lewis & Clark, The Sounds of Fury, and The Haunting of the Polestar.

This June, Chris will be releasing his first novel under his own imprint label. The Legends of Saint Nicholas is the origin story of the Santa Claus myths. The book will be available from The Story Haus and sold wherever fine books can be found.

Chris is married to Carissa, an actress, and they have three sons. All reside in Los Angeles, California.

Steve Storm | Vice President, Finance & Operations

Steve is a USC School of Cinema-Television graduate and veteran story consultant who has spent over 15 years helping clients pinpoint the heart of their stories and build tightly crafted entertainment experiences around that core. In addition, he spent six years on the core leadership team of a diverse inner-city church that helped to transform and enrich the personal stories of hundreds of people.

Steve initially joined Act One in an interim role in order to meet an immediate need. But the combination of his non-profit background and his extensive story training has proved so beneficial in helping shape the direction and impact of our organization that he has extended his commitment. He is excited to continue contributing to Act One’s growth and to the success of our many talented alumni.


Executive Consultant

Managing Partner, The Gathro Group, LLC.

Partner, Wind Dancer Production Group

President, Mpower Pictures

Assistant Executive Director, Writers Guild of America, West, Chair, Act One, Inc.

Producing Executive, DreamWorks Animation