Kelsey Cooke grew up acting professionally in Hollywood, signing with her first agent at the age of 7. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts from Vanguard University and pursued a Broadway, TV, and Film career in New York upon graduating. Her work eventually brought her back to Hollywood, where she co-founded thisishardtoread productions and is an award-winning producer, writer, and actor in the award-winning feature comedy/mockumentary film RE-OPENING. Favorite career highlights include: LIFE PARTNERS (Tribeca & Sundance Film Festival), BLACK NOVEMBER (Vivica Fox), PAN AM (ABC), ROYAL PAINS (USA), BAD TEACHER (CBS), and THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE.
Kathleen Cooke: OK full disclosure – you are my oldest daughter and the new Influence Women Nashville Chapter Director. I could tell lots about you…but I’ll let you tell us a bit about yourself.
Kelsey Cooke: I am co-founder of thisishardtoread productions with my husband, Chris. We create comedies with heart. I’m a producer, writer, director, and actor – not necessarily all at the same time, hah! I began in the industry as an actor at 7 years old in Hollywood and came up through the industry working not only in LA but after college in New York, working on stage and Broadway musicals before moving back to LA in 2013 as an actress and producer.
Kathleen: How and why have you gotten involved with Influence Women as the new Nashville Chapter Coordinator?
Kelsey: I recently moved to the greater Nashville area for the main purpose of collaborating with like-minded industry professionals. I was tired of waiting for some “big break” that would never come, and after producing my own feature film during the pandemic, I realized the Hollywood industry is so much bigger than the box we put it in. Nashville was the place where I felt called to create a movement with people who feel the same way. I know the multiple challenges of a career in the media and entertainment and the importance of collaboration with the right people and having a community of people who support each other not only in their work but in their faith.
Kathleen: When is the Influence Women Nashville launch, and what’s happening?
Kelsey: We are going to start gathering women on November 9th who are excited to get involved with our mission – to bring women in the industry together who want to encourage, uplift, and empower each other and align their media career with their faith and values. Let’s get to know each other and think of others who would also like to have a local community of creators. Please reach out if you would like to be a part of this initial group.
If you want to connect with Kelsey and Influence Women Nashville, reach out to her at: email@example.com.
I remember seeing my first augmented reality (AR) movie years ago. It was a Michael Jackson ride – Captain EO at Disneyland. But somehow, it didn’t have the same effect on me as the one I saw at the Sundance Film Festival years later. The first ever AR documentary produced, Cane Toads: The Conquest, brought to life an invasive amphibian species in Australia. They were swarming the country, killing dogs and cats, and literally covering the ground by the thousands. There seemed no way to stop them. With AR glasses on, we sat in the theater and had frogs pop out at us. We were jumping out of our seats! It was just a little too real for me.
Today, we’ve gotten more use to it. AR is rapidly becoming the choice of escapism. Movies and TV entertainment have matured, and our appetite to immerse our minds in another reality is growing.
We think about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) differently.
Recently, Phil and Kathleen Cooke, co-founders of The Influence Lab, were on the move in Nashville at the annual National Religious Broadcasters Convention (NRB). NRB is an international association of Christian communicators with more than 1,100 member organizations reaching millions with the use of media. Each year Christian media and entertainment leaders meet in a national city to teach leadership and technical workshops, share updates on media policies, listen to inspirational speakers, receive media and entertainment awards, and provide communicators with the opportunity to connect over their most recent content and projects.
Phil and Kathleen were hosted on several national radio programs, podcasts and TV shows. They also met with a number of national and global leaders to talk about the mission and vision of The Influence Lab and Influence Lab Women. (Read more here: Industry Experts Talk About the Power of Documentaries.)
What is the mission and vision of The Influence Lab?
Recognizing we live in a media-driven culture dominated by the influence of Hollywood, we engage Christians who are involved in media, entertainment, leadership, and the arts to encourage them to align their faith with God’s Kingdom purposes and become influencers and to use their talents and skills effectively to change the global culture.
To cultivate Christian thought leaders involved in media, entertainment, leadership, and the arts who are passionate to elevate the voice of God’s purposes and callings and bring about positive global change for the Church and the world.
What is coming next?
Save the date for April 29th in Los Angeles and June 10th in Atlanta for the next in-person Influence Lab Women gatherings. Details coming soon!