John Achorn is an actor, director and teacher. He has specialized in the commedia dell’Arte for over 40 years. He studied under the late Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, with whom he helped found the noted Dell’Arte School in Humboldt County, where he has returned several times over the years to teach commedia. As a Visiting Assistant Professor, Mr. Achorn has taught acting and directed productions at The University of Redlands, UCLA, USC, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He has presented film discussions of seminal comedy movies in conjunction with his commedia instruction, with an emphasis on silent clowns/comics, the early talkie pioneers and screwball comedies. In his course on the History of Comedy at Emeritus College, he has examined British film comedy, the screwball comedy tradition, and the rise and development of the TV Sitcom. He currently teaches Shakespeare, American Novel and History of Comedy at Santa Monica Emeritus College. Mr. Achorn also is involved with the Virginia Avenue Project where he teaches at-risk teens Creative Dramatics. He has recently translated and adapted the play A Sensible Girl by Jean de Palaprat (1692), and is working on a documentary on Carlo-Mazzone-Clementi.
Schawn Belston is Senior Vice President of Library and Technival Services at Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Schawn began his career in feature post production. In 1997, he helped start Film Preservation program at Twentieth Century Fox. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Outfest.
James Ellis Deakins
James Ellis Deakins is know for her work on The Shawshank Redemption(1994), The Siege and Prisioner. She has been married to cinematographer Roger Deakins since December 1991.
Ric Mondragon is a design consultant and contractor. Ric joined Vidiots in 1985 as its first Manager and was a major force in Vidiots’ success . Ric has an extensive knowledge of film and is a community activist. Ric has a talent for inspiring people.
Josh Small is currently CFO of Annapurna Pictures. He is an entertainment and media executive with a diverse array of experience advising in all aspects of entertainment business strategy, with a particular focus in business plan development, capital structuring, deal analysis and negotiation, risk analysis, film performance analysis, and emerging business models. Previously he was COO of TopLine Game Labs, VP at Canon Media Partners and an associate at JP Morgan Entertainment Advisors.
Susan Stangl, MD, MSEd, is a family physician at the Downtown Women’s Center, a doctor-patient communications consultant and associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In addition to her work in medicine, she is active in local theater as an actor, director, singer, musician and sound designer, and she has directed, acted in and/or edited several short films. She wholeheartedly supports the work of Vidiots to make their unique collection available to the public.
Founding Emeritus Board Member
Patricia Meyer holds a BA in history and literature from Harvard University and MA in fiction writing from Boston University. For the past 20 years, she has had a diverse career as a motion picture and television screenwriter and producer. With her passion for dark comedic true crime stories, she has had the privilege of writing numerous screenplays for Martin Scorsese, Harry and Mary Jane Ufland, Brillstein-Grey and Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions. She has also written projects for every major studio as well as the networks, including a CBS movie and miniseries. Meyer’s first production, the ABC miniseries THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE starred Oprah Winfrey and received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Miniseries in 1989. Throughout the 1990s, she developed and executive produced multiple network movies. She made her directorial debut in 2003, with THE LIST, a short tragic-comedy starring Corbin Bernsen and Ashley Williams. Before joining the AFI faculty, she taught screenwriting and development at Chapman University. Meyer has been a Senior Lecturer in Screenwriting at the AFI Conservatory for the past five years and will continue to teach screenwriting there and produce special events in the fall.
Advisory Board Members
David O. Russell