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Merge Summit: when heaven and Hollywood come together

Gail Choice | 8/1/2012, 5 p.m.

So, you want to make it in the entertainment business? There are a number of ways you can go to make your Hollywood dream possible. It ain't easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. That's why more celebrities call upon the power of the Lord; that's when Hollywood and heaven merge.

Mark your calendars for The Merge Summit, whose slogan is "Integrating Faith and Entertainment," now in its fourth year. The summit will take place the weekend of Aug. 23-25 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

The event, presented in association with partners EMI Music Publishing, Verity Gospel Music Group, and Upscale magazine, integrates faith and entertainment and provides a platform for men and women of faith to interface, learn from and partner with leading executives and talent in the entertainment industry.

The Merge Summit is the most exciting and impressive entertainment event you would ever want to attend, especially if you're serious about making it in the entertainment world. It is not all glamour and glitz. The Merge Summit is designed to help attendees overcome the overwhelming obstacles they face, by putting their faith and trust in God. Top industry leaders and entertainers candidly share their stories of heart-break, anger, misgivings and shortcomings. They tell attendees how they "got over," and what lessons they learned about faith and trust in God along the way. You will walk away inspired by honest conversation and the fact that there is a power source greater than any law, rule or prejudice the entertainment establishment can muster.

The multifaceted program, one of the largest entertainment industry events for people of faith, is a complete weekend of education, inspiration and entertainment. Nearly 100 of the industry's top entertainers and executives will lead more than 20 interactive panel discussions, workshops and master class sessions, covering the spectrum of music, television, film, radio, creative development, branding, management and new media.

The impressive list of confirmed presenters makes your heart leap with excitement. In most cases, you will have the opportunity to ask questions in the question-and-answer session that directly follows the panel presentations.

Executives from the major studios, networks and cable stations will be on hand with real talk about the industry and how you can make your presence known. Programming executives, music executives and performers will be on panels, as well as writers, producers and directors. I guarantee it will be an invigorating exchange of information, a wonderful opportunity to learn from those who have been there, and speak from their hearts.

According to Summit Founder and Chair Holly Carter, "Each year, The Merge Summit has grown and changed to represent the evolution of the entertainment business, while always remaining true to our original purpose: to give a voice and opportunity for the gifts and talent of creative men and women of faith who have stories to tell."

"Each year, I grow more excited with anticipation of the Merge," said Summit co-founder and co-chair Robi Reed. "It has proven to be an invaluable source of information for all who attend. I have no doubt this time around will be even greater."

"I'm excited about the Merge Summit . . . by partnering faith with media . . . we are able to cast a wider net, impact culture in unimaginable ways," said Gospel superstar Kirk Franklin.

Well, I'm excited too. Last year was my first opportunity to cover this wonderful event. I met a lot of people from out of state, and got an opportunity to speak with industry icons. Did I mention the Summit also presents superb entertainment?

Once again, mark your calendars for The Merge Summit, Aug., 23-25, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

To learn more about The Merge Summit, registration and fees, visit the website at www.themergesummit.com.

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.com