I’m Shawn!

I’m excited to get to know you.

Here’s a bit about me

After growing up in various parts of Southern California, I went away to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Drama, graduating with a B.F.A. in Acting and Directing. I did a lot of fun and entrepreneurial things along the way… worked in a salmon cannery for a summer in a tiny town in Alaska. Taught English for nearly a year in a small city in South Korea. I put myself through college working nights and weekends as a waitress.

One of the things that’s unique about me as an entertainment career coach is that I’m in the business, too! So all of the tools that I teach are tried-and-true. I use them, yes. And I’ve coached thousands of people like you and me with the exact same tools.

After college and traveling, it finally came time to move back to California and pursue a career in the entertainment industry.  I started doing many of the things that new arrivals do: I temped. I worked as a production assistant. I made short films.  I entered contests.

I was fortunate enough to land a job co-writing and directing 13 episodes for the first web series created parallel to a network television show, which was the FOX show The Visitor with John Corbett. But I didn’t know how to parlay this into the next step of my career.

I also started writing and directing short films and directing theatre in Los Angeles, including a Sam Shepard world-premiere one act for the MET Theatre in Los Angeles. I directed 5 short films that have played around the world in film festivals, including a proof-of-concept short film Shakespeare’s Henry IV with Martin Sheen. But I couldn’t seem to make the leap from plays and short films to features and episodic television.

To support myself, I started as a PA and worked my way up to production managing and producing commercials, music videos and high fashion stills shoots. I worked on 120 projects including music videos for the Rolling Stones, Prince and the Dandy Warhols, Vogue and Italian Vogue shoots, and commercials for BMW, T-Mobile and more.

With the support of career coaching (more on that below), I kept networking and writing and pitching. I sold a feature pitch to Warner Bros., was a runner-up (top 5 of over 500) for the ABC/DGA Episodic Directing Fellowship, a Sundance Producer’s Lab Fellow, a finalist for the Film Independent Screenwriters Lab, and the WGA feature project.  Recently, I won the Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey-sponsored Writing Lab for Women and a writing fellowship with the Pacific Screenwriting Program.

Finally, after years of work, I wrote and directed my first feature, Saturn Returns, which won Best Screenplay at the Mountain Film Festival prior to production. It has played 23 film festivals to date and won nine awards including the Special Jury Prize at Cinema on the Bayou and Best Feature at Beaufort International Film Festival.

I directed my second feature,
Undergrad Nightmare for Lifetime.  Then I created and sold an original, hour-long episodic drama to CBC and wrote the pilot and series bible. 

I sold my third feature film, Santa’s Boots, to Lifetime.  I co-wrote, executive produced and directed, and it premiered in December 2018.  It has been ranked 53 of the top 100 Christmas TV movies on Lifetime by Elle.com

But before any of the feature films or television, before any awards, I found myself extremely frustrated. I was hitting walls and not only couldn’t find a way past them, I couldn’t even see past them. I was fortunate to find my way to a career coaching class and I signed up for the one-month intensive on the spot. Little did I know that my life would never be the same.

Career coaching turned out to be exactly what my writing and directing career needed and I started achieving my dreams. It also turned out to be one of the loves of my life. I couldn’t get enough. I apprenticed myself to my two coaches and did nearly every class they taught over the next few years.

It turned out that career coaching encapsulated so many things that I loved… the nurturing part of the directing, the problem-solving and entrepreneurship of producing, the opportunity to lead groups through classes and do public speaking that scratched the itch of a former actor!

And, best of all, being a career coach I have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of the people I work with. I get to help you achieve your dream, and there are very few things that are more rewarding than seeing people who were stuck and frustrated get un-stuck and soar.

So, one day, after working for several years with clients on an invitation basis, I hung out a shingle that said “career coach.” That was 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve worked with literally thousands of actors, writers, directors, producers, DPs, make-up artists, wardrobe stylists, composers, entrepreneurs and more. I’ve worked with clients in person in Los Angeles, and online or on the phone from Texas, New York, Atlanta, Sweden, Australia, the UK, Canada, India, France and more. After working with me, my clients have gone on to work on Broadway, in hit primetime television shows, award-winning independent and studio features, and more.

I’m thrilled you have found your way to my site. Welcome to our community…

I can’t wait to get
to know you!
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