Book Editing, Script Consulting & Creativity Coaching
I've been a writer, author, book coach, editor, journalist, story analyst and Hollywood script consultant for over 4 decades.
I learned about screenwriting by typing scripts (on a typewriter!) for Hollywood writers in the 1970s. In 1979, I launched Hollywood’s first computerized script typing service Ace Computer Script. This ground breaking venture was inspired by my first writer-director boss Mike Gray after he wrote the Oscar nominated script “The China Syndrome” on a Wang word processor like one he saw at his attorney's office.
In the 1980s, I began helping screenwriters and producers choose and buy their own personal computers and word processing software so they could make their own script changes (“most of screenwriting is rewriting…”).
In the mid-80s, I began working in story development at Disney Studios as Creative Assistant to writer-producer Dan Petrie Jr. (“Beverly Hills Cop.” “Turner and Hooch”). Laid-off during the 1988 Writers Guild strike, I read scripts and wrote script coverage for literary attorneys and indie producers.
Over the next 30+ years, I read thousands of scripts, short stories, memoirs and film-adaptable novels for top Hollywood producers, networks, studios and literary agencies. I also served as a creative executive for Warren Beatty, working with him on “Love Affair,” “Dick Tracy,” “Bulworth,” "Rules Don't Apply" and other projects.
I've read scripts for Hollywood writing contests and fellowships, including Universal-NBC’s Emerging Writers Fellowships (2013 + 2014). In 2019, I created and coordinated my own writing competition for Montana-based screenwriters and also scripts using Montana locations.
I served as a long distance teaching assistant for Will Akers’ Screenwriting 101 classes at Vanderbilt University, Nashville Film Institute and Belmont University (2010-2014). Akers wrote one of my favorite books on screenwriting: “Your Screenplay Sucks” – available at Amazon.
As a freelance script consultant, I have advised indie producers, directors and writers about their scripts-in-progress or in production. My long list of Hollywood script consulting and story analysis clients includes HBO, Showtime, Starz Network, Mandalay Films, Miramax, Dreamworks, UTA, CAA and Harpo Productions (Oprah Winfrey’s company) in addition to top literary agencies and managers.
I was also a full-time union Story Analyst for Miramax Films in the mid-200s (owned by Walt Disney Productions).
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As a script consultant: I provide “first look” feedback and pitch coaching to screenwriters, directors and producers. Call me for info: 818-415-3479
As a screenwriting & creativity coach/ teacher: My chapter “Key Things to Know About Your Script Before You Write“ was published in Tarcher/ Penguin’s book “NOW WRITE! SCREENWRITING: Exercises from Today’s Top Screenwriters and Teachers” (available on Amazon).
This chapter was inspired by my workshops at the Scriptwriting Expo (LA) and other writers conferences. At 2016 & 2019 Authors of the Flathead Writers Conferences (in Kalispell, MT), I taught a workshop on “The Art and Challenges of Adapting Books & True Stories to Film or TV” and workshops on the part of pitching your script or book. I've also been a panelist at dozens of writing expos and a guest speaker at AFI Screenwriting workshops.
I've written and taught about Creativity from the inside out in “The Akashic Muse: Collaborating With Your Soul & the Akashic Records for Writing & Other Creative Endeavors” (available at Amazon). Check out my Amazon Author’s Page.
As an author: I specialize in personal and spiritual development books, blogs and articles. My work with screenplays and character development taught me about the inner workings of “true-stories-in-progress,” which I believe we all are as human beings.
I have also contributed chapters to personal or spiritual development anthologies, including “Spirit is Talking to Me,” “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life (Vol. I), “Inspiration to Realization (Vol. 1),” “2012: Creating Your Own Shift,” “Happiness is Waiting for You,” “Your Soaring Phoenix” and "365 Ways to Connect With Your Soul." (These anthologies are available on Amazon).
My co-authored book-in-progress “THE EXHILARATION EFFECT: Building the Courage to Take Your Leap of Faith” ranked among the Top 25 Semi-Finalists in the Next Top Spiritual Author 2010 publishing competition.
In addition, I created the ecourse Energize Your Life with the 4 Elements for DailyOM.com based on my Life Energy Tune-Up coaching programs.
As a book coach & freelance editor: I edit novels and non-fiction books for other writers, including Linda Collucci Madalone’s wonderful novels “The 440 Train” and “Tesrod Farmhouse” (available at Amazon) . I also edited my husband Glenn Schiffman’s Amazon #1 Bestseller and Eric Hofffer 2014 Award Finalist novel “The Way I Was Taught.”
I'm available for private book coaching (by phone or online) as well as book editing and publication services (ebooks and print editions)
As a journalist: I've written dozens of articles about creativity, book publishing and screenwriting for publications and websites including Emmy Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, Writer’s Digest, Hollywood Scriptwriter and other writer oriented publications. I also contributed articles to personal development blogs including YourTango.com.
As a hypnotherapist and life/career coach: I help writers reduce “high anxiety” over public speaking and pitching their work (and themselves). This helps boost confidence for presenting your work so it can get read, sold and promoted.
I've been a Breakthrough Coach for creatives and people in life &/or career transitions. In 2005, I also co-founded Toastmasters 4Writers, the first Toastmasters Int’l chapter designed to help creative writers get comfortable speaking about themselves and pitching their work.In 2005, It still meets in the Burbank CA area. I highly recommend Toastmasters for all writers (and others) seeking to improve their speaking and pitching skills and gain confidence.
Contact me to find out more about my services and availability to work with you on your book or screenplay projects. Use my online scheduler to schedule a free consult call (by phone or Zoom):
Check back here for info on my new workshops, book readings, books or other publications.
Also check out the 2020 Montana Screenwriting Competition I created and coordinated -- it's part of the Bigfork Indie Film Festival (Oct. 2-4, 2020). Get info: MTSC-BIFF2020
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NOW WRITE! SCREENWRITING: Screenwriting Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers (anthology) Now Write! Writing Guide Series
(Tarcher Books 2011)
“Now Write! Screenwriting is an excellent collection of essays and writing exercises by a wide array of writing professionals compiled by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson. This well-structured book offers very practical solutions to almost any writing crisis that could arise. All of the contributors are working writers who have been in the trenches themselves and therefore, understand the many challenges of writing and the creative process… What I most enjoy is that it’s a book that be picked up and randomly opened for pearls of wisdom and encouragement without having to be committed to a long read or one point of view…" ~~ Divariffic
"A Must for the Writer’s Library: If you’re a screenwriter, this book is one that should be in your library. It’s an amazing compilation of advice from working and successful writers as well as respected instructors… It’s a breeze read and if you take the advice to heart and mind, you will definitely improve as a writer." ~~ JK
"A great mix of practical and creative…The chapters are highly focused, and bite-sized for easy consumption, and the talent behind them is quite staggering – as well as their willingness to part with great techniques…" ~~ Matthew Nagle
THE AKASHIC MUSE: Collaborating With Your Soul & The Akashic Records for Writing & Other Creative Endeavors by Barbara Schiffman (2012)
<< Barbara reads the opening of “The Akashic Muse” at the 11/1/14 Writer Festival (Irvine CA)