My Story

My Story

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved a good story.  I wanted to grow up to be a ballerina, but after many arduous lessons and awkward recitals, I realized I needed to find a way to tell a story that didn’t rely so heavily on coordination.  Now a successful film producer, I’m still crazy in love with story.

I produce feature films through my company, BE MOVIES.  Producing, not quite as glamorous as it sounds, is much like pushing a giant boulder up a steep hill every day.  A good day is one where the boulder does not roll down and crush you.  A great one is when you move it forward.  As a producer, my goal is to get my projects to the top and to get there as fast as possible.  I’m thrilled to say I currently have several projects moving uphill.

Before forming my own company, I worked my way up through the executive ranks, beginning as a development exec for writers/producers/director Bruce Evans and Ray Gideon (STARMAN, STAND BY ME, MR. BROOKS) where I learned so much from these masters at story.  I read scripts until my eyes burned and my vision deteriorated, and still could not believe I was getting paid (OK, not very much) to search for movie ideas and then set them up at studios.

I served as President of Debra Hill Productions (HALLOWEEN, THE FISHER KING) for six years.  During my tenure there I set up, supervised and packaged numerous projects at studios and cable networks including Warner Bros., Universal, Disney, Nickelodeon, New Line and HBO.

Among my career accomplishments, I discovered ASSASSINS, which starred Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas and was the first film written by the Wachowskis, who went on to create THE MATRIX franchise. I set up David Berenbaum’s first project before ELF was a twinkle in his eye. I have been privileged develop projects with many talented and delightful people including actor-producer Tobey Maguire, directors including Shawn Levy (NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM) and Frank Oz (BOWFINGER, WHAT ABOUT BOB?) and Academy Award-nominated writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby (CHILDREN OF MEN, IRON MAN).

I am passionate about teaching screenwriting from the perspective of a working producer. My goal is to share the techniques I use with the pros with budding writers, giving them the tools to achieve their dreams. The Big Ideas Screenwriting Intensive, an intimate and interactive seminar offered around the country, gives aspiring writers what it takes to break into the business, providing professional techniques, powerful tools to achieve their dreams and methods for revolutionizing their creative process. Students also receive my mentorship for a year, developing their new idea, getting career advice and support.

I have taught at Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, the UCLA Producers Program, and AFI. As a Script Consultant, Pitch Doctor and expert in practical pointers for breaking into the business, I’ve spoken at numerous conferences including Great American PitchFest, CineStory, Screenwriters Expo, Screenwriters World, and WyrdCon, as well as for regional screenwriting groups. I contributed a chapter to the book  NOW WRITE: SCREENWRITING published by Tarcher in January 2011, amongst a host of renowned screenwriters and teachers.  I have been a columnist for MovieBytes and Virtual PitchFest. My column, Breaking and Entering, appears in ScriptMag.com. A “Big Ideas” book is in the works.

I am also committed to creating social change. In 1993, I founded the nonprofit, Better With Books. We promote literacy and create hands-on volunteer opportunities. BWB has placed over 155,000 Barri as a ballerinabrand new books into the hands of kids living below the poverty line and built 300 Little Libraries for Head Start Centers, inner city health clinics and other organizations that serve children in need. It’s my chance to share my love of stories with countless kids.

Nevertheless, I was astonished to find myself on the cover of the Jewish Journal as one of the Top Ten Mensches of the Year.

I would never,

ever

have made it there as a ballerina.

Click Here for My Credits