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 story consultant and 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 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 (Stand By Me, Starman, 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. It was grueling and it was the best learning opportunity of my life.

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 and helped set up Assassins, the first film written by the Wachowskis (The Matrix) which starred Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas. I set up David Berenbaum’s first project before Elf was a twinkle in his eye. I have been privileged to develop projects with many talented and delightful people including actor-producer Tobey Maguire, directors Shawn Levy (Night At The Museum, Stranger Things), and Frank Oz (Bowfinger, What About Bob?) and Academy Award-nominated writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby (Children of Men, Iron Man, The Expanse).

As a writer, I co-wrote original treatments, Meet John Doe, sold in a preemptive six figure sale to Warner Bros. and Unidentified Suburban Object for Fox Family.

As a teacher and story consultant, I approach writing from a producer’s point of view. My goal is to share the techniques I use with the pros with budding writers, giving them the tools to achieve their dreams. From The Big Ideas Screenwriting Intensive, an intimate and interactive seminar offered around the country, to my work as a consultant, I am able to pursue my passion for both storytelling and nurturing writers.

I have taught at Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, the UCLA Producers Program, and AFI. As a Script Consultant, Pitch Doctor and expert at capturing the power of story and in practical pointers for breaking into the business, I’ve spoken at numerous conferences including Great American PitchFest, Nebraska Writers Conference, Screenwriters Expo, Screenwriters World, Writer’s Digest and WyrdCon, as well as for regional screenwriting groups across the country.

I contributed a chapter to the book Now Write: Screenwritingpublished by Tarcher in January 2011, amongst a host of renowned screenwriters and teachers. I have been a columnist for MovieBytes and Virtual PitchFest. I am a Contributing Senior Editor for ScriptMag, where my monthly column,  Breaking and Entering, has appeared since 2012, and I’m a contributor to Writer’s Digest. A book, Creating Delicious Stories, is in the works.

Barri as a ballerina

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 170,000 brand 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, shelters 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,


have made it there as a ballerina.

Click Here for My Credits