Shawn Tolleson

Shawn Tolleson

Career Coaching + Filmmaker at Entertainment Career Strategy
Director, Screenwriter and Filmmaker

Los Angeles, California

Member Since:
January 2016
Last online:
> 2 weeks ago
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About Shawn

Shawn Tolleson is the premiere career coach for entertainment industry professionals of all disciplines. In her nearly 15 years of coaching, she has worked with thousands of clients from the US, UK, Canada, Sweden, and Australia. She has coached writers to landing TV staff writing jobs, selling shows to networks and streamers, directors to attaching stars, producers and financing to their projects, and producers to securing financing and distribution for their projects. She has coached actors from being on the outside of the industry, looking for a "break," to being working professionals who book TV, film and commercials regularly and earn high six figures acting. Recently, her clients have worked with Oliver Stone, James Franco, Julia Roberts, Tarsem, Peter Berg, Ray Liotta, Jay Mohr, Al Pacino on Fear The Walking Dead, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Snowden, and Empire for AMC, TNT, Discovery, USA, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Netflix, the CW, Paramount, Warner Bros., The Geffen Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, and more.

One of the things that's unique about Shawn as a coach is that she's a working filmmaker, and she brings her real-world experience to her work with her clients.

Earlier this year, she sold the script Santa's Boots to Lifetime, which she co-wrote, executive produced and directed in June 2018. It stars Tony-nominated Megan Hilty and Oscar-nominated June Squibb and will premiere on Lifetime in December. In late 2017 she sold her original, one-hour scripted drama Midnight Sun to CBC and just finished writing the pilot script and series bible.

She is currently in post-production on the independent feature DUSTWUN, which she co-wrote and is producing. In September 2017, she was selected from 1000+ submissions for the Meryl Streep/Oprah Winfrey Writing Lab for Women for her original feature screenplay Yazoo Cryin'.

Shawn's debut feature as a writer/director, Saturn Returns, debuted on the festival circuit in 2017 and has played twenty-three film festivals to date. It stars Jordan Belfi (Entourage), Miles Gaston Villanueva (Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders) and Nicholle Tom (Masters of Sex) and has won seven awards including the Special Jury Prize at Cinema on the Bayou and Best Feature at Beaufort International and Port Orchard Film Festivals. She directed her second feature, Deadly Sorority, a stylish thriller which premiered on Lifetime Movies in May 2017, with Moira Kelly (One Tree Hill) and Greer Grammer (Awkward).

She wrote and directed five short films that played around the world, including her proof-of-concept short film Shakespeare's Henry IV with Martin Sheen. She co-wrote and directed the first webseries created parallel to a network television show, FOX's The Visitor with John Corbett. She has directed ten plays including a Sam Shepard world-premiere and the classic plays of Shakespeare and Racine.

Shawn started as an actor, performing in 100+ plays from Shaw to Shakespeare to Chekhov. She spent eight years as a production manager and producer of 100+ commercials, music videos and high fashion stills, working with artists such as Prince, the Rolling Stones, Gwen Stefani and photographer Steven Meisel. She holds her B.F.A. in Acting and Directing from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Drama.



  • Best Feature - Saturn Returns - Port Orchard Film Festival

  • Honorable Mention - Saturn Returns - Rahway International Film Festival

  • Best Feature - Saturn Returns - Beaufort International Film Festival

  • Special Jury Prize - Saturn Returns - Cinema on the Bayou

  • Best Actress - Erin Chambers/Saturn Returns - Sutter Creek International Film Festival

  • Meryl Streep/Oprah Winfrey Writing Fellowship for Women - Yazoo Cryin'

  • Best Screenplay - Saturn Returns - Mountain Film Festival

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