Hester Schell

Hester Schell

Optioned Screenwriter at Studio Schell
Screenwriter, Script Supervisor, Casting Director, Producer, Theatre Director and Filmmaker

Portland, Oregon

Member Since:
October 2012
Last online:
> 2 weeks ago
Invites sent:

About Hester

Optioned Screenwriter. Produced Screenwriter. Produced Playwright.

Lunar Year of the Rabbit is off to a fast start.
In January 2023, INVISIBLE, a co write by Gabriell DeBear Paye and Hester Schell was optioned to Debbie Klaar of Klaar Star Films. This is Schell’s first option, and sixth for her partner, Paye. Schell and Paye met in 2009 at the longest running script network in America: Harvard Square Script Writers. They began INVISIBLE in 2015.
Hester writes roles for middle aged and senior women in stories about social and environmental good. As a produced writer Hester’s shorts have placed in festivals with awards. Both her comedy web series and a documentary landed distribution. Evolving from theatre roots (acting) Hester is an award-winning director and veteran acting teacher. Film crew experience spans casting, script supervising, pre-production through distribution. She has cast commercials and industrials, shorts and features. During her transition from professional actor and director, to full time scriptwriter, she took a detour into academia, becoming a full professor of film and theatre. She retired completely from academia in 2015.
Schell is the author of the critically acclaimed volume, CASTING REVEALED: A Guide for Film Directors, now in its 2nd edition with Routledge Press. She published Bay Area Casting News from 1995 to 2015. She had a column with Script Magazine where she focused on acting and casting. Find Hester online at and Facebook, LinkedIn, IMDb and IMDbPRO.

Unique traits: Dialog. Action/Objectives. Meisner, Comedy, physical theatre, social change media, premier plays, helping playwrights polish scripts. Coaching better performances on set. Period styles physical work.


  • A Matter of Time

    A Matter of Time Budget: $10M - $30M | Action He searched for freedom in the skies, he found it in a prison cell.


    TRAGIC FLAW Budget: $1M - $5M | Thriller Infidelity is delicious, revenge is sweet and getting away with murder… just tragic when a jilted wife pays the ultimate price as her child is caught in a jealous crossfire.

  • Invisible by Gabriell De Bear Paye & Hester Schell

    Invisible by Gabriell De Bear Paye & Hester Schell Budget: $1M - $5M | Comedy What do you do when you age out of jobs and relationships, and nobody notices you anymore? This is the story of a woman’s outrageous attempts to recreate her life by finding new meaning and love.OPTIONED: January 2023, Klaar Star Films


    FINAL PASSAGE Budget: $1M - $5M | Romance Drama The power of wilderness to heal the human heart: A grieving widow trades harsh Brooklyn for pristine Alaska after a life-changing summer solstice cruise where her husband’s ghost bargains with God and Archangel Gabriel for more time.


  • Poison by Elliott Hayes

    Poison by Elliott Hayes (2015)
    Film (short) by Hester Schell (Drama and Romance) Producer, Director The ugly details of an affair pour out of Karen as she confesses everything under husband Jack's demands for explicit answers.

  • The Dog Lover

    The Dog Lover (2015)
    Film by Alex Ranarivelo (Drama) Script Supervisor Shot in Northern California in and around Petaluma.

  • Adventures in Staying Young

    Adventures in Staying Young (2014)
    Television (Comedy) Producer, Director, Writer, Cinematographer Laughter for lowering blood pressure. Senior/Boomer sketch comedy, produced in San Francisco. Distributed on Roku.

  • Fist 2 Fist 2: Weapon of Choice

    Fist 2 Fist 2: Weapon of Choice (2014)
    Film by Jino Kang (Action and Adventure) Casting director Retired assassin, Jack Lee, walked away from his violent past to raise his dead brother's daughter, Jaime, as his own. When crime lord Banducci kidnaps Jaime for a payback, Jack brings his gifted skills of extermination out of retirement and the streets of San Francisco become a battleground for a one man killing machine and ruthless, united mob bosses. Written by Jino Kang

  • Contagion

    Contagion (2011)
    Film by Steven Soderbergh (Drama, Sci-Fi and Thriller) Actress Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff dies from what is a flu or some other type of infection. Her young son dies later the same day. Her husband Mitch however seems immune. Thus begins the spread of a deadly infection. For doctors and administrators at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or gravity of this new infection. They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, a process that will likely take several months. As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide, societal order begins to break down as people panic. Written by garykmcd

  • Zookeeper

    Zookeeper (2011)
    Film by Frank Coraci (Comedy, Family and Romance) Actress A group of zoo animals decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zoo keeper find love -- without opting to leave his current job for something more illustrious.

  • The Fighter

    The Fighter (2010)
    Film by David O. Russell (Biography, Drama and Sport) Actress The Fighter is a drama about boxer "Irish" Micky Ward's unlikely road to the world light welterweight title. His Rocky-like rise was shepherded by half-brother Dicky, a boxer-turned-trainer on the verge of being KO'd by drugs and crime. Written by anonymous

  • Knight and Day

    Knight and Day (2010)
    Film by James Mangold (Action, Comedy and Romance) Actress June Havens finds her everyday life tangled with that of a secret agent who has realized he isn't supposed to survive his latest mission. As their campaign to stay alive stretches across the globe, they soon learn that all they can count on is each other. Written by IMDb Editors

  • Julie, Julie

    Julie, Julie (2009)
    Film (short) by Liam Creighton (Drama) Actress A young couple's marriage is put to the test when, after an accident, they discover that they quite literally don't speak the same language anymore.

  • Truth

    Truth (2009)
    Film by Paul Collett (Drama, History, Thriller and War) Art department Lucy's boyfriend is not what he seems to be. On a drive home after a New Years Eve party, Lucy and her roommate Stephanie, suddenly find themselves being kidnapped by Hazeem who is secretly a member of a terrorist cell. Leaping from the moving car, they narrowly escape and find help from a stranger, Thomas. He tries to decoy and fight off Hazeem and the armed co-conspirators, but is overpowered and also taken hostage. It's all over the news that this Al-Quida cell has taken three hostages and threatens to execute them if the United States does not completely leave their Arabic homelands. But Thomas refuses to be a pawn in their game. He challenges, sabotages and resists the terrorists at every turn. This ultimately leads to torture and their attempt to break his will. The cold-hearted leader tolerates neither resistance nor rebellion on moral grounds and will fulfill the cause at any cost. Then truths begin to be revealed. The cell leader is not what he seems to be and the hostages ... Written by Paul Collett

  • Never Enough: Sex, Money and Parking Garages in San Francisco

    Never Enough: Sex, Money and Parking Garages in San Francisco (2008)
    Video by Dave Sawle (Comedy, Drama and Romance) Art director, Set decorator

  • Just Under a Million

    Just Under a Million (2007)
    Film (short) by Hester Schell (Comedy) Producer, Director, Writer, Art director, Editorial department How hard can it be to find a good script? Four dysfunctional producers need another hit and put on the Hit-A Homer pitch fest looking for the next big deal. From King Lear to Romeo and Juliet, pitch after pitch, the writers don't seem to know it's already been done ... everything already been done. Our producers are about to finally decide on an update of Oedipus Rex, pitched by a very pregnant ninny who doesn't understand how they figured out her plot points - "It's a trilogy." - they give up and hit the beach in Margueritaville. Written by Hester Schell

  • Planting Melvin

    Planting Melvin (2005)
    Film by Kari Nevil (Drama) Actress A battered woman flees her abusive husband and escapes to a remote community where she finds friendship in a dying old man.

  • WWII Sub Rescue

    WWII Sub Rescue (2004)
    TV Movie by Edward Feuerherd (History) Casting director This is the story of a daring rescue of 40 American civilians trapped behind Japanese lines during WWII

  • Love Life

    Love Life (2003)
    Film (short) by Nanci Gaglio (Drama) Actress

  • Ultimate Reality

    Ultimate Reality (2002)
    Film by Phil Gorn (Comedy) Script Supervisor An obsessive daydreamer fantasizes about wild adventures and saving scantily dressed women in distress. Then he begins having trouble distinguishing reality from his overheated imagination.

  • Your Guardian

    Your Guardian (2001)
    Film by Kari Nevil (Comedy, Drama and Romance) Actress A young woman, running from a life she can no longer deal with, haunted by the memory of a mother who years ago disappeared without a trace, lands in a small coastal town in central California. Here she sets out to find her future, only to find her past... Written by Anonymous

  • This Is Not My Movie

    This Is Not My Movie (2000)
    Film (short) by Sara Mast Actress

  • Patch Adams

    Patch Adams (1998)
    Film by Tom Shadyac (Biography, Comedy and Drama) Actress Patch Adams is determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoys helping people. Unfortunately, the medical and scientific community does not appreciate his methods of healing the sick, while the actual patients, medical professors, and hospital nurses all appreciate the work *he* can do, because they are unable to do it. Written by Ari Herzog <ari@ici.net>

  • Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge

    Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge (1995)
    TV Movie by Bobby Roth (Biography, Drama and Music) Actress Based on the lives of mother-daughter singers the Judds.

  • Walls of Sand

    Walls of Sand (1994)
    Film by Erica Jordan (Drama) Actress Soraya, a young Iranian woman, escaped the prospect of war in her homeland by moving to San Francisco to be with her American boyfriend. However she is unable to remain in that relationship so moves on to be an au pair due to the lack of a green card. She soon finds herself an unwilling participant of a custody battle. Written by Chris (Asgardian) from Adelaide, South Australia

  • It Nearly Wasn't Christmas

    It Nearly Wasn't Christmas (1989)
    TV Movie by Burt Brinckerhoff (Adventure and Comedy) Actress Feeling unneeded, a disillusioned Santa Claus (Charles Durning) quits Christmas. Through the selflessness of a little girl looking to reunite her parents for Christmas (and the help of his bumbling chief elf, Philpot (Bruce Vilanch), Santa and the child travel across America and Santa discovers that people really do need him and care about other people. Written by Alan Jay Glueckman <alanjay44@aol.com>

  • Incident at Dark River

    Incident at Dark River (1989)
    TV Movie by Michael Pressman (Drama and Thriller) Actress When Tim McFall's young daughter dies as the result of toxic waste dumped in the local river, he tries to shut down the company and everybody turns against him. In his fight he is joined by a beautiful student activist, and soon his obsession with revenge threatens his marriage as well as his career. Written by Anonymous

  • Nora's Christmas Gift

    Nora's Christmas Gift (1989)
    Video by Michael McLean (Drama) Actress When her husband dies, an elderly lady named Nora faces blindness and hearing problems and feels sorry for herself around Christmas time. She and a friend Madeline reminince back to good times they had in the past, going to basketball games, the Tabernacle Choir concert, and planning for the Christmas Pageant. Nora is in charge of the Christmas Pageant and she goes blind while she is preparing it. On Christmas Eve, Nora makes english butter toffee for the Christmas Carolers and it turns out bad. She feels sorry for herself and almost loses hope. Nora recieves a special Christmas gift at the Pageant that Jesus Christ does live and loves her. Written by mountain91

  • American Taboo

    American Taboo (1984)
    Film by Steve Lustgarten (Drama) Actress Paul, a shy photographer of 30 years, avoids relationships in favor of the safety landscape photography. He is drawn into intimacy by a teenage youth who moves in next door and insinuates herself into his life. Written by <ttchinen@ucdavis.edu>


  • Quarter Finalist: Portland Screenplay Competition: INVISIBLE, co-write with Gabriell Debear Paye

  • Semi-Finalist: Women Who Write in Film, co write: INVISVIBLE co-write with Gabriell Debear Paye

  • Audience Award: Shorts, Portland Underground Film Festival: SANDWICHED by Hester Schell

  • Finalist: Best Shorts Competition - SANDWICHED

  • Quarter Finalist: ScreenCraft Pilot Competition, 1 hour scripted drama: COLONY COLAPSE

  • Best Director: Old Town Theatre Group, Benicia, CA ARTY AWARDS, Best Director, Best Comedy, Best Costumes, Best Actor, Best Actress

  • Best of Show, Director: San Francsico Fringe Theatre Festival, Best of Show + 4 sold out awards

  • Academy Award: Best Student Feature, AMERICAN TABOO by Steve Lustgarten


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