STUDIO SCHELL: PROJECTS
IN THE WORKS. Here’s a bit about what we’re working on.
What about you? What are you doing to move your vision forward? Where can we help?
Footage online at the links.
INVISIBLE by Gabriell DeBear Paye & Hester Schell
“Invisible” is a semi-finalist in the 2019 “Women Who Write In Film” screenplay competition.
Also, Barb Doyon of ExtremeScreenwriting.com gave it a “recommend” and wrote “loved the characters!”
LOGLINE: A dedicated teacher feels invisible after she loses her job, husband and cat on her 50th birthday, until she embraces the people she’s always ignored, and embarks on a journey to recreate her purpose, build community and find new love.
Scroll further down for the synopsis.
Please contact Hester with your interest. Please click the contact us button in the nav bar or translate this: Hester dot Schell at gmail dot com
In pre-production – SHORT FILMS
WHERE’S MY DOG
by Hester Schell Comedy, HD. Shooting 2019.
The dog groomer gives a Hollywood trophy wife the wrong dog . She needs her purse pooch for a red carpet event. The great dane is just… not her dog. Hilarity ensues.
COMPLETED: SHORT FILMS
SANDWICHED (IMDb link)
2018 – Portland Underground Film Festival Official Selection
Winner: Audience Award - Shorts Program: Everything is Political These Days
Winner: Award of Recognition, BEST SHORTS COMPETITION
LOG LINE: A “Black Lives Matter activist” confronts the attorney on a case of another innocent, wrongly accused. Crime Thriller.
SANDWICHED is also enjoying limited broadcast on Open Signal, Portland Community Public Media’s “The 518″ a NEW variety/arts magazine and performance program. Open Signal has an audience of over 400,000.
Click here for TITLE SEQUENCE
- POISON by Elliott Hayes. Drama. World Premier: Whitsell Auditorium/Portland Art Museum. September, 2016. Women In Film/PDX.”Remember Ice -9? Kurt Vonnegut? One little drop and everything everywhere, Frozen. “
- After a husband catches his wife with a neighbor, the couple try to work through WHY she cheated. She’s sorry. He just wants her dead. He likens it to ice-9 in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. “Once it’s in, it’s in. Like Poison.”
Read more about the project and like us on Facebook.
JU$T UNDER A MILLION
Written and Directed by Hester Schell
- Completed, summer 2007.
World Premiere: Beverly Hills HD Festival, December 2007.
Promotion Page, project details.
Starring Tony Vella, Kari Wishingrad, Tammy Massa & Fred DeRuvo
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. When they’re pitched an update of Oedipus Rex, 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 Marguerita-ville.
In distribution – Web Series
Director, Co-Writer, Co-Producer.
IN DISTRIBUTION: ROKU: COMIC ZOO, You Tube.
Please visit our You Tube Channel for the latest episodes and SUBSCRIBE.
In distribution – SHORT FILM
VOLARE by Holly Johnson.
Completed, October 2017.
In Distribution: Open Signal – Community Access Media, Portland, OR
Directed by Holly Johnson and Hester Schell.
Casting by Hester Schell.
Executive producer, Beverly Frentress, Holly Johnson and Hester Schell.
Taking a rest after a long flight, two old friends from different cultures and species reflect on the absurdity of life.
In distribution – FEATURE FILM
Weapon of Choice, feature film by Jino Kang and Tony Urgo.
AWARD WINNER: Best Feature, Best New Break Out Action Star. Action on Film International Film Festival, 2014.
Principal Casting by Hester Schell
Past and Future – THEATRE – Directed by Hester
Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel, the elder.
A tale of time travel and the power of art: Two quarreling sisters vacation in Vienna in hopes of getting closer when one of them vanishes through a portal into Bruegel’s Dutch renaissance painting “Hunters in the Snow.”
Rebecca Grayce and Alan Coyne in Bernard Slade’s SAME TIME NEXT YEAR. Directed by Hester Schell.
Photo Credit: Jim Messina
WINNER! Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Comedy: ARTY Awards 2014
SAME TIME NEXT YEAR by Bernard Slade, Benicia Old Town Theatre Group. 50th Anniversary Production.
Tony Wade, Daily Republic: …”packed with love, friendship, and surprisingly, values; connects on many levels. It elicited belly laughs and then moved north to the heart with poignant moments as well. …the credit for that has to go to director Hester Schell. ” That instant payoff from theatergoers erupting into uncontrollable laughter after a setup and punch line can’t be faked. We ate it up.”
Best of Show, SF Fringe Festival, 2013
WINNER: Best of Fringe, 2013 SF
SINGULARITEEN by Patrick Brennan.
Fringe Theater Fest. “… well written, funny, and superbly directed.” Audience Reviewer
“The direction was great… Pacing, vitally important …” Audience Reviewer
“Amazing! Fantastic play, great directing and really, really great actors.” Audience Reviewer
MEDIA – in pre-production Radio Theatre
Original material is the audio theatre production of COLONY COLLAPSE.
Details here: Radio Drama Rama
We have feature film and theatre scripts in various stages of re-writes and pre-production, including the stage, feature film and TV episodic versions of COLONY COLLAPSE.
Here are the log lines and project descriptions.
FEATURE – (Co Write)
INVISIBLE by Gabriell DeBear-Paye and Hester Schell
Diverse casting, with a strong female lead.
WOMEN WHO WRITE IN FILM, 2019 Competition.
ExtremeScreenwriting.com gives a “recommend.”
LOG LINE: A dedicated teacher feels invisible after she loses her job, husband and cat on her 50th birthday, until she embraces the people she’s always ignored, and embarks on a journey to recreate her purpose, build community and find new love.
As HARRIETT turns 50, her worst birthday ever, the world shifts and people no longer notice her.
Harriett’s husband runs off with a younger woman, she loses her job, and friends and family suddenly have no time for her. After a near mental breakdown she meets LIONEL, a one-legged street musician in a wheelchair, ignored everywhere he goes. She pursues him to learn about the rules of living for people who feel marginalized.
Harriett hits the streets to test Lionel’s theory: Only invisibles see each other and they’re everywhere.
A deep connection between Harriett and Lionel is sparked as they help a homeless teenager deliver a baby on the street. Then Harriett tracks down Lionel’s lost-in-the-system prosthetic leg. Standing now on two feet, the attraction between them is strong. But when Harriett’s adult son won’t accept her new boyfriend, Lionel leaves, thinking they are racist.
Harriett forges on, envisioning a way to support the disenfranchised she sees all around.
Using her divorce settlement, she buys a fixer-upper to create a community center and thwarts her ex-husband’s luxury condo development on the same property. She puts homeless men to work fixing it up and helps the teen mother. On her 51st birthday, Lionel returns and “The Visibility Center” opens. Lionel and Harriett dance the night away.
When the invisible team up, they create a force that can’t be ignored!
OUR WRITING TEAM:
GABRIELL DEBEAR PAYE, M.A. is an optioned screenwriter who explores social justice and environmental themes, informed by parenting, teaching, travel and multicultural interactions. She studied at Emerson College and ScreenwritingU is a published author, 9-time contest finalist, and producer for the movie Pinsky.
HESTER SCHELL, M.F.A. is an award-winning, produced writer/director who writes social good and environmental stewardship stories with roles for mature women. She is a 3-time contest finalist and the author of the critically acclaimed volume, CASTING REVEALED: A Guide for Film Directors. She writes a column for Script Magazine.
Family Drama: Episodic Radio, TV or Stand alone feature drama -
SEVEN GENERATIONS: Episode 1, Colony Collapse
It’s time for the next generation to run the family farm.
Meet the Appleton’s: a family thriving on Phoenix Farm since before the Civil War. Until now. Climate change is real. Bee colony collapse disorder cuts into profits while encroaching suburbs and sibling rivalry have brother and sister at opposites: beefeater to vegan, “drill baby drill” to alternative energy, pushing this family to the edge … and back.
GENRE – Female Driven, Faith Based Drama with Magical Realism.
Spiritual themes with ghost/love story. Environmental interest. G rating.
LOG LINE – 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.
SYNOPSIS – Everyone in Alma’s Brooklyn neighborhood knows someone who has lost a loved one to gun violence. Fifteen years ago a drive-by shooting took her husband, Michael. Beating the odds, she raises their two sons on her own: Jerry a college freshman on a baseball scholarship, and Franklin, in medical school and recently married. Retiring from working underground for the New York City subway, Alma is ready to celebrate. Since she and Michael never took their honeymoon cruise, she books passage to Alaska. All she wants is some peace and quiet. Her sister, Germaine insists she not go alone. But, she’s never alone: Michael is always nearby keeping her safe. Alma, doubting her mental stability, feels his presence, hears and hallucinates him. What she doesn’t know is God, who likes to surf and kayak, made a deal with Archangel Gabriel: Michael can be Alma’s guardian spirit until the birth of their first grandchild, when Michael will make his final passage. God places Gabriel on watch, flying in on stunning wings whenever Michael gets into trouble, answering his prayers.
The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights works its magic: On the solstice cruise, Alma meets Cassandra, who also lost her husband – also named Michael – to gun violence, traveling to scatter her husband’s ashes on what would have been an anniversary. United by deep grief and common experience and coincidence, they become fast friends. When the ship docks for a land excursion, they meet Duke, a salmon sport-fishing boat captain, with a boat for sale. Alma and Cassandra buy the boat on the settlement money Cassandra received from her husband’s wrongful death. Now in the sport fishing business, Alma trades Brooklyn for pristine Alaska. God and Gabriel enjoy kayaking, waiting for the birth. Soul in, soul out.
In Brooklyn, Alma attends the birth of the grandchild. After the baby arrives, Gabriel comes for Michael. Michael and Alma re-live the events of his tragic death at the same hospital. Alma and Franklin walk home where Franklin once again expresses his concern over Alma’s grief, and these hallucinations. At Franklin’s home, Jerry waits for news. Alma and Michael have their final visit when the sons hear their Dad’s voice. Now fully visible and audible to his family, Michael shares a prophecy and speaks to his sons about their futures and the strength of love and family. He gives Alma a farewell kiss as Gabriel takes him. Their powerful love demonstrates the bonds between a husband and wife even after death. Through Alma’s journey from grief to recovery, urban violence contrasts with pristine wilderness.
THEME Nature/Wilderness as a place for spiritual renewal; the power of love and strength of a marriage through memory; the soul’s passage from limbo to eternity.
LOCATIONS New York City, Seattle, Alaska, Cruise Ship
STAR PULL Strong roles for middle aged women of color. Good role models for young men of color.
CAST Diversity Casting. Inter-generational.
Leading woman, 45. Supporting women, ages 47, 35, 25.
Supporting Men: 20, 27, 70.
ALMA: Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, CCH Pounder, Alfre Woodard
MICHAEL: Denzel Washington, Mykelti Williamson, Carl Lumbly
CASSANDRA: Emma Stone, Ellen Page, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain
DUKE: Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfus.
Children’s Series, Educational TV: 4 to 7 Year Olds
LET’S TAKE A WALK…
Through the discovery of various eco-systems, Let’s Take a Walk… teaches hiking and outdoor safety skills while encouraging respect for the environment by building an appreciation of our delicate natural resources. Each episode explores a new eco-system.
EPISODES: Let’s Take A Walk… On the Beach … In the Woods … At the Harbor … Where the River Meets the Shore … Around the Farm … Through the Garden … Into Tide Pools … Where Mountains Meet the Sky … Into the Caves
Stuck in his mid-life crisis, Celeste’s artist-husband John, is seduced by a “femme-fatale” predatory seductress, Julie, a high stakes artist’s agent. Their dangerous romance destroys two families and ends when the jilted husband, Sam, pulls the trigger in a double homicide suicide.
COMPLETED PLAYS -
In A Moment’s Notice
Contrasting decisions in very different circumstances. In a moment we decide whether or not to have someone in our lives: a young man given up for adoption looks up his birth mother. They decide to build a relationship; A grown daughter looks up the father who abandoned her pregnant mother. They decide it’s not such a good idea to know each other.
The premier production was produced by the Theatre Department at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California in 2007. This script is available for AEA (Equity) world premier status. ROLES: 4 principal characters (two men/two women, 3 supporting characters (1 man or woman, 1 woman, 1 man)
Cup of Coffee
Written for the New England Russian Theatre Festival, this official entry is a spoof on the plays of Anton Chekov, highlighting several famous Chekovian moments. World Premier: Boston Playwright’s Theatre, January 2010. ROLES: 3 men, 1 woman
A theatrical stage version of the film and radio script mentioned above; the farm animals performed by puppets. ROLES: 5 leads (3 women, 2 men; 3 supporting roles (2 men, 1 woman). Strong roles for women. Unique opportunity for puppetry.
Please contact us for more information.
LIVE PERFORMANCE & THEATRE
SAME TIME NEXT YEAR by Bernard Slade
AWARD WINNER! 2014 ARTY AWARDS, Solano County California Tribute to Performing Arts
Best Director (Hester Schell), Best Actor (Alan Coyne), Best Actress (Rebecca Grayce) and Best Comedy Production. 4 of 6 nominations (Sets, Costumes) GREAT REVIEWS. Benicia Old Town Theatre Group’s 50th anniversary production.
Click the link to read all about it! Press: Click this.
“Same Time, Next Year’ packed with love, friendship, and surprisingly, values.”
“Same Time, Next Year,” connects on many levels. It elicited belly laughs and then moved north to the heart with poignant moments as well.
..the credit for that has to go to director Hester Schell.
That instant payoff from theatergoers erupting into uncontrollable laughter after a setup and punchline can’t be faked. We ate it up.” Tony Wade, Daily Republic. April 20, 2014
AWARD WINNER: BEST OF SHOW and 4 OTHER SF FRINGE FESTIVAL
including BEST OF SHOW!!
SINGULARITEEN by Patrick M Brennan. Directed by Hester Schell
2013 San Francisco Fringe Theater Festival. 2013 San Francisco Fringe Festival. AUDIENCE REVIEWS
“I loved Singulariteen! Fast moving, Funny, Thought provoking. Not 1 dull moment!
Amazing! Fantastic play, great directing and really, really great actors.” Audience Reviewer
“The direction was great… Pacing, vitally important in a one-acter of this length was perfect.” Audience Reviewer
“It was well written, funny, and superbly directed.” Audience ReViewer
PROMO Shooter/Editor – Singularteen by Patrick M Brennan, SF FRINGE FESTIVAL, 2013,
Winner – BEST OF SHOW, + 4 sold out awards
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING/CO-PRODUCER:
Hester Schell co-produced the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company’s 2nd season production: Shakespeare’s HAMLET, directed by Robert Pickett. Hester is also on the Company’s board of directors and serving as Director of Marketing and Publicity. hmbshakespeare.org
PROMO Shooter/Editor – Hamlet, Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Festival, 2013, Season 2
HYSTERICAL HOUSEWIVES, women’s stand-up comedy workshop.
Next Performance: SUMMER 2015.
Hysterical Housewives Archives
MORE LINKS & Past Project Highlights[/wptabtitle]
SHOOTER/EDITOR Love is Like a Tractor by Larry Hosford Trailer, COLONY COLLAPSE by Hester Schell
DIRECTOR/SHOW RUNNER: YOU TUBE CHANNEL -
ADVENTURES IN STAYING YOUNG with Pam da Ham and Joanie Baloney
WRITER/DIRECTOR/EDITOR: Water Adventures in Staying Young
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Cooking Show Spoof
COMMERCIALS & TRAILER/PROMOS
COPYWRITER – Ankee, the better light bulb. Promotional video, Studio 3 Portland, Oregon
SLOGAN: “This is way beyond Edison.”
TAG LINE: “Where there’s light, there’s love.”
See the commercial here, on Amazon.com: Select the last button in the left hand column.
PROMO Shooter/Editor – Hamlet, Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Festival, 2013, Season 2
PROMO Shooter/Editor – Singularteen by Patrick M Brennan, SF FRINGE FESTIVAL, 2013,
Winner – BEST OF SHOWm, + 4 sold out awards
PROMO Shooter/Editor - The New England Russian Theatre Festival: Original play submission, “Cup of Coffee” a spoof on the works of Anton Chekov.
DIRECTOR/SHOOTER/EDITOR: PACIFIC PRAYER by Laine Sainte-Marie, 2013.
SHOOTER/EDITOR: AMERICA’S CUP TRIALS. Short. 2012. San Francisco Bay
WRITER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: JU$T UNDER A MILLION: Short Film. Comedy. 2007.
4 Hollywood producers search for the next big hit.
Film Festival Screening – Beverly Hills HD Film Festival. Air Time: cablecast on Hottv.com
JU$T UNDER A MILLION press archive
JU$T UNDER A MILLION premiere
WRITER/DIRECTOR/SHOOTER/PRODUCER: BLANKETS FOR AFGHANISTAN, 2003. Documentary. Air Time: Free Speech TV. Produced for the American Friends’ Service Committee.
HESTER’S WORK HAS SCREENED AT THESE FILM FESTIVALS -
2018 Portland (OR) Underground Film Festival SANDWICHED. Short (Writer/Director)
WINNER: Audience Award.
WINNER: Best Shorts Competition, Award of Recognition.
2016 Women in Film, Portland (OR) Fall showcase. POISON by Elliott Hayes. (Producer/Director)
2014 Action on Film International Film Festival WEAPON OF CHOICE. Feature (Casting Director).
WINNER: Best Feature, Best New Break-out Action Star.
2009 La Femme Film Festival BAIT & SWITCH TV: Investigative News Satire (writer)
2009 Rochester International Film Festival, Audience Award, Best Short: JULE, JULIE (actor)
2009 Boston International Film Festival. JULIE, JULIE (actor)
2008 Sacramento French Film Festival. JULIE, JULIE (actor)
2008 New York Film Festival NEVER ENOUGH: SEX, MONEY & PARKING GARAGES IN SAN FRANCISCO (art director, props, set dresser)
2008 Beverly Hills Hi-Def Film Festival. JUST UNDER A MILLION (writer/producer/director/ art director)
2007 Mill Valley Film Festival, California – Official Selection. PRESQUE ISLE by Rob Nilsson
2005 Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, California, Official selection – PLANTING MELVIN (acting).
2005 Hearts and Minds Film Festival, Wilmington, DE –PLANTING MELVIN (acting) 2nd Place: Best Feature.
2005 Breckinridge Film Festival, Official selection - PLANTING MELVIN
2005 California Independent Film Festival, Official selection – PLANTING MELVIN
2005 Breckenridge Film Festival, Colorado, Official Selection – PLANTING MELVIN
2005 California Independent Film Festival, Official Selection – PLANTING MELVIN
2005 Napa/Sonoma Film & Music Institute, Featured Artist Series – PLANTING MELVIN
2003 Hot Docs, Toronto, Canada – BLANKETS FOR AFGHANISTAN (producer, writer, director) Distribution through Free Speech TV, Denver, CO
2002 Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, California – YOUR GUARDIAN (acting)
2004 SF Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, San Francisco - LOVE LIFE (acting)
2002 Berkeley Film Festival – Best of Fest. – ULTIMATE REALITY – (script supervisor)
2002 Chill Valley Film Festival – ULTIMATE REALITY (script supervisor)
1995 Bay Area Women’s Film Festival, Berkeley, California – WALLS OF SAND (acting)
1983 Cannes Film Festival – AMERICAN TABOO (acting) Also Academy Award Winner, best student film 1982.
Please contact us for Hester’s full production resume.