Home » Alumni Profiles, Fall 2009

Lauren Schmidt ’00 Shines in Unexpected Hollywood Career

18 December 2009 No Comment

Screen shot 2009-12-18 at 3.21.45 PMLauren Schmidt is living proof that a small liberal arts college can earn you a big-time Hollywood career. Although that is not what she planned when she came to Wittenberg, Schmidt has enjoyed an immensely successful career as a television writer and producer. Immediately after graduation, she worked for six years on NBC’s award-winning West Wing, earning a Writers Guild of America nomination in 2003 for an episode she co-wrote and having her first solo episode air in 2004. After writing and co-producing for ABC’s hit show Private Practice, she is now a writer and producer for a new NBC drama, Parenthood, which will debut in spring 2010.

Schmidt is the first to admit this was not a career path she’d ever considered. In fact, she had envisioned a less high-profile path teaching creative writing. For four weeks this past summer, she got the chance to fulfill that wish as one of the instructors at Wittenberg’s first-ever Summer Screenwriter’s Institute. She worked with the Department of English, her husband, producer Michael Hissrich, and award-winning playwright Dan Stroeh ’01, to offer this innovative course in which students collaborated and wrote a pilot script.

“To be welcomed back to my university to pursue my original plan – and to be able to teach the type of writing I love the most – was such an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I adored working with the students and I loved creating and working with a community of writers in a university setting.”

It was not the first time the English major had been back; she had shared her talent and experiences with the Wittenberg community in 2008 during a series of speaking engagements and a colloquium. More recently, Wittenberg honored her with its Outstanding Young Alumna Award, given to a graduate of the last decade who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in her profession.

“I tell students that I apply lessons that I learned at Witt – in classrooms, in my time at the Writing Center and even in my social life – everyday in television writer’s rooms. So no matter what a student wants to pursue, I encourage them to soak up all of the lessons, educational and otherwise, that they learn at Wittenberg.”

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.