Samantha Shad is an honors graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is a veteran screenwriter, entertainment attorney and writing teacher.
Samantha grew up in a show business family. Her father, Bobby Shad, was a prominent music producer and label owner. He found and produced Janis Joplin, the Platters, Lou Reed, Ray Charles, and similar hit makers, as well as an extensive jazz list, including Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie.
She began her legal career when she joined the prestigious Washington law firm of Steptoe and Johnson. She moved to New York to use her extensive knowledge of the music business and work with legendary music attorney Paul Marshall.
Drawn to Los Angeles by both the weather and the creative environment, she took yet another bar exam and joined the California Bar Association and related federal courts. She practiced music and entertainment law, initially at the firm Luce, Forward, and later setting up her own practice is Beverly Hills, Ca., representing active television and feature film writers, directors, producers and actors.
While practicing law, she partnered with a micro budget independent producer to develop dramas for independent producing. Frustrated at their inability to draw suitable dramatic material, she wrote her first treatment for a film and offered to pay any of her starving screenwriter clients to write it. It was universally rejected, even by the most desperate. Finally she sat down and wrote it herself. Drawing on her experiences at a major international law firm, she wrote Class Action. Her finished first draft was rejected all over Hollywood before becoming an overnight sensation with its purchase by Paramount Pictures for Producer Leonard Goldberg. It was later produced by Twentieth Century Fox.
She went on to pursue an active screenwriting career. She wrote features for each of the major studios except Warners. She wrote both produced original credited (Class Action) and uncredited (Mercy, G I Jane) features. In television she wrote feature length scripts that were produced (Vanished Without A Trace) and unproduced (Jonathan Kellerman for ABC, Hallmark and American Zoetrope). She worked with luminaries in feature films (Ridley Scott) and television (Steven Bochco and David Kelly). On television projects she received Executive Producer as well as writing credit.
Samantha began teaching at UCLA through the Extension’s screenwriting program. She taught Screenwriting, Spec Scripts, and the Business of Writing. She also taught at the American Film institute (Breaking into the Industry), the Franklin Pierce College (Law and Media) and Duke University’s Olli program (Advanced Story Development, Science and Story).
Active in the Writers Guild of America, West, Samantha served as the Chair of the Women’s Committee and a member of the Steering Committee for Protected Classes. She was also the President of the Writers Guild-Directors Guild Joint Women’s Filmmakers Project and the Chair of the Women’s Filmmakers Foundation of the Writers Guild and Directors Guild.
After twenty-two years as an active screen and television writer and fulfilling her promise to herself to never have to pitch at Art’s Deli, she packed up her lap top, her last deal as creator, writer, and executive producer with production company credit and key hair, and left Los Angeles to marry the love of her life, a family doctor in rural New Hampshire.
She didn’t miss Los Angeles, agents, or even writing, claiming repeatedly that she was happy and couldn’t gin up the necessary neurosis to write a decent script. Scripts came to her with requests for her help with both the business and creative aspects of writing. She enjoyed both, and agreed to be an active writing consultant, with novelists and screenwriters as her primary clients.
She currently resides in North Carolina with her spectacular physician-turned- fine furniture sculpture husband Denny and their dog Bozie.