Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Shapiro at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards
|Alma mater||Sarah Lawrence College|
|Home town||Santa Barbara, California|
Shapiro said she started writing when she was five years old, a book called Ergant Cries Ignored. At the age of 16, after attending a film class at Santa Barbara City College, Shapiro decided she wanted to be a director.
After college, Shapiro interned at Christine Vachon's production company, Killer Films, and then worked for photographer David LaChapelle as a studio manager. In 2002, affected by the events of September 11 attacks and wanting to be closer to family, Shapiro moved to Los Angeles, California.
In Los Angeles, Shapiro found work on the reality TV show High School Reunion, unknowingly signing a contract with the production company that allowed them to move her to different shows at their discretion, and which committed Shapiro to "unlimited renewable options for perpetuity." Shapiro would eventually become a producer on The Bachelor TV franchise, a role she strongly disliked, but which would play an influential part in her later career. She worked on the show for four seasons over the course of two years, going from associate producer to field producer.
In 2005, seeking to leave reality television and end her restrictive non-compete employment contract (which was only effective in California), Shapiro moved to Portland, Oregon, where she worked at the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy. Shapiro was familiar with Portland from having interned at Portland's Northwest Film Center during college, where she met filmmakers Miranda July and other local artists and filmmakers. Initially she planned to be a kale farmer.
At Wieden + Kennedy, Shapiro worked as a director, creating content in the form of short forms and documentaries. Wieden + Kennedy was an early supporter of her creative endeavors, allowing Shapiro to take leave and providing funding for a Kickstarter campaign for Sequin Raze. Shapiro worked on Sequin Raze, which she called a passion project, for four years while working at Wieden + Kennedy.
In 2012, she was one of eight women selected for the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women (DWW), where she wrote and directed the short film Sequin Raze, starring Anna Camp, Ashley Williams, and Frances Conroy. The film went on to win Honorable Mention at South by Southwest Film Festival's Short Film Jury Awards as well as screenings at the New Directors/New Films Festival in New York (MoMA/Lincoln Center) and Palm Springs International film festival.
On July 30, 2013, Lifetime placed a pilot order on UnREAL, inspired by Sequin Raze. The pilot was written by Shapiro and Marti Noxon and was produced by A+E Studios. On February 6, 2014, UnREAL was green-lit, with a 10-episode series order, and premiered in June 2015.
Shapiro is credited as co-creator, writer, and supervising producer on the show. On July 6, 2015, the series was renewed for a second season of 10 episodes, to premiere in 2016. She spoke about the creation of the series in a lengthy 2016 profile with The New Yorker writer D.T. Max.
Shapiro's previous job working as a field producer on the American reality dating series The Bachelor was the inspiration behind both the short film as well as the Lifetime series. She talked about her journey navigating the world of Hollywood in an independent Tedx TED Conference.
While attending Sarah Lawrence College, Shapiro formed the band The New England Roses with Brendan Fowler and JD Samson of indie band Le Tigre. During her time while working on The Bachelor, Shapiro was in a band called Mean Streak.
- 2015-2016: UnREAL - TV series (executive producer, created by, written by, teleplay by)
- 2013: Sequin Raze - TV short (producer, director, writer)
- 2012: 2nd Best - short (director, writer)
- 2005: Battlegrounds: King of the Court - TV series documentary (story producer)
- 2002-2004: The Bachelor - TV show (associate producer, segment producer, field producer)
- 2003: High School Reunion - TV show (associate producer)
- Stanhope, Kate (1 June 2015). "'UnREAL' Co-Creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro: How I Made It in Hollywood". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "S Shapiro - United States Public Records". FamilySearch. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Hoffman, Lauren (15 June 2015). "Confessions of an Ex "Bachelor" Producer: "I Was Doing Stuff That, in My Gut, Felt Wrong"". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Shapiro, Sarah Gertrude (28 July 2015). "How to Borrow Male Privilege in Hollywood". TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen 2015: Speakers, Artists & Performers - Sarah Shapiro". TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Sarah Gertrude Shapiro". Sarah Lawrence College. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Sarah Gertrude Shapiro - Writer/Director" (PDF). Sequin Raze: A Film by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro. 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Kaufman, Amy (28 May 2015). "Former 'Bachelor' producer gets real on Lifetime's 'unREAL'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Turnquist, Kristi (2 July 2015). "How Sarah Gertrude Shapiro went from working in Portland to co-creating 'UnREAL' for Lifetime". The Oregonian. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Wieden+Kennedy (7 March 2013). "SXSW Edition: Q&A With Filmmaker Sarah Shapiro". Wieden+Kennedy. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Lynch, Jason (5 April 2015). "A Filmmaker Gets an Opportunity of a Lifetime How an agency and a network made her TV dream a reality". Adweek. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Hurelle, Fabien (6 November 2014). "Discover the Directors & Films of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women 2013". Hollywomen. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "DWW Alumnae - Class of 2012-2013 - Sarah Shapiro". American Film Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (6 February 2014). "Lifetime Picks Up Marti Noxon's Dark Comedy Pilot 'Un-Real' To Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- O'Connell, Michael (6 July 2015). "Lifetime Renews UnREAL for Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Max, D.T. "Confessional". Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- Blake, Emily (9 January 2015). "Lifetime's UnREAL pulls the curtain on reality TV". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- Samson, JD. "My Herstory". Le Tigre World. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- Shapiro, Sarah (27 September 2007). "I Wish I was an Animal". YouTube. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Shapiro, Sarah. "I Wish I was an Animal". Doggpony Records. Retrieved 7 August 2015.