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Hidden Figures Oscar Nominated Screenwriter
Allison Schroeder is a Writers Guild of America, BAFTA, and Oscar-nominated screenwriter for the film Hidden Figures, which tells the true story of three female, African-American mathematicians at NASA during the Cold War. She also won the Humanitas and Veritas Awards for her writing on the film. Allison drew from her own experiences working at NASA and her studies in mathematics as she adapted the book into the screenplay. Read More >
Allison grew up in Florida, near NASA at Cape Canaveral, inspired by her grandmother and grandfather who both worked as engineers in the 60s and 70s. She grew up watching the shuttle launches, visiting her grandmother in the Vertical Assembly Building, and playing on a Mercury capsule prototype. In high school, she interned for NASA NURTURE’s Math and Science Program and then worked for a missile launch company after her freshman year of college.
Allison attended Stanford University where she graduated with a degree in Economics (with much coursework in math and statistics). Many of the experiences in Hidden Figures, such as a teacher telling her he couldn’t teach a woman math, actually happened to Allison during her studies. She also had a second major in Film & Visual Narrative, which covered creative writing, theater, photography, and film studies. While at Stanford, she studied abroad at Oxford University where she wrote, directed, choreographed, and produced her first musical.
After graduating from Stanford, Allison worked as a financial analyst in San Francisco for Arthur Andersen during the Enron crisis. She then moved over to KPMG. After two years, she headed to the University of Southern California for her MFA in Film Production, where she studied directing and writing.
After graduation from USC, she worked as a writers’ assistant on Smallville before becoming a staff writer on 90210. She went on to sell a pilot to MTV and write Mean Girls 2. She also wrote the musical Side Effects for ATV/Dreamworks Animation. After working in the teen genre for a few years, she transitioned to action and drama with her spec sale of Agatha to Paramount.
She’s currently working on Christopher Robin for Disney with Ewan McGregor attached to star, Marc Forster directing. She also has a musical pilot Inspiration in development at Universal Cable/E! with Scooter Braun and Good Fear Film.
Allison is the Co-Chair of the Women’s Committee at the Writers Guild of America and a member of the WGA Diversity Advisory Group, helmed by Glen Mazzara and Shonda Rhimes. She’s spoken at the 2016 Women’s Summit at the White House, Google, SXSW, the LA Science March, and The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable. Known for her creative and inspiring keynote speeches, she's also been a guest on numerous podcasts, radio shows (BBC4’s Women’s Hour, The Frame), and various other news outlets. She has a deep love for cats, travel, ziplining, improv, and chai cupcakes. She’s married to a television writer, and they have a baby girl born just two weeks before Hidden Figures premiered. Read Less ^
Allison Schroeder on Putting Herself into Her Writing
Allison Schroeder on Her Inspiration for ‘Hidden Figures’
The women of Hidden Figures succeeded by working within the system, going outside the system, and changing the system. Allison will discuss the various steps that these women and she have utilized in their careers to continue advancing. They include: (1) Dream Big, (2) Identify Obstacles and Steps to Overcome Them, (3) Set Realistic Goals, (4) Do the Work, (5) Advocate for Yourself, (6) Find a Support Group, (7) Pick Your Fights. Allison will explain how Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan used these steps to succeed at NASA in roles not previously open to women, and especially women of color. She’ll also discuss how she used these steps in her career from her time at NASA, to her experiences within Finance, and finally her writing in Hollywood.
Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan could not have succeeded without the support of those within NASA. And in turn, they were instrumental to the success of the mission. Some of their bosses stood in their way while others changed the rules and supported them. As in real life, the character of Kevin Costner had to take a hard look at his role as a boss and adjust to be the best leader: (1) He found the best person to do the job by looking outside the normal employment pools, (2) He listened to his employees and removed obstacles standing in their way, (3) He changed protocols and procedures to better serve his employees, (4) He gave them latitude to find the solution and (5) He knew it was a team effort to succeed at the mission. Allison will also discuss Mary and Dorothy’s bosses as well as her own experiences both as a team member and a team leader.
She was absolutely amazing! Everyone loved her! I think she had a good time too….. She’s VERY down to earth…..has a great conversational style. Wicked smart. Great insights. It was awesome….thank you! Thank you for everything!
Thank you so much for speaking at March for Science Los Angeles this weekend. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you. Your remarks about Hidden Figures: The Power of Science in Films resonated with our audience and were incredibly inspiring. In addition to highlighting the critical role film can play in communicating science, we are thrilled that you could speak from the perspective of a mother with a young child since this movement is all about the next generation.
On behalf of the entire MFA group, thank you so much for an extraordinary presentation and sharing all of that time with the students. I'm deeply grateful for your very specific and brilliant thoughts about everything from the craft of pitching to the politics of writing in Hollywood.
Just wanted to send you a note to express how grateful I and the rest of the team at Wondaland are that you were able to join our panel on Saturday. Your perspective, isnight, and humor really made the day magical.
Meet Allison Schroeder, the NASA-loving writer of ‘Hidden Figures’ who was just nominated for an Oscar
'Hidden Figures’ Screenwriter Allison Schroeder: "I Grew Up Playing on the Mercury Capsule Prototypes" | Writer Oscar Roundtable
Screenwriter Allison Schroeder Explains Why She Was Born to Write Hidden Figures
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