Suzanne Lyons'
Showbiz Newsletter


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In This Issue
Photo Gallery
October Preview
10 Tips To Getting A Mentor
Private Career Coaching
Indie Film Workshop
Suzanne's Bio
Suzanne 3 
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Seance Suz Adrian
 "I have worked on many productions over the years and one of my most pleasant experiences was working on "Seance" with Suzanne.  I would work with her again in a heartbeat."
-Adrian Paul, Actor
"Suzanne is a wonderfully engaging speaker and 'teacher'.  She knows feature producing inside and out, and in her Low-Budget Film Workshop she presents every step with complete clarity."
-Becky Smith, Director 
Photo Gallery


Suzanne with Alfred Molina
"Undertaking Betty"


Brenda Blethyn
"Undertaking Betty"

Chris Walken MusicMan

Christopher Walken
"Undertaking Betty" 

  James Caan 

James Caan
"Jericho Mansions"


Naomi Watts
"Undertaking Betty"

Winona Ryder

 Winona Ryder
"The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things"
Dean Cain
Dean Cain
"Bailey's Billions"

James Caan

 Peter Fonda
"The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things"


 Jennifer Tilly
"Bailey's Billions"
Candy Stripers
Deanna Brooks, Serria Tawan, Natalie Horton
"Candy Stripers"

Kevin Dobson

Kevin Dobson
"Thank you for being such an incredible leader and mentor.  You blew us away with your chutzpa, humor, stories and encouragement to 'flash forward' with our goals."
-Gwen Gnazdowsky
Head Coach, Vancouver Flash Forward
"You are a bubbling fountain of energy, enthusiasm and knowledge."  
-Kerry O'Quinn
"I was Queen of Pitching Paralysis, and now I actually have fun at it!"
-Murielle Hamilton
"I learned more in the first hour of your workshop than I've learned in 27 years at business seminars.  Thank you!"
-Ethel Pitchford
"You provided my students with optimism and a "can do" spirit that can't be discovered in a text book.  You changed lives that day and I am forever grateful." - Jerry Giggs, Curry College Faculty, Massachusetts 
Speaking Engagements
"You are a big part of why the Latino Producers Academy 2009 was an unforgettable experience for all of us."  -- Kathryn F. Galan, Executive Director, NALIP
I have spoken at nearly 50 industry-related groups and organizations including ---
~Directors Guild of America ~ UCLA ~ USC ~ American Film Institute ~ Film Independent Network ~ Women In Film (Los Angeles) ~ Women in Film and TV (Toronto) ~ Women in Film and Video (Vancouver) ~ Alameda Writers Group ~ IWOSC ~ The Table ~ Chapman College ~ The Actors Network ~ National University ~ Creative Actors Alliance ~ Sherwood Oaks College ~ Academy of TV Arts and Sciences ~ WGA ~ SAG ~ Filmmakers Alliance ~ Cinema Arts Tech ~ New Brunswick Film Industry Summit ~ Filmmakers Collaborative (Boston) ~ Latino Producers Academy (NALIP) (Tuscon and Santa Fe) ~ American Pitch Fest ~ Learning Annex (Los Angeles) ~ Scriptwriters Network ~ Action/Cut Filmmaking ~ IFP West ~ California Institute of the Arts ~ Hollywood Film Festival ~ Film Specific ~ REEL Ladies ~ Gary Goldstein ~ AFCI Cineposium (Association of Film Commissioners International) - New Mexico Filmmakers Conference 
For information regarding speaking engagements, please call me at 818-558-5917.



Next month, I will address the importance of having a Mission Statement.  I have actually received e-mails requesting help with this, so I'll take a look at creating both your personal and professional Mission Statement.  It doesn't matter what level or what facet of the entertainment industry (or any industry) you are in, it's important to have a Mission Statement.  I look forward to sharing tips and suggestions with you.


Until then, stay present, be conscious and dream big!

To purchase the audio recording of my Teleconference Call on "Financing Your Indie Film",  Click Here 
Two E-Booklets: 
"10 Tips to Networking and Creating Relationships in the Entertainment Industry," and
"10 Tips to Pitching Your Projects and Yourself," will be available on and on site by mid September.
Please forward this Newsletter to two friends!
Dear Friends:

Hope you have all had an amazing summer.  I enjoyed a refreshing, relaxing much needed holiday at home in Miramichi, New Brunswick (Canada) visiting lots of family and friends.  There is something very grounding and comforting about going back to where you've grown up.  Folks still call me Susie or say "you're Joe and Rita's girl?" even though my parents have been gone for many years.  I had sunshine, sailing, sing songs and delicious lingering meals on the deck of our cottage overlooking the magical  sparkling Miramichi river, all the while surrounded by tons of love. 


I also had a great trip to Santa Fe where I spoke at the NALIP 2010 Latino Producers Academy.   What a treat.  And as I mentioned in my last Newsletter, I got my book deal with Focal Press, so I started working on my book on Indie Film Producing.  Wow! What a delightful summer!


As promised last month, this Newsletter will address getting a mentor.  Every time I take on something new, getting a mentor is the first thing that I do.  We don't have to reinvent the wheel... not ever. 


When I spoke at a Scriptwriters Network event in July and I suggested getting a mentor to one of the participants, her look said it all... "Are you crazy?  Who would I get?  Why would they ever say yes?  How would I get one?"  Everyone in the room seemed to have the same reaction. 


In the Entertainment Industry people have been making movies for over 100 years!  There are 100s and 1000s of experts in all facets and at all levels of film and television.  And the one thing they all (we all) have in common as human beings is, we all want to contribute. 


You don't have to do it alone.  We can all use a mentor... we should all have a mentor... someone who's been there, done that.  So here goes... 

Tips to Getting a Mentor."


1) WHAT IS A MENTOR?  A mentor is someone that you respect who is in a position to advise you on how to accomplish your goal.  He/she is someone who can give you advice and guidance.  A mentor is NOT a coach.  They are not there to push you outside your comfort zone or make you accountable for your actions.  Their job is to be an advisor. 


Look at what your goals are... "I am producing my first film in the $200,000 budget range;" "I am going for acting roles in one hour TV dramas;" "My goal is to have my action/adventure screenplay optioned;"  "I plan to make the move from editing to directing."  Now, who would make a good mentor?  I know the actor is thinking it should be a casting director of one hour drama.  Not necessarily.  I suggest you think outside the box first.  Maybe the supervising producer of your favorite TV show would make an interesting mentor.  Perhaps it's an actor who's been doing those types of shows for years.  Also, it's not necessarily the biggest name.  For the writer, it may be the Director of Development at a studio that is doing similar projects. Also, if you are taking on a goal that is a completely new learning curve I would suggest having 2 or 3 mentors. 


3) MAKE IT EASY TO SAY YES:  When Heidi Wall (co-founder of the Flash Forward Institute) and I were teaching the Flash Forward workshops, one of the first assignments was to get a mentor.  The criteria was 3 ten-minute conversations over a 6 week period.  Nearly everyone can say yes to that request.  Or perhaps it's a half hour coffee meeting.  Something easy and doable.  99% of the time it will naturally go beyond that, but start there and make it easy for people to say yes.


4) HOW TO MAKE THE REQUEST:  I suggest you start by writing an amazing letter or e-mail and include the following:   A) Start with the request telling them why you are approaching them in particular.  B) Tell them what it means to be a mentor, ie: 3 ten-minute conversations (in person or over the phone) over a certain period of time.  C) Introduce yourself.  Tell them what you are up to accomplishing with your project/career.  Then, tell them you will be calling them within the next 48 hours to see if they are available and interested in being your mentor.  If someone they know has referred them as a perfect mentor for you, please note that in your letter.  Also, if you are going through their agent/manager, then make your request very specific with regard to when you need to hear back from them.  Always create a little urgency. 


5) WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR MENTOR:  Your mentor is an advisor, not a coach, as I mentioned earlier.  You want advice, guidance and strategy on how to accomplish your goal or project.  For example, you can get suggestions on your goal and timeline... suggestions on people you should meet and ideas on how to reach those  people.  Perhaps they can help you with your pitch and how to perfect it.   Show your mentor your strategic plan, your goals, your list of people/companies you want to meet and ask "what do you think and what have I left out."  Also, I suggest that you request guidance on areas where you are stuck.


6) MENTOR ETIQUETTE:  Once you have a mentor, follow through.  If you set up a specific time to call, then call when you said you would.  Be professional.  Keep your word at all times.  It is a business relationship.  Always acknowledge them and always thank them for their time.


7) BE PREPARED Don't expect your mentor to generate the conversation.  Have your questions ready.  Brainstorm with friends and colleagues if you need to and have a list of questions ready.  When I was leading Flash Forward workshops I actually had some pretty big name mentors call me to complain that they had to generate the entire conversation.  Please take responsibility for this... be ready and prepared.  


8) DON'T PUT THEM ON THE SPOT:  Your mentor is there to give you advice, guidance, suggestions.  Don't ask them to read your script, watch your reel, listen to your CD, go over your portfolio, etc.  If they ask, that is excellent.  If they want to extend the meeting from 10 minutes to a full hour, great, but let them make the offer.  Also, please don't ever use their name without permission.  If they suggest you call a particular person or company that they know personally, always ask them if you can use their name.  Never assume that you can.  You are requesting their wisdom, not their rolodex.


9) ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:  Remember to acknowledge your mentor on every call or meeting.  Thank them for their time.  This is very important and something we all to often forget to do.

10) COMPLETING YOUR AGREEMENT:  When you have had your 1/2 hour coffee meeting, your 3 ten-minute conversations, your lunch meeting, etc. and the business relationship agreement is complete, thank and acknowledge them again for their contribution to you as a mentor.  Thank them for their time, advice, wisdom and expertise.  Remember it was a business agreement and now it's time to complete that agreement.


BONUS:  Everyone at every level in every industry has a mentor.   So get a MENTOR!  Don't put this off.   As you can now see, this is very doable.  Think how flattered you would be if someone asked you to be their mentor.  So create your wish list, type your letter, get your questions ready and go for it! 
Feel free to forward this newsletter to all your friends and colleagues.  They can go to to sign up for the next issue.

Sessions: $150 per hour
or book 5 sessions and save $100!
To Register: Call 818-558-5917
 or email 
Indie Film Producing
Private Session over the Phone or in Person
 I will literally guide you through the entire process of making your film.  From my own hands-on experience on my last few films (specifically CANDY STRIPERS, SÉANCE and PORTAL) I will be taking you through every detailed facet of filmmaking.  
BONUS: You will also receive the BINDER which has well  over $15,000 worth of contracts, business plans, sales presentation, deal memos and much more!
The cost of this course NOW, will save you thousands and thousands of dollars on your film LATER!
COST: In Person - $575.00 (One 4 hour Session)
COST: By Phone - $375.00 (One 1 and 1/2 Hour Session) 
Contact: Snowfall/WindChill Films at 818-558-5917 or email Suzanne Lyons directly at
"Suzanne has that rare ability to combine artistic creativity and smart business sense... she's proven that by taking a SAG ultra low budget and somehow squeezing out a quality film that looks like it cost a million!"
-Mark L. Smith, Writer/Director "Séance", Writer "Vacancy"
Suzanne's Bio 
alien suz
On the set of "Candy Stripers" with Deanna Brooks.
SUZANNE LYONS has over 25 years experience in television and film.  She was VP of Marketing and Promotions for a Canadian TV Network and while there she created, produced and directed news and series programming and has won numerous awards for her work.   Suzanne moved to Philadelphia in the early 90's and worked in sales and distribution selling both film and television internationally.  Ms. Lyons then established herself in Los Angeles in the mid 90's and co-founded the Flash Forward Institute.  She has led hundreds of entertainment industry seminars to thousands of participants in both the U.S. and Canada.  
In 1999 Ms. Lyons co-founded Snowfall Films and in the last eight years Snowfall has produced or executive produced eight movies:  A British comedy UNDERTAKING BETTY (aka "PLOTS WITH A VIEW") with actors Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina, Naomi Watts, Lee Evans and Christopher Walken and British director Nick Hurran. Miramax is the domestic distributor.  UNDERTAKING BETTY has won a BAFTA award.  Snowfall Films produced a British/Canadian co-production thriller titled JERICHO MANSIONS staring James Caan, Genevieve Bujold, Maribel Verdu and Jennifer Tilly with Spanish director Alberto Sciamma.  JERICHO MANSIONS was an official selection at the Montreal Film Festival.
Snowfall Films Executive Produced the British/Canadian family comedy BAILEY'S BILLION$ which stars Dean Cain, Laurie Holden, Tim Curry, Jennifer Tilly and Jon Lovitz as the talking dog, directed by David Devine.  Snowfall is an Executive Producer on writer/director Asia Argento's THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS which is based on the novel by J.T. LeRoy staring Asia Argento, Marilyn Manson, Winona Ryder and Peter Fonda. The film premiered during the Directors Fortnight at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and screened to high acclaim at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival.  
Snowfall Films is in the process of developing and producing family films.  Suzanne is developing a World War I family drama titled SCOUTS HONOR which won best screenplay at La Femme Film Festival in Los Angeles.  Ms. Lyons is working with Byng Productions in Nova Scotia on an animated Christmas feature film, OMARR THE CAMEL.  Suzanne has interst from both Randy Travis and Amy Grant.  She just completed post-production, co-producing a family film with the WWE titled THE CHAPERONE.  It was directed by Stephen Herek ("Mr. Holland's Opus") and was shot in New Orleans. 
Suzanne has partnered with New York based theatrical producer, Monica Tidwell on a play titled MIND GAME by U.K. writer Anthony Horowitz ("Foyle's War", "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker").  The play is being adapted as a screenplay with U.K. based Ken Russell ("Tommy", "Altered States") currently attached to direct.   Suzanne is also in development on THE CALLING (adapted from a best selling Canadian novel) and on a thriller, THE WOUND with James Cotten attached to direct.
WindChill Films, Inc., a genre division, was launched in 2005 and CANDY STRIPERS, the first film in the slate of thriller/horror movies sold to Screen Gems for U.S. DVD distribution.  The second picture in this slate, produced in the spring of 2006, is titled SÉANCE with writer/director Mark L. Smith (VACANCY) and actor Adrian Paul ("Highlander" TV Series).  LionsGate is distributing SÉANCE which won Best Picture at the Shockerfest Film Festival.  The third WindChill film, PORTAL, stars Kevin Dobson and Chris Conrad and is being distributed by LionsGate.  Next on the slate is MOST LIKELY TO... 
The goal at Snowfall Films is to produce high-quality films and TV Series that entertain, delight, inspire and inform.  They have consistently accomplished that goal and take great pride in their reputation for operating with creativity, integrity and an undauntable stand for quality and fun.  They are committed to ensuring a creative environment for every person who works on their projects. They recognize that the production team from cast to crew is the cornerstone of the enterprise, and they value each and every member of the team. 
Suzanne 6
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has a genius, power and magic to it.  
-- Goethe