Lorien is a natural storyteller whose years of experience and unique perspective makes her an invaluable resource when you are slogging through the nightmare of trying to write a script. When you're writing in a void, it's really easy to lose perspective on what in your story is tracking. And if you're like me, you can get so caught up in the minutia you can forget why you even started writing the thing in the first place. Cue Lorien! An expert at asking the right questions, she might make you cry, but it'll be worth it.
WILLIE J. HAGAN
President Emeritus, California State University, Dominguez Hills
If you are a screenwriter or director looking for professional advice on how to improve your craft, develop your story or simply how to resolve a particular story problem, you should contact Lorien McKenna. Lorien is one of the best writers and story consultants in the business. She has worked as a feature film and television writer, a story manager and consultant at companies such as Disney/Pixar and Netflix. I have personally benefited from working with Lorien. After I rewrote one of my scripts based upon her feedback, that script went on to be honored by the Writers Guild of America, West and is now being considered for a graphic novel as intellectual property for a televisions series. Lorien is not only an accomplished writer she is able to effectively use her knowledge to help others enhance their own writing skills as they seek to share their stories with a broader audience.
I have worked with Lorien multiple times to date and I cannot speak highly enough about her contribution to the projects we have developed. She is a great guide when you have spent days or even weeks traveling down a rabbit hole that is not advancing the core of the story. Like a great sports coach, Lorien has an innate ability to keep focused on the fundamentals of your story with her patented firm but gentle nudge. There are plenty of people out there that rush to tell you what is wrong with your story but Lorien brings a very filmmaker friendly and constructive approach to working through the solutions. She has the amazing ability to turn an existing story on its head and bring a completely new way to solving story issues, while never losing focus on what makes your story unique and personal. Whether you are a working industry professional, budding writer/filmmaker or student, Lorien’s services are money well spent and is sure to be a beacon in the fog ALL storytellers get lost in during certain moments of the journey.
Wanted to put a shout out for Lorien Mckenna who took me on a storyhike and put my head back in the game on my latest screenplay 'Sleeper'. Whether you need someone to bounce ideas off for a new concept or if you're finishing your final draft, Lorien is your woman. Not only does she really understand screenwriting as a professional (employed for ten years at Pixar) but she is also gracious with her comments and finds the perfect blend of honesty and sensitivity, leading you towards your goal. Furthermore, you get to hike at your own pace and level. My fingers are back at the keyboard, a blur of activity and inspiration! Thank you Lorien!
A story hike with Lorien will blow your mind wide open! Lorien is both a wonderful writer herself, and also a deeply intuitive ‘story-whisperer’ who can help you unlock the tale you’re yearning to tell. Whether your medium is animation, film, television, or new media, Lorien has the experience (10+ years at Pixar), story-telling acumen, and emotional intelligence to gently guide you in taking your work to the next level. She is a whiz at story structure and a font of fresh ideas. Best of all, her keen intelligence and generous spirit make her a dream colloborator for any artist. After story hiking with Lorien, I found my focus sharper, my body and mind more deeply connected in a state of ‘flow,’ and my vision for my work powerfully amplified. As a writer/producer, I can’t think of a more fun or effective way to advance story development.
DAVID F. M. VAUGHN
Do yourself a favor and hire Lorien now. No, not now, yesterday. I met Lorien last year at the Cinestory TV Writers retreat where she was a mentor. I had the pleasure of working with her on numerous projects both as a co-writer as well as a consultant. She is a master at Development: be it story, character or dialogue. A lot of “coaches” and such are a factory of “isms where every script is given the same notes. But with Lorien, she understands the nuances between various genres and styles and is incredibly succinct and clear about where a story is succeeding and where it is not. On top of all her talent, skill and experience, she has a wildly infectious personality that will keep you giggling, but more importantly, open creatively to help keep the ideas flowing.
The experience of working with Lorien is a unique blend of being unleashed and challenged! She has an uncanny ability to ask just the right question that helps you see what you’ve been hiding from yourself and the next step you need to take. When we worked together I was in the middle of a big transition in both life and work and I needed to create a new direction for myself. On our hike, we talked about ways I was getting lost and places I felt the most connected to my work. After we ideated (her specialty), I went home and created vision boards and notebooks for the core ideas. Few things are as vulnerable as the creative process – and it is essential to have someone who is both curious and completely free of judgment. She isn’t there to tell you if she likes your project, or if she thinks it will sell. She is there to tell you if it works – and if it doesn’t how to fix it. Past experiences with getting notes on ideas – often felt like they had more to do with the person giving the notes, than any sense of my vision. When I work with Lorien, it feels like fearlessly uncovering what matters to me. She isn’t afraid to make me uncomfortable on the way to growth – and she’s funny. Seriously funny! Which definitely helps the uncomfortable bits. You know she has been through it too – and isn’t afraid anymore either.
Lorien is one of the best producers I've worked with! Absolute understanding of both production and artist needs. I always felt very appreciated and supported as an artist when I worked with her which I believe it is critically important for a healthy production. Also, her knowledge in screen writing and story telling has always helped us to move to right direction. I felt so lucky to have gotten a chance to work with her and I look forward to working with her again!
Writer & Creative Director at Endless Media
I worked under Lorien at Paramount and she was a fantastic producer. She assembled an incredible team of talented, hard working people that worked well together. I witnessed firsthand her ability to quickly assess their strengths and set them up for success. Lorien has been an amazing mentor to me and helped guide me in my career in animation thus for. She's knowledgable about the creative process and has shown time and again that she can take an idea from inception to reality.
Visual Development Artist
Working with Lorien was an absolute delight. Her knowledge of production at all levels is remarkable, and her ability to keep a production moving in an efficient and effective direction is inspiring. She is also a skilled storyteller and writer with an incredible sense of humor, so if cracking a story is what you need, look no further. She is the whole package, and I hope to have the privilege of working with her again soon!
Writer in Hollywood
I booked Lorien McKenna for a Story Hike to talk about a treatment, and came away thinking about my whole life. I hoped a Story Hike with Lorien would alter my creative perspective, and unblock me on a treatment that had been sitting stuck in a drawer for a year. Within the first two hundred yards, Lorien had dug deep into my treatment, and into ME. Out in the open air, away from the table, the keyboard, or a therapist’s couch, I was getting new insights into both myself, and my treatment. Part story editor, part coach, part psychologist, part friend, Lorien was able to weave together lessons learned from her 10 plus years in Story Development at Pixar, and bring them to bear on my narrative, plot structure, character, and real life. Often her insights were intense -- the kind that would have made me tear up, or throw a book at her if I had been sitting near her indoors. But out on the trails with the wide-open views I could look around, open my ears and heart, and take in her wisdom a few steps at a time. I returned to my treatment, and my life, with renewed focus, clarity, and inspiration.
Working with Lorien has been such a remarkable gift. When presented with notes on a script I found it invaluable to have Lorien in my corner to help me address notes in an organic way that stayed true to my unique voice and vision. Lorien also has a keen eye for the “big picture” at every step, which I found so comforting and endlessly helpful! I want every writer I know to hire Lorien.
Writer & Director
Part producer, part writer, part coach, Lorien is a tireless force that will drive you to find the elements of your story and make them the best version they can be. One session with Lorien will generate the questions and answers you've never thought of before but are essential in building the structure of a successful screenplay. She doesn't shy away from making you take a long hard look at each part of your story and breaking them apart to rebuild stronger than before. Lorien will break you out of the box both literally and figuratively and open you up to new points of view. I can't speak enough about how grateful I am for her advice and inspiration, as her tough questioning and experienced advice has improved how I look at story and structure and my work is all the better for it.
Story Manager at Pixar Animation Studios & Screenwriter
Lorien was one of the first people I ever worked for, and she was a superb teacher and mentor. Her leadership shaped my understanding of animation production and approach to management, and she was an absolute blast to work with in the process. Lorien is excellent at creating a safe, fun, and successful creative environment, as I saw her demonstrate with the storyboard artists at Pixar. And on top of that, Lorien happens to be a talented storyteller in her own right. She is sharp, funny, and passionate about her work, and it truly shows. I hope that I have the opportunity to collaborate with Lorien in the future!
Writer & Producer
Lorien is an exceptional producer. She’s adept at managing day to day priorities, while always keeping the bigger picture in focus. She is a mentor, a leader and a motivator. I was fortunate to work under her leadership and learned so much watching her wrangle a seemingly impossible project and drive results in an unfathomable schedule. Also, she is funny as hell. I would work with Lorien again in a heartbeat.
Lorien is an incredible talent. While a gifted creator in her own right, Lorien has the unique ability to bring the best out in the directors, writers, and artists around her. I had the pleasure of collaborating with her on several projects I wrote for Paramount. Lorien helped me to shape and articulate my ideas as well as find opportunities to “plus” existing material. She is a screenwriter’s dream when it comes to development and a tremendous asset to help shepherd the creative process. I look forward to working with her again very soon.
Head of Development at Super 78
Lorien is a tenacious guardian of story bringing an incredible depth of experience and the heart of a writer to every project she produces. She is a beacon for her crew and isn't afraid to go against the grain to fight for a concept she believes will enhance the story and buoy the writers and artists behind it.