A Nebraska writer is on the staff of one of the hottest shows on TV. Her rapid climb up the ladder from assistant to the writer’s room should be a series itself. She’s our special guest at the Salon on July 10th!
Heather Marion is originally from Superior, Nebraska, where she lived and worked in her family’s funeral home. She attended Concordia University-Nebraska, majoring in Biochemistry, with the intent to dominate the mortuary empire. During a New York City exchange program, Heather became involved in theatre, both writing and acting. She completed improvisational, stand-up, and sketch comedy training before ditching her embalming tools and moving to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting.
After working as a development intern for Laura Ziskin, Heather became Executive Assistant to Jill Soloway, showrunner of Diablo Cody’s UNITED STATES OF TARA (Showtime) and co-showrunner of HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA (HBO). Heather then worked as Executive and Writer’s Assistant to Jeff Garlin during his work as Executive Producer/Co-star of Larry David’s CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO) and star of THE GOLDBERGS (ABC). Heather became Garlin’s producing partner in 2012, earning the title of Associate Producer of his second feature film, DEALIN’ WITH IDIOTS (IFC/Killer Films).
Meanwhile, Heather wrote and performed in weekly sketch shows at Straitjacket Society and Upright Citizens Brigade, and attended graduate school full time, receiving her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA in June 2013. She worked as the Writers’ Assistant on season 1 of the Vince Gilligan/Peter Gould Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul (AMC), while continuing to write and produce with Garlin. She took on a dual Writers’ Assistant/Script Coordinator role for Season 2 while co-writing the finale with Gilligan before promotion to her current position as Staff Writer on the series’ third season.
With one of her original pilot scripts, Bury Me, Heather was included as a writer in Sundance’s inaugural Episodic Story Lab. She is represented by William Morris Endeavor & Management 360.
Come meet a Nebraskan who is creating one of the best shows in the Golden Age of Television. And her stellar advice for getting started in Hollywood will inspire YOU in your career. It’s going to be a terrific Salon on Monday, July 10th!
A long road away from Mortuary Sciences
Written by Roslin T. Real
Better Call Saul writer Heather Marion is from Superior, NE and is a resident of Los Angeles largely thanks to the NCC Hollywood Salons. She came to NCC looking for a roommate because hers had moved back to Nebraska. If she hadn’t found someone she would also have moved back, however, that Salon connected her with a Kansas roomie. She has been here since 2008.
Growing up, Heather had always planned to enter the family funeral director business like her father, uncle, and grandpa had done before her. Her biochemistry studies took her to Bronxville, New York, where she became involved with improv and stand-up comedy. It also was the place which revealed to her that, “writing was a job I could have – not just something you do when you can’t find a job, which is what most people in Nebraska think.”
To uncover the next steps, she reached out to those who had gone before her. Having taken workshops with writer Lew Hunter, she contacted the former Superior, NE resident to get his advice. He suggested attending the UCLA Professional program. She applied and moved to LA upon admission, and nannied during the day.
She had goals of working for a producer that aligned with her vision. She targeted a few and offered her services, to which they declined. “So I kept calling.” Her offers were eventually accepted, and she honed her script coverage skills. Over time the role became paid. In one instance, she kept a job due to her stick shift skills, and would get lunch and run errands in that particular sports car.
Heather later began working with showrunner Jill Soloway. Jill was looking for a writer with nannying experience and she fit the bill. When Jill asked her to go part time, Heather asked if Jill would pass her resume around. “You get your next job from the people you know,” she explains, and though no one in that particular email chain needed anyone, the network led her to Jeff Garlin.
She stayed with him for four years. In those years she showed up when she said she would and didn’t ask her boss to do too many things before she had earned it. She advised NCCers to wait until a boss offers to read your script, then they will take more responsibility for the task. Though it took 3.5 years for Jeff to offer to read her script, he wrote a recommendation to Sundance on her behalf.
She admits that sharing writing can be a challenge, but she shared her go-to affirmation:
“I know what I’m doing here. I really love doing this. It’s why I came here. Remember to eat a sandwich. To go on a walk. Remember to, like, to call [your] mom. To take care of yourself and remember what you’re doing here.”