J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication Award Recipients
James T. Tiedge Memorial Award
LAURIE A. SCHEER, SP '78
Laurie Scheer refers to herself as the “media goddess,” but she’s also a creative midwife. Throughout her career, first in television and then as a writing teacher, author and consultant, she has helped countless others bring their stories into the world.
“I like encouraging people to experience and write about wonderment,” she says. “I do this so there will be more wonderment in the world.”
With her freshly minted Marquette broadcasting degree and $500 in her pocket, Laurie set out for Hollywood to break into the entertainment industry. “I had an amazingly great mentor, Dr. James Tiedge, and I was fortunate to meet a group of like minds who wanted to take that journey out to La La Land at the same time I did,” she says.
Laurie worked her way up from assistant to network vice president, with stints at ABC, Viacom, Showtime, AMC-Cablevision and WE: Women’s Entertainment, which she helped launch as vice president of programming. After reviewing thousands of scripts over the years, she began sharing her insider knowledge with the world, writing the book Creative Careers in Hollywood and producing the DVD How to Pitch and Sell Your Screenplay.
And she discovered she’s as passionate about teaching as she is about producing pop culture. Today she teaches writing through the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Continuing Studies program, directs UW–Madison’s Writers’ Institute and serves as managing editor of The Midwest Prairie Review. Her latest book is The Writer’s Advantage: A Toolkit for Mastering Your Genre.
“Success is when I receive a text, email or call from a student who has achieved their goals,” she says.
Favorite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.
Favorite quote: “‘Go out and love some more!’ from Maude to Harold, from the 1971 movie Harold and Maude, as she’s about to die.”
Dream dinner guest: Lauren Hutton or Stevie Nicks
Marquette faculty member who had an impact: “Dr. James Tiedge. He encouraged me to do my best and to pursue my dreams — what better goals are those? He also supported my work in the entertainment industry and through a wonderfully strange set of circumstances also supported my being a teacher. I am always indebted to him — he helped with both of my careers.”
Favorite Marquette memory: “Meeting John Schwartz on my first day of college. I remember standing outside of the School of Speech, which was located in an old house near the old engineering building (this was one year before we moved to Johnston Hall). We bonded because he was involved with his yearbook at a Catholic high school in the Milwaukee area and so was I. Four years later he led us all to L.A.”
Career she aspired to in grade school: “I wanted to work behind the scenes on every television show and movie I ever watched, and I also wanted to be a crew member on the Star Trek USS Enterprise — to work alongside Spock would have been pretty amazing. I am an only child. I had a pretty vivid imagination and lived in my own world.”
Most influential person: “Norma Herron. Norma was a co-worker who mentored me when I first arrived at ABC Entertainment in Hollywood. Norma was from the Midwest, an only child and a self-made woman who had been working in the entertainment industry for nearly 30 years at that point. She taught me how to survive in and negotiate my career, and she showed me how to live gracefully. She would also read my horoscope for free and give me hints about how to compose my destiny personally and professionally. I continue to use the knowledge she shared with me on a daily basis — she and her astro-weather charts were always right.”