The gig: Inaugural dean of the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. Before that, Schwartz, 58, produced movies, including "Beaches," "Joe Versus the Volcano" and "Sister Act."
Education: Bachelor's in English literature, UCLA. Master's in film, University of London.
First job: Production and camera assistant on a documentary filmed in London.
Big break: In 1973, Schwartz was being paid $50 a week to be a gofer on a low-budget film. Still, she was determined to keep up her morale. "I was going to be the best gofer there ever was. I swept the floors, and wound up finding locations and borrowing props out of my parents' garage." When a producer was fired, Schwartz was asked to step in and become an assistant director.
In the business world: Schwartz co-founded Cherry Alley Productions with Goldie Hawn and ran her own company, Teri Schwartz Productions. She made movies for 32 years.
Riskiest venture taken: A scene for a Roger Corman movie required a stuntman to drive a car with two dummies down Holloway Drive in West Hollywood, past Barney's Beanery, and fly it over railroad tracks and land in the IHOP parking lot. The production manager forgot to bring the dummies to the 4 a.m. shoot, so when the producer asked where the dummies were, Schwartz said, "We're right here," got in the car with the production manager and did the stunt with the driver. They only needed one take.
On-set laughs: While shooting "Sister Act" in the casinos of Reno, Schwartz was worried that the cast and crew would slip away to gamble. So Schwartz decided to split the cast and crew into "gambling groups" that could play the machines and tables for half an hour and then return. She looked up during the shoot and saw groups of nuns smoking and laughing around blackjack tables, which was "the funniest sight I've ever seen on a movie set."
Why she left the industry: Five years ago, Loyola Marymount University decided to turn its small film department into a film school that it hoped would eventually compete with UCLA and USC. "The idea I could help build a premier media institution and film school was a very appealing proposition."
Advice to aspiring filmmakers: "Be prepared for your luck. Learn to network with those in the industry. Take internships, find mentoring programs."