Susan Bell grew up in what she likes to call a “Friday Night Lights” town in West Texas wanting to be an astronaut. She headed off to college to study mechanical engineering only to be seduced by the on-set excitement of filmmaking.
Since then, she’s directed several short horror films, The Patchwork Monkey (aired on IFC), The Resurrectionist and The Boarder, which have screened at film festivals across the United States and internationally. Currently under the banner of Charon Pictures, she is in post-production on a project involving the Los Angeles Ghost Patrol‘s reality TV pilot footage. In addition, for the past six years she has worked as a producer and project manager in stop-motion animation including the Emmy-winning sketch comedy extravaganza Robot Chicken and (currently) an untitled Henry Selick feature film. Her other passion is transmedia and its participatory storytelling techniques.
Susan is comfortable across all facets of production. Her top notch organizational skills and creative solutions equate to her getting things done when the going gets tough. Amongst her many talents, she’s scheduled indie features, balanced power as a best boy electric, organized series delivery bibles & elements, and created vfx. Plus she has a creative eye and sense of composition with a background in photography, having worked multiple years as a newspaper stringer and a student staff photographer.
She is an member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences & Producers Guild of America , and she holds a MFA from The Florida State University Film School and a BA from Baylor University. She has been honored with the DGA Student Film Award for Women (Honorable Mention aka Jury Award) and a Golden Reel nomination by the Motion Picture Sound Editors, as well as multiple film festival awards. After seven years in Los Angeles, she relocated to the San Francisco Bay area in 2012, thinks monkeys are creepy and can be seen flying small planes above the skies of Oakland when not watching rocket launches.
“Susan gets shit done. It’s that simple. And not only does she get it done, but she gets it done better than you could ever hope. I know that when something is handed to her, I never need to think about it again because I trust her implicitly. She’s handled everything from overseeing the production of our Robot Chicken DVDs to submissions for the Emmys. Anyone thinking of hiring her should hire her. She’s that good. ”
– Matthew Senreich, Executive Producer, Stoopid Monkey Productions / Robot Chicken
“Susan is a conscientious and dedicated manager with great knowledge of production operations and an expertise in fiscal responsibilities. She has a vast knowledge of the animation processes and a leader that works endlessly to a common goal of producing the best product that is screen worthy. I would definitely work with Susan again and know that in her future endeavors, she will be a valued asset to any production team.”
– Joan Turgeon, Production Accountant at ShadeMaker Productions, Inc., Walt Disney Studios
“Working with Susan was interesting because every thing she said and did was 100% airtight. Every problem I brought to her attention was perfectly wrapped up. Every time she came to me with an issue, it was like she was working on a clock and she correctly identified me as the perfect gear to insert at the moment. She never presented any BS if she didn’t know something — she was always honest and said “let me get back to you” and get back to me she did. Hm… it would be great if nobody hired her so I could make sure she’s free to work with me if I ever needed her…”
– Douglas Goldstein, Co-Executive Producer & Head Writer, Robot Chicken
“Susan was an amazing asset to have during Blu-ray and DVD production. Her attention to detail and impeccable organizational skills kept projects free of problems and on schedule. She is also fantastic for facilitating communication with talent in order to make creative decisions on projects efficiently. Additionally, her understanding of the technical aspects of production were instrumental to creating solutions that ensured the final product presented content in the best way possible.”
– Zachary Moore, Home Entertainment Specialist, Cartoon Network
“My partner in publicizing Robot Chicken was Susan Bell. Susan produced the art, suggested and produced the clips, and was my go to person on every aspect of promoting the DVDs and is a big part of why many of them debuted as the #1 television DVD the week they were released. She has been the keeper of the information and she also selected and produced the episodes and clips submitted for award shows which resulted in numerous nominations and wins at the Emmy Awards and the Annie Awards. Seth [Green], Matt [Senreich] and I all relied upon her expertise and spot-on taste and instincts. She even made unilateral decisions to submit in new categories which resulted in even more awards and nominations. Her passion, enthusiasm, intelligence and ability to teach herself anything she didn’t already know made her such an invaluable part of the team and I cannot recommend her highly enough. The most commonly uttered phrases around Robot Chicken were a tie between “I don’t know, ask Susan” and “Susan is awesome.“
– Brenda Feldman, Feldman Public Relations
“Moms are saved, souls are released and viewers will never really know if the story is one of a child’s imagination, or one of a fictional reality. This is the short to see at this upcoming film event!”
– Michael Allen, previewing Bleedfest selection The Boarder for 28dayslateranalysis.com
“[The Patchwork Monkey] creates excellent tension through well-planned shots, good editing, professional sound and music, and believable performances….[It's] a taut Twilight Zone tale that never slows down.”
– Christopher Allan Bradstone, The Rumor Machine
“[The Resurrectionist] is screening at the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Fest as the short before An American Haunting. Pretty cool…especially because the family in Haunting is the Bell family (it’s based on a true story — they could be one of Susan’s distant relatives?). This is one of the more major European horror/sci-fi/fantasy fests and Susan Bell is honored to have been invited to screen there.”
– Superheidi posting on Planet Fury (formerly Pretty Scary)
“The Resurrectionist is an attractive, gothic rendering of the old ghost story…. a well filmed, well choreographed, uncluttered fright film that focuses more on beauty than on scares but manages to have it both ways. While the plot is predictable, I was amazed to learn this was a student film. It looks too professional. A real horse pulling an authentic wagon through a swamp late at night, all lit so that everything can be seen without a suggestion that it isn’t nearly pitch, is not the sort of thing that pops up in student films.”
– review from a programmer at a major sci-fi convention (link now broken)