SKHS grad lands job on 'CSI'

Hallie Lambert is living proof that in LA, even if you’re a corpse, you still gotta schmooze.

Trying to break into show business, Lambert, 24, was ecstatic when she landed a job as a dead body on the CBS drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Because even though she spent most of the time lying on a metal slab and trying not to breathe, she knew it was a golden opportunity to network.

So she took every opportunity to talk to everyone she could. Describing herself as naturally bubbly, the former Olalla resident said she turned up the charm and quickly made friends. Then she quickly told them about her dream.

Though she was technically an acting extra and already a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors’ Guild, Lambert said she has always wanted to be a writer, especially a screenwriter.

“I told them I was looking for a job, any job, writing,” Lambert said, who had recently graduated from Chapman University in Southern California with a bachelor of arts degree in film and television, with a concentration on screenwriting. “I told them I had gotten other job offers, but I was holding out for something better, something where I could write.”

Her strategy worked. With a combination of opportunity, determination and what Lambert calls a big helping of sheer luck, the 1997 South Kitsap High School graduate and former editor of Skuhkum Views landed a job as a writer’s assistant on one of television’s hottest shows.

And she can’t stop beaming when she talks about it.

“It’s fantastic, it just blows my mind,” she said. “It’s exactly the type of show I wanted to work on,” she added, admitting that she is attracted to the sinister elements in much of the murder plots, along with all the scientific aspects of the show that follows forensic professionals as they collect and evaluate crime scene evidence in Las Vegas.

“I became fascinated with stuff like that when I took a class called ‘Sociology of Murder’ at the University of Washington,” she said, referring to the school she attended for two years before, on a whim, she packed up her bags, dropped her classes and moved down to Orange, Calif., to attend Chapman.

Such a big move may sound crazy now, but she says that was just one of the many times she followed her gut that ultimately put her on the path to her dream job.

“(Getting this job) was a combination of being in the right place at the right time,” she said, but it also helped knowing what she wanted and going after it.

Though working on a television show isn’t exactly where she ultimately wants to be — which is writing for movies — she said CSI’s environment is exactly what she needs right now.

“It’s very supportive. The staff writers are always there to give advice and encourage me to grow as a writer,” Lambert said, who currently is not responsible for writing any of the scripts, but spends much of her time in the writers’ room helping to pitch ideas and do research. And she said she’s more than happy just to be in the room with them — for now.

Because, naturally, Lambert never stops thinking of the future.

She has already been promoted to work with two of the show’s main writers for next year, and hopes to follow in the footsteps of the writer’s assistant before her, who is now a staff writer.

To hone her skills and achieve her goal, Lambert said she plans to take writing classes at UCLA, and join a writing group. To become a better writer, she says, you have to write. And write, and write.

“Everyone thinks they can write a script,” she said. “The difference between those that are successful and those that aren’t, is if you’re doing it for the right reasons.

“Someone once told me this, and this is what I live by: ‘If there was no money involved, and you’d still be writing, then you’re doing it for the right reasons, and that’s what you should be doing,’ ” she said. “And I’m doing it for the right reasons.”

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