Sonja Piper Dosti jokes with friends that she will one day write a memoir about how she went from working as a Hollywood executive to a stay at home mom who works with her husband’s Christian ministry.
When Dosti, a Mills alumna of 1992, was turned away from the LucasFilm internship program, she didn’t give up. She found out that another high profile film producer/director had offices nearby. She bulked up her resume and applied for an internship with Francis Ford Coppola.
“I got directed to Susie Landau, a producer for Francis. What really peaked her interest was that I was going to Mills,” Dosti said.
After speaking to Landau, Dosti went to Coppolas’ office in San Francisco and was hired on the spot. She started working as an intern for Coppola during the winter of her junior year at Mills and continued the internship through her senior year.
She started as a production assistant and researcher at first, but then began working more in post-production.
“I had to record Francis Coppola interviewing cops for a project he was doing. It was so interesting to hear how he thinks and how he drew out the information he needed,” Dosti said.
After graduating from Mills, Dosti moved to Los Angeles, where one of her bosses at Coppola’s San Francisco office suggested she work at Coppola’s larger office on the Sony lot.
Two weeks after her graduation, Dosti packed up the things from her dorm and the rest of her belongings at her parents’ home in
Dosti worked at Coppola’s L.A. office for two years, during that time she read and recommended scripts for Coppola to produce and potentially direct. She finished her work with Coppola when the Sony lot didn’t renew its contract with him; she began looking for new work in L.A.
Dosti said that it was a great experience; she had a good boss who wanted her to move up. It was awesome coming from Mills where they want you to move up and women are constantly empowering each other.
After three months, Dosti was hired as an executive at Hollywood Pictures. But after 15 years, Hollywood was getting to be too much for her.
“When I had my first son, I had done anything and everything. I attended the Academy Awards, Emmys’, and Golden Globes, interacted with people and went to countries. I worked with some of the best people, I have the fondest memories of working in Hollywood, but I couldn’t do it anymore,” she said.
But what comes after 15 years of working in the movie industry? Certainly not what one would expect. Dosti’s husband was finishing seminary school to become a Christian pastor. Dosti, her son and husband left L.A. for Fresno.
Dosti now works with her husband at Harvest Bible Chapel in Fresno where she oversees the women’s ministries at the church.
Her full time job is caring for her two sons.
Over the past few years, and as her children have become more and more self-reliant, Dosti has been picking up a few creative side projects. She is currently a contributing writer for the Christian blog rickthomas.net, where she writes about her past work in Hollywood as a Christian woman, and her current job as a mother.
Over the past few years, some of Dosti’s friends in Hollywood have contacted her about creating potential Christian based projects.
“It’s still in the really early stages, so I can’t tell you much, but I’m excited. I’m consulting on a faith based project,” Dosti said.
She considers her side projects to be more of a way to work on her own professional growth, to keep her creative and her mind sharp.
“People are shocked when I tell them I worked in L.A. and that I went to an all-women’s college,” Dosti said. “But I am so thankful for Mills, everyone there loves one another and I never felt marginalized for being more conservative. Sure I had to stand my ground, but it was great preparation for the real world. It helped me ground myself.”