Lehmann began his Hollywood career working for Francis Ford Coppola at Zoetrope Studios, supervising video cameras on "One From the Heart" (1982) and "The Outsiders" (1983). He returned to film school at USC where he directed the acclaimed short film "The Beaver Gets a Boner". Lehmann also provided a short, "Ed's Secret Life", for NBC's "Saturday Night Live". The success of these shorts led to a production deal with New World Pictures and his first feature directing assignment, "Heathers" (1989). Working from Daniel Waters' sardonic script, Lehmann fashioned a black comedy that dealt with high school cliques, teen alienation, suicide and murder. "Heathers" greatly improved the career standings of its leads, Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, and future "bad girl" Shannen Doherty (who was featured as one of the eponymous princesses) .