What do THE A-TEAM and XENA-WARRIOR PRINCESS have in common? Writer/Producer/Author Steven L. Sears.

Steven L. Sears has worked as a Writer, Story Editor, Producer and Creator in Television, Film, digital media and animation. His lengthy career has encompassed over fifteen separate Television series, and development deals with a number of the major studios in the industry, including Columbia Studios, Sony/Tristar Television, Rhysher Entertainment, Artists Inc., Cookie Jar Entertainment, Digital Pictures and many others.

Ironically, Steven never intended to be a Writer at all. He originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, but soon found himself writing audition scenes for himself. Those audition scripts became popular and on the advice of a casting director, he thought he would try writing scripts, just for the fun of it. He had no idea how that would change his life.

Steven's initial foray into professional Television writing came with his hiring as a staff writer on the Stephen J. Cannell Productions hit TV series RIPTIDE, for the NBC Television Network. He followed that up by adding his talents to the writing staff of one of the more popular genre series of its time, THE A-TEAM, also for NBC.

From there, he continued his career by writing and working on such popular series as HARDCASTLE & McCORMICK, JJ STARBUCK, STINGRAY, WALKER-TEXAS RANGER, HIGHWAYMAN, ROBIN'S HOODS, HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE, FATHER DOWLING MYSTERIES, HARDBALL, GRAND SLAM, JESSE HAWKES, SUPERBOY, S.H.E. SPIES and many other Television favorites. His animation experience includes ITSY BITSY SPIDER, TRANSFORMERS: RESCUE BOTS and working with the legendary animation Director Don Bluth as writer on the short feature THE GIFT OF THE HOOPOE.

More than just a writer, Steven also moved up through production as a Story Editor and Producer. After Producing SWAMP THING for USA network and RAVEN for CBS, he soon moved to a series that has made its mark in Television and pop culture history, as Co-Executive Producer of the wildly popular series XENA – WARRIOR PRINCESS. He followed that up by co-creating the latest incarnation of the legendary comic book heroine SHEENA for Sony/TriStar Television, which ran for two seasons.

Still involved in Television and Film development, he recently branched out into the literary world, partnering with Peter J. Wacks (SECOND PARADIGM; BLOODLETTING) to write the epic book series VILLEANNE for WordFire Press, as well as co-creating and writing the graphic novel STALAG-X with the popular sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson (DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES; CLOCKWORK ANGELS; DAN SHAMBLE, ZOMBIE P.I.). STALAG-X is already being pursued by several Production Companies for a possible television series and film franchise.

The Non-User-Friendly Guide for Aspiring TV Writers by Steven L. Sears

Steven L. Sears has had a successful career in film and television encompassing over three decades. From his beginnings as a staff writer on NBC's The A-Team, to Co-Executive Producer on the hit TV series Xena:Warrior Princess for MCA/Universal, creator and Executive Producer of Sheena: Queen of the Jungle for Sony/TriStar Television, and many pilot and development deals with major studios and production companies, he has amassed a huge amount of experience and knowledge about the inner workings of the entertainment industry.

In The Non-User-Friendly Guide for Aspiring TV Writers, Sears shares that experience and gives advice for those considering a career in television writing. Instead of the traditional academic and sterile approach, Sears answers questions from a personal, first-person perspective. These questions have been culled from the real world, people seeking out his advice and looking for the experience that most books don't have. Some of what he writes about are hard and difficult facts to accept about the business, while other times he gives his opinion based on extensive experience. All of it is unsweetened and direct. Even if you don't like his answers, Sears will certainly make you think hard about your approach and choices when pursuing a career in an extremely difficult Industry.




I. Introduction

This book is an experiential book. By that, I mean that you aren't going to find academic discus-sions on the Entertainment Industry, diagrams of story structure, or pedantic examinations of the creative process. No, this book is all about my experiences and the knowledge I have gained from them. I'm going to attempt to write it in a very accessible and friendly manner, much like I would speak if you were to just sit with me for lunch and ask questions or ask for advice. Sometimes, these might be questions that are just curiosities that occur to you, some things you don't normally hear people talk about. Or questions about the difference between the theory of the Industry and the reality of it. That's the real core of this book.

So how did this come about?

In my many years of working as a professional in the Television industry, I have had numerous people ask me questions about the business. With the expansion of the Internet, this has increased a hundredfold. Obviously, there would be many things that just kept cropping up over and over again. Not too long ago, I finally got it through my head that it would be easier to document my answers so that I wouldn't have to retype everything each time I was asked.

I soon realized that I had compiled a list of questions from these aspiring Television Writers. This list implied two things: One, these were questions that really meant something to them and, two, they weren't getting the answers anywhere else. But when I responded, I soon found out that many times they weren't always happy with the answers I gave. In some cases, they even debated whether I was telling them the truth or not.

My conclusion? I wasn't telling them what they wanted to hear; but I was telling them the truth. Good or bad, the truth isn't always what we wish it to be, but it is still the truth. Without it a person is unprepared and defenseless. I can't tell people what they want to hear; I can only tell them what they need to hear. That philosophy created this book.

In fact, though, this was never intended to be a book. I had compiled these questions and answers for a long time, but never intended to publish them. But when I decided to do it, I really thought I was onto something original. An approach that was unique. Something that would stand out. I was in a book store chatting with a friend, who was the store manager, about the possibilities of such a book. She liked it. In fact, she liked the one that was already on the shelf.


Max Adams is an awarding winning Screenwriter who wrote "The Screenwriter's Survival Guide" and, like myself, has a high internet presence. Max uses the same format; mining her material from the volumes of e-mail she has received. Fortunately Max's area of expertise is in Film. And, though there is cross-over and grey areas, Television and Film are two different animals with the same genealogy.

So why would I mention it here? For the obvious reasons. Although many won't believe me, I developed this idea and structure on my own. So did Max. Elsewhere in this book I'll talk about how some ideas just happen to more than one person at a time, no matter how original you think it is. Well, this is a good case in point. You can accept this as truth or not, but I have a pretty strong bar for my own ethics. I give kudos to Max for acting on her idea immediately and getting it published. And if you like this format and want to see the Feature side of the business, I recommend that you give her book a look-see.