About 2017-12-01T18:09:08+00:00

more about Steve

writer • coach • producer • actor

First, let’s talk about you…

You want to be writing.  Right now.

I get that.  I respect it.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful things a human being can do.  Writers shed light on the human condition and teach us who we are.  Whether you are interested in plays, TV scripts, web series material or screenplays, you’re in it to make a difference.

(And get some attention.  And get paid.)

Trust me, having a viable writing career is possible.

I have faith in you.  You’re here because you know that crafting compelling writing is one of your superpowers (or you know that you want it to be).

But you also know that, in the craziness of the day-to-day world, there are all sorts of obstacles which prevent you from getting the guidance and maintaining the focus that you need in order to create your best work.

True, only you can make your writing happen.  Yet even though writing is a solitary task, if you could do it alone – by sheer force of will – you’d be doing it.  Now.

More truth: This writing thing has been done before.  There are accomplished, professional writers out there who have made their mark and are still at it.  They are smart and talented.

But so are you.

What’s the difference, then, between you and the successful award-winners?

Practice.
Focus.
Support.
Stamina.
Networking.

And savvy knowledge about how the business really works.

Those things are not beyond your reach!

I’ve been writing for decades and coaching for seven years. I’ve watched many of my clients “go pro.” People I’ve worked with now are on the writing staffs of Jane the Virgin on FOX, and Night Shift on NBC. Some are producing their own plays. One is winning awards for her new web series. My favorite people to work with are flexible, outside-the-box thinkers, who are willing to try things and lean into the process in a whole new way.

My mission is to get you writing like you’ve never written before.

Now, some history

I was trained as an actor (and I still love acting).

Acting is a unique way to bring my whole self into artistic expression: using the physical, the emotional and spiritual to give life to a story.  I’ve been fortunate to do it at the highest levels: in movies like Chico and Rita, on TV shows like Law & Order SVU, in theatre on major American stages like The Guthrie.  I studied acting at the A.R.T. Institute at Harvard and I’ve learned to do it professionally and well.

But at the end of the day, I always felt like I was chasing that next job.

Always holding out my hand and hoping to be picked.  There was always some other actor of my age and type who could be chosen instead.  The odds were not in my favor.  At times it felt devastating to lose out on a part I really wanted.

In between acting gigs I started writing.

It began as an experiment – a way to dream up and brainstorm what I’d like to see onstage, as an antidote to not having work and to all the “sub-par” material that I’d come across.  I realized immediately how fun it was – how much I was learning about dramatic structure and character.  I gained new respect for writers and I learned how to set my routine – and show up at the page – diligently and with focus.

Then it started taking on a life of its own.

I began having actors read my stuff… then I had a public reading… and I found my way to workshops and classes.  Eventually I had a production of my work.  And then another.  I was accepted into the playwriting school at Juilliard and honed my craft further.  After graduation,  I landed an agent and started taking meetings for TV staff writing jobs in Los Angeles.  Then I was chosen as part of an elite group to participate in the CBS Writers Mentoring Program.  Then I got an actual job writing on a TV show. 

My entire creative career changed.

After two seasons on the TV series Covert Affairs (USA Network), I created my own web series, SEND ME, which premiered on BET.com. We won several awards, were an official selection at 8 festivals and we got an Emmy Nomination. Now I’m writing on another show (ABC’s American Crime) and I have been pitching my own show ideas to networks, producing my own projects, and acting more than ever.

My knowledge about what works on the page (and in this industry) continues to increase and one of my favorite things to do is to share this knowledge with creatives, like yourself – to raise your game as a writer and change the trajectory of your life and career.

My professional bio:

STEVE HARPER, an award-winning writer/actor/producer/director, has guided the development of thousands of writers (professional and aspiring) since he began coaching in 2008.

A graduate of Yale, the A.R.T. program at Harvard, the playwriting program at Julliard, and the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, Steve is also a certified Creativity Coach who specializes in working with professional and aspiring dramatic writers. He’s run workshops in New York, L.A. (and in-between) on a variety of subjects, including: TV writing and playwriting, getting and working with agents, maintaining a positive attitude, and establishing a creative flow. Steve received his coach certification through The Creativity Coaching Association and is a certified Co-Leader with the international non-profit The Mankind Project. In addition to facilitating his own workshops and classes, Steve has taught for The Harvardwood Writers Group, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Young Playwrights and The Creative Gym. He has been a guest speaker at USC’s Annenberg School and Drexel University’s summer session in L.A.

Having spent two seasons writing for the USA Network show Covert Affairs, Steve is currently in post-production on Send Me, an original web series (about a black woman who can send black people back in time to the period of slavery) for which is he a writer, actor and Executive Producer along with Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy). The web series stars Tracie Thoms (Rent on Broadway and in the motion picture), Gabrielle Carteris (Beverly Hills 90210), Jerrika Hinton (Grey’s Anatomy), Jasika Nicole (Scandal and Fringe), Carlease Burke (Ballers and Crowded) and Nelsan Ellis (True Blood). The series premieres in February 2016.

Steve’s plays have been produced and developed by Classical Theater of Harlem, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage & Film, Freedom Train Productions, New Professional Theatre, Summer Play Festival/Naked Angels, Tribeca Theatre Festival, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, American Theatre Company (Chicago), Falcon Theatre, Malibu Playhouse and Celebration Theatre (LA).  His plays include: Princeton Theory, Black/Out Stories, The Escape Artist’s Children, Urban Rabbit Chronicles, How to Teach the Civil War, First Encounter, and Actual Cost (Juilliard /100th Anniversary: published by The Kenyon Review Online).

As an actor, Steve has appeared in theatre (The Guthrie, Kennedy Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, Williamstown) on national TV (The Arsenio Hall Show, Law & Order SVU, 90210, Rescue Me, Homicide) and in film (Chico & Rita, Broadway’s Finest, Dark September Rain).

In addition to blogging on yourcreativelife.com, Steve has written articles for a variety of publications including Huffington Post Black Voices, The Good Men Project, and Medium.com.

Awards include the Artistic Achievement Award (Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale), Millennium Telly Award, Le Compte du Nouy prize at Juilliard (two-time recipient), a MacDowell Coloney NEA fellowship and two Yaddo fellowships.