Stephen J. Smith was born in a sanitorium in Illinois (yes, really) but soon moved north to the beautiful Dairyland State of Wisconsin, where he was raised in Waukesha (“wa-keh-sha”), once famous for its natural springs and now famous for being the hometown of Stephen J. Smith. Drawn to tales of adventure, fantasy, science fiction and the supernatural from a very young age, he read voraciously, disappearing into alien landscapes and tales of suspense. Comic books soon followed, providing the boy with what was obviously his life's direction, and he began training for the inevitable emergence of his latent superpowers. He never did learn to fly, but it wasn’t long before he discovered he had the best superpower of all: The ability to create worlds of his own.

Stephen studied art and animation at the University of Wisconsin – Madison for two years before an elective creative writing class veered him into the world of words. With the support of his instructor, Stephen managed to publish the second short story he ever wrote. By the time he earned his BA in English with a creative writing emphasis, his first collection of short stories was winning awards and he’d penned his first novel. 

Driven by his love of writing combined with the visual arts, Stephen embarked on a quest to Los Angeles to learn the medium that incorporated both: Screenwriting. For the next eight years, he wrote copy for DVD and Blu-ray packaging, booklets and marketing materials for such studio giants as MGM, New Line, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate. At the same time, he graduated UCLA's Professional Program in Screenwriting and burned the midnight oil writing screenplays, attending writers’ groups and placing very well in a host of contests, including multiple finalist rankings. He eventually joined the Writers Boot Camp program in Santa Monica and there, connected with Matthew G. Leslie.

Stephen and Matthew Leslie at the live reading of  Abandon Ship!

Stephen and Matthew Leslie at the live reading of Abandon Ship!

Together, they co-wrote a script for The Script-a-thon Competition. That script, a dude-friendly romantic comedy called Abandon Ship, won the contest’s grand prize and garnered meetings with agents as well as a live reading of their script in Los Angeles by a group of professional actors. It was a dream come true.

Since that win, Stephen and Matthew have written eight additional scripts and dozens of movie treatments. In April of 2017, their feature spec "Summer of '84" was greenlit for production as a joint venture between Gunpowder & Sky and Brightlight Pictures, and will be filming in July in Vancouver. Their feature spec "The Harrowing" was optioned by Cinelou Films and will go into production by the end of 2017. They are also working with Ritchie-Wigram Pictures to develop a half-hour, original scripted TV series.

Meanwhile, Stephen spends his 9-to-5 hours working full-time as a senior copywriter in the marketing department at the Kohl's Department Stores corporate office, and lives in Waukesha with his wife and daughter...who he is training to be a superhero.


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