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Meet Steve Szlaga

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve Szlaga.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I studied TV Writing & Producing at Columbia College Chicago. I also had a minor in acting but please don’t tell anyone that I never officially took Body Movement II or they might revoke it. I moved to LA in 2007. Crap. That was 12 years ago? Sometimes it feels like home. Other times it feels like a never-ending business trip.

When I first got here, I worked a few uninteresting production jobs (one time I painted a wall for Project Runway!), but on the whole, I felt aimless. I had made this big move to LA but had very little confidence in myself as an actor or a writer which were the two things I wanted to be more than anything. I took a few improv classes at the Groundlings, but nothing really clicked.

Then my friend Molly introduced me to UCB, and that’s where I found my community. I’d say that I really owe Molly for bringing me to the place that finally felt like home in LA, but Molly also threw salt in my eye once at a bar, so she kind of owed me for that.

I was lucky enough to rise the ranks at UCB and become a house performer on their sketch and improv teams and eventually circled back to Groundlings where I made it into their Sunday Company. They cut me the first chance they got which was fine because the feeling was mutual.

Along the way, I performed in the 2018 CBS Diversity Showcase, got a job as a guide on tour at Universal (Yes. The one with Jaws), and made a ton of internet videos as half of the sketch duo Medium Friends, along with Drew Tarver. It was through Medium Friends that I really learned how much happier I am creating things for myself, so that’s where I try to put most of my focus these days.

Has it been a smooth road?
I lost my mom in 2016. She was my best friend and my biggest cheerleader. I can’t explain how devastating that was, or the pain that I still feel every day. You just can’t understand unless you’ve gone through it. And if you’ve gone through it, you don’t really need me to explain it.

When you suffer a loss like that, it kind of takes away your ability to be wholly happy ever again. Every big moment will always remind you of the ones who aren’t there to share it with you. Everything is always going to be bittersweet at best.

Whoa, what a downer. I should have just talked about some of the awful bosses I’ve had over the years. Hey Eli. Hi Shannon. Lookin’ at you both.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’d say I’m best known for my sarcasm. I love to say inappropriate things and see what I can get away with. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a sweetheart on the inside, and they let me get away with a lot. Sometimes too much. Sometimes people laugh at things I say, and I judge them for it.

I’m very proud of my accomplishments. UCB, Groundlings, the CBS Diversity Showcase, and even becoming a studio tour guide are all extremely competitive, and I don’t take for granted that I’ve been lucky enough to do them all. I haven’t always had the most self-confidence, and it’s good to remind myself, “Hey! People think you’re good. Keep doing this!”

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Well, I guess my business is show business.

Do I think LA is a good place for show business?

I mean…it’s okay…

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