For the last two decades, Craig Sweeny, an American screenwriter and television producer, has been making a name for himself. He is mainly known for his role in creating science fiction television shows, but that’s only the beginning. His work in television and film has transcended genre. Craig Sweeny is known for his artistic eye and attention to detail – the kind of details discerning viewers love but with enough action to keep everyone interested.
Craig Sweeny and His Burgeoning Career
Like most people in the industry, Craig Sweeny’s opportunity was immediately apparent. Though before his work in the industry began, Sweeny had a variety of jobs; once he began writing, he knew he had found his calling. He began his career in movies and film at CBS Studios. He worked as a staff writer for the successful television drama, The 4400. However, he wrote for many other projects that CBS had in production and became an invaluable member of the team. His work encompassed more than pen and paper. Craig Sweeny’s talents include writing, creating, and executive producing. Many notice his quiet stamp on a plethora of projects.
Craig Sweeny’s Work at CBS
Craig Sweeny’s time at CBS has been extremely productive, and he has been at the helm or part of the creative team of many of the company’s most successful shows. Here are a few of those:
The 4400 (2004). Playing with both personal drama and science fiction, this show is about a group of people who went missing only to return later with supernatural powers and be hunted down by a government agency. Beautifully filmed, The 4400 won an Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie in 2005 and has been nominated for many more awards besides that.
Medium (2005). Being a mom is its own job, but Allison DuBois also works as a consultant for a law firm. She also just happens to be a medium who receives visions of crimes while she sleeps. She uses her supernatural talent to help solve crimes but has to manage her own personal life at the same time. This interesting crime drama keeps viewers on the edge of their seat to find out “who done it?”
Limitless (2015). Based on the extremely successful film starring Bradley Cooper (who also had a cameo in the TV show), this series ran for one season. It tells the story of Brain Finch, who discovers a drug that gives him increased brain power and intellectual gifts. He uses these new-found gifts to work with the FBI to help solve complex cases.
Star Trek Discovery (2017). This series is the seventh in the Star Trek franchise. It follows the crew of the starship Discovery from a decade before the Original Series traveling through the future. Set a decade before Captain Kirk voyaged on the Starship Enterprise, this show truly goes where no man (or showrunner) has gone before.
Other television shows that he has been a part of include: The Code, Elementary, Common Law, Dr. Vegas, Playmakers, and Dark Angel.
Craig Sweeny Creates His Own Production Company, Action This Day!
Though a loss for CBS, Craig Sweeny ventured out to make his own way and started his own production company, Action This Day! according to Wikipedia. When discussing the shows he works on, he said he likes the procedural model of the shows. From his perspective, that type of framework allows him to develop the characters organically and gradually. The characters are more real because you are not preparing for the next big thing to happen, and you have a lot of episodes to create the story. In some ways, he is turning what had belonged to movies into TV-watching by creating prestige TV shows.
When asked about how to make a hit television show, he admits that it’s somewhat of a mystery. He does not have a guaranteed way to make a hit, but he does know what keeps him entertained and tries to incorporate that into his work. He initially wants to feel an internal spark that draws him into any project. He says that he relies on other people to tell him what a hit is. He tries not to get too deep into the analytics because that takes away from the creating aspect of what he does. His first job is as a creator.
How Craig Sweeny Casts for His Production Company
Finding the right actors for any given show is its own unique process. When talking about how the casting for roles goes, he states that it feels more like a mating ritual than a job interview. Almost like a blind date, he meets them for coffee and small talk and then digs deeper from there. Getting to know the actor helps him fill out the story and develop its future. He explains that he sometimes sits alone mulling ideas for his shows, and sometimes he sits in a group to discuss and throw thoughts around.
In 2021, Sweeny signed a three-year deal with CBS Studios. This deal will keep him working on existing projects for CBS while developing new ones for Action This Day!
When he is not working, Craig Sweeny enjoys staying in shape and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, he has over 10 years of experience. When asked about his training, Sweeny responded, “It’s a rewarding pastime that has benefited me immeasurably and I’d recommend it to just about anyone.”
Photo: “Craig Sweeny” by Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
Photo: Southbay Open by YouTube.