Inspired by his very first project completed in high school, Steven Canals knew that he was destined to contribute to the media and entertainment industry. After being a college counselor for 10 years and away from the world of cinema he decided to follow his dreams. Steven speaks on the progression of Hollywood and how he notices the difference in the industry since now normalized stories are out in the open. He states his passion of storytelling and its value of educating and enlightening the audience. He believes that this combination of elements are what makes content real and dear to one’s heart.
His debut show, Pose is a serialized one hour musical that debuted the Summer 2018 on FX. Set in 1980s New York, Pose looks at the concurrent rise of Trump-era downtown social and literary scene and ball culture worlds. He speaks about his inspiration of speaking on a topic that has not been spoken about. He speaks about the culture being appropriated and how it has progressed. He is passionate about bringing light to the community (ball culture) and the value of family and resiliency.
Pose will serve as a television milestone since trans characters in this series take center stage and are not just seen as comic relief or background characters like in many film and television works of the past. This is not Canal’s first work in which trans characters take center stage; in 2016, he premiered his short film Afuera, at the LA Film Festival. The film Afuera (2016) told the story of an undocumented trans woman. That same year, he served as a Staff Writer on Freeform’s horror anthology Dead of Summer.
He spoke about his interaction with NALIP in 2007 as he was a panelist at the annual NALIP Media Summit. He discusses his experience of attending the Media Summit and how amazing it was to be around Latinx content creators and share this passion with those who shared the same dreams and passions as himself. Steven speaks about why he believes NALIP is beneficial to filmmakers, It is an opportunity for you to reflect on your own art but also to be invigorated by this business and to come up with new ideas for content and opportunities to meet with individuals to someday collaborate with. Canal speaks about his experience of mentoring younger NALIP mentees. Canals speaks about not taking no for an answer. In 2014 he wrote a script while studying screenwriting at UCLA, then spent a few years being told it was “too niche” and that there would not be an audience for it being. He believed in his art and did not take no for an answer. Fortunately the script made its way to Murphy, and he got it. Canals is currently working on season three of Pose which is scheduled to be released in 2021 while also working on a drama project for ABC currently titled In The End. He will also be developing 91 Words, a limited series on FX revolving around the true story of gay activists Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings. Canals shares his advice with filmmakers who aspire to succeed in this industry. Canals says, “Find the stories that are most important to you”. Checking in with oneself and what is it that you want to talk about. Find it and make sure that you and pour yourself onto the page.