August 10, 2022
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Shawn Ryan reflects on TV writer career, Rockford, IL, roots

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ROCKFORD — Shawn Ryan’s career as a screenwriter and television producer is hardly an overnight success story. 

In fact, far from it. 

The Rockford native and Keith Country Day School alum pursued his Hollywood dreams shortly after graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1988 but struggled for an extended period. 

“I moved to Los Angeles when I was 23 and it wasn’t until about four or four-and-a-half years after I moved there that I started regularly making an income as a writer,” Ryan said during a recent visit to his hometown. “Before that, I called myself a writer but I was actually a math tutor, a guy answering phones at a law firm or any number of odd jobs.”

Ryan finally found success as a staff writer on the show “Nash Bridges” before he struck gold when he created and served as head writer for the Emmy-nominated television drama “The Shield” on FX from 2002 to 2008.





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