Rising Through the Ranks: Xavier Stiles
May 22, 2019
It’s only been 10 months since Xavier Stiles began working for Monica Owusu-Breen on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot, but since day one, it’s been a dream come true.
“This is the thing. This is my NBA,” Stiles says. “This is where I’ve wanted to be since I was a kid.”
Stiles is the showrunner's assistant on Buffy, a job he received by being unapologetically forward and honest. “I saw an article on Deadline about the reboot and I literally put out the most creatively thirsty message that I could on my Facebook and Twitter feeds."
"I said something along the lines of, ‘Hey, this is a dream of mine and this is my dream show. If any of you know anyone on any level, anywhere, connected to this thing, please hit me up!’” Shortly after the post, Stiles received a call from a friend who knew Owusu-Breen, and an interview later, he was hired as her assistant.
The show is in development at Fox 21 TV Studios, the cable/streaming division of 20th Century Fox. Owusu-Breen has been tapped as writer, executive producer and showrunner, along with the original series creator and showrunner, Joss Whedon, who is set to executive produce.
“It’s really amazing,” Stiles says. “I grew up a huge Joss Whedon fan.”
He also says his job is a bit different than previous roles because the show is still in its development stages. “I schedule phone calls, manage [Owusu-Breen’s] schedule, and I keep in contact with different studios or networks we’re talking to,” Stiles says. “When you are in development, everything is based off the project and who is attached and what place is housing it.”
When he’s not managing calls, setting reminders, and making sure Owusu-Breen’s life is in order, Stiles is proofreading, note-taking and trying to absorb as much information as possible. A St. Louis native, Stiles knew at an early age that he wanted to be in show business, and during his freshman year at Arizona State University, he began interning in the industry. From there, he continued to network, which lead to more internship opportunities. At one point, Stiles had two internships and a night job as a bouncer. He would eat, breathe and sleep show business. Eventually, one of his internships landed him a writer’s PA job on the Netflix series Hemlock Grove.
“I took the opportunity and did my best,” Stiles says. “I got a lot of my growing pains out during that season.”
After a short dry spell, Stiles said he ended up on MTV’s Wonderland, and afterward, dabbled in unscripted television on Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Sports. He worked for a few other productions as well, but eventually landed back in scripted TV when he was hired as a showrunner’s assistant for the Netflix original series Chambers.
Then, in 2018, came Buffy.
“Right now, we’re in the seed level of show creation,” Stiles says. “Before a writer’s room is even set up.”
For Stiles, it’s a blessing, as he watches his boss — who he calls “a badass showrunner and writer” — and continues learning, so that one day he can be in her shoes.“It’s hard. It’s really hard for everybody,” Stiles says. “But remember that there are even harder things out there in world. And we want to participate in this, so we have to grit and bear down because it’s going to be a long one.”
Written by: Allison Collins-SmithAllison Collins-Smith is a three-time, Emmy-nominated journalist who has worked as a television reporter and anchor in markets around the country. She has covered a variety of stories from the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia to President Trump’s travel ban in the fourth circuit court of appeals. Allison has also won AP awards for her work and a Catalyst For Change award from the Arc of Virginia for her reporting on the disabled community. Allison just moved to Los Angeles with her screen writer husband and two cats and is excited for all LA has to offer!