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From 1988 until 2004, Stepakoff led a charmed life. A co-executive producer of Dawson's Creekand a writer on Major Dadand The Wonder Years, among other shows, he achieved his lifelong dream: working in television. The 1990s were the glory days, Stepakoff says, when big money was thrown at everyone. Armed with an M.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon and several key Hollywood contacts, Stepakoff parlayed youth, ambition and luck into gigs on several shows—both as a writer and producer—netting himself a fortune in the process. He details the money, the madness and the industry in his memoir, in which, along the way, he explains how to break in, how the industry works (from development deals and pilots to bona fide hits) what agents do and why. He chronicles the people and the experience, admitting there is nothing "more intoxicating than making TV shows every week," and noting that a successful show can demand 16-hour workdays to churn out 22 episodes a season. He also explains how, with the advent of reality TV, the party ended. Would-be TV writers will crave these behind-the-scenes details of a writer's life—even if that life no longer exists. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Arriving in Hollywood in 1988 at the dawn of the "Second Golden Age of Television," aspiring screenwriter Stepakoff soon hit it big, winning jobs on such popular television shows as The Wonder Yearsand, later, Dawson's Creek. Along with thousands of other young writers, he raked in the cash as studios rushed to outbid each other and sign exclusive deals with hot new talent. As Stepakoff explains in his first book, it was like a gold rush. Eventually, however, with the rise of cheaply produced reality television and game shows like Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, the industry would fundamentally change. Stepakoff blends his personal story into a larger narrative of the television industry during this time period, the result of which is a choppy but mainly readable autobiography and an informal history of television over the past two decades. Although he sometimes digresses into fits of name- or salary-dropping, the book will entice media watchers and aspiring television writers with its behind-the-scenes insight on a productive time in Hollywood. Suitable for public libraries as well as performing arts collections in academic libraries.