From Publishers Weekly
From 1988 until 2004, Stepakoff led a charmed life. A co-executive producer of Dawson's Creek
and a writer on Major Dad
and 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)
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Stepakoff packed up and moved to Los Angeles at the tail end of the 1980s after hearing an inspiring speech by TV writer John Wells at Carnegie Mellon. Stepakoff picked the right time to go since television was experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Groundbreaking dramas such as Hill Street Blues and comedies such as The Simpsons were launched during the 1980s and 1990s, changing the face of television and catapulting writers into a stratosphere of power and wealth where they were courted, valued, and paid accordingly. Stepakoff's spec script garnered him attention and a lucrative deal, and he found himself writing for some of the hottest dramas of the era, including The Wonder Years, Sisters, and Dawson's Creek. But in 2001, the threat of a writer's strike brought the golden age to an abrupt end and ushered in the era of reality TV. Savvy, smart, and chock-full of insider knowledge, Stepakoff's book is a must-read for anyone who aspires to be or currently is working as a television writer. Huntley, Kristine Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved