Billion-Dollar Kiss: The Kiss That Saved Dawson's Creek, and Other Adventures inTV Writing

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Penguin, May 10, 2007 - Performing Arts - 336 pages
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When Jeffrey Stepakoff was graduating with an MFA in playwriting, he imagined a life in the New York theater, wearing a beret and smoking clove cigarettes. Writing for the "boob tube" didn’t even cross his mind. But he ended up in L.A. in the late 80’s, when television writers were experiencing their equivalent of a gold rush. After the billion- dollar syndication of Seinfeld, when studios were paying astronomical amounts of money to writers to create the next Friends or ER, the sudden mania for scripted entertainment made the TV writer a hot commodity. He found himself meeting with big agents, inside primetime story rooms, pitch meetings, and on the set of some of TVs most popular shows, and making more money than he’d ever thought possible.

Weaving his personal story with television’s, Stepakoff takes us behind the scenes to show what it’s like to have a story idea one week and see it come to life and be seen by millions of people just a week later. Stepakoff also takes us inside the industry to explain what we’re watching and why by exploring the growing problems of media consolidation, the effects of interference from executives, the lack of diversity, and what reality television is doing to quality scripted television.

When the market crashed and the dust settled, TV executives and the media conglomerates they worked for were sitting on a broken business model. Slowly, a new programming idea began to take hold—what if the writer and their salaries were removed from the equation? Reality TV was born and the TV writer suddenly became obsolete— at least temporarily.

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Billion-Dollar Kiss: The Story of a Television Writer in the Hollywood Gold Rush

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 asThe Wonder Years ... Read full review

Review: Billion-Dollar Kiss: The Kiss That Saved Dawson's Creek and Other Adventures inTV Writing

User Review  - bryan - Goodreads

This quite a good book: 1. a memoir of a TV writer who worked on everything from "Simon & Simon" to "Dawson's Creek" with a Disney animated feature in between; 2. a glimpse into the life of a major ... Read full review


Authors Note
BillionDollar Kiss
Bochcos Blood
Howd You Like to Make Ten Grand?
Green Envelopes
Breakfast at the Polo Lounge
The Funny Business
The Seasons of L
Vertical Integration and Segregation
Kissing Katie Holmes
Adventures in Hair Makeup
The New Reality

Life and Times of a Story Editor
The Hollywood Gold Rush

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About the author (2007)

Jeffrey Stepakoff was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a BA in Journalism. In 1988, the day after getting his MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon, he drove to Hollywood where he began writing for film and television.

Stepakoff has written for fourteen different TV series, including the Emmy-winning THE WONDER YEARS, SISTERS, and DAWSON'S CREEK where he was Co-Executive Producer. He has also created and developed pilots for many of the major studios and networks, including 20th Century, Paramount, MTM, Fox, and ABC. And he has developed and written major motion pictures, including Disney's TARZAN and BROTHER BEAR.

A few years ago Stepakoff began pursuing his long-held dream of writing fiction. FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA, a SIBA Okra Pick and an Indie Next List Notable, is his first novel. Stepakoff's second novel, THE ORCHARD, comes out in July 2011. His fiction is available now in six languages.

Presently, Stepakoff lives in Atlanta with his wife and three young children, and is working on his third novel for St. Martin's Press. In his spare time, he builds forts in living room with sofa cushions.

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