Billion Dollar Kiss
by Jeffrey Stepakoff
Here you go, folks. If you want one book to lay out the world of TV writing for you, this is it.
Some of it may be a bit "inside baseball" to fully comprehend as an outsider -- but odds are if you're reading this blog, then this book is chock-full of exactly the sort of information you need to stuff into your brain. And if you're just curious about what the Great Oz is up to behind the TV curtain, this book is a 4-star tour of the other side of the drapes.
Best of all, it's well-written and great fun to read.
Jeffrey Stepakoff is a seasoned pro who not only knows a lot more than we do, he's damned entertaining laying it out. Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that a longtime storyteller knows how to structure his book to read like a great story -- but, well, you can't always bank on that. This book delivers on all fronts.
What Stepakoff brings to the topic that's so special is a broad historical context he lived through as a working writer -- and a willingness to talk openly about his career. Okay, I'm sure there are some polite obfuscations and generous characterizations of events in here, but the fundamental truths shine through. He came out here just a writers were becoming highly-paid assets in TV, lived through the boom years and then saw the money-gusher become a relative trickle (which happened, of course, just as Sam and I -- like so many others -- arrived with our buckets in hand...).
As we've ranted at various times in the podcast and in our Scr(i)pt Magazine column, writing in Hollywood (TV or film) is a business, not just an art. Some aspects of that business are obvious, but there are trends and prejudices that are completely obscure -- until someone reveals them to you. Knowledge is power, and he shares a lot of really hard-to-acquire knowledge in here.
This is important reading for anyone interested in writing for Hollywood. Get it, read it.