Steven S. DeKnight

Biography: Everyone comes from somewhere and Steven S. DeKnight started life in the wilds of Southern New Jersey. "I grew up in a really tiny town in South Jersey called Millville about an hour from Atlantic City. Factory town, very small -it didn't even have its own movie theater so I'd have to bike a half an hour to the next town when I was little to catch a flick. My parents were both working class, factory workers. We weren't poor per se but it was definitely a living from paycheck-to-paycheck childhood." When asked if writing was his ambition from an early age, Steve laughs and answers with an emphatic, "Hell, no!" Acting was actually Steve's early passion. "I always loved TV and the movies and I did a lot of acting in high school." Post graduation, Steve was intent on pursuing a career in performing. "I decided to strike out to the West Coast - as far away from New Jersey as I could possibly get. I went to school in Santa Cruz, CA. I picked it because one, it had a film program andEveryone comes from somewhere and Steven S. DeKnight started life in the wilds of Southern New Jersey. "I grew up in a really tiny town in South Jersey called Millville about an hour from Atlantic City. Factory town, very small -it didn't even have its own movie theater so I'd have to bike a half an hour to the next town when I was little to catch a flick. My parents were both working class, factory workers. We weren't poor per se but it was definitely a living from paycheck-to-paycheck childhood." When asked if writing was his ambition from an early age, Steve laughs and answers with an emphatic, "Hell, no!" Acting was actually Steve's early passion. "I always loved TV and the movies and I did a lot of acting in high school." Post graduation, Steve was intent on pursuing a career in performing. "I decided to strike out to the West Coast - as far away from New Jersey as I could possibly get. I went to school in Santa Cruz, CA. I picked it because one, it had a film program and two - it had the nicest brochure I'd ever seen," he laughs. "Rolling hills, sheep, the ocean - it was gorgeous. I went there for four years and never actually did anything on the film side. I was a theater major: acting and playwriting."
The acting dream lost much of its luster mid way through Steve's collegiate career. "I had intended to be an actor and then about half way through all the plays I was doing, I just realized I wasn't 6'2" and 190. I thought I could be a better writer so I started writing plays." Successful in his new endeavor, Steve graduated and went to UCLA to pursue his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing. While honing his craft, Steve had another important epiphany about his career direction. "I realized that as much as I loved play writing, there were people better suited to the craft than I was. I was still more movie oriented and I didn't want to starve to death as a playwrite. That was a huge issue. I am passionate about my craft but I'm also a very hungry person and I like to eat," he chuckles. "I stuck around for an extra year to go through [UCLA's] screenwriting program. I was mentored by two fantastic people: Richard Walter and Lou Hunter, just a couple of great guys who really taught me how to write a screenplay." He adds, "Then I graduated and promptly couldn't get arrested for more years than I would care to admit."
As is common for those pursuing the arts in Hollywood, Steve suffered through those proverbial "lean years." Steve explains, "I ended up taking a job as an ESL [English as a Second Language] teacher at a little Japanese school in the Valley. I didn't know a word of Japanese and I thought, 'I'll be here 6 months, maybe a year at most.'" Steve sighs, "Six and a half years later, I was still there. So, I just went to work everyday and at night churned out feature spec screenplays. The screenplays didn't do me a damn bit of good but I got a job on MTV's Undressed - my extra humble beginnings.

Reflecting on the experience even Steve seems non-plussed. "We did 150 half-hours. It was an insane process. It really taught me how to write fast under pressure. In that job, you were always writing." Watching an episode of MTV's Undressed, the word "quality" isn't exactly the first thing to come to mind. So, was it hard for Steve to work on a show he admits he didn't like so much? Steve confides, "After the first season, it became a lot easier because I lost all artistic sense or anything resembling caring about what I was doing. There are only so many ways you can have people strip down to their underwear. Honest to God, towards the end if I had to write, 'She strips down to her bra and panties' one more goddamn time, I was going to go nuts! It was killing my soul."
Steve's salvation wouldn't come until about a year and a half into the gig. "During one of the brief breaks between the seasons of Undressed, I decided what I needed was a new agent. I had a wonderful agent but it was an actor's agency." He explains, "She was the only literary agent there and she didn't know many people in television. I figured I needed to parlay this MTV thing into something fast before I was teaching English to the Japanese again," he adds. "So, I decided to write another TV spec. I was ping-ponging between an NYPD Blue or a Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I loved Buffy and it was a whole lot closer to my voice so I did one of those [scripts]. Unfortunately, I finished it during staffing season where all the writers [in Los Angeles] are trying to get jobs so no agency really wanted to talk to me during that period because they were busy with their own clients. I thought, 'What the hell! I'll send it to my current agent, maybe she has a cousin who works in TV somewhere.' So, I'm not kidding, she knows three people in TV and one of them was George Snyder who ran Mutant Enemy at the time. She sent it to George, he read it, really liked it and they called me."
From an interview of cityofangel.com
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Steven S. DeKnight's Scores

  • TV
Average career score: 59
Highest Metascore: 75 Marvel's Daredevil: Season 1
Lowest Metascore: 52 Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Season 1
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
6 tv reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
75 Marvel's Daredevil: Season 1 Apr 10, 2015 Writer / Director 8.8
56 Spartacus: War of the Damned: Season 1 Jan 25, 2013 Writer / Creator / Executive Producer 7.8
58 Spartacus: Vengeance: Season 1 Jan 27, 2012 Writer / Creator / Executive Producer 7.4
55 Spartacus: Gods of the Arena: Season 1 Jan 21, 2011 Writer / Creator / Executive Producer 8.6
52 Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Season 1 Jan 22, 2010 Writer / Creator / Executive Producer 8.3
57 Dollhouse: Season 1 Feb 13, 2009 Writer / Director 8.0
tbd Smallville: Season 6 Sep 28, 2006 Writer / Director / Executive Producer 7.2
tbd Smallville: Season 5 Sep 29, 2005 Writer 7.1
tbd Smallville: Season 4 Sep 22, 2004 Writer / Director 7.0
tbd Angel: Season 5 Oct 1, 2003 Writer / Director 8.8
tbd Angel: Season 4 Oct 6, 2002 Writer / Director 7.8
tbd Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6 Oct 2, 2001 Writer 4.9
tbd Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5 Sep 26, 2000 Writer 5.5