Stephen Zapotoczny

Degree and Year: 
BA 1997
Professional Title: 
Founder & CEO
Employer: 
The Magic Factory

Professional Background: 
Stephen Zapotoczny is the Founder and CEO of The Magic Factory where he creates enchanting entertainment for everyone äóñ exciting tales, both real and imagined, filled with brave heroes, wondrous adventures, and plenty of good old-fashioned fun. The Magic Factory's recent publication, the fantasy adventure novel Sign of the Sandman by Tom Turner, was named a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award finalist, garnering rave reviews and fan comparisons to classics like The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Stephen is also the creator and writer of the Ranger Baldy Adventures children's books. Kirkus Reviews named the series' debut, Ranger Baldy and the Disappearing Waterfall, to their Best Books of 2014 list. The book was also a nominee for the prestigious Kirkus Award for Literature, as well as a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award finalist and Green Earth Book Award finalist. Prior to starting The Magic Factory, Stephen spent nearly a decade working as a producer and vice-president at Wheelhouse Entertainment with writer/director Randall Wallace (Braveheart, Secretariat, Pearl Harbor) where he produced a variety of high-profile content including the acclaimed Vietnam War film We Were Soldiers starring Mel Gibson. Stephen oversaw development and production of Wheelhouseäó»s motion pictures, documentaries, television series, video games, music albums, and books in collaboration with companies including Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Company, Lionsgate, 21st Century Fox, Miramax, The Weinstein Company, NBC, ABC, Discovery Channel, Simon & Schuster, Hyperion Books, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Icon Productions, Sony Music, and THQ.

How has being an English graduate from Duke University helped shape your professional success?: 
From written works like Shakespeare's plays and the Canterbury Tales to films like Citizen Kane and American Graffiti, my Duke English courses first exposed me to stories and storytellers that shaped my sense of what makes a story great.