Whatever It Takes


This book will change the way you think about success.

Producer of television’s iconic Degrassi franchise Stephen Stohn tells stories from behind the scenes and of making it in the music and television world in this star-studded, rock ’n’ roll trip through a Canadian show business explosion. Stohn, who has been at the heart of the entertainment industry for over forty years, shares a lifetime of experience and unique insights into how dreams are turned into reality.

“Whatever It Takes” — both a mantra and Degrassi’s theme song — has been heard millions of times all over the world. It embodies a philosophy of struggle and self-belief leading to accomplishment, as well as the story of an exploring mind, an adventurous pursuit of experience, ringing failures, and the willingness to see things in a different way.


A breezy read with a very appropriate title, Stephen Stohn’s Whatever It Takes brings us on the adventure of his lifetime and tells us all the secrets behind the insanely popular Degrassi franchise and the twisting turns of an ever-changing music business. It’s a must-read for anybody who is thinking about getting into a life in entertainment as a career: Stephen did it first, so his book is like a treasure map.

Kevin Smith, Filmmaker, Podcaster, and Author

One of the best books about the industry that I’ve ever read. Inspiring and brutally honest.

Shane Dawson, YouTube star

I found this book riveting; an extraordinary mix of documentary-style, ground floor moments in Canadian entertainment history, and beautiful life lessons garnered from years of tough experience. Funny, engaging and poignant, you’ll feel like you’re being personally mentored by one of Canada’s most influential producers and creators!

Jake Epstein

I couldn’t put it down … a fascinating look at the entertainment world, and a humbling reminder that success is driven by what we learn through our failures.”

Kary Bowser, Radio Producer and Internet Blogger

This book will motivate you … just as Stephen Stohn has motivated me.

“Maestro Fresh” Wes Williams, rapper, actor, and motivational speaker

Who knew that mild-mannered Stephen Stohn is the Hunter S. Thompson of Canadian entertainment lawyers?

Ivan Fecan

I thought I knew everything about Stephen Stohn (And Degrassi), but after reading Whatever It Takes I was proven wrong. After 15 plus years of working with Stephen I am floored at how much knowledge there is to be attained from him. Insightful, humorous and full of heart, Whatever It Takes is not only a must-read for anyone in show business but a great learning tool for those looking to make a break into the field. Oh, and it’s a hella fun read as well!

Stefan Brogren, Actor and Director

From his escapades as a young hippie, dharma bum and aspiring musician with buddy Christopher Ward in the late 60s to becoming a young music lawyer, then one of the top entertainment lawyers in the most formative period in Canadian music cultural history, and onward to Degrassi Street, executive production and more, Stephen has done, seen and been a big part of a lot of stuff. Filled with tons of stories and anecdotes, Whatever It Takes is a surprisingly fascinating, interesting, and candid read to be authored by a lawyer (they can be dry) although anybody that knows Stephen would know better than to say that

Tom Cochrane

This book is an amazing chronicle of the history of Stephen [Stohn] and the Canadian music industry. Stephen has always been a force pushing and developing Canadian music, film, TV, and entertainment to the world. He is one of our greatest ambassadors and this book really is a great read and ride through many decades of the Canadian scene. It’s a must-read for everyone, so get a copy and get ready for a compelling and informative read like you haven’t had in a long time.

Randy Bachman

Boy genius Stephen Stohn shows us that respect, grace, love, and honour trump the bitchy loudmouth tactics so common inside the dream factory of music and motion pictures. This book is essential reading for future moguls and those planning to go all the way. The man is a prince.

Bruce McDonald, Filmmaker

The honest, insightful and highly entertaining stories here form a sort of sourcebook for those of us who want to work on becoming better human beings. It’s kind of a Zen manual for self-awareness disguised as a great entertainment memoir. And that’s why you should read it. You’ll not only enjoy yourself, you’ll be inspired by it too.

Bob Ezrin, Record Producer

A must-read for any aspiring entrepreneur.

Marc Kielburger, Co-Founder, WE

Stephen’s insights into the inner workings of our idiosyncratic television industry should be required reading for anyone who wants to turn their dreams of making TV into a reality.

Ben Mulroney, TV Anchor

As a fan of Degrassi and the incredible musical artists mentioned in this book, I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes stories. As an improviser, I related to the impact of working with the right people, keeping positive, and always remembering that failure is a step to success, not a barrier. Read this book for fun and life lessons — you’re welcome!

Colin Mochrie, Comedian

The frontier days of the Canadian music and television industry are not so distant in our past. This book tells a great tale of some of the formative events: early boundary-breaking artists like the Cowboy Junkies and k.d. lang to the huge episodic TV success with the Degrassi series. When we met Stephen Stohn during our first contract time with Warner Music he was a gentle, sweet, and very proper looking lawyer. Had I known he was once a hippie songwriting vagabond, travelling across Europe with only his wits as currency, I would have trusted him more.

Jim Cuddy, Musician

A delightful romp … I laughed out loud and was inspired … Filled me with trips down memory lane as well as fascinating behind-the-scenes secrets I never knew.

Miriam McDonald, Actor

Remarkably relatable, incredibly inspiring.

Ricardo Hoyos, Actor and Musician

Stephen Stohn is one of the architects of the current Canadian star system. He is also its most committed champion, so proud of the creative class we have here in Canada, and yet so humble about his own contribution to our vibrant creative community. From KD Lang to Drake, from ‘Black Velvet‘ to Degrassi, he’s telling the stories — as a mentor, as a visionary, and, above all, as a dedicated fan who recognizes the value of Canadian talent and who has built a career out of making sure that that talent is recognized around the world.

Elaine Lui, founder of LaineyGossip.com

His passion leaps off the page and makes you excited to follow Stohn’s journey.


An inspiring and witty tale—punctuated by some Canadiana and a few mishaps—that is tangible proof that the words of the Degrassi theme song really do hold a nugget of truth.


A thrilling look behind the curtain at Stephen Stohn’s wizardry for creating fun entertainment. Bravo and a standing ovation for this great read.


Stephen Stohn is the Forrest Gump of Canadian pop culture, a behind the scenes fixture for many of the most successful artists and celebrities from the '80s, '90s and beyond.

CBC’s q blog

About the Authors

Stephen Stohn

Posted by Dundurn Guest on April 11, 2017
Stephen Stohn photo

Stephen Stohn

Stephen Stohn is a Canadian entertainment lawyer and the executive producer of the Degrassi television franchise. He was also executive producer of The Juno Awards for two decades, during which he was director and then the chair of CARAS. He lives in Toronto.

Christopher Ward

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward, Canada’s original MuchMusic VJ, wrote the world-wide #1 hit “Black Velvet.” His songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, The Backstreet Boys, Amanda Marshall, and many others. He lives in Toronto and Los Angeles.

Martin Gero

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 31, 2017

Martin Gero

Martin Gero is variously the creator, writer, director, and producer of some of television’s hottest series, including NBC’s hit drama Blindspot, HBO’s Bored to Death, the Sci-Fi Channel’s cult hit Stargate: Atlantis, and the CW’s The L.A. Complex.