Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show

Synopsis: 'Showrunners' is the first ever feature length documentary film to explore the fascinating world of US television showrunners and the creative forces aligned around them. These people are responsible for creating, writing and overseeing every element of production on one of the United State's biggest exports - television drama and comedy series.The film intends to show audiences the huge amount of work that goes into making sure their favorite TV series airs on time as well as the many challenges that showrunners have to overcome to make sure a new series makes it onto the schedules at all! Featuring candid interviews with Showrunners such as J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, Bill Prady, Terence Winter, Damon Lindelof, Hart Hanson, Steven S. DeKnight.
Director(s): Des Doyle
Production: Submarine Deluxe
Rotten Tomatoes:
90 min


The showrunner

of a series is responsible

for the creative direction

of the show,

keeping scripts and episodes

coming in on time,

dealing with notes,

trying to keep

the whole damn thing afloat.

Being a showrunner

is utterly consuming.

You're editing and writing

and doing a hundred

different things at once.

It's draining, it's awful...

I miss it terribly.

Showrunner is a fairly new term of art.

In the former days,

it was the head writer,

the executive producer.

But as the shows have

become much more cinematic

in their scope and intention,

the job has become

much more complicated.

And yet, we're expected to

deliver a show every seven days.

Showrunning is

incredibly brutally hard,

and you can't really lean on anyone,

because part of the job

is being the broad

shoulders of the show.

This is a crazy, crazy, fucking job.

It's a really cool one,

but it doesn't make any sense.

It's like a controlled plane

crash every week.

It's a billion decisions a day.

You're the guy that has to

decide what we're going to do.

They only bring you questions.

When you're a showrunner,

you're getting squished by

the network and the studio.

You're feeling pressure

from the crew on up.

People look at you and you think,

"Oh, you're the boss,

you have nothing to worry about."

You're worrying about all of it.

Part of the job of the showrunner

is to set the tone

for what you're doing.

Many a time,

I've been standing on a set

where we're at some crisis,

and it's like,

"Okay, we gotta do this

and this and this."

And people are like this,

and I'll say, "But...

"we're not curing cancer here, guys.

This is a TV show."

It is, at the same time,

the best and the worst job.

You can't imagine quitting,

and at the same time,

it's a job that's exhausting

to the core of your being.

And I always say

it gives you the thing

of walking around and saying,

"I have such a bad back

from unloading all this gold bullion."

most show aren't smash hits.

84% of new shows in America fail.

So, you know, hopefully,

you beat the odds

because if you stay in the race

long enough, you're gonna win.

And it's just a question of

how you can stay in the race.

The showrunner is the life blood

of a television show.

It's a collaborative art form.

But you still need that one

central voice through which

all the marvelous creative

contributions are processed.

The age of writers and showrunners

being anonymous is... is over.

My day has the same shape.

There's a certain rhythm to it

that can change day to day.

If I have writing to do,

I come in extremely early.


Because around about

00 or 9:30,

I'm going to be talking to

people more than I'm writing.

Oh, that weighs a ton.

You always have, say, six episodes

at some station in the process,

so you've got one that you're

finishing the final mix on

and going to lock

and hopefully put on the air,

and then you've got people

pitching story ideas,

so you've got something to tend

to on each one of those things.

One of the downsides of

being a showrunner is that

if you're doing it correctly,

everyone that you've come

into contact with...

actors, the other writers,

the other producers,

the network, the studio...

You know that things are

going well on your show,

if everybody's just

a little annoyed with you.

Showrunning, I think,

is like painting a painting

while writing a novel,

while doing your taxes.

It's very, very, you know,

right brain, left brain, boom.

House of Lies

came from a book by Martin Kihn

about management consulting

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Dec. 2020. <>.

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