The Movie Waffler Announcing our <i>Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show</i> winners! | The Movie Waffler

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Announcing our Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show winners!

Thanks to Titan Books, we've got three copies of Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show, an exciting new behind-the-scenes exposé about what goes into making some of the biggest TV shows out there, to give away to UK/ROI readers.


The book features interviews with legends such as Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Damon Lindelof (of Lost), Ronald D.Moore (of Battlestar Galactica), Jane Espenson (of Caprica, Husbands and writer for Game of Thrones), Terence Winter (of Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos), Bill Prady (of Big Bang Theory) and more.

The winners are:

Barrie Philips, Swansea
Paul Tanter, London
Jessica Bergeault, Fife

Below you can read an extract from the book:


Showrunners as Celebs

It used to be that the only celebrities of television were the actors who were featured in the shows. Maybe the industry itself lauded big-name producers, or a few game-changing creators like Aaron Spelling or Norman Lear would rise to household-name stature, but overall the face of your show was your cast.
Not anymore.
With the rise of the showrunner, the creators and writers of pop culture, buzz-worthy shows are getting lots of face time on red carpets and interview shows. Unless an executive producer has purposefully made the transition from acting to writing/producing, it’s still an odd by-product for many writers who aren’t comfortable with the spotlight. Many eventually warm to it and can be as charming and entertaining as their cast members, but others admit they have to dig deep to thwart their introverted tendencies.

DAVID SHORE, Showrunner: House

I think it’s great in theory that people are paying so much attention to writers in the form of showrunners. I think recognition of what writers contribute to the process is overdue and fantastic. One of the reasons I like watching the Emmys more than the Oscars is that everybody gets up on stage at the Emmys and thanks the writers and everybody gets up on stage at the Oscars and thanks the director. Having said that, I prefer to be a little more anonymous; I like my privacy. I like to have a real life, so I don’t want to be famous. It is nice when people recognize my name and tell me how much they love the show. That’s very nice, but it’s nice in limited doses. I’ve been out in public with Hugh Laurie and I wouldn’t want to live that life. I haven’t hired a publicist. I have no intention of hiring a publicist.


JANE ESPENSON, Showrunner: Caprica, Husbands


It is insane and wonderful that writers now are sometimes treated with the same reverence that the actors get, particularly in sci-fi. Sci-fi fans understand that the ideas are important, and that the ideas are generated by the writers. DVD commentary and conventions have given them the chance to actually know and recognize our faces. Amazing. I never anticipated that. The notion that some kid in Omaha is seeing [a commentary] and going, “Oh, Jane Espenson wrote a joke I like,” and then connects to me on Twitter and talks with me about their life... Fantastic! We are in a gilded age.

STEVEN S. DeKNIGHT, Showrunner: Spartacus

The thing that the Internet has really changed is that it puts creators and showrunners at the forefront. I think that it, together with things like DVDs with the extras and the interviews and the commentaries, has really moved the people behind the scenes in front of the camera. The pinnacle of that, of course, being Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse doing their periodic ABC specials explaining what’s going on in Lost, which I think is a great thing. I’d like to see more of that. I know growing up as a kid, the showrunner name that I was most familiar with particularly was Stephen J. Cannell, and really that was because of his company card at the end. It’s still burned into my mind— him at his typewriter, he throws the sheet of paper, and then his logo comes up. That was really my first introduction to the notion that somebody actually creates these. Somebody writes these. Somebody loses sleep over making this television that I love.
I think there’s absolutely more branding of showrunners these days. I often tell all of my writers in the room that in this day and age you can’t just be in the writing business. If you’re in it, you’ve got to think of yourself as one of the commodities. You really gotta put yourself out there, sell yourself, and once you have brand recognition that will go a long way to get you help to get done what you need to have done. It is great in this day and age for a showrunner. There’s gotta be a bit of P.T. Barnum about it. You’ve really got to sell yourself and your product, and by doing that you create a buzz in Hollywood and among the studios and the networks that kind of goes, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of this guy. I’ve seen this guy. I like his interviews. Let’s get this guy in and talk about this project. Let’s see what he has to say.”