A Tale of Two Showrunners

As I do every year, I attended a couple of Paleyfest panels.  I am almost never interested in what the castmembers of these shows have to say.  Thankfully, the creators or showrunners tend to do most of the talking, which is why I keep going back.

In past years I’ve discovered that not only did I like a particular showrunner’s writing, but I liked them as a person — their general demeanor.

I can say that is true again this year for one showrunner.  And for another… let’s just say, I determined that this is a person I never want to work for.

It’s fascinating, really, because when you read someone’s script you may or may not form an image of that writer in your head (depends on how good or interesting the writing is).  Usually you have to read an interview or listen to an audio commentary to really get a sense of who a TV writer really is, or what he/she’s about.

On the one hand, I discovered mad respect and love for Vince Gilligan this week.  I already respected the hell out of his show BREAKING BAD, but to listen to him talk about his show, answer questions from the moderator and the audience and interact with his cast/crew, I realized that he’s the real deal.  He’s a guy you’d trust to lead you off a cliff with his story vision and that it will make you fly rather than fall.

I won’t name names for the showrunner who was a big disappointment to me, but I will talk about why.  I don’t know him personally, and I can’t pretend that these panels give you the full picture of a person, but from what I saw of this person, I deduced that I would not enjoy working for that show, which is sad, because I really like the show this person runs.

So, I’m not sure what the lesson is here, but I think if you are going to be talking about your work in a very public forum, you should try to come off as humble (not arrogant), part of a team (not a sole reason for success), and not make contradictory statements about how you work.  It’s kind of annoying.

Posted under writing

This post was written by Shawna on March 15, 2010

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