Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber: Numbers 71-80

February 18th, 2013 by

Jeff Lieber is a screenwriter and TV writer. His movie credits include Tuck Everlasting and he is currently an executive producer of the USA Network series “Necessary Roughness.” On Twitter (@JeffLieber), he has run a series of tweets called Showrunner Rules. For background on Jeff and this Twitter series, go here.

Today: Numbers 71-80:

Showrunner Rule #71: Typically pilot has at least 2X budget of a regular ep and yet often… not nearly as good. Learning curve’s a bitch.

Showruner Rule #72: Cue spotting an art. Big believer viewer should feel the sad BEFORE sad cue starts, not let sad cue manipulate feeling.

Showrunner Rule #72A (addendum): Though, honestly, sometimes you fuck up rule #72 so badly that you have no choice but to cheat.

Showrunner Rule #72B: Meaning, “I’m sorry to say, Carl is dead” & NOW cue kicks in. Before… viewer sees the sad coming.

Showrunner Rule #73 (1 of 3): Sex on TV is not about sex. Frankly, can’t think of a TV sex scene that was a real turn on. TV sex is about…

Showrunner Rule #73 (2 of 3): …#1 plot (Oh, A is fucking B), #2 intrigue (A is fucking B’s wife/husband/horse) or…

Showrunner Rule #73 (3 of 3): …#3 altered relationship (powerful A is passive when fucking B interesting.). Want sexy sex? Make your own.

Showrunner Rule #74: Ur treated better than others on set, which means you don’t REALLY know the truth. Have COEP who gives u honest skinny.

Showrunner Rule #75 (1 f 2): Hierarchy of set memorialized on call sheet. Star is #1, 2nd lead is #2, all the way to, say, day player #15.

Showrunner Rule #75 (2 f 2): Great actors take #1 as a sign they’re the leader. Insecure actors use it as the excuse to act like the diva.

Showrunner Rule #76: When prod designer shows model, ask “Do we have hallway for 30 sec walk-&-talk?” If answer is “no”… get more hallway.

Showrunner Rule 76A (addendum ): Also ask, “Where’s the area, once I blown my extras budget, I get my 2 shot w/ scope?”

Showrunner Rule #77: When initial 1-line comes out, make sure emotionally taxing scenes not 1st Mon, last Fri or any day right after lunch.

Showrunner Rule #78: Don’t throttle reviewer who admits she actually liked show, but gave it “bitchy-bad” review ’cause it’s her “personae”.

Showrunner Rule #79: new pilot. New stuff. Day 1.

Showrunner Rule #80: LOVE your pilot ’cause average time (net) from 1st idea to 1st ep is 16 months (cable is LONGER).

For Showrunner Rules: Numbers 1-10, go here.

Numbers 11-20, go here.

Numbers 21-30, go here.

Numbers 31-40, go here.

Numbers 41-50, go here.

Numbers 51-60, go here.

Numbers 61-70, go here.

Next: Showrunner Rules: Numbers 81-90.

I asked Jeff for a bio. Here it is:

One day in 1986, after blowing up a glass beaker in a lab in high school, Jeffrey Lieber’s science teacher, Dr. Nagoi, turned to him and said, “Jeffrey… you be an actor… you be a writer… maybe have a family… but please, dear God, don’t be a chemist.” And it was those words that launched a journey that has ended up with Mr. Lieber becoming a screenwriter, showrunner, blogger, father and husband (Credits? Go here). Every day, while pursuing his passions, Mr. Lieber takes a moment to stop and thank Dr. Nagoi for his sage advice.

Thanks, Jeff. Best of luck on the front lines of running a TV series and all your creative endeavors!

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