Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber: Numbers 91-100

February 20th, 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 91-100:

Showrunner Rule #91: Biggest impediment to honest story telling is act outs. With 6 acts it forces direction change roughly every 7 minutes.

Showrunner Rule #92 (1 of 2): If you want to keep actors you’ve cast in pilot WARN THEM that table read is a PERFORMANCE…

Showrunner Rule #92 (2 of 2): …because table read is Latin for “Maybe We Fucked Up And Should Recast That Part.”

Showrunner Rule #93 (1 of 3): Job while waiting to make it as writer should 1) Pay enough to keep you fed, housed & car running…

Showrunner Rule #93 (2 of 3): …2) not be a soul sucking, mind-fucking disaster and 3) leave you with enough energy to write…

Showrunner Rule #93 (3 of 3): ..cause if you’re not writing, you’ll always be waiting.

Showrunner Rule #94: Series pace tricky. Example of plot constipation… Carnivàle Season 1. Example of plot diarrhea… Carnivàle Season 2.

Showrunner Rule #95: Fight like hell 2 get editing in same building as room. Time wasted getting to & fro is robbed from story… & ur kids.

Showrunner Rule #96 (1 of 2): To keep concept meeting < 3hrs, don’t get bogged down with the exact color & size of “merkin for sex scene”…

Showrunner Rule #96 (2 of 2): …or, shorter, anything & everything that doesn’t need WHOLE CREW’S attention gets side-barred post meeting.

Showrunner Rule #97: Can’t quite nail a storyline that you know you need. Start with the TAG (last scene) & break it backward to the TEASE.

Showrunner Rule #98: Impossible to develop pilot while running 1st year show. Same year 2. Year 3… how utterly fantastic are your co-eps?

Showrunner Rule #99 (1 of 3): In perfect room every writer/producer has a super power. The 1 w/ a thousand pitches. The 1 who tracks arcs…

Showrunner Rule #99 (2 of 3): …the 1 who can write the crap out of a scene, the 1 who knows you’re WAY off course…

Showrunner Rule #99 (3 of 3): …12 great writers is like a car with an engine, but no steering wheel, wind shield wipers or seat belts.

Showrunner Rule #100 (1of 2): When you reach a 100 of anything, find a place to keep “them” safe. In this case it’s –>

Showrunner Rule #100 (2 of 2): Big thanks to Scott @GoIntoTheStory & @theblcklst for being willing to make a little room at the inn.

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.

Numbers 71-80, go here.

Numbers 81-90, go here.

Next: Showrunner Rules: Numbers 101-110.

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!

UPDATE: Speaking of “best of luck,” Jeff lands a new gig.

2 thoughts on “Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber: Numbers 91-100

  1. Peter Dwight says:

    “..cause if you’re not writing, you’ll always be waiting.”

    True that.

  2. Shaula Evans says:

    Great series. Thank you Jeff for writing it and thanks Scott for hosting it here.

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