Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber: Numbers 131-140

March 4th, 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 131-140.

Showrunner Rule #131: When interviewing 1st AD, make’m wait 20 minutes. Ask assistant to see how many times they check watch. If >10, hire!

Showrunner Rule #132: Average movie day is 2-3 pages. TV day, 6-7 pages. It simply a matter of economics & need to feed the tv beast.

Showrunner Rule #133: Goal of pilot is 2 establish concept & possibility. 1st 10 pages elucidates how show works, last 10, where show’ll go.

Showrunner Rule #134 (1 of 2): When forced to cut budget, cut money for guest cast, because getting the studio/network to go over budget…

Showrunner Rule #134 (2 of 2): …for living breathing people is possible. Getting them 2 go over budget for dolly track, not gunna happen.

Showrunner Rule #135: Break story w/ turnaround in mind. If actor’s in last scene every night & 1st scene every morn, you’ll be mud by Ep 3.

Showrunner Rule #136: When interviewing Line Producer, drop 3 nickels on office floor. If they notice, retrieve & turn into swing set, hire!

Showrunner Rule #137: In action lines, nothing after 1st 6 words will be read by execs. If important, put in front or GO TO THE UPPERCASE.

Showrunner Rule ‪#137A‬ (Adendum): Italics and bold to emphasize important action will also work… in scripts… just a no go on Twitter.

Showrunner Rule #138 (failed): Don’t hire same sex assistant better looking than you; the job already inspires feelings of self loathing.

Showrunner Rule #139 (passed): Don’t hire opposite sex assistant too good looking for you; job pays well, shame to lose 1/2 in divorce.

Showrunner Rule 138A/139A (addendum): Of course, if gay, switcho reverso ‪ ‬ (138) with ‪ ‬ (139).

Showrunner Rule #140: Don’t let continuity screw story. No one shuts off TV screaming, “Wait, she wore that same fucking skirt in act 2!?”

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.

We can look for more Showrunner Rules from Jeff in the weeks and months to come. You can follow them live on Twitter as Jeff rolls them out. Then with every group of ten, I’ll post them here and add them to the archives.

For all of the Showrunner Rules, go here.

One thought on “Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber: Numbers 131-140

  1. Shaula Evans says:

    > Showrunner Rule #133: Goal of pilot is 2 establish concept & possibility. 1st 10 pages elucidates how show works, last 10, where show’ll go.

    Hmm. This has got me thinking about how this works for sitcom pilots.

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