SHOWRUNNING: An Introduction to Producing for Writers
Duration: 2 days
Times: 10am - 5.30pm
Capacity: Max. 24 participants
Fee: £50 Included Creative Skillset subsidy in 2015
Participants must be experienced TV writers with at least two network credits. We are grateful to the Creative Skillset High-End TV Council and the Creative Skillset TV Training Fund for supporting this event in June 2015.
‘Showrunner’: A writer who creates and also produces their own work.
In America, and increasingly in Europe, the writer is at the heart of the production team of TV drama series. There are fewer drama writer-producers in the UK, but increasingly, writers aspire to collaborate in producing their own work. Some have their own production companies (Paul Abbott, Kay Mellor, Bryan Elsley); others collaborate with a number of production companies, and claim Executive Producer credit on their work (Sally Wainwright, Jed Mercurio and Peter Bowker). However they work in their joint creator-producer roles, writers need to know the practice and process of production. This 2-day event is a crash-course in production, designed specifically for writers.
Introduced by Bryan Elsley, co-creator and executive producer of Skins, and presented by writer / producer Martyn Auty, ‘Showrunning: An Introduction to Producing for Writers’ does exactly what it says. The key members of the production team whom you will need to help you create your show (and with whom you must forge a relationship) will explain what they do, how they work with each other, and how they would work with you.
Martyn will be the guide through the process, introducing Sue Calverley (Line Producer, HUNTED), a Production Designer, Director, Casting Director, Director of Photography, First Assistant Director, Post-Production Supervisor, Editor, Composer, Colourist and Sound Designer, who will each will explain their role.
By the end of the weekend, you will know enough about what each person does, to be able to have a creative relationship with them – meaning a relationship where ideas go both ways. You will know enough about the effect of what they do, on your work, to deliver them the materials they will need to help you create your show. They will also tell you how your script can help them to contribute new ideas about how to achieve the effects you need, using methods you might not have considered.
Bryan Elsley is one of the most experienced showrunners in the UK. He is co-creator and executive producer of Skins (UK: 7 seasons 2007-2013; US: 1 season 2011) and Dates (2013); his extensive previous credits include Casualty and Hamish MacBeth, as well as his acclaimed adaptation The Crow Road, original drama serial Nature Boy, and original series Rose and Maloney. Bryan has devised this event, and will set the scene with a keynote presentation.
Martyn Auty will be interlocutor with the specialists, and the writers’ guide through the production process. Martyn is a writer-producer who began in the film/TV industry as a script editor in BBC Drama in the 1980s. As an independent producer, he devised and wrote the story for two of his TV movies, A Foreign Field and Soul Survivors and has recently written a screenplay Mr Ping Pong which he is producing in association with Pinewood Pictures in both feature film and miniseries formats. His other producing work includes Heartbeat, A Touch of Frost, PD James Mysteries, Gentlemen’s Relish and two feature films Heidi and Ways to Live Forever.
"The short courses currently being offered by The London Film School are hot property...They fill a really important training gap, targeting already skilled filmmakers moving on and up." John Whiston, Creative Director, Serial Dramas, ITV Studios. Read full testimonial.
"I applied for SHOWRUNNING because it fits with my personal ambitions, and also because it's backed by someone within the industry who's work and company I know and respect. It turned out to be one of the best bits of personal development that I've done as a writer." Ben, Writer, participant June 2015
10:00: Introductions: Martyn Auty.
10:15: 1. What is a Showrunner? – Brian Elsley
You have created a series. You are the Lead Writer and the Producer. What now?
You need more writers. How do you identify them?
How do you decide if you can work together?
How do you induct them into your show?
Bryan will relate his own experience of the new skills writers will need to acquire when moving into the role of Executive Producer.
11:50: 2. The Line Producer
Your first Best Friend. How will you know if this is the right Line Producer for you? Their job is to devise a plan for making your show. Are you on the same page?
a. Studio and locations
b. Which country to shoot in? Is there a co-production treaty?
c. Cast & crew parameters
f. Revisions – how to make it work
g. A map of the crew & production process
Sue Calverley is the Line Producer of Boy A (2007), Ashes to Ashes (2010), Titanic (2012) and Hunted (2012). Hunted, created by Frank Spotnitz, was one of the few UK series written in a Writers Room.
14:00: 3. The Art Department – Production Designer
a. The Series World
b. Where (1)? – Which country ?
c. Where (2)? – Studio / location / CGI
d. The role of the Art Director - Planning & build (schedules)
e. The role of the Location Manager
f. The role of the Costume Designer
g. The role of the Property Master
15:30: 4. The Director
a. How do you know you’re talking to the right person?
b. The script – ‘Director’s Draft’?
c. What the director does
5. The Casting Director
a. The casting process
b. Protocols of Casting Meetings
c. Who does the deal & issues the contract?
6. The Director of Photography
a. Imagining the Story World
b. The ‘look’
c. The Camera Department team
7. The First Assistant Director
a. Scheduling & Call sheets
b. Running the set
c. Second and Third Assistants – what they do
10:00: Introductions: Martyn Auty.
10:15: 8. The Post-Production Supervisor
The Workflow – what it is; what it looks like; and what it feels like.
9. The Editor
a. First meeting with an editor – what to say, what to ask
b. Editor & Showrunner vs. Editor & Director
c. The process. Rushes files arrive; loading, filing, viewing – how long it takes. Selection of material. Construction of the scene: relation to narrative flow and character POV.
d. Audio material
e. ‘Missing’ material
11:50: 10. The Composer
a. The role of music
b. When to start discussing music with composers
c. How do you know this is the right composer?
d. What the composer needs you to tell her
14:00: The Post-production Studio
11. The Colourist. All the visual decisions made up to this point come together in the grade. The colourist expertly combines aesthetics with technical specifications.
12. The Sound Mixer demonstrates the Mixing Suite, and describes the Sound Edit process leading to the Dub, with emphasis on the timescale of these processes.
16:00: Summary and Questions
Martyn Auty, Bryan Elsley, Production Designer, Editor, Post-Production Supervisor, Director.
The above scheme is funded by Creative Skillset’s TV Skills Fund.