I Say What Happens

I got this comment from Christie yesterday on a three-year-old post about someone I met at a mystery convention who wanted me to produce her great TV series idea.

For the sake of argument- assume you do have an excellent idea/script/series planned out. How would you, going from nothing, get to the point of having that on the air? Is it possible for a person to just hand it over to a producer and let them take the lead? Or is it completely necessary to do everything you did? Would it be possible to pass up the producing/directing/writing part, and just become the voice behind the show. The show-runner, as one may call it. As in "I say what happens" and "You make it happen".

I love these people who want a short-cut to becoming a showrunner that doesn’t involve any actual talent or experience. Clearly, Christie didn’t read my post very closely. I wrote, in part:

[…]television is a writers’ medium. The majority of TV producers are writers first and producers second. Every one of us wants to sell a TV series of our own. It’s the dream. It’s the chance to articulate your own creative vision instead of someone else’s. It’s the chance to not only write scripts and produce episodes, but also have a piece of the syndication, merchandizing, and all the other revenue streams that come from being an owner and not an employee.

[…]Getting to the point in your career that networks are interested in being in the series business with you isn’t easy. You have to write hundreds of scripts, work on dozens of series, and build a reputation as an experienced and responsible producer (Or you have to write and produce a huge hit movie, which often leads to an invitation to work your same magic in television). The point is, you don’t work that hard just to share the success with someone else who didn’t have to work for it.

What is the incentive to do all the hard work but give someone else all the money and control? There is none.

But don’t despair, Christie, it’s still possible to be someone who has never written, produced or directed a TV show and yet can still come up with an idea, hands it off to someone else to produce, and still gets to call all the shots and collect the money. All you have to do to is to earn the respect and power elsewhere …perhaps as a former network or studio president, or as a movie star, or as a bestselling novelist or successful screenwriter. 

Oh, wait, that would take some talent, hard work, and experience….and you don’t want to bother with any of that silly, unnecessary stuff. So I guess the answer is no, there isn’t a way you can be the person "who says what happens."

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