The recently-launched Kickstarter campaign is from actor and “Showrunners” co-producer Ryan Patrick McGuffey. From the looks of it, McGuffrey and director Des Doyle have assembled a collection of talking heads including Whedon, Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Jane Espenson to talk about their experiences getting TV shows made in the modern marketplace.
The showrunner is such an interesting invention: responsible in some way for nearly every piece of the final show, they’re ostensibly in charge in making sure the final vision of the show is realized but are just as often the person being burned in effigy by fans when things start to go off the rails. If you’re someone like Joss Whedon, you battle it out with the networks for years before making the leap to features (and then look at making a return as your new bosses at Disney launch a massive comic book TV show offensive); others keep one toe in TV and another in features like J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, bringing the same kind multi-story myth-building to movies that they’ve brought to the small screen. “Showrunners” promises to tell their story.
This is the kind of stuff that can end up in the proverbial weeds, though, focusing on the Hollywood inside baseball and backbiting without illuminating the human side of the business. On the writing side of things (for film, at least), you should check out 2009’s “Tales From the Script,” which is about the elation and heartbreak of putting words on the page for a living.
The campaign, which has 21 days left as of this writing, is at a little over 10% of its $80k goal, which will be used as completion funds. The project has been in production for two years now, and the team behind it is looking to edit their 150 hours of footage down into feature-length.
From the official announcement:
SHOWRUNNERS is the first ever feature length documentary to explore the fascinating world of US television showrunners and the creative forces aligned around them. These people are responsible for creating, writing and overseeing every element of production on one of the United State’s biggest exports – television drama and comedy series. The film takes audiences behind the scenes of the chaotic world of the showrunner to reveal the incredible amount of work that goes into making sure their favorite TV series airs on time as well as the challenges that showrunners must overcome to ensure a new series makes it onto the schedules at all.