“Showrunners” is the first ever feature length documentary film to explore the fascinating world of US television showrunners and the creative forces aligned around them. These are the people responsible for creating, writing and overseeing every element of production on one of the United State’s biggest exports – television drama and comedy series.
Often described as the most complex job in the entertainment business, a showrunner is the chief writer / producer on a TV series and, in most instances, the show’s creator. Battling daily between art and commerce, showrunners manage every aspect of a TV show’s development and production: creative, financial and logistical.
Des Doyle was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. After graduating from the Dublin Institute Of Technology with a Diploma in Film Production he began his career as a camera assistant and over the last 15 years has worked on a diverse range of TV dramas, commercials, music videos and feature films, working with artists such as U2 and Sinead O’Connor as well acclaimed directors such as Jim Sheridan and Lenny Abrahamson.
A lifelong passion for U.S. TV drama and the inner workings of the American television industry inspired the idea for his debut film as a director, a documentary feature exploring the world of U.S. TV head writer/creators, referred to within the industry as “Showrunners”, which was funded by the Irish Film Board and Kickstarter. Twtter: @dcireland
John Wallace is a producer based in Dublin working in feature dramas and documentaries. John’s producing credits include STANDBY (2014, dir Ronan and Rob Burke), KING OF THE TRAVELLERS (2012, w/dir Mark O’Connor), DOLLHOUSE (2012, w/dir Kirsten Sheridan), REWIND (2010, w/dir PJ Dillon) and the feature documentaries SHOWRUNNERS (2014, dir Des Doyle) and APPLES OF THE GOLAN (2012, dir Keith Walsh & Jill Beardsworth).
A former executive turned writer/producer he founded the company Romark Entertainment in 2012 with an emphasis on discovering new talent and developing fresh and original ideas for film and television. The company is currently producing the feature films “Tranquility Base” with director Ridley Scott and his Scott Free Entertainment for 20th Century Fox, “The Boy and His Tiger” with Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way for Warner Brothers, as well as the TV series “Paradox” with Tim Kring’s Imperative Entertainment. Currently, the company has four films awaiting release with the feature documentaries “Showrunners,” and “Growing Cities” in theaters in 2014 and 2015, and the films “The Bad Guys” and “Reversal” currently entering the festival circuit. Twitter: @fablemethis
John Murphy is a freelance editor based in Dublin, Ireland. He has worked across Film and Television cutting documentary, drama, comedy and music. He has cut over 100 broadcast shows for television including award winning documentaries “When Ali Came to Ireland” and “Ras Tailteann”. As well as TV work, he has cut several feature films including the forthcoming romantic comedy “Standby” and the documentary “Showrunners”. He blogs at http://johnmurphyeditor.com. Twitter: @JohnMurphyEdit
Ryan Patrick McGuffey is an Irish-American actor/producer based in Los Angeles. Planting temporary roots in all corners of the globe over his 20+ year career, Ryan has worked as a classically trained performer of stage, screen, voice and in music. His diverse work has taken him to over 30 countries.
A trip to Sundance Film Festival crystalised a decision to relocate to Los Angeles and pursue his lifelong dream of acting and filmmaking. Upon returning to the US full time in 2008, Ryan immediately landed a principle role in John Campea’s “The Anniversary”. He has since gone on to work alongside such talents as Pierce Brosnan, David Arquette, Fionnula Flanagan and James Remar. In 2010 he welcomed his daughter Olivia Mairím McGuffey into the world and joined Director Des Doyle and Producer John Wallace to co-produce the feature documentary “Showrunners: The Art Of Running A TV Show”. Twitter: @ryanpmcguffey
Jason Rose has worked on film, television and commercials all over the world, building strong relationships with investors and production companies in the U.S. and Asia. Throughout, his genuine passion and appreciation for every aspect of the cinematic process is evident, from story to production to soundtrack.
Aside from SHOWRUNNERS Jason’s EP credits include upcoming Western JANE GOT A GUN starring Natalie Portman & Ewan McGregor and CHEF starring Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johannsson & Robert Downey Jr.
Currently, Jason continues to work in both the independent and studio system. From major development funds to Chinese co-productions as well as working with his writing partner on multiple pilots, where they are actively in talks with cable and network television. Twitter: @JasonLeiRose
Originally from San Diego, California, Jimmy Nguyen started out as a journalist reviewing Asian cinema and covering film festivals for various websites and print magazines. He followed his love for the movies to Los Angeles in the fall of 2011 where he joined the team behind “Showrunners: The Art Of Running A TV Show” as an executive producer. Jimmy is currently in post-production on his second feature as a producer, the barista competition documentary “DRIP”, directed by Rock Baijnauth (HBO’s The Pirate Tapes). Twitter: @JimmyNguyenLA
Christof Bove is an award-winning film and TV producer and director. After ten years as a television executive at NBC/USA Network, he started the media company Junto Entertainment. He holds degrees from Cornell University and California Institute of the Arts and has studied at Deep Springs College and the Sorbonne. In 2013 he founded the Sleeping Tiger Foundation to help raise awareness about adolescent addiction to drugs and alcohol. He is married and has two sons whom he adores. Twitter @ChristofBove
Wes Chappell is an actor, filmmaker, and maker of believe. He was born on a cattle farm in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Life was simple on the farm but he always felt like there was much more out there to explore. Upon graduating high school and after the military wouldn’t allow him to join due to medical reasons, Wes attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, a highly touted engineering school in the middle of Missouri. Twitter: @weschappell
After a co-op working in Architectural Engineering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Wes came back to school knowing that something was wrong with this life choice. During his second to last semester he came across the film Into The Wild directed by Sean Penn and everything clicked. The moment the film was over, Wes retired to his dorm room, dropped out of all his classes, googled “Film School” and signed up for the most hands on film school he could find in Los Angeles.
After another 6 months in Jackson Hole working construction to save up enough money to live in LA, Wes was pulled westward like the explorers of yesteryear. Since his arrival he has studied filmmaking and acting at the New York Film Academy in LA, run a fashion photography studio in West Hollywood, sold cars for a whopping 21 days and is wrapping a up a project of 7 short films as a producer, actor, and filmmaker in collaboration with his current “survival” gig with Myteevee.tv, an online social networking site for filmmakers. Twitter: @WesChappell
J.J. Abrams was the co-creator/co-showrunner of Felicity, creator/showrunner of Alias and co-creator of Lost & Fringe. Born in New York City but raised in California, Abrams broke into writing as a film screenwriter and entered the TV world via Felicity. Abrams has directed numerous episodes of his television series and in recent years has directed a number of feature films including Star Trek, Super 8 and Star Wars Episode VII.
Matthew Carnahan was the creator/showrunner of Trinity, Dirt and now Showtime’s House of Lies. A playwright and television writer, Carnahan’s first television series, Trinity, was executive produced by esteemed showrunner John Wells (E.R.).
Steven S. DeKnight was the creator/showrunner of Spartacus and is now running Marvel’s Daredevil series on Netflix. A Millville, New Jersey native, DeKnight’s first television writing job was on MTV’s Undressed. He’s also written and directed episodes of Angel, Smallville & Dollhouse. Twitter: @stevendeknight
Chris Downey was the co-creator of Leverage. Born and raised in New York City, Downey’s first television writing job was on Cosby. He has also written on King & Maxwell and Almost Human. Twitter: @ChrDowney
Jane Espenson was the showrunner for season one of Caprica and is co-creator/co-showrunner for Husbands with Brad Bell. She is currently a consulting producer on Once Upon A Time. Born in Ames, Iowa, Espenson’s first television script credit was for Monty. Twitter: @JaneEspenson
Hart Hanson was the creator/showrunner of Bones, The Finder and currently, Backstrom. Born in California but raised in Canada, Hanson’s first television writing job was on CBC TV’s The Beachcombers. Twitter: @HartHanson
Mike Kelley was the creator/showrunner of Swingtown and Revenge, stepping down as showrunner on Revenge after Season 2. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Kelley’s first television writing job was on Providence.
Robert & Michelle King were the co-creators/showrunners of In Justice and currently The Good Wife. Robert was a feature writer until he and Michelle teamed up as television writing partners. Robert has also directed six episodes of The Good Wife.
Ali LeRoi was the co-creator/showrunner of Everybody Loves Chris and Are We There Yet? LeRoi started in standup and sketch comedy writing, with his first television writing credit on Comic Justice. LeRoi also directed many episodes of Everybody Loves Chris and Are We There Yet? Twitter: @mrleroi
Damon Lindelof was the co-creator/co-showrunner of Lost and is currently running HBO’s The Leftovers. Born and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, Lindelof got his first professional writing credit on Wasteland.
Jeff Melvoin was a showrunner on Picket Fences & Army Wives. He is also the founder of the WGA Showrunner Training Program. Melvoin’s first staff writing position was on Remington Steele. Twitter: @Jumper139
Ronald D. Moore was the showrunner for Roswell Season 3 and showrunner for Carnivale, Battlestar Galactica and currently, Outlander. From Chowchilla, California, his first writing job was for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Twitter: @RonDMoore
Jonathan Nolan is the creator and co-showrunner of Person of Interest. Primarily a feature screenwriter with his brother Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Interstellar), Jonathan’s first foray into television is Person Of Interest.
Jeff Pinkner was the showrunner for Alias Season 5 and the co-showrunner of Fringe. Hailing from Maryland, Pinkner’s first writing credit was for Ally McBeal. Twitter: @JPFRINGE
Greg Plageman is the co-showrunner of Person of Interest and was previously co-showrunner on Cold Case. A veteran one-hour drama writer, Plageman wrote his first professional television script for the original Beverly Hills 90210.
Bill Prady is the co-creator of The Big Bang Theory and was showrunner for Seasons 1-5. He previously ran Dharma & Greg. A Michigan native, Prady started writing for children’s television with Jim Henson’s Muppets. Outside of the comedy genre he also contributed to an episode of Star Trek:Voyager. Twitter: @billprady
John Rogers was the co-creator/co-showrunner of Leverage and currently is showrunner of The Librarians. Born in Massachusetts but raised in Canada, Rogers’s first television job was on Cosby. Rogers also directed four episodes of Leverage. Twitter: @jonrog1
Mike Royce was showrunner of Lucky Louie, Men of a Certain Age and Enlisted. Born in New York, Royce was a standup comedian in New York City and writer on Saturday Night Live. His first television series credit is for Apt. 2F. Twitter: @MikeRoyce
Shawn Ryan was the creator/showrunner of The Shield, The Chicago Code and co-creator/showrunner of Last Resort. From Illinois, Ryan first got into television writing an episode of My Two Dads. Twitter: @ShawnRyanTV
Kurt Sutter is the creator/showrunner of Sons of Anarchy and upcoming The Bastard Executioner. From Rahway, New Jersey, Sutter was an actor and film screenwriter before he turned to television writing with The Shield. Sutter directed one episode of The Shield and many episodes of Sons of Anarchy. Twitter: @sutterink
Janet Tamaro was the developer/showrunner for Rizzoli & Isles. Originally a television news reporter, Tamaro changed careers and began writing for television starting with an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Twitter: @JanetTamaro
Joss Whedon was the creator and showrunner of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Dollhouse and co-creator of Angel. Raised in New York, Whedon’s first television writing job was on Roseanne. Most recently, he co-created and executive produces ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and has directed both of Marvel’s Avengers films. Twitter: @josswhedon
Terence Winter is the creator/showrunner of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Born and bred in New York City, Winter started out as a lawyer but shifted to writing where he got his start on the series, The Great Defender (1995). Winter wrote numerous episodes of The Sopranos and directed one. He was recently Oscar nominated for his The Wolf Of Wall Street screenplay.
J.H. Wyman was the creator/showrunner of Keen Eddie and Almost Human, and the co-showrunner of Fringe. Born in California but raised in Canada, Wyman was an actor and screenwriter who first ventured into TV writing with CBC’s Wind at My Back. Twitter: @JHWYMAN