Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber

Scott Myers hosts a series of Rules for Showrunners as outlined by Jeffrey Lieber, showrunner for Lost. Here, Jeffrey explains how they came up with the idea.

We three were staring at a cut of this show I created called Miami Medical (which, when it started, was neither set in Miami nor exactly medical, but… that’s another story). Anyway, the cut was two minutes short and we didn’t have the budget to shoot a new scene, so… we were stuck. That is, until someone noted: we do have that scene with the doctors in surgery… and they have masks on… and you can’t see their mouths… which means, well, we could really have them say ANYTHING… right?

Brains churned… I started jotting dialogue… and within an hour we’d flipped shots and blown up shots and stitched together enough footage to close the time gap while also fixing a huge story hole.

Then, on the way back to the “room” Steve and I were beating ourselves for having created the timing problem/story hole in the first place when one of us said something like…

“All scripts are essentially math. Brilliant scripts are string theory.”

I wrote that down and years later (meaning a few weeks ago) it became the first of the showrunner rules that I’ve been tweeting (@JeffLieber).

All the rules are essentially reminders to myself, gleaned from experience and the advice of others and I send them out into the tube-o-sphere as a thank you to the universe for giving me the chance/good fortune and dumb fucking luck to do something I truly and utterly and completely love doing.

Without further ado, here are Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber, Numbers 1-10:

Showruner Rule #1: All scripts are essentially math. Bad scripts are algebra. GREAT scripts are string theory.

Showrunner Rule #2: Black out the character names on a script. If after you can’t IMMEDIATELY identify your characters voices, ya fucked up.

Showrunner Rule #3: I’ll take a great person over a great writer any day. I can fix writing, but I can’t get back time an asshole wastes.

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See all the rules here