Not to be confused with an Executive Producer (EP) for film, the EP for a television show is the highest title you can receive for a televisions show. There are usually several executive producers of a television show and it includes the showrunner(s), high level writers, and non-writing producers. Television EP’s are ultimately responsible for producing a great televisions episode every week for the network.They report directly to network executives and they make all the creative decisions for that particular television show. Of the EP’s, it’s the showrunner that holds the highest title. They’re the ones that usually receive the “created by” credit at the end of the opening credits.
The saying often goes, “In movies, director is king. In TV shows, EP is king.”
You’ve heard it many times, “Write what you know.” An established TV writer (who will remain anonymous) told me to ignore this statement. She said not to worry about writing what you already know. You can always do research on something you want to write about. However, what you should try to do, is write WHO you know. I know this isn’t always possible, but unless you’re writing a biopic, you should always write characters based of people you know or have experience with. Character is so important, and the best way to flush them out and convey a captivating character is to base it off of someone you are familiar with.
More importantly, don’t worry about what’s selling, or what executives are looking for. Write what’s important to you. Write what you’re passionate about. In this business you are going to lose more than you will win, but in both cases, you DON’T want to experience it with something you are not passionate about. What matters is a good story, good characters, and great passion for each. All of these will be recognized on the page.
You hear it all the time: “What’s your character’s motivation?” It’s one of the major questions that go through a writer’s head every time he/she is trying to crack a story. I had the opportunity to sit down with an established writer and I asked her convey process when it comes to character motivation. To my pleasant surprise, she broke it down very simply for me.
A character should be motivated by “need” not “want”. Usually characters that are motivated by simple pleasure, or “want” don’t make up very strong characters and, as a result, don’t provide a great story. There are four reasons for a person to “need” to do something: FEAR, MONEY, LOVE, & BELIEF. I know that it makes for a lot of cliche story-telling, but these are the sources of motivation that most audiences can relate to. When you can pull your audience with relate-able motivations, you can convey a much more compelling story.
The industry likes to simply call it “post”. Editors hate it when someone during production says “just fix it in post”; in essence creating more work for the editor. Post includes all the process that happens after the footage has been captured. In other words, the cameras have been put away and now we put the footage, and sound together into a meaningful motion picture. Initially when you think of post you think film editing and this, of course, is a huge part of post-production. A the entire story can be told in many different ways depending on how it is edited, and that’s why your editor is one of the 5 most crucial people you hire for a film. In addition to film editing, there is also sound-editing, which include sound effects, ADR, foley, and music. Post-production can also involve visual effects if your film requires it.
A Producer is the person who causes the film to be made. A good Producer causes it to be made well.