Introduction to the US Television Landscape for Irish Producers and Writers



Filmbase and Screen Training Ireland have launched Introduction to the US Television Landscape for Irish Producers and Writers with Des Doyle, writer/director of the feature documentary Showrunners: The Art Of Running A TV Show and co-author of the film’s companion book.  This one day seminar will have a limited number of places in order to encourage an interactive environment.

The training initiative is being launched with Des Doyle, the writer/director behind ‘Showrunners: The Art Of Running A TV Show’, who is also co-writer of the companion book.

It is designed for producers and writers who want to deepen their understanding of the US Television landscape, and takes place Tuesday August 29th at Filmbase, Dublin.

The deadline for applications is 10:00, Tuesday August 15th.


Detailed breakdown of all the major US Networks – how they tier out (broadcast, cable, premium cable etc) what they are currently programming and what their brands/audiences are.
Detailed study of Pilot Season 2017 – what was ordered, what sold and why that was?
What talent/s were involved and where does this take the Nets programming in the future.
Discussion on Peak TV and Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon) and their impact on U.S. programming and opportunities they present.
Network – Studio – Writer relationship, Pod deals and Shingles, Studio restrictions/obligations.
Breakdown of the Writers Year – Pilot, Staffing, Development, Buying and where are the windows for Irish writers.
Representation via either Management or Agency and the difference between the two.


Showrunners: The Art of Making a TV Show


Shaun Leonard looks into Irish director Des Doyle’s documentary about the people behind the so-called “Television Renaissance”.

“Showrunning is like painting a painting, while writing a novel, while doing your taxes.”


The above quote is from Matthew Carnahan, the creator of Showtime’s House of Lies. Des Doyle’s Showrunners is a documentary that follows Carnahan and others like him over the course of four years as they strive to produce an hour of quality television every seven days, while satisfying networks, fans and budgets. Doyle and his Irish team managed to get some of the most important showrunners of the so-called “Television Renaissance”, including JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Joss Whedon, to speak candidly on camera about their jobs, and the toll those jobs take on their lives. Not bad considering one of the first writers they spoke to, Jane Espensen of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Once Upon A Time, told them it was never going to happen. In the words of the Dublin-based first-time director “Maybe she hadn’t counted on the Irish.”

The documentary itself is expansive and features over a dozen writer/producer/creators discussing the trials and tribulations of being the deciding voice through which an entire story is told. Most documentaries live or die by the strength of their editing, and this one is no different. For aspiring writers and producers or for anyone interested in the inner workings of a mainstream American TV series, the film will surely inform and entertain. The danger is that the breadth of people being interviewed will alienate the casual moviegoer, as the film does flit between individuals at a fast pace. Thankfully, the showrunners that made the cut (and the crew did flirt with a three-hour version) are entertaining and honest enough to sustain interest. That in itself is commentary enough on the changing role of TV storytellers. Fifteen years ago writers never needed to leave their laptop grindstones, and now they’re expected to regularly represent their shows on late night national television. Showrunners lets these nouveau elite tell all, and they give the audience a fascinating look at how TV has changed, becoming more cinematic, sensational, and auteur.

When asked about the Irishness of the project, Doyle was worried about recognition at home. Given that it focuses exclusively on American showrunners, the director is unsure “if people immediately identify it as being Irish because of the content.” We’ll have to wait and see whether or not this will affect the documentary’s Irish release on the 17th of October. And what about the crew’s reception as the Irish abroad? While stereotypical, it seemed to be beneficial overall. When asked to participate, Hart Hanson, the creator of Bones, told Doyle: “How can I say no to people who survived the potato famine and The Troubles?”

How indeed.


Shaun Leonard is an Irish writer and journalist currently based in Las Vegas, NV. He podcasts for film and television at and tweets @shaun_leonard.

Showrunners: The Art of Running A TV Show is released in Ireland on the 17th of October, and has a limited release in the US on the 31st of October.




Irish Doc ‘Showrunners’ secures US and worldwide distribution



Dublin filmmaker Des Doyle and Wexford producer John Wallace of Black Sheep Productions have secured a major  distribution deal with Submarine Entertainment at Comic Con in San Diego for their documentary Showrunners, which explores the world of the writers and producers of US television dramas and comedies. The film boasts interviews with such Hollywood heavyweights as Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams.

Funded by the Irish Film Board, the documentary is a co-production between Dublin’s Black Sheep Productions, Romark Entertainment, and Junto Entertainment, produced by John Wallace and Rock Shaink.

Submarine’s Co-President, Dan Braun, announced the deal saying,  “We are very excited to be working with Des Doyle and the team on their amazing behind the scenes documentary Showrunners, which reveals the seductive, yet terrifying, world of being in charge of running a television show. The unprecedented access and attention to detail they achieved in this film is impressive and unique.”

Showrunners takes a behind the scenes look at the writing, development, and production side of television from the captain’s chair. The project got its start with backing from the Irish Film Board and a Kickstarter campaign that grew fan interest online. Among the TV heads featured in the film: Matthew Carnahan (House Of Lies), Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus: War Of The Damned), Chris Downey (Leverage), Mike Kelley (Revenge), Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife), Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris), Damon Lindelof (Lost), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Jeff Melvoin (Army Wives), Jeff Pinkner (Fringe), John Rogers (Leverage), Mike Royce (Men Of A Certain Age), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), David Shore (House M.D.), Janet Tamaro (Rizzoli & Isles), Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire), and J.H. Wyman (Fringe).