Des Doyle’s look behind the scenes of television production had its world premiere last month in Ireland as part of Dublin’s Stranger Than Fiction documentary festival. The doc is also slated to screen at Zurich and Austin before opening in LA and coming to VOD later this month.
With television hosting some of the most acclaimed new drama of the past several years, audiences have taken notice of the creators behind shows like MAD MEN or BREAKING BAD. At the top of the creative chain is the showrunner, the person responsible for overseeing the entire season, and if not writing every episode, setting the creative vision for the writing staff to follow – all while making sure the production runs on time and on budget. As the men and women interviewed in Doyle’s survey note, it’s both the best and worst – or at least hardest – job in television. Assembling various notables, including JJ Abrams, Joss Whedon, Damon Lindelof, and Ronald D Moore, among several others, the film offers a candid exploration of their exhaustive – and exhausting – job, from the writing process and dealing with executives’ notes, to ratings and dealing with success or failure. Serving as an edifying throughline is the process Matthew Carnahan goes through to bring his new show, HOUSE OF LIES, to Showtime. This provides a sense of progression that reveals how much time goes into developing and producing a show, offering a bit more heft than the chorus of interviewees that make up the bulk of the film – though the latter still remain engaging, making for an insightful insider look at the creative process.