The TV Showrunner's Roadmap
Creating Great Television in an On Demand World
This all-new edition of the best-selling guide The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap provides readers with the tools for creating, writing, and managing your own hit streaming series.
Combining his 30+ years as a working screenwriter and professor, industry veteran Neil Landau expertly unpacks essential insights to the creation of a successful show and takes readers behind the scenes with exclusive and enlightening interviews with showrunners from some of TV’s most lauded series, including Fargo, Better Call Saul, Watchmen, Insecure, Barry, Money Heist, Succession, Ozark, Schitt’s Creek, Euphoria, PEN15, and many more.
From conception to final rewrite, The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to create a series that won’t run out of steam after the first few episodes. This groundbreaking guide features an eResource with additional interviews and bonus materials.
So grab your laptop, dig out that stalled spec script, and buckle up. Welcome to the fast lane.
Table of Contents
Also by Neil Landau Foreword How To Navigate This Book Introduction 1. From Concept to Pilot Script 2. Intellectual Property and Adaptation 3. World Building, Specificity of Setting, and Revising History 4. Fueling Your Story Engine: Central Questions and Central Mysteries 5. The Power of Empathy 6. The Value of Family Dynamics 7. Get to the Heart of Your Story 8. POV and Subtext 9. Antagonists 10. Defying Formulaic Structure 11. Theme 12. Cliffhangers 13. Life on the Cringe: Comedy and Culture 14. Pitching and Selling Acknowledgments About the Author Index
Neil Landau is an award-winning screenwriter, producer, and author. He is currently an Associate Professor at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and founding Director of Screenwriting in the MFA Film and Television Program at the University of Georgia. He served as Executive Script consultant for Sony Pictures Television International for many years. His movie credits include the teen comedy Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead; his TV credits include Doogie Howser, M.D., Melrose Place, The Magnificent Seven, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Twice in a Lifetime, and MTV’s Undressed, and pilot deals at CBS, Disney, Freemantle, Lifetime, Spelling, and Warner Bros. Television. Neil currently chairs the preselection committee for the Entertainment category for the Peabody Awards.
"Since the moment I first read The TV Showrunner's Roadmap, Neil Landau has been my TV writing guru. How fortunate am I to have had his mentorship while writing the original draft of the Pose pilot and to now call him friend."
- Steven Canals, Emmy Award nominated Co-Creator, Writer, Producer, Director, and Showrunner, Pose on FX
"Neil has done more than just create a roadmap… he’s written an essential guide that breaks it all down into clear, actionable steps that are valuable whether you’re beginning your writing career or are already established. This edition is chock-full of insider tips from some of the industry’s best and brightest. If you are serious about a career in television or streaming, I urge you to READ THIS BOOK."
- Channing Dungey, Chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group
"Neil is an expert storyteller with decades of experience. This book is filled with invaluable insights for everyone aspiring for a career in television, and all those already on their way. A must read for writers, directors, agents, execs and talent."
- Dan McDermott, President, AMC Entertainment and Studios
"The showrunners might be providing the roadmap, but Landau couldn’t be a more impassioned and knowledgeable driver…. No one gets under the hood of what makes great television work better than he does."
- Damon Lindelof, Emmy Award-winning Writer, Producer, Showrunner, Watchemen, Lost, The Leftovers
"Finally, a clear, concise and up-to-date book not only for aspiring TV writers but for industry professionals. Neil digs not only into the craft of creating a series, but also into the emotional journey of what it takes to find your voice as a TV writer. The interviews with current showrunners are useful, practical, and inspiring."
- Cindy McCreery, Associate Professor, Head of Screenwriting, University of Texas at Austin
Praise for TV Writing on Demand
"This is like a masterclass in the art of creating television – both now and for whatever 'television' may become. Visionary, insightful and timely."
- Issa Rae, Emmy Award-nominated Writer, Producer, Actress, Showrunner, Insecure, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl
Praise for TV Outside the Box
"TV Outside the Box blew my mind – and not just because I'm one of the fascinating interviews in the book. Check it out and expand your consciousness beyond the zeitgeist."
- Dan Harmon, Emmy Award-winning Writer, Producer, Showrunner, Community, Rick and Morty