Review of The TV Showrunner's Roadmap by Neil Landau
Title: The TV Showrunner's Roadmap
Author: Neil Landau
Publisher: Focal Press
What It's About:The TV Showrunner's Roadmap looks at the world of the TV showrunner, giving tips for writers who want to break into television on how to create a compelling TV series.
Why I Read It: I love the storytelling model of series television. Smallville, LOST, Once Upon a Time, The Black List, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, and the list goes on. While I love movies, I tend to think that television storytelling is uniquely compelling in the way that TV writers create and sustain multiple storylines that converge into one overarching narrative of their shows. I loved Neil Landau's previous book on screenwriting The Screenwriter's Roadmap, and I was excited to read this one as well.
What I Liked About It: The tips are great and they'll definitely help stimulate your creativity to create great show ideas and begin fleshing them out. What I loved about this book, however, were the interviews with television showrunners. This book provides a rare opportunity to learn from the creative minds behind some of the best series on television. I loved the interview with Damon Lindelof (co-creator of LOST), the interview with Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (creators of Once Upon a Time), and even though I gave up on the show in the third season, I enjoyed the interview with Breaking Bad Vince Gilligan.
There a lot of other great interviews that any writer will learn much from. The value of this book is that it gets you thinking about your story and gives you some very practical tips on how to shape your story to be the best it can be. There are great chapters on creating a show mythology, which is what I loved about both LOST and Smallville. There are also chapters on theme, story structure, setups and payoffs, and much more. This is a great book for any screenwriter who wants an insider's look at what makes television storytelling work so well.