Showrunners 2012: 'The Game's' Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil

8:00 AM PST 10/03/2012 by Marisa Guthrie
Salim and Mara Brock Akil

How does Mara Brock Akil break through writer's block? "Sex with Salim."

From their obsessive rituals (Peppermint Patties! Oatmeal! Bruce Springsteen!) to the parts of their jobs they hate most (killing characters off, dealing with agents), TV's most influential writer-producers featured on The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of the Top 50 Showrunners come clean about the people, things and quirky habits that keep them -- and their shows -- alive.

Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, The Game (BET)

The show that inspired me to write:
Salim: The Honeymooners.
Mara: A Different World.

My big break:
Salim: Writing for Showtime’s Soul Food.
Mara: Writer’s trainee on the Fox series South Central.

THR's Top 50 Showrunners 2012 -- the Complete List

My proudest accomplishment this year:
Salim: Our overall deal with BET.
Mara: My first writing credit for a film, Sparkle, which was directed by Salim and produced by Akil Productions.

I’d rather delegate:
Salim: Making the coffee.
Mara: Firing, until I realized that people fire themselves.

How I break through writer’s block:
Salim: I drive back to Oakland.
Mara: Sex with Salim.

If I could add any writer to our staff, it would be:
Salim: NYU professor Donald Bogle.
Mara: Ebony magazine editor in chief Amy Barnett.

STORY: Hollywood's Undercover Hitmakers: Salim and Mara Brock Akil

The show I'm embarrassed to admit I watch:
Salim: Flipping Out on Bravo.
Mara: SpongeBob SquarePants.

The three things I need in order to write:
Salim: San Pellegrino, a full tank of gas and Miles Davis.
Mara: A Paper Mate Sharpwriter mechanical pencil, an empty e-mail inbox and Fat Uncle Farms coconut almonds.

If I could scrub one job from my résumé, it would be:
Salim: Mortuary attendant.
Mara: Temp worker.

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