Toronto: 'Bones' Creator Tells CFC Showunners Bootcamp Don't be Too Nice
The Canadian Film Centre is turning local TV scribes into series titans by offering them trade secrets from the best in the business.
“We got an insight into TV production that we may not have been privy to in our prior careers,” says Dennis Heaton, who had previous experience on Canuck series such as The Listener and Call Me Fitz, after going through the CFC’s 2012 Showrunner Bootcamp.
“I would say, in my case, it was less teaching and more a warning,” Bones creator Hart Hanson says of his advice to CFC bootcamp residents as part of an off- the-record masterclass.
That includes telling them that a showrunner who does their job right makes no friends on set.
“You have to rob everyone a little bit. If you’re making one actor happy, then another actor is unhappy. And if you’re making the director happy, you may make the post people stay too late,” Hanson adds.
Besides making better scripted shows, the CFC’s showrunner hothouse also aims to give residents a better handle on becoming a TV boss, from casting a series to composing a score and securing a final cut.
The three-week program of master classes and meetings in Toronto and Los Angeles with TV heavy hitters also teaches the nuts and bolts of budgeting, post-production and dealing with actors and studio suits and bean counters.
It’s starting to pay dividends: The Canadian sci-fi drama Orphan Black was first developed at the CFC by 2008 TV executive producer in resi- dence Graeme Manson, who worked with residents in a writers room setting.
“I was still a long way from getting the show made. But I had a pilot, a bible and I could talk about the story and get people inspired about the series,” recalls Manson, who as a writer co-created the series with director John Fawcett.
Orphan Black, which stars Tatiana Maslany, has since been picked up by BBC America, BBC Worldwide and Space and CTV in Canada and renewed for a second season.