Showrunners & Creators

SFA Assembly Room

What is a showrunner? Same thing as the creator? Not exactly. What happens when the showrunner and the creator are the same person, versus two separate people. How does the balance of power work? Ultimately, a creator is the ruler of the universe of his or her show. The showrunner acts more like the CEO of the production, overseeing the complete scale of the operation. How does it help or hurt the series and the creative process to have have one person fulfill both roles or divide them?

Panelists: Michael Rauch, Andrew Lenchewski, Dmitry Lipkin, Dan Bucatinsky, Tim Doyle, Kevin Biegel, Mike Royce

Moderator: Andrew Miller

Friday Night Lights: the Cast Diaries

State Theater

Friday Night Lights was a series about heart.  Friends.  Family.  Football.  The best marriage on TV history.  All of the love and truth of complex relationships and real-life funneled through Dillon, TX.  The small screen never felt so big.

Led by Executive Producer & Writer, David Hudgins, come watch scenes from various seasons then listen to stories from cast members as they relive bringing their characters to life both on and off the field.

Panelists:  David Hudgins, Scott Porter, Matt Lauria, Gaius Charlies, Louanne Stephens, Brad Leland, and more TBA


Veronica Mars: a TV show…no wait, a Movie!

SFA Ballroom

Hello Marshmallows.  Three seasons.  Constantly on the bubble.  Veronica Mars was a cancelled-WAY-too-soon series that ended in 2007, but not before working its way in to the hearts of viewers both on UPN and CW.  Then the fans demanded its return, and creator Rob Thomas delivered!

Join Rob as he discusses what led to the extraordinary Kickstarter campaign and what it felt like to watch the fans come out in droves to support the show they loved so much.  Rob, along with cast member Chris Lowell (the beloved Piz), will talk about the series, how it’s being turned into a movie, and what it’s like to revisit Neptune six years later.

Panelists: Rob Thomas, Chris Lowell

Moderator: Ben Blacker

Structure of a Sitcom…and the Rise of the Anti-Sitcom

SFA Ballroom

Just because it’s funny doesn’t mean there aren’t rules.  Half-hour sitcoms have changed dramatically in the last five…ten…fifteen years, but have the rules?  The goal is to make you laugh, but most sitcoms have a lot of heart and a strong message.  Some are centered around family values (Home ImprovementThe Cosby Show), others have social and political messages (All in the Family), some seek to make you feel uncomfortable and awkward (Arrested Development), but all have a sense of structure.  Or do they?  Hear veterans of both sitcoms and the rise of new-comedy formats —  from writers to producers to directors discuss what goes into creating some of your favorite sitcoms.

Panelists: Tim Doyle, Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Paul Scheer

Moderator: Emily Moss Wilson

Directing in a Writer’s World

SFA Assembly Room

A look at directors of episodic television.

They say that TV is a writer’s medium…as opposed to film that is a director’s medium.  If that’s true, then what does that mean for the director of a TV series?  Have you ever noticed how most episodes are directed by different people from week to week?  How can a director maintain the feel and vision of a series when they are coming in for 1 out of potentially 22 episodes of a season?  Come hear from veteran and new directors of episodic television on how they manage, what they see their role as, the rewards, and the struggles of directing television.

Panelists: Tom Verica, Dave Semel, Jonathan Prince, Rob Schrab

Moderator: Emily Moss Wilson

Shifting Roles & Changing Perceptions

SFA Assembly Room

Once people decide who you are and what you can do, it is difficult to change their minds.   The television industry is no different.  These panelists have not only avoided being type-cast and pigeon-holed, they have created (and wildly succeeded) at changing directions from writer to actor (and back), actor to director to EP, and scripted to reality.  All of our panelists juggle various titles and move from in front of to behind the camera and back again.

Panelists: Tom Verica (actor on American Dreams, now EP/director on Scandal), Scott Auckerman (podcast/radio host to writer/producer/actor of Comedy Bang! Bang! for IFC), Dan Bucatinsky (novelist, creator, executive producer of both unscripted and scripted series, and actor), and Brad Bell (writer and actor)

Moderator: Andrew Miller


Actor’s Roundtable

SUNDAY, 12:30 PM
SFA Ballroom

How do you create a role from a pilot script?  What’s it like to play the same character season after season?  Is it hard to walk onto an already established show as a guest star?  Some of today’s leading episodic actors talk about the ups and downs of their TV careers.

Panelists: Devon Gummersall, Devon Odessa, Lucas Neff, Lindsey McKeon, Nick Weschler,Matt Lauria, Scott Porter, Wilson Bethel, Arielle Kebbel, Joshua Malina

Moderator: Evan Miller

Parenthood: the Panel

SFA Ballroom

Recently renewed for its fifth season, Parenthood has stolen the hearts of viewers and industry alike.  Some said it was doomed with a large cast and focus on family, but it has proven its fans are just as rabid (if not, more heartfelt) than “larger” mega-shows.   Come hear writers, producers, and actors show-and-tell you where the show’s heart comes from.  Bring Kleenex.

Panelists: David Hudgins, Sarah Watson, Matt Lauria, Sarah Ramos, Mae Whitman, and Miles Heizer

Moderator: Meg Masters

Creating the Sound of a Show

FRIDAY, 12:00 PM
SFA Ballroom

Remember the way your heart swelled every time The West Wing theme song began during the opening credits?  Or how the music montages during The Vampire Diaries seem to capture the heart of the episode?  Sometimes it’s even that final song over the credits of True Blood and Game of Thrones. The soundtrack of a TV series is part of the personality of the show, and when used right can help tell the story by adding a new layer without distracting the viewer.  How does a music supervisor decide when to use score verses a popular song?  What goes into creating (and recreating) the score week after week?  And how does a musician make their album stick out amongst the plethora of new music being released each week?

Listen to one of television’s best composers, a leading music supervisor, a show creator, and a solo musician discuss their parts in creating a television soundtrack.

Panelists: Lindsay Wolfington (Music Supervisor), W.G.Snuffy Walden (Composer), Teddy Geiger (Musician), Jonathan Prince (Show Creator)

Moderator: Josh Chisom