"Not just one right way to develop and produce a series"

Autor Markus Stromiedel über seine Teilnahme am European Showrunner Programme

  • Second on-site Module of the European Showrunner Programme with Andi Wecker (»Start the Fck Up«, »The Team«) and Michael Schwarz (»Borgia«, »Foundation«) (c) ifs

In 2022, I was privileged to be one of the participants in the first European Showrunner Training by ifs, supported by Creative Europe MEDIA. Twelve aspiring showrunners from all over Europe had been selected to undergo a comprehensive training program for six months. The participants in this first round of the program were top-class, most of them had already developed series as creators, all of them had worked as head writers and had written great successes as screenwriters.

I was surprised by the intensity of the program. On the one hand, there were the online seminars that took place every 14 days, each divided into two days with a total of 9 hours. The creators of the program succeeded in attracting a large number of international showrunners and experts for these seminars. They reported on their experiences and answered the questions of the group. Getting such an open and unvarnished insight into the development and production of series worldwide was priceless. It was fascinating to see how differently the individual showrunners had developed and produced their projects.

A second program focus were three meetings of all participants together with the program organizers in Cologne. Similar to the online seminars, experts were invited as speakers to teach us and report on their experiences. In addition, there was the personal exchange with the organizers, the speakers and also with the other participants of the group. Remarkable was the trust among each other and the openness with which everyone also told about their difficulties and setbacks in their work. This was at least as valuable as the entire program.

In addition to the seminars, there were two four-hour technical seminars on film production topics as well as four mentoring sessions, that means one-on-one meetings with experienced showrunners from the USA and Europe.

Anyone interested in the Showrunner Training should be aware that such an in-service program means effort and requires discipline. An online seminar on two days every two weeks doesn't sound like much. But every seminar catches you in the middle of work, at the end of a full work week. And almost every seminar, often with speakers who change by the hour, demands full attention. Hour after hour.

Was it all worth? Yes, definitely.

For me, despite my years of experience, the Showrunner training was an eye-opening booster. Perhaps the most important realization: there is not just one right way to develop and produce a series. But there is only one way to make it good: if you believe in your vision and stick to it, if you open yourself up to new ideas while defending your vision - and if you know as much as possible about it before you produce it. It's not enough to write a script. The more I know the finished series in my mind's eye or concretely in my planning, the clearer I am in discussions with the professionals who are responsible for the individual trades . Because as a showrunner, I don't do everything myself. Instead, I set the direction for the partners in the development and production of my series. And if I as a showrunner don't know this direction, no one does.

Which leads me to the most important mnemonic of the seminar: delegate or die … :)

A big thank you to everyone who designed, pushed, supported the program. And who, through their energy, enthusiasm and knowledge, made this experience possible for us participants. It was my honor and pleasure to be part of this first round.

Markus Stromiedel

Die Bewerbung für das neue Programm in 2023 ist noch bis 3. April möglich.