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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Producer as Limited Showrunner?  (Read 1492 times)
morosophe
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Posts: 3


« on: September 04, 2009, 11:23:53 AM »

I had some thoughts about the role of the producer that I now realize don't necessarily fit the game rules of PTA as written.  I had these thoughts as I *was* the producer of the only two episodes I've ever played.  Nevertheless, I think my take on the producer's role could work for a fairly straight PTA game.

Here goes: I saw, in some part, the producer as somewhat of a showrunner.  I do not mean, inasmuch as the showrunner writes and/or directs a lot of the show, including the pilot, but instead, inasmuch as the showrunner shapes the general direction of the plot.  The way I was playing, my "buy-in" had a lot to do with trying to make the show interesting to the world in general (as opposed to my players, who were playing their little hearts out having really, really long in-character conversations that I kept having to wrap up) and with being in more-direct control of the "bad guys," somewhat like a traditional GM.  We were playing a modern show with light conspiracy/politics flavors, including, of course, a secret government organization (bogged down in bureaucracy), a Mafia (of which one of the characters was an extremely minor member) undergoing its own turf struggles, etc.  In my game, some of the various opponent factions had, like the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica, a mysterious somewhat-thought-out background and "a PLAN."  Both were probably, in the end, about as stupid as the Cylons', but if the characters ever decided to head the game in some weird direction with the NPCs that conflicted with what I wanted to do with the larger plot arcs, or with how I felt that character's motivations really worked (when I'd bothered to assign any), I felt free to refuse to allow it, just as the players could refuse to allow something to happen with their protagonists.  As I understand it, that's kind of how a showrunner can shape the episodes written and directed by other people.  They can say, "No, you can't do that," without having to explain why a particular choice would mess up some future plotline.  (Of course, in PTA, that doesn't include individual protagonist's arcs; those are defended by the player in question.)

You can easily see how this fits a more "traditional" style of GMing--the big bad and his little minions are always the GM's to play around with, motivate, etc.  Along with this line of thinking, I did something potentially kind of boring even if it's not that traditional in GMing; I started the second session (of the two I produced) with a completely scripted scene showing the antagonist for the episode getting his orders from above.  There was, of course, no conflict; it was my way of kicking off the plot and having the fun of actually doing a little script, complete with the camera effects that we often forgot about when playing.  I had a great deal of fun writing it, I must admit, and don't even think it's that bad a kick-off for a plot-heavy episode.

The thing is, the entire time, I thought I *was* playing PTA straight.  Does everyone else's view (or the authorized view) of the producer really differ from mine as much as some of the recent threads I've been reading suggest?
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morosophe
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2009, 11:27:33 AM »

Whoops!  I just realized that this really fits with the most recent thread (which I read first, in catching up on the newer threads on this forum, and therefore had the haziest in my memory), although several other threads dealt more tangentially with this issue.  I should have posted this as a response on that thread.  Sorry!

--Hannah
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