TBI has partnered with LA- and London-based drama consultancy MediaXchange to get under the skin of some of the best showrunners in the business and find out what makes them tick, what their favourite shows are – and what series got cancelled before its time.
Today, we hear from Warrior Nun and Continuum‘s Simon Barry.
Simon Barry is a Vancouver-based screenwriter, director, producer and showrunner, best known for creating the sci-fi series Continuum, which ran for four seasons on Syfy and Showcase.
Simon followed this up with Van Helsing, Bad Blood, Ghost Wars and the 2020 Netflix series, Warrior Nun, which has been renewed for a second season.
His feature film credits include the Warner Bros. spy thriller The Art Of War, in addition to uncredited work on Deep Blue Sea, Shake Hands With The Devil and Formula 51.
In two sentences, tell us how you became a showrunner/producer and why.
How: My first series was Continuum and I was given the opportunity to bring on a showrunner mentor, Jeff King, to train me on the job. He had four episodes to get me ready in season one after which he left to return to White Collar. I felt very prepared when I took over thanks to his wisdom and support.
Why: I was an assistant cameraman for many years before I started writing and was very comfortable on set and always wanted to direct. I knew becoming a showrunner would keep me engaged in production and provide more directing opportunities. To be able to shepard an idea from concept to completion is an amazing experience and I really enjoy the collaborative process.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Being away from home, my wife, friends and family for extended periods on location.
What’s the best part of being a showrunner/producer?
Collaborating with genuinely talented people who love their job, work hard and enjoy life, as we tell a story that entertains, challenges and delights fans all over the world.
What single action most helped you to become a showrunner/producer?
Learning that removing my ego from the process and listening, would make everything easier and better.
What is the biggest single challenge facing the industry?
Wage inequality and deteriorating working conditions for support staff and on-set crew.
How can the industry improve diversity off-screen?
Mentorship and training programs at every level of the industry. Showcasing diverse success stories that inspire others who may feel disenfranchised to take their shot.
Name the favourite show of your lifetime?
Best show to be cancelled too soon?
Which show nailed its finale and why?
Breaking Bad, because you knew it was inevitable, yet it was still mesmerising to watch.
What has been your proudest moment in the industry?
My first day on set of my first show Continuum and seeing Warrior Nun as the number one Netflix show in the world for four straight weeks.