Collaborative Writing (Part 1)

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This semester’s module on my MA TV and Radio Scriptwriting degree has been a collaborative project in Radio Drama.

Having never written for the medium of radio before, I was looking forward to a new writing challenge commencing in my second year of the course.  Not only are radio scripts a slightly different format to television scripts, but they also require a lot more thought about how to make dialogue audibly visual instead of pictures on a television screen. It is certainly a skilful craft to master, but not one that I would shy away from.

The second challenge to this project was finding out that it was going to be part of a collaborative project. Once I have my masters under my belt I will endeavour to co-write something with another fellow writer. Although I think the relationship has to be one that you seek, rather than it being forced upon you. James Corden and Ruth Jones met on the set of ‘Fat Friends’ and that relationship grew from there. Damon Beesley and Iain Morris worked together as producers before they crafted the hilarious ‘The Inbetweeners’. wallpaper-titles1280

What I am getting at is that chances are that most co-writers know each other before starting on a writing project together.

You have to be able to tolerate each other firstly, but I also think it’s extremely important to share similar writing styles, and in this case which was a radio drama – to at least have a similar sense of humour.

So, to find myself thrown into the lion’s den with seven other writers as part of my collaborative writing project sent me into a cold sweat when it was announced in class.

In the first year, all my stories were my own. They were my characters that I had created, a storyline that I believed in and of course the dialogue was believable because it was written by me. If I got a less than average mark, then that was my fault too.

So, to be thrust into a group in my second year when these grades really matter to me was out of my comfort zone.  And, to write a script for a series that I hadn’t created was also difficult to digest at first.

My life and love affair with Facebook

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facebookFacebook can be a real bitch of a site sometimes. I would save so many hours of my week if  I could just deactivate my account once and for all. Delete the app from my phone and iPad and get a life. But then I would have to make an effort and actually talk to people wouldn’t I and how else can I  keep up to date with the gossip.

Oh yeah – I would talk to people again….. (gulp!)

Where else except for The Jeremy Kyle Show could I observe the bizarre behaviours conducted in the public forum. Bitching, moaning, backstabbing, men-haters, a constant stream of baby photos and that one person who updates their friends list on absolutely everything they do – whether it be picking the kids up from school, making a cup of tea, what they are watching on the television and wishing the world of Facebook goodnight. We all have them, those friends that we wish we could delete from our list, but for some perverted reason they just make us feel a whole lot better about our own lives.

It is also the perfect haven for seeing which kids were spoilt rotten on Christmas morning. Oh yes – those parents who overindulged their children had the photograph of  those unopened presents on facebook before the kids got up, and whilst ripping that festive paper into shreds. Dear oh dear me….

A few thoughts that puzzle me about the world of Facebook.

Why do men never rant about how crazy women are on Facebook?

Why do I have to read what my friends are commenting on other people’s status’ now? If it wasn’t all time-consuming keeping up to date with my timeline, now I can see what my friends are commenting and liking elsewhere. Mark Zuckerberg won’t be happy until we are a nation of social media stalkers – will he?

Does anybody really care about relationship status’?

Why are people extra sensitive about status updates. “Ooh the bitch, that one was obviously a dig at me!” etc etc

Stalking is never more apparent. The person who comments or likes your photograph or status only five seconds after you have posted it. facebook like

When did it stop being about how many facebook friends you had, and turned into how many comments you can generate on a post?

And, finally why does it notify me every single time somebody posts a comment which I have previously commented on. Annoying and time-consuming it is, but of course Zuckerberg knows that  I will be reading those comments to check if  I agree or not with what is being written.

I hate it, yet I love it too.

I love it in summer when friends post their photographs from their holidays, and I go green with envy everytime one of my friends visits the Big Apple. When it is my turn, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be posting mine as well. I enjoy reading good news about promotions. engagements, people falling in love, having babies and passing exams.

Yes more falling in love please. It certainly makes up for the moaners on there.

Oh, and by the way – did I say that I am the biggest culprit when it comes to Facebook.

I try not to bitch, comment on everything I see, check the profile page of my son’s latest girlfriend, update when drunk or upset and also to tell the world how much I love my husband and children (errr I think I did that in my last statement right there!). To be fair, I do end up deleting a lot of posts before I hit the send button and open my twitter account instead.

But, I can safely say ( I think) that I have never put Xmas Day present photographs on facebook. There are just some-things (not many these days) which should remain private.

Twitter is a whole separate blog post, but safe to say that I am more obsessive about checking twitter these days than Facebook as I would hate to miss out on a tweet.

Yes Facebook is for friends and family who barely speak to each other, and maybe even dislike somewhat – but Twitter is for the strangers that we grow to love and who amuse us no end.twitter

So “yeah” to social media and I will carry on embracing it until the next thing comes along.

I hope nobody is offended by these comments. A few hundred friends so chances are it may be you*/ is not you * (delete as appropriate).

Linked In though – what is that all about? If anybody knows please enlighten me.

linked in

That was the year that was……..

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 new year

Happy New Year to one and all. Having spent the past couple of days procrastinating over what my first post of the new year should be?

A review of 2012?

A list of resolutions for 2013?

Discussing my experience working as a radio drama collaborative?

A round up of my favourite television programmes of 2012?

A prayer to say thanks for the world not ending on 21st December 2012, which would have been devastating for my youngest wee cub as it was his birthday.

Or quotes from my current favourite show Breaking Bad?

So, instead I just decided to write and see where it gets me.

I was reading my timeline on New Year’s Eve and 2012 wasn’t the greatest year for a lot of my facebook friends. For me, I felt quite sad that it was coming to a close, as firstly odd number years just don’t seem to work out that great for me. 2011 started off promising before a car accident, and a slipped disc ruined the rest of the year.

So 2012, started off pretty grim too. I was put on 90 days consultation at work and then forced to be interviewed for my job. This was one of the most stressful times at work that I have experienced in a long time. I was competing with my colleagues for a job, the threat of redundancy was a daily occurrence and at times it was difficult to carry on providing a first class service when you felt like a third class worker. Even more so stressful, is the fact that for the first time in many jobs, I actually really enjoy the job that I have, and working at MediaCity is wonderful too. Luckily, with a lot of preparation and my poor husband sitting night after night asking me interview questions I was prepared, and nailed the interview and tests.

The rest of 2012 was a breeze. I carried on with my MA in TV and Radio Scriptwriting and through that have met some of the most interesting people. I’ve sat through writing workshops, attended the London Screenwriters Festival and managed to attend the BBC Fasttrain event in November. I also had the most fantastic adventure in Europe during the summer, which saw husband and I experience our first holiday together with just the two of us.

All in all it was a good year and I was sad to say goodbye to it. But, odd number year or not I will be embracing 2013.

I don’t have any resolutions this year. The only thing I could think of tackling which I found problematic last year was trying to please everybody, and therefore over committing myself when I was busy. This year I will say no to friends and family when I am trying to meet deadlines, or am going through a busy period at work. Having the break at Christmas has been fun, but it also made me realise how exhausted I was.

I will carry on with the writing, not only for my MA, but other projects which I have got ideas about. I want to write a piece featuring a young protagonist (my Hollyoaks calling card perhaps?) and will write another radio drama.writing

I am also going to try and write in my blog more often. I didn’t want the blog to just be a self-indulgent thing, so will carry on attending events and blogging about them later (although that contradicts the rule of not spreading myself too thinly this year).

On that note – I am signing off to take the young cub to the Musuem of Science and Industry in Manchester. He needs to feel separation from his PS3 for a few hours.

Valentines Day – necessary or nonsense?

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In two weeks time most couples will be giving and receiving cards that say “I Love You”, sending roses and making an effort to be romantic to their other halves.


Valentines Day is approaching and is the one day that you should hold hands and gaze into each others eyes – or so we are told to behave from Hallmark.

Cupid somehow misses my home each year with her bow and arrow. Mister Sass hasn’t sent me a card or gift for years. He has brainwashed me into his way of thinking that we shouldn’t behave a certain way because Clintons tells us we should. It’s how we behave the rest of time that matters.

He has a point. We show each other every day how much we care for each other, so why be specific about it on February 14th?

Or is this something that is important to people in new relationships?

Or is it more of a date for females to celebrate being in a relationship?

I must admit it was nice the first time I ever got a Valentines card (which was from my husband). If I remember rightly, it was more of a relief that I wasn’t the only one from my circle of friends not receiving a card anymore.

The same feelings will remerge when I see facebook statuses telling me of flowers, chocolates, jewellery and cards.  It’ll bother me for all of a few seconds and then I will remember, how  loved I feel the rest of the year.

And, of course I buy Valentines cards every year. My two boys have never had to feel the odd ones out at not receiving a card (wink).

Welcome 2012

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This is my first blog of the year, so happy new year if you are one of the viewers who have found me by googling Paula Abdul’s hair and 80’s fashion.

Odd number years are generally a bit rubbish for me – so I am thrilled that we are in evens again this year. Hurrah!

2011 started off as a really great year for me. I was enjoying running which is something that has never happened before. At one point I was clocking up 11 mile runs which, for me was such an achievement. It took over my leisure time – so much so that I had decided to give netball up for a season so that I could concentrate on running and entering races. Oh yes! I was very fit and lost loads of weight in the first quarter of the year.

Until I slipped my disk in May – and then my life took a drastic turn. I could barely walk, no idea how I managed to work during what was a very busy period with exam boards and graduation. It also affected my confidence and I found myself suffering with depression and the panic attacks reared their ugly head.

Yes May to September were a particular tough few months. Thank god I have a great husband who took care of me, and sacrificed our “holiday of a lifetime” to the USA because I was unfit both physically and mentally to travel.

I don’t know exactly how I slipped the disk. Having woken up one Tuesday morning and feeling the most excruciating pain run down my buttock and leg – it’s a mystery. There are a few things that happened during that period, one being that a guy ran into the back of my car while I was stationary – however, there was no damage to the car so I never did do anything about that. Swine –he could be the reason why I spent my summer in misery.

The latter part of the year was fine. A much needed holiday to Portugal was just the order for the family to spend some quality time together, and we got away to Germany for Xmas which was lovely.

So what am I hoping for 2012?

Well definitely no more injuries. I am hoping to start running properly again, and play some gentle netball every now and again.

I generally don’t make new years resolutions as they are so hard to keep. Yes I need to lose weight, yes I could do with not drinking alcohol for a while and each year I want to stop biting my nails.

Instead of resolutions I give myself goals. So a few goals I want to achieve this year.

  • Pass the first year of my Masters degree
  • Do an activity that I have never done before
  • Visit a place I have never been before
  • See my family more than I did in 2011
  • Each month the husband and I are going to take it in turns to organise an activity for us to do as a couple.

Hopefully I will achieve all those goals and 2012 will be an eventful and fulfilling year.

Blog slacker

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As this year draws to a close, I realise how little I have been blogging since I really injured my back, which was back in May.

It’s amazing at how an injury such as a slipped disc can change your whole outlook on life. I know there are many people in far worse health than I have been, but it has been really tough.

I look back to how fit I was in April when I completed theSalford10k. I felt amazing, both physically and mentally and my passion had grown for running. My longest run being 11.5 miles which at the start of the year I would never have anticipated that I could achieve.

Then 21st May 2011 I woke up with the worse pain I have ever experienced in my left buttock and leg. The next four months felt like hell. I tried chiropractic, intense physiotherapy and massage.  I felt the most stress ever in July when I was still crippled in pain and due to go to the States for 3 weeks with my family. In the end I wasn’t fit enough to travel, both physically and mentally.

Oh yes mentally! That was a massive shock to the system. I wasn’t prepared for how depressed I would feel. Injuries are not just a physical thing, but a mental one too. I suffered a couple of panic attacks which I hadn’t suffered with for years, so that really knocked my confidence. I didn’t feel myself, I had become desperate and pathetic – needing other people to keep me calm. How the hell had that happened? I hated myself every day that I felt like that. My poor husband must have felt so suffocated.

At the time of writing I have began running just a mile every other day. This feels like I am on the mend, but still hoping that my netball days are not behind me and that I will still be in a position to be able to play again. I am awaiting an MRI scan results too, although the scan was taken three months too late given that the pain has diminished somewhat.

I’ll never take my health for granted again. Being incapacitated and having to rely on other people is the worst experience ever. The darkest days being when my sons had to help me put my socks, shoes and tie my laces for me. I hope I never have to go through that again.