TV Shows

Farewell 30s

Posted on Updated on

This week I passed my Masters Degree in Television and Radio Scriptwriting.

It has taken two years and eight months of hard work, tight deadlines but to be totally honest I enjoyed every minute of it so much that it never felt like I was studying at that level.

Having a passion for storytelling and writing, it meant that I had a reason to sit at my laptop for hours on end, buy different coloured writing books to make notes on and spend a ridiculous amount of money on text books.

It is also a good excuse to binge watch fabulous television shows where I’m merely analysing how the storyline runs, how characters conflict etc.

The MA is also a fitting way to say farewell to what has been the best decade of my life so far.

I turn the big 4-0 in September and I’m already trying to think of things I need to plan on completing in my forties. How on earth can I match the past decade in terms of developing as a person?

I don’t recognise me as a thirty year old. Back then my life was all about getting through every day and not suffering with another panic attack, or a bout of depression. Anxiety and low self-esteem were part of my character back in 2004.

I was in an unfulfilling job and seemed to be afraid a lot of the time. Don’t ask me what I was afraid of – perhaps just living? One things for sure I felt stuck in a rut and the only focus in my life were my young children and husband.

Family is of course important but I also felt like I needed more in my life.

Then I had one of those life changing conversations with a work colleague.

I’d always wanted to study for a degree. My colleague had studied for her degree with the Open University when she was a single mother. She was then an Early Years Advisory Teacher, who ended up getting a job in the Grand Cayman islands training their teachers. She encouraged me to study with the Open University too.

“I’ll be 35 by the time I get a degree” I’d wailed to her, to which her response was just the response I needed. “You’ll be 35 anyway – you can either be 35 and with a degree or 35 and without one”.

That moment right there changed my life forever. The person I am sitting on my sofa typing this blog post is not the same person contemplating her future on her 30th birthday.

I graduated as an undergraduate in BA (Hons) Humanities with Media Studies in July 2009, age 34 (combining credits).

I will graduate in July 2014, age 39 with a Masters in Television and Radio Scriptwriting.

I learnt to swim age 33 years old. I can still remember my boys faces when I dived in the swimming pool in Spain and swam under the water with them (instead of my usual clinging to the side).20130821_140843

I went on a Fear of Flying course age 34, my first flight as an adult and since then have travelled to USA, Canada, Spain, Portugal, France, Menorca, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Amsterdam and Ireland.

From being paralysed in fear at talking to groups of people, I now present a weekly entertainment show on my local community radio station.

I have a fulfilling job working for a university in Media City where I get to help students on a daily basis. A complete career change for me leaving local government finance to move into Higher Education (wouldn’t have been possible without the degree).

It really has been a metamorphosis of character for me in the past decade and it both worries and excites me at the prospect of the next decade.

Will it be as exciting? Is there anything else I should do to improve my life? Or is this the decade where I should just chill out and appreciate life in general, enjoy the extra time now the children are getting bigger and swim in as many oceans as I can?

One thing is for sure. I’m a firm believer that there are key moments in your life and you can either choose to ignore them, or embrace them and make those changes.

Advertisements

G is for Greenwich Village in the A-Z Blogging Challenge

Posted on Updated on

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

One way to sit back and relax during a visit to NYC is to visit Greenwich Village. The Village  is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan  and  a large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families.

This was on my list of places to visit for two reasons, well two very popular television shows which I’m a fan of – Friends and Sex and the City.

Naively we asked some of the locals where Central Perk was located to have our dreams crushed when we were informed that the show was actually filmed in Los Angeles and only the outdoor images were shot in New York. Gutted.

We were reliably informed that the building in the exterior shot of Rachael, Monica, Chandler and Joey’s apartment building is at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets in the West Village. To be honest the buidings in this area all looked alike.

We then went on the hunt for Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in Sex and the City.

One of my friends who lived in NYC gave me the actual address of where I could find the front of her apartment, so the maps came out and off we went looking.IMG_4897

It was during this hunt that we realised at times how childish we were as we couldn’t wait to show our son the street sign for Gay Street – I know I know pathetic and childish. But we were also equally amused by a sign which stated “No unnecessary noise” which really tickled us. I mean really, do people need to be told that? I guess so.IMG_4895

Whilst in Greenwich Village we had lunch at an Italian restaurant. A bit on the pricey side but  I experienced a delicious tomato gnocchi and Italian bread.

At this point in our adventure we were on day four in NYC and my son’s legs were being worn to the bone. We had walked A LOT every day, and at this point was the only time in the three weeks that we were away that he moaned a little. We managed to reward him with cupcakes and painkillers (always a winning bribe).

From being a massive fan of Sex and the City from season one onwards, I was delighted to reach the steps of 66 Perry Street which was the home to the delightful Carrie Bradshaw for all of those years.

Actually I was always a Miranda fan, couldn’t stand Carrie but I still took great delight in being photographed on the steps to her apartment. Visions of Mr Big pulling up in his limo, autumn leaves and the excitement of this beautiful city took me away briefly from my British life three and a half thousand miles away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside Carrie's apartmentIMG_4899

C is for carriage ride around Central Park

Posted on

MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z

good central parkAny huge fan of Sex and the City such as me, has romanticised many times about riding in a carriage drawn by a horse through Central Park just as Carrie did with Mr Big.

Doing it with your son in tow isn’t quite the romantic scene that I’d envisaged, but nevertheless it was on my list of things I wanted to do while visiting the fabulous city of New York.

I won’t lie, it’s quite a luxury viewing the park in this manner costing us $90 for the hour but we got a detailed tour by the gentleman who was our host. We also got to stop at the fountain which features in the opening scenes of Friends and he took our photographs next to the fountain, and next to the horse and carriage.IMG_4728

A couple of days later we visited the park again and decided to spend half of the day there. This time we hired bicycles and managed to cycle around the park twice drinking in the fresh air, racing the people who were either jogging or on rollerblades and taking lots of photographs.

Cycling through the park was one of my highlights of my visit to the City. I don’t think I’ll experience such diverse sights, sounds and smells as in that two and half mile circuit on that beautiful August day in 2013.IMG_5230

Central Park is a must see destination for every visitor to NYC.

The part I find so surreal is that there is this huge green space within the city and surrounding it are sky scrapers. Where else in the world would you see that?

Central Park has it all, spaces for picnics, iconic images from films and TV shows, a track for running, a lake, Strawberry Fields, monuments and statues, a zoo, an ice skating rink in winter, adventure playground and much much more.IMG_5264 IMG_5250

16 July : Genre #wpad

Posted on Updated on

Most writers and authors fall into a genre, it’s difficult not to and I have the utmost respect for those who can cross the genres successfully.

Most of my ideas for stories for whichever medium it falls into generally follow a similar genre. Usually a female protagonist, usually gritty realism drama and I feel most comfortable writing comedy drama at that.

What I enjoy to watch on television are crime dramas and would love to say that I would be able to cross into that genre once I feel comfortable in how to craft one of those. What I wouldn’t give to write something as gripping as Broadchurch, Luther and Scott and Bailey.

For the time being though I will stick to what I feel comfortable with.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

7 July : Writing fuel #wpad

Posted on Updated on

Like most writers I get my fuel from real life situations.

Conversations between colleagues at work, listening to family members, friends and the most golden fuel is listening to people travelling on public transport. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be between two people, thankfully due to the lack of privacy that people seem to have I have listened to whole conversations between people on a mobile phone. It still amazes me that people don’t end their phone conversations when they are getting on a busy bus or tram, but great for us writers who can use these snippets of dialogue for future works.fuel 3

Facebook is also a fantastic resource when creating characters. There are people whose posts entertain me no end, and they make great characters as their flaws are sometimes exposed in their status updates.

Documentaries are a rich source for potential stories too. One of my ideas which has been shelved for now due to existing projects, came about from watching a documentary about social services last year. One woman in the programme kept having children and because her partner and herself were drug addicts then the babies got taken off them. I didn’t want to write that story but as a character she was so flawed as she couldn’t read, write and had no self confidence. This gave me the idea to use her and write a story about what would happen to that relationship if she did learn to read and write.
fuel
I always have my notebook to hand whenever I hear something that I could use in a script or an idea for a character. Reviewing for theatre is also a great way to not only watch some great plays, but generally it is good to immerse yourself in different stories and characters as you never know when something will stand out intrinsically and could lead to a new idea.

News stories are also a great fuel for writing as these events have already happened either in a newspaper or on TV. The challenge as the writer is to create characters and a storyline to recreate that event. Such as the movie Argo, the story of the film crew pretending to be shooting a movie to smuggle out American diplomats who couldn’t leave Tehran. That really happened but what the writer did was to enhance that experience to create a movie.

I find fuel in having a peaceful, clutter free environment to type in, preferably with no access to the internet so that I cannot be distracted. I work better to music, and even better after a glass of wine. However, due to my no alcohol before 7pm rule this isn’t always the case.

The best fuel a writer can have is just to sit down and write – stop procrastinating and just get on with it. Oh if only I could practice what I preach!
fuel2
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

Collaborative Writing (Part 2)

Posted on Updated on

It’s been a while since my first post on collaborative writing. Since that post I managed to hand in my episode of the radio drama (episode five) and a two thousand word reflective essay on the whole process of working as a team.

First and foremost that I learnt about from my experience of team writing is that everybody needs to know the contents of each episode, in order to craft their episode with a natural flow. What I mean is that it is really bloody difficult to write your own episode without knowing what the episodes preceding your own contain, in terms of plot, characters used and the overall story arc.

However, my experience of team writing changed when I booked myself on a storylining workshop at the end of January. To anybody who wishes to experience a simulated storylining conference environment, with two very experienced professionals in Gill Creswell who was a storyliner for Coronation Street and a writer for Hollyoaks, and Jo Hallows who was Executive Producer for Hollyoaks, this is certainly a worthwhile investment to any prospective team writer.Hollyoaks

The venue was at the magnificent People’s History Museum in Spinningfields, Manchester. Day one was an introduction to scriptwriting and contained all the usual pointers on characters, dialogue, three-act structure and plotting. Gill gave the group some great little exercises on how to develop a story, and using imagery was introduced – something I have never considered before, but I will now.

Day two was what I had booked onto the course for. The storylining conference! We were given some facts to a story which as a team we were working on developing. We came up with characters, back story, a ten scene story, a title and all of this was through everybody being given the opportunity to pitch their ideas. It was an incredible experience, and I left the course with a few more contacts to my book and confidence that in the future I won’t be shy on sharing my ideas.

Hopefully, these skills learnt will come in handy one day when I get to write for Hollyoaks, Corrie or Waterloo Road.