Yvonne Grace is an award-winning Television Drama Producer with 20+years experience in Script Development, Script Editing and Drama Production for the BBC, CITV and ITV. Her Script Consultancy Script Advice delivers workshops, provides online TV writing training and develops writer talent. Follow Yvonne on Twitter @YVONNEGRACE1.
I would like to introduce George The Blogging Writer to you. She is a wanna-be writer taking each scene at a time and making a holy mess of it – her life is a Soap – a genre which; in an ironic side-swipe, she really wants to write for.
George does everything the wrong way and in so doing, hopefully shows you the right way. She would never realise this. She is just being George... here, she attempts to break through the fourth wall – out of theatre and into television...
THE BIRTH CANAL
INT: THE LAUGHING CAVALIER PUB - DEPTFORD - NIGHT - 10.30PM
Martin, the landlord, has just called last orders. I have 2 pints of lager on the table and a white wine chaser. My partner in drinking (sorry) business Violet, tots up the night's takings while I do my bit and regularly proffer her pint glass for quenching sips.
We have done well. We made enough to pay Martin the landlord for the use of the lighting rig and Vi kindly says I can use the surplus to pay my rent, which is just as well because Gillian is beginning to get shirty (which I don't think she has a right too, since she is sub-letting her council flat to me while she sits pretty in a condo in Greece. Well, not pretty, more bloated, but I digress).
Vi and I run 'Born To Write'. It's a script development company 'giving your scripts the push they need through the writing birth canal' - Vi loves this motto, I think it needs work, but we had to get the flyers done for our monthly script in hand readings at the Laughing Cavalier Pub so her 'marketing magic' had to do.
I am pleased with our logo though. Given the biological themed motto, I can guess what you might think, but we drew the line at depicting wombs and female whatnots on our literature, plumping instead for a pic of Joanna Lumley aka Patsy and Jennifer Sanders aka Eddie which we superimposed over the Deptford Tube Station sign and then, (rather cleverly I thought) photo-shopped our heads over those of the famous Ab Fab duo. Vi said she had to be Patsy as she was taller and had blonde hair and I had to be Eddie because of my red hair. I know that what she meant was 'you are fatter than me and a grab-bin jumble sale to my shabby chic', but I don't care. We are making £100 a month in cash from running these monthly scripty affairs and tonight, Kathy Burke was in the audience and said 'cheers kid' when I handed her the entrance ticket.
INT: MY FLAT - DEPTFORD - NIGHT - 12.30am
We like Sarah. She's not a bad sort. A bit intense and her play tonight split the audience into two camps: those that stayed and those that left halfway through. It was called 'The Voyage of the Deep Sea Vagina' and in it, Sarah was trying to 'trace the passage of the female psyche across our male dominated society'. Violet thought it 'awesome' and 'challenging'. I thought it was 'really crap' and 'up it's own arse'. However, Sarah brought a bottle of fizz (Buck's Fizz actually but I'll take anything with bubbles) to the flat to celebrate her first reading and so I keep my opinions to myself and pour.
Sarah and Violet talk about agitprop theatre while I slip off into a fizz-induced fantasy – a favourite of mine – where I am a stone lighter, have a swishy ponytail and a flat in Primrose Hill.
I want to be a writer.
Vi wants to be Anais Nin crossed with Lady Gaga.
Am hoping to achieve my dream before Deptford has to find space for a meat-clad erotic novelist – place is riddled with lunatics as it is.
INT: MY FLAT - DAY - 10am
Hungover. Buck's Fizz were a terrible band and ready made in a bottle is even worse. I pushed Vi and Sarah out of the flat at 2am; we were all drunk, but Sarah was a few slurps ahead of us, growling at me 'feeling cold is for twats' I did the zip up on her Parker anyway.
Text Message: Hi, short notice I know, but am in Soho can you meet for a coffee – 11ish? Paula.
EXT: OLD COMPTON STREET - DAY - 10.55am
Paula Tether is the Producer of WESTENDERS the London-based Soap that vies for first place at the Soap Awards, with NORTHERN GROVE the Manchester-based Soap. Vi and I usually watch it huddled over the one bar heater in my front room, sharing a bottle of Gin (in a formulaic sense, we think Westenders a tad depressing, but as a source of shocking sexual shenanigans and a limitless supply of OMG moments, we can not do without it).
I have emailed Paula on a 6 weekly loop for about a year now, inviting her to 'Born To Write' readings and what I thought were rather handy summaries of the week's output and my suggestion of in what direction the next week's storylines could go.
I stopped the weekly summaries though pretty sharpish when I got a terse email from Paula's Secretary telling me she 'vets all mail for Paula' and that she believed me 'to be hounding a menopausal woman with a lot on her plate'.
I bet Elaine (the Secretary) hasn't had a good shag in ages. I took her point though and sent Paula my 'calling card' script '120 Funerals and A Wedding' (about a bomb expert whose wedding is ironically blown up by a rouge device he left in his Subaru) instead.
Paula must have read it. I must make a good impression.
I am going to be late and I think I might throw up. What's that on my top? Marmite?
INT: BAR BRUNO - SOHO - DAY - 11.30am
Paula Tethers is Very Scary. She has Tall Hair and she's just rolled up her sleeve to show me her Nicotene patches - she's scaled in them, she looks like an Armadillo.
She's telling me she liked my script for it's 'energy' and 'emotional landscape'. It definitely has the first, and if she thinks it's got the latter I am not going to argue.
She asks me about my goals over the next 5 years. I had no idea I could lie so easily and so well at such short notice and with such a hangover. I told her I had a wall chart at home with each month colour-coded, showing a natural progression of my writing goals until I reach December (in red, a nod to the festive season) where I had written 'first script commission – Westenders'.
Of course, my chart is not true, but I do have a cute guinea pig calendar and mark important landmark days on it like self-imposed writing deadlines, my period due date and any Christmas Specials.
Paula seems to have bought it anyway. The room does a backflip when she says 'come to a story meeting, pitch your storylines and see if you sink or swim'.
I just made it out of the cafe and round the corner before I threw up in bin in Berwick St Market.
I am a writer.
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