Writer's blog: Season 3, episode 11
by Kate McDermott
I've been staring at a blank page wondering what to write for this blog for most of the morning. Which is bad (as I have a script to finish for another series, one which will be on TV One later this year) but also fitting, because this blog is about Episode 11 of Series 3 of Go Girls. And in series 3 of Go Girls, episode 11 was That Episode. There's always one, every series, which is a real struggle (actually sometimes there's two).
In the second series, Episode 3 was That Episode. I was the writer landed with that one as well. But luckily, since this writing Go Girls is very much a team effort, Gavin Strawhan kindly offered to help with that one. I turned down his offer, and hung up the phone. Then looked at the blank screen in front of me and promptly picked up the phone again, called him back and asked him to write the Cody / Possum scenes. He did, bless him. But it was still That Episode. The one with two writers credited, and the one which had been story-lined several times, and then sweated over at script stage. Then at the time of shooting, the episode appeared to be coming in too short. So we quickly wrote an extra scene, only to find that the episode had suddenly become too long. Yes. It was a trial, alright.
I recently went to a workshop run by the film director Gaylene Preston and Script to Screen (small plug: anyone interested in writing for TV or film should check out www.script-to-screen.co.nz , they are a very handy organization for writers and interested people and often hold workshops and events which are interesting and at which you can meet other writer-types) Anyway, the workshop was about identifying the heart of a project. Gaylene said that often, the heart of the project doesn't become apparent until after it is written. This can be true of television too, and an episode's theme. All Go Girls episodes have titles, which sometimes relate to the theme, sometimes not. The titles aren't widely known (actually, a full list can be found here), but we pop them on our storylines and scripts along with the episode number and month in which it is set.
When we are story-lining each episode, we usually give them the title early on, because we think we know what we are writing. But often, the title completely changes, because it turns out that we weren't writing what we thought we were. I cannot remember what the original title for Episode 11 was, but that is possibly because we tossed out the storyline (a couple of times I think) and Rachel, Gavin and I eventually ended up meeting at Gavin's house on a cold winter's day for an emergency re-storylining session.
After this session, I went away and stared at a blank screen and a blinking cursor for a couple more days, before starting with the new title. It is now called 'Choice' because the A-story is about Kevin's cold feet as the wedding approaches. Just having that simple word was a kick start for Kevin's voice over at the beginning, which was to do with having to decide between vodka or beer. Then having decided on beer, will it be lager or ale? A little while later in the episode, Kevin was also facing such difficult decisions as instant noodles? Or toast? He chooses both - an instant noodle toasted sandwich. (Poor Jay Ryan - we are always making him eat! When you watch footage and see take after take of Jay shoving food into his mouth, you realize that his job is a tough one at times. Maybe we will go easy on him in season 4, and pull back on action such as 'Kevin is in the background, eating spring rolls').
So, the theme of episode 11 became apparent very late in the piece, but the new direction did give us some fun stuff to play with. Like the "alternative proposals" fantasy sequence, where Kevin wonders if he's chosen the right woman, out of all the women in the world, or in his life (four bedroom scenes with four lovely ladies - way more fun for Jay than eating instant noodles. See, we made it up to him).
Anyway, Episode 11, despite being That Episode, scrubbed up okay in the end. Next week's is our second to last episode for this series, and though we've said it before in this series, have the tissues on stand-by. Now I must cut this short and return to the script for the other series, which I've just realized is also Episode 11. But that's okay. I think I know what it's about.