Episode Four blog by Joe Quick

‘How would you all like a commission?’ It wasn’t a bad question to be asked by Henry Swindell, Development Producer with the BBC Writersroom. As the other two writers in the room sat with calm, collected poker-faces, I felt the sudden urge to fist pump the air or pencil-dive into the Manchester Ship Canal. It was the first time that I’d been asked to produce something from scratch rather than to develop my own scripts and I must say – it felt good.

Working in a team was something completely new to me and at first the concept was fairly intimidating. I’d spent the last couple of years working solo and writing whatever came to mind in the early hours of the morning but now it dawned on me that my ideas would be scrutinised by other writers with much more experience than myself. Thanks to my English degree I’m a big fan of dystopian literature and as a result, the majority of my thoughts put forward in the brainstorming sessions were set in some form of repressive, science-fictional future. The web series turned out to be a little different…

InSecurity arose from a culmination of ideas by not just the Writersroom team but also by the students at Salford University who would ultimately be responsible for bringing our individual scripts to life. It was great to work on a project that was so freely open to input and within a few weeks we were all on the same wavelength regarding our characters, storyline and setting. My initial concerns about working within a group were long gone and after a while we were all bouncing ideas around the table, learning from each other and maybe most importantly, having fun!

Writing the conclusive episode of InSecurity brought new challenges and a drafting process that was completely new to me. To begin with, the mini-episodes couldn’t be over a specific page-count, despite an attempted coup d’état by Luke Bailey. The realisation that I’d also be responsible for rounding off everyone’s hard work was another consideration throughout the process. On paper you can write whatever you want and your imagination pays the bills but the reality of writing to real physical and financial limitations was something to which I had to adapt. The students at Salford did a superb job of scouting out all the possible locations and giving us feedback as to what props would be appropriate.

A few months on from finishing the web-series I’m looking forward to seeing all of our hard work brought to life when the episodes are released online. It’s been a brilliant experience and I’ve come away from it all with the confidence to share my ideas with other writers and a newfound attitude towards working within a group. I hope that the audience gets as much fun out of watching InSecurity as I did helping to write it!

Episode Three blog by Luke Bailey

Blog

Initially, I want to express what a keen adventure creating In Security was. Hopefully I am correct in assuming this was the case for BBC Writers Room, Salford University, the team behind the show: the staff and students who produced, designed, shot, created and edited the drama. Being fortunate enough to travel along the project door to door, the growth of craft and understanding was evident in all who traversed this bridge. As for myself, the writer in me learnt a great deal about his weaknesses and hopefully in the future can employ them as strengths; the actor in me found the surface amidst the ocean’s abysmal pitch.

To the untrained eye, I probably just seem greedy, writing and performing in a show I helped create, however I should reveal that at the inception of this web-series I wasn’t expecting to play Lenny. Both then and now, the idea of performing in my own production doesn’t really settle with me creatively; this isn’t directly because of my experience of In Security; it’s not purely a matter of my responsibility as a writer conflicting with my responsibility as an actor – the line of impartiality and objectivity in the former, blurring the overwhelming empathy in the latter – the restriction of subjectivity.

Being a big fan of shows like: The Simpsons, The Wire, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, I expect the diamond of storytelling is forged through the compression of many minds cognitions; interpretation should be embellished, with respect to In Security, by a producer, then director and subsequently the actors in order to impart the myriad of subtleties of the human condition.

So when (about a week before we were due to shoot) I was asked to play Lenny it was with a kind of creative reluctance that I said: ‘yes’. Truth be told, the actor in me has an blinding ego and can never see anyone playing any character with more honesty than himself, a cause of much argument between the actor me and writer me. Eventually the bullying actor in me, cried to the writer in me: ‘the time and effort you invested in Lenny has nourished me [the actor], I know what makes him tick.’ and after the, let’s face it, more athletic actor in me, got the reclusive writer in me, into a Boston Crab, the writer tapped out, he’s parting words: ‘Don’t do a shit job!’ Hopefully he hasn’t. Hopefully neither did.

Episode Two blog by Hannah Pike

InSecurity – Hannah Pike blog

Storylining:
I think the storylining came quite easily and quickly, once we had the characters and precinct set up. We really seemed to bash out a bunch of scenarios and attach them to episodes quite quickly. What proved tricky, much trickier, right up until final drafts was the nitty gritty of how the rival security teams were monitoring their success, and how that was being monitored by the big boss – all those creative kill joys like why wouldn’t they all just get laid off if the mall was struggling?, why would Lenny stick at it?, and then you start criticising it all, thinking it’s a pants idea etc etc. So the point of it – the big jeopardy questions and structure of this working establishment really pecked our heads the most.

Notes:
I like getting notes, albeit these came from one producer, so I was lucky! I like to see where my story isn’t making sense to the reader/viewer – it’s like finding out where some pieces of my jigsaw had been shoved into spaces clearly not for them. However, I also found with some of the notes that I just needed to stand firm and get them to come to me i.e. the fashion road show was a concept that the women around the table totally got – we’ve all watched Gok’s Fashion Fix and/or been to shopping centres as kids and seen this set up, but the lads were non the wiser – so weighing up what to keep firm on, and what to readdress was interesting.

Location:
Being on location made me realise I should maybe consider some kind of ‘control’ therapy! I wanted to get in there, see what was being shot, talk to some of the actors about delivery, direct basically – I’d have been popular wouldn’t I?! I also realised that I’d created a bit of a shooting monster – crowd scenes, a toddler and quite a large cast for an 8 min episode, and I soon realised that was proving quite stressful for the team. I nearly signed off without a note on the amazing Bury shopping centre – our central location! It was totally as I imagined our mall, and also meant I could pick up some black puddings on the way home. Nice one.