Since about 2007 I’ve been trying to develop a ‘youth drama’, kind of like Skins with a dash of EastEnders’ gritty realism. It was originally set in a student house but I was advised against it and had to think of something else. A couple of years later I went to the LGBT History Month launch and it was basically a conference with teachers as well as LGBT+ students. One of the conversations with the students was about how LGBT people were represented in the media, or rather not. This got the old brain ticking. The thing about me is if I have an Idea and think it’s good I will NOT. LET. IT. GO. Ever.
I did Media for 5 years so I know about Research and Development, that happens with a LOT of shows and always have done. Also a lot of people say ‘why not just try and do a few short films’ but the ideas I’m passionate about are always series, it’s so so weird. But anywayz-
So that’s how it came about, I should tell you about the actual show!!
This is an idea for an 6 part drama series for either the web or Television.
It centres on a group of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people starting their lives at college, realising who they are and their potential to do great things.
We all know our sexuality doesn’t define us – so we see these young people laugh, cry and learn as they go through college.
- TARGET AUDIENCE: Youth; not just LGBT
- Give visibility to LGB&T people and their stories
- to ‘educate and entertain’
- To be realistic
- Tell stories that otherwise are not being told
- Proud is about showing LGBT people in the real world – setting the show somewhere like Brighton would not work
- Being realistic, we do plan to address serious hard-hitting issues.
- Although in ‘gay’ is a lot more accepted in the UK, we are still not quite 100% acceptance, however things are better than they were around the early Noughties, with the abolishment of Section 28 and introduction of civil partnerships.
- Trans issues are almost NEVER talked about.
- The ‘guy cheating on his girlfriend with a man’ has been played so many times. We will show a guy splitting up with his girlfriend, then falling in love with another man; my big challenge will be bringing many ‘unheard’ LGBT stories to the forefront.
- A lot of ‘gay shows’ tend to be about sex which we want to get away from
- LGBT won’t be segregated from the rest of society
- Despite being a drama, there will be a large fun element.
I want to make it accessible to all, not just LGBT+ youth, but give visibility to a whole bunch of issues you don’t really see on television but need talking about, such as:
- Asylum seeking
- Discovering Grindr and stuff like that
- Coming out
- Cyber bullying
- Body image
- Biphobia/gay self-loathing
Another thing I’m really keen to do is kind of present some ‘stereotypes’ and turn them on their head. Also of course LGBT+ people are people. This isn’t about segregation it’s about representation. Yes we have the legal protections now but there’s still a way to go to promote understanding and acceptance, particularly with trans issues.
FORMAT AND CHARACTERS
The format I’m thinking of is 6 episodes, a beginning, finale plus four episodes each focusing on a different character. Now I’m thinking of having four characters:
Ben – 17, good looking, great performer, comes across maybe as a diva but isn’t, bisexual, with learning difficulties.
Kayla – asylum seeker with a kid, 19, desperate to keep her new life in the UK
Jake – created by my friend Martin, dorky gay guy, 17, begins relationship with a priest
Sarah – I decided to have a Female To Male transgender character as you see them represented a lot less than Male To Female, in a relationship – so how will the transition effect that?
I’ve given each character a tagline for example Jake’s is simply ‘Head over heart’ and Kayla’s is ‘She wants to live in a world where she can be herself’. All these characters are beginning a journey of discovery to create themselves.
- Beautiful Thing
- Russell T Davies
- Rikki Beadle-Blair
Now I have this idea, this vision, but how do I GET IT MADE? Now I know some of you might say ‘Get on Kickstarter or IndieGogo’ but it’s more than that. I’m a gay man. I’ve done heaps of research but I’m not bi or trans or a lesbian. I don’t know as much about those issues as some people. So I’m inviting different people with different voices to write some of the episodes and help develop the stories and make it REAL. This won’t be easy, some of the topics will get dark. But if you’re a young LGBT+ person, YOU have a story you would like to share, get involved, please get in touch. If you want confidentiality that’s fine I am sworn to secrecy.
We will deal with difficult issues and topics – the end message is hopeful but some storylines will be quite dark
- Some will be difficult to deal with
- Research is vital
- The tone of the series should be naturalistic and real
- I’d love to showcase potential stereotypes and challenge them
- I’d love to showcase a number of different voices from the various LGBTQ + communities
Now production. It’s all well and good raising a load of cash but we need people behind the camera who know what they’re doing – sound, lighting, camera, organised producers. My role would be showrunner, writing scripts and helping the other writers. And I love casting, finding the actors who breathe life into the characters. Also I might want to be in it. A bit.
A major thing to do would be pitch to production companies, but it’s finding people to pitch to. If you’re a producer and you are interested, please get I touch. My aim at least is to get a pilot episode filmed and go from there. Now you may be asking “But if you just want to make a pilot why do you want writers for other episodes?” If you’re pitching a series you have to know what you’re later episodes are all about, and it will give the characters’ depth.