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Meeting with Blake Ayshford and some new direction!

Last Tuesday I met with writer Blake Ayshford on the set of his new Foxtel miniseries called Devil’s Playground,  dealing with the Catholic Church cover-ups of the 1980’s. The miniseries deals with the dramatization of factual events, which is something I’ve been working on doing with the Dark Net for a while now. Ayshford has also worked on some great series such as Crownies and All Saints, again shows that deal with incorporating fact into drama.

Ayshford had a wonderful charisma and was extremely kind and open with listening to my thoughts and ideas. He spoke about the importance of still framing your information within a character’s personal journey and a general plot. After discussing this I decided to shift my focus away from research (which I feel like I’ve been doing forever now), and focus on developing strong story arcs for three characters. At the moment each character will be documenting their journeys into the dark net through a series of vlogs.

Ayshford then introduced me to Devil’s Playground producer Helen Bowden (who’s also produced some other great work such as The Slap and Underground: The Julian Assange Story). We had an interesting conversation about the constant challenge of maintaining an engaging plot that deals with virtual events. Bowden and Ayshford synonymously mentioned the importance of introducing physical actions that stem from virtual events. This gave me a lot to think about in terms of plot points.

After the meeting, both Blake Ayshford and Mireille Juchau (an award-winning writer of novels, short fiction, essays, scripts and reviews) have kindly agreed to take on a mentoring role over the next few months to support my writing and script development. This absolutely made my weekend as I have been emailing Juchau for a while now and have heard amazing things about her writing and research skills, so I know I’ve got an amazing amount of support and information from both sides of the track.

Over the past week the creativity has been flowing once again and I’ve enjoyed having some strong new direction. As preparation for an internal showing of our works-in-progress, I’ve developed a short on ‘stage play’. Although at the moment I’m focusing writing for screen, I’ve been working with my actors in a theatrical setting, so I’ve created a final adaption that hybridises my web-blog writing style with on stage events. After this progress showing I imagine going away to write for a couple of weeks and hopefully being able to bring back my actors to work with some new material in a more film-centric setting.

It has been fun getting some more directing experience under my belt, and it has been of colossal help to throw out new dialogue to some very capable actors who have been open in letting me know what’s working and what isn’t.

We have our internal showing tonight and I’m feeling very prepared and comfortable with what we’ve developed. I have all the confidence in my actors so I’m just focusing on getting some constructive feedback for tonight and the excitement of showing some of my work to an audience next week.

Lauren Scott-Young and Zoe Allison

Lauren Scott-Young and Zoe Allison

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