So, if you’re a naturally inquisitive person such as myself (or as our parents would call it,  a nosy cow) you’re probably wondering what the heck I’ve been up to these past couple of months and why I haven’t really written anything, well my friends I can now reveal all!

Well, my story begins waaaay back in like late March early April when I saw an email on my university account from the school of film about how applications for “The Network” were open. On a whim, I decided to apply as I saw it was to help people from all backgrounds get into television (you know that thing that stopped me from having any sort of successful social life from the ages of 5 till 18).

As a self confessed television addict from a young age, I was always gonna want to be a scriptwriter, however the actual idea of working on already established television shows had never crossed my mind as I thought it was ultimately a different world to mine. Then, I got told I was selected for the Assessment Day….

Having rather limited experience as to what telly folks look for I decided to dress like someone I knew in the industry, Alice Levine. For those not in the know, that means jeans, a nice blouse and brogues. On the assessment day, we were put into groups and asked to come up with ideas for a new programme, I guess I must have done alright as I managed to get through to the next stage! A day at Channel 4 in London!

For the Channel 4 day we were asked to submit a headshot of ourselves (hence why I posed like this….)

Thompson, Chelsea.jpgand we were also given a little written task on the nominees for this years Edinburgh TV Awards. When I arrived I did get the odd butterfly in my stomach as I saw the massive channel 4 logo outside the building, you know the same one you see on Channel four News. Then I had a little word with myself as if I got like this just around an inanimate object how was I gonna be at the festival with the likes of Joanna Lumley and Hugh Grant?!

Anyway once I checked in and was directed to a room that I can only describe as Channel 4’s dungeon (and a lovely dungeon it was!) it was a grand day, previous ‘networkers’ were there and gave me and other applicants a lovely talk about their journey since doing the scheme and then we were lucky enough met and talk to the producer of Graham Norton. To end the day, we had a little drinks reception and just generally got to know each other.

Then after a few nail biting weeks, I finally got the email that I had been chosen for The Network! The next few weeks flew by in a flurry of emails, form filling and excitement and before I knew it I was off to Edinburgh!

On the first day we were all introduced to each other and put into our workshop groups for the week. The workshop groups were a chance to give us as much experience in the different areas telly has to offer. I was put in the research group which meant I was making the VT’s for the live studio show we were in charge of on the Thursday, which was under two days away…eeek!

To look after the workshop groups involved in the live show, we had telly royalty Jane Atkinson, Production Manager of Strictly Come Dancing et al and Ewan Vinnicombe, editor of Blue Peter. They were there to make sure everything went to plan and they also assigned us our roles. For some reason, I was made the director of my group, god knows how that happened! My team was thrown right into the deep end when we were told the writer of Car Share, Paul Coleman was coming down and he would be willing to let us film us. In a frantic panic, we managed to quickly film some footage with Paul before going back for a talk from writer of End of the Fucking World, Charlie Covell.

That evening after checking into our accommodation and having something to eat, we all went back to the festival venue, The Edinburgh International Conference Centre or EICC for short. We had a drinks reception with the festivals other talent scheme, The Ones to Watch. The people on the Ones to Watch Scheme are already established in the industry in some way but are looking to develop their career further. The Ones to Watch also become the people on The Network’s mentors for the next year so it was really nice to meet them all in such a nice and chilled atmosphere. My mentor is Jess, who works at the BBC and shes been so incredibly helpful since I first met her.

We had a early start the next day and it was a day full of chasing down ‘talent’ that’s what we call the famous people in the industry, filming and then trying to find someone who could be the voice-over for our behind the scenes VT.  Personally, the idea of approaching people like Joanna Lumley and Iain Sterling and getting them to let us film them answering questions, sounded like something a woman in designer shoes and with a clipped accent would do, certainly not me, a scouser with a chocolate digestive addiction. Yet, I did it! and they were so kind and approachable!

Also, Joanna Lumley smelt incredible. I mean, if elegance had a scent it’d probably be her breath.  The day went in such a blur that I barely had time to panic. At the last minute we had another VT that we were asked to make for the live team with a producer. After a little meltdown, we gave all the footage from the past two days to our team editor (Emma, incredible editor) so she could start editing and then did a last minute interview with Rachel Ashdown, who was amazing. After that it came apparent we had to do the voice-over for our behind the scenes VT, we wanted a Philomena Cunk style narrative so tried to get someone with a distinctive voice. Unfortunately no actual voice-overs where available so I kinda ended up doing it myself and in half an hour me and my teams scriptwriter had a script and a recorded voice-over!

That night we had a rather grand evening at the Royal Scottish Musuem, it was a great chance for us to practice our ‘networking’ skills we had learnt on during our time on The Network (see what they did there?) it was a beautiful do and I actually did find the courage to speak to a few people in the industry, which was great! Unfortunately, just like Cinderella, this networker and her workshop team had to leave early as we had to do a night shift on our VTs (did I mention the live show was in less than ten hours?!) despite the fact we had to leave the shindig early, I actually quite enjoyed the all nighter as the amazing editor who was helping us (James, great guy) bought loads of Papa Johns Pizza and we managed to get two VTs finished!

The next day was the big show day! and despite nerves and teh night of working, I somehow managed to get about four hours sleep before being at the live studio set for half 7 (yawn). After one last technical hitch (always happens in telly apparently) we had all VT’s done and delivered to the live studio team! Alls that was left to do was sit back and enjoy our hard work.


For the rest of the afternoon, we got the chance to just relax and enjoy the festival. Of course, we had to show support to our fellow Networkers in other workshop groups and watched the Live pitch that the development group did in front of actual sky commissioners. After that it was time for the Edinburgh TV Awards and see all the amazing people that had been creating amazing television for the last year (how many times can I put the word amazing and it not get repetitive?) including the one and only Michael Plain, who was, dare I say it, amazing!

That night we could finally let our hair down as our work was finally done! We celebrated at Why Not Nightclub for the official  last night drinks. Unfortunately I didn’t actually get any images as I was too busy dancing and generally having a good time to even think about it!

And then like that, it was our last day of the festival! No one could sit around nursing their hangover too much (especially not the drama workshop group as they had their live Casualty script read through at half nine!) so it was to the EICC for checking out and our final talks with the talent scheme team, the amazing (yep, used it again) Campbell Holly and Georgia. The Casualty read through was on until ten and it was so good (especially for a budding scriptwriter such as myself) to see a script performed outloud, the words really do come to life. after that we had free time to once again soak up as much of the festival as we could! I attended the Steve Coogan talk and the Masterclass on A Very British Scandal which had Sue Perkins, Hugh Grant and Russel T Davies talking in it. Pinch me! Another great aspect of the festival is the fact you can quite literally bump into people you admire in the industry. I tried to be as cool as possible when I bumped into producer James Cooper, from the podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno and I think I just about managed to pull it off…you know right up until I asked for a selfie of course…


The final event we had to attend to as Talent Scheme Delegates was the CV Clinics, and this really was the most amazing (I will buy a thesaurus to discover other words I promise)  opportunity you could present to anyone wishing to start a career in televison. I saw two talent managers as part of the CV Clinics, one from ITV and one from the BBC and both were so helpful and friendly, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and information on how to go about obtaining various entry level roles in the industry and CV advice, which was just priceless.

Then just like that, my time at Edinburgh came to a close. We had one final farewell drink with Campbell, Holly, Georgia and the Ones to Watch and then we all made our ways home. To sum the week up in a paragraph would be like trying to put toothpaste back in its tube. Words just can’t describe. It was one of the most amazing ( it’d be rude not to use it one last time wouldn’t it?) weeks in my life and an experience I’ll never forget. Its much more than that though of course, I’ve been given a chance to enter a world that I always thought was off limits to someone like me, I finally received my Hogwarts letter, I walked through the wardrobe, I fell down the rabbit hole. And I’ve discovered that I can be apart of this magical kingdom, I too can be in the industry I’ve dreamt about working in so long. I’m now part of this Network and it’s going to be amazing.




International Women’s Day 2018!

Happy International Women’s Day to all the females out there!

Today is a day to celebrate being a woman and being woman in the twenty first century. This is such an exciting time, as women are fighting back after decades of years of inequality in the workplace and all other aspects of life. However, I always like to reflect on all the women who have come before me, who might have been smarter, stronger, more talented than myself who should have been presented these opportunities  and sadly weren’t.

One woman who truly inspires me is my Nanny, Alice. She turned 80 this year and left school at 15 to go work. She lost her first job in shop when she dared to stand up for herself and her fellow workers about their working conditions.  I found this incredibly inspiring as even at the age of 15 my Nan was brave and strong enough to stand up for herself and others. Despite losing her job, she never lost her spirit and she has continued to be both a fierce woman, mother and grandmother. It’s been sixty five years since my Nan lost her first job, she’s been married, had children, Grandchildren, had various other jobs, been in a near fatal car crash which nearly claimed her life, got divorced, been remarried, lost many loved ones and seen many changes in society. She was the first feminist I ever knew and she didn’t even know she was one herself, she always just says “she’s saying and doing what’s right”.  When I lost my Mum, nearly two years ago now, the one person who was there for me was her, she’d lost her youngest daughter and yet she put her own grieving to the side to just care for me and she did so with so much love and kindness which must have taken a lot of strength and courage from her, even more so then when she was 15 and standing up to her employer.

I do wonder if it had been different back then what she would have done and what opportunities she would have taken had she been born in 1994 like me. Unfortunately, she and I will never know but I know I call myself a feminist because of the support and love I get from her. I bloody love my Nan.

Happy International Women’s Day, lets never give up the fight for a fairer and equal society.

The Shape Of Water: A Review

Getting my boyfriend to come watch a romantic movie with me is like trying to get me to not eat an entire bar of chocolate. It ain’t gonna happen! So I was pretty convinced I as gonna have a serious fight on my hands getting him to the cinema. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I  suggested  Del Toro’s latest Oscar hopeful as his immediate response was “Okay, the half five showing or the half nine?” YES!

You see, the thing is The Shape of Water isn’t just your typical romance, if anything it subverts the general notion of a romance and if anything that just makes it even the more romantic and the best part is, guys don’t actually realise they’re sitting there watching a film with the central theme of love.

The Shape of Water is the latest offering from critically acclaimed Guillermo Del Toro, the same man behind Pan’s Labrinyth and the Hellboy movies. Just like Pan’s, The Shape of Water is set against another war backdrop offering the audience the escapism so popular in current cinema. In contrast to the murky and bloody Spanish Civil War we saw in pan’s we are transported to 1960’s Baltimore where a lonely and mute cleaner of a secret Government laboratory lives and spends most of her time either with caring Gay neighbour Miles or her co-worker, Zelda. Spoiler alert: she tends to spend a lot of her time fingering herself in a bath….

When the government facility she cleans gets a new creature that has been captured by our antagonist Colonel Strickland, played by the devastatingly good Michael Shannon our curious protagonist Elisa forms a close bond with it after she discovers the creature is a humanoid amphibian . After the creature gets caught up in the ongoing Cold War between America and the Soviet Union with the Americans wishing to use the creature to help them get into space and USSR ordering their Soviet Spy at the base to destroy the creature. If this is starting to confuse to you, don’t worry! As both plots are wound together tightly by the end to merge beautifully. After realising what the Americans intend to do with the creature she’s become very attached to, Elisa plans to free him.


I’ve decided I’m not gonna go any further into the plot as I realise I’ve probably spoilt enough of this film for you guys!

The beauty of The Shape of Water lies with its visual appeal. The film is stunning, enough said. It’s an actual treat for the eyes. Del Toro knows how to seduce his audience, he knows how to grab at their imagination and ignite their senses. In terms of awards, Del Toro hands down deserves Best Direction. His perfect crafting of visuals and music combined suits every moment the actors make.

One thing that really springs to mind when watching this is the B movie and what probably inspired Del Toro slightly, Creature from The Black Lagoon. In a twist, the monster is the character that gets the girl which gives a fresh turn on the beauty and the Beast convention. Award gold if I ever did know it.

However, in terms of Best Screenplay I have to hand it to Shape of Water. Although it’s probably been one of my favourite films of this year so far it doesn’t do anything to the stellar script of Three Billboards. I think part of it is to do with the fact that our protagonist Elisa is mute which does take away from the actual dialogue but it’s a stellar turn from Sally Hawkins.

All in all, if you fancy a film that you wish to get lost in and also resonates with you, this is your flavour.

Healthy Chilli Stew!

Anyone else hating this cold and miserable weather? All’s I want to do is eat utter crap and watch Friends over and over again in my dressing gown. Although this is amazing in terms of my relaxation, it’t not exactly the healthiest diet so I have a few healthy, naughty and filling meals which give my diet a little kick up in the backside it needs. My go to recipe is my chilli stew, its full of flavour and so filling at the same time. Win win!

I got this amazing recipe from Women’s Health Magazine, over the years of making it I’ve adapted it for my own tastes so I’ll link the original recipe above for you guys if you fancy a gander. It’s a vegetarian dish but I promise it can satisfy the fussiest of carnivores.

It takes roughly around 30 mins to cook and around 10 mins to prepare but the ingredients are pretty basic so it doesn’t involve that much prep which is just the ticket after  long day at work and a freezing cold commute home.

300g Brown Rice
1 litre of Vegetable broth (I use a veggie stock cube)
1 tin of kidney beans (don’t forget to drain them)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 diced red chilli
2 tea spoons of Cumin
2 tea spoons of Chilli Powder or crushed chillies
1 tea spoon of Garlic

Basically, you throw all the ingredients in a pan together and stir well. Cover the pan with a plate or whatever you have in the kitchen to use and leave on a low heat for 30 mins. Don’t forget to stir it occasionally, to stop the rice from sticking to the pan. When the rice is cooked, its ready.

You can, like the original recipe suggests, add a dollop of guacamole on top. However, I’m far too hungry and tired at the end of the day and just fancy digging into the stew!

Let me know if any of you guys have a go at this recipe, I’d love to find out some of your fave healthy winter recipes.

Mini break in Stratford Upon Avon

I think I should probably  rename this blog, “That time we pretended we had gone back in time to the Tudor times…”

Is it just me that finds the months of January and February really depressing?!

Seriously, I feel as though they are the two months of the year that are the darkest and gloomiest. Who really wants to get out of bed in the cold and dark? Not this girl!

Anyways, since me and the boyf (yeah I just used that abbreviation) both had a week off, we decided we’d throw caution to the wind and book a little UK break somewhere. We decided on Stratford Upon Avon as we it wasn’t too much of a hassle to get to via train and also, because I am a massive Shakespeare lover so it was about time I went  and paid a visit the land the famous writer was from!

With us still doing the house up we were quite strapped for cash so it had to be a real ‘budget break’ in certain ways, so we just booked the good ole Travelodge for our accommodation although next time we pay a visit we will definitely be booking into one of the more gorgeous old fashioned hotels that are scattered all over the centre of the town. In terms, of a good quality cheap and cheerful hotel, Travelodge has everything you could want (and at £60 a night we were laughing), it was only a ten minute walk from the city centre attractions and really close to the shops so it was a win win for us.

On the first day we got there, we had a bit of time to kill before we could check in so we went for a nice long walk along the river and ended up visiting the church were Shakespeare is buried. I discovered two things on this walk, 1, I really didn’t need to bring my walking shoes as Stratford is not as ‘country’ as I thought and 2, Shakespeare was a proper short guy!

In the night we just headed to a cute thatch roofed pub for some good old fashioned pub grub! I tried an open pie, which is a bit like a quiche only fancier and loved it! Gotta try new things you know!

The next day, we decided to be really good tourists and went to check out all the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust sites. Of course we had to have brunch first! We went to one of my fave brunchy  restaurants  that we discovered two years ago when we were in Salisbury for Valentines Weekend. It’s called Boston Tea Party, and my ultimate breakfast choice is the Sweetcorn Hash. It’s beaut!

We got the Full Story tickets which were brilliant value for money at £20.25 per adult as it meant we could go see all five of the sites and have still access to go again for the next 12 months. That means another trip to Stratford could be on the cards! 😉

I loved seeing all the historical buildings, they were so dreamy. I really felt like I was back in time, just hanging with Shakespeare and Co! The Birthplace Trust really do look after the sites and are very welcoming to all visitors. I think they do a brilliant job in maintaining the history and home of such a well loved national treasure. It’s so important for future generations aaannd I’ve just realised how preachy I sound so I’m gonna stop the Shakespeare preaching right now!

We did as many of the sites as we could do before they shut. Choosing to end the day at Halls Croft, the home of Shakespeare’s daughter and her doctor husband with a scone and slice of Victoria Sponge. It was bloody lovely! I absolutely loved Hall’s Croft as it was the sort of old country building that had beautiful plants growing on the side of it. It kinda reminded me of Belle’s house in Beauty and The Beast. Damn, I love a place that makes me sing Disney songs.

We decided to leave Anne Hathaway’s Cottage until the last day, thinking it’d be rather nice to do the home of Shakespeare’s true love and where his own love story blossomed on Valentine’s Day, not that we’re an overly romantic couple of anything like that! The cottage had hundreds of years of history and still had a descendant of Shakespeare’s living in it right up until the 1900’s! Afterward, we headed over to the cafe and tried a bowl of Pottage with a Tudor Roll. Pottage is basically boiled veg in a broth and apparently they would have eaten a lot of it back in the day!

To finish our little break we made a stop to the Royal Shakespeare Company and watched their production of Twelfth Night, Adrian Edmondson and Kara Tointon both starred in it and were absolutely fantastic. It was a mixture of funny and sad in places and I personally think it’s a play that shows off all of Shakespeare’s true writing genius.

After that, we headed back on the train home. Both tired and rejuvenated from a lovely few days! As a writer myself, I left feeling truly inspired and motivated for the next stage of my writing career. Now, I just need to finish that bloody script I’m working on!

Disclaimer: This blog was not sponsored or paid for by any third parties. All opinions are my own. 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: A Review

3 billboards

There’s one time of the year when everyone seems to go absolutely mental over drama’s in the film industry, awards season. Usually, I refuse to go see the films that are pinned for Oscar dominance, I tend to find them a bit too pretentious or they end up being a massive disappointment. sorry to be controversial but La La Land just wasn’t my cup of tea! However, awards season does seem to be the one time of the year making a drama actually seems to pay off for producers and investors.

This year I bucked my trend of ditching the Award buzzing films and decided to just give em a go! Starting with the hotly anticipated, Three Billboards…

Three Billboards tells the story of  Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother whose on a mission to find the man guilty of raping and killing her teenage daughter, this film is not for the faint hearted.

Out of frustration with the police department she rents three billboards in order to spark action in the town’s sheriff, Chief Willoughby, played by the fantastic Woody Harrelson. However, instead of motivating, the billboards  anger the townspeople including the sheriff and his racist and homophobic colleague, Jason Dixon.  To complicate matters further, as it’s common knowledge that Sheriff Willoughby is dying from pancreatic cancer the townspeople harass and even threaten Mildred and her depressed son in an effort to get her to take down the billboards, nevertheless, Mildred remains firm and stubborn to her cause which leads to both tragic and comic moments of dramatic perfection.

Three Billboards is the latest cinematic offering from the genius of Martin McDonagh, the same writer/director who brought us the deliciously dark In Bruges (2008) and Seven Psychopaths (2012). Just like these two, McDonagh is able to fine tune the balance between comedy and utter tragedy in order to truly get to an audiences gut.

However, Three Billboards is not just an Oscar worthy drama, it’s a film that speaks to the universal mass, its a tale of a Mothers love and how far it stretches, even in this films case, beyond death. As a young female who went through the traumatic experience of losing her own mother, this left a large lump in my throat.

Nevertheless, in true McDonagh style there wasn’t long until I was laughing  at something ridiculous the character had said or done. That’s the gift of McDonagh he offers audiences a truly human cinematic moment with themes in his films that can shock but also inspire and he does this once again with Three…

It speaks of revenge, of how dangerous and damaging the quest for it can be and it manages to blend it effortlessly with the beauty of forgiveness.  It’s a humbling and moving cinematic experience.

In terms of structure, as everything with McDonagh it’s down to a T. The worthy and enjoyable protagonist of Mildred who wants nothing more but to see her daughters’ killer brought to justice is the very beating heart of the film. What could very well become a very stereotypical portrayal of a Southern American town  which cleverly represents the antagonist of this piece actually becomes a lot more vivid and three dimensional. In the end, the film is more of  journey and the ending hits the perfect thematic note.

Overall, if you plan on seeing this in cinemas, I highly recommend you too. Even if you’re not a fan of seemingly low budget drama this film will not disappoint. A true Oscar contender if I ever did see one.




The Truth About A Scriptwriting Masters…

So you want to be a scriptwriter?

Fantastic, good on you. Now the hard part…how do you get into the industry?

For me, I wanted the opportunity of being able to teach Scriptwriting so I decided to do a masters, that way I could get feedback on my own writing each week, meet other writers, have a writing structure and a qualification which meant I could teach. I’m also working in a part time teaching position whilst doing this, working on other writing projects and attending various networking events across the UK such as London Screenwriters Festival to help me break into the industry.

However, something that me when I started the Masters last year was how many of the other writers on my course believed they just had to do the Masters and they would be guaranteed a spot in the industry, a place at the table, blah, blah, blah. They turn up at class every week with their script and get their feedback and then moan that they’ve had no industry opportunities put in their lap. Yes, I understand that they’ve paid a lot of money to do the course (FYI, so have I) but if they want to be in the industry and they want to write then they need to be proactive.

A masters is cute and cushty and great to help with your writing development BUT if you’re going to use the masters as a way to get into the industry DON’T DO IT! save yourself some money and just go on a few writing courses, join a writing group, attend festivals. There are several other and cheaper ways of becoming a great writer.

Believe you and me, your wallet will thank you!