Filming of popular drama Spirited Season Two started yesterday in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
By Erin Martin
Screen content writers must be able to “fashion a logical script that stays true to the characters and keeps within the confines of production”, Spirited creator Jacquelin Perske says.
“That’s kind of the skill-part of the job, but none of that matters if you can’t slit your little chest open, stick a bomb in your brain and tell the story with some life, truth and humour,” Perske tells IF.
Perske, who is also producer and head writer of Spirited – the W channel’s highest-rated show of the year – is currently getting set for series two.
“It’s a total joy to write,” Perske starts.
“I came up with the idea of a contemporary woman leaving an unhappy marriage only to find she was living with the ghost of an English rock star.”
Perske developed the idea further with Claudia Karvan, who produces and plays Suzy Darling on the show.
The two began working together on The Secret Life of Us and together they’ve since created and produced Love My Way.
“My working relationship with Claudia…has continued to be such a satisfying and challenging creative partnership…John Edwards has kind of steered us and mentored us through this,” Perske says.
“It’s a very dynamic and yet safe team for me – I feel very supported to go wherever I need to go as a writer.”
After writing for The Secret Life of Us, Love My Way and the highly-acclaimed Australian film Little Fish, Spirited takes Perske in a different direction but one she has always wanted to go in.
“I grew up on shows like Gilligans Island, Bewitched, Mork and Mindy and Dr Who – they are fun and magical but also allow you to speak of the human condition from a fresh angle,” the Sydney-based Perske says.
“TV and film and plays are all places where anything can happen and it surprises me that in Australian film and very much so with Australian TV there is so little material – outside children’s TV – that moves outside naturalism.”
Despite the supernatural element of Spirited, Perske says that it’s still a classic love story.
“It’s about love, family, life – all the ties that bind and either set us free or throttle us to death,” she says of the Southern Star Production.
Thanks to the strength of the idea and history with FOXTEL on Love My Way, the first series of Spirited was ordered before a script was written.
After only three episodes went to air, FOXTEL decided to renew the series.
“It’s always terrifying to launch a show,” admits Perske.
“Particularly with Spirited because it is such a departure from Love My Way and we were really jumping off a new cliff, so that’s where the relief comes in – we didn’t smash and crash on the rocks below.”
The show, in which Screen Australia is a principal investor, shoots totally on location in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
“We shoot a block – two episodes – in 14 days…so far [we’ve] always shot in order,” Perske explains.
Perske isn’t giving too much away about the upcoming series.
“If series one was about Suzy and Henry finding each other as soul mates and realising they are meant to be together, then series two could be about watching them fight to stay together.”
She did give details about the scriptwriting process.
“I need strong ideas…ways of layering information…and I’m big on rug pulling.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than to assume a story is going one way and it surprises you by doing something that you never imagined.”
Perske recently won an AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild Award) for the first episode of Spirited and feels “delighted and relieved” about how the show has been received by the industry and audiences.
“We have a lovely band of super fans on Facebook and Twitter who adore the show and have absorbed so many of the levels and elements of the show that I really hoped an audience would get into; it’s one good use of Facebook – being able to see and hear an audiences thoughts.”
The original article appeared in the November issue of IF.