This article originally appeared in IF Magazine #144 (Dec-Jan 2012).
I haven’t marked my calendar but I guess I met Marieke when I script edited her on a kids show many, many years ago – probably almost ten years ago – and then we worked together really closely on Last Man Standing.
I was a script editor and she was basically everything else and we realised in working together on that show that we shared a lot in common and we loved working with each other.
So when that show didn’t go ahead to a second series we got together… and came up with a whole lot of stories, ideas and concepts and one of those was – well it was called Like a Virgin but it’s the show that became Laid.
It doesn’t feel like work at all, it’s great fun. It’s very harmonious – there’s very little tension. We agree a lot which is quite boring for a lot of people but it works very well for us. We’re very collaborative and we each have different strengths and we trust each other a lot so if there are ever any differences we can chat about it and then it’s resolved or one of us says “okay, you go for it, see if you can make it work”.
Often a lot of our scripts on Last Man Standing were coming in short because people were talking really fast and we had to pad. We had to just, on the fly, write pages and pages of funny nothing and I would often do that as a script editor and then she would have a look and have a fiddle with it and people couldn’t tell.
I think our styles are slightly different. I think she does much more zingy one-liners and lots of pop culture references and I think I’m a bit more mushy. I often go for the heart and the warmth and the kind of poignant moment. But I think it matches really well because with a show like Laid it needs both of those things.
I think we complement each other quite well. I do probably have more of a ‘logic-y’ structured brain just because that’s where I’ve come from. There are things that Marieke’s not as interested in that fall to my strengths and there are her strengths from being a child actor.
She’s a lot stronger on the directing – in rehearsals she’s much more able to direct performers because she understands that language. She understands how to communicate it in a way that’s sort of subtle and diplomatic rather than me going “not like that!”
I’m much better at getting all the schedules and dealing with all the different departments about whatever things they need – the sort of everyday stuff that people come to you with during production.
I enjoy writing and working on it [Laid] so much, it’s like my perfect project. It’s got all the things I love to write about and think about – but I don’t love death.
Kirsty and I met either on Sleepover Club, which was a Burberry production (a kids show), or on Something in the Air. But I think, overall, Burberry put us together for a workshop on the original version of Last Man Standing and we just clicked instantly. It just worked from that moment onwards.
We balance each other out really, really well so we’ve pretty much worked together consistently since then… it’s been over ten years I think.
Putting a strong female friendship on screen [in Laid] was pretty important to us because we have one. I think we’re also really lucky with [lead actors] Alison and Celia. It’s hard when you put actors together and go “alright now act like best friends” and they don’t know each other. The advantage we had is that Alison Bell laughs at everything – she’s a serial giggler, and Celia Pacquola’s a stand-up comedian.
We’ve got a strong friendship as well but we’ve got the beautiful half-sentences so you go “why don’t we?” and she’ll go “no” and I’ll go “what about?” … “yeah, that’s a great idea, let’s try that!” And then people around us go “Hang on, what did you guys just say?”
We’ve worked quite a bit with Trent O’Donnell and Phil Lloyd and they have a really similar energy and the half-sentencing so it’s really beautiful to be able to just have someone who completely understands where you’re coming from and what you’re trying to say.
Kirsty’s got a much better editor brain that I do. I often overwrite and she just comes back and sticks a big line through everything, but I trust her implicitly. Like if she cuts something I’ll just let it be cut.
It’s very rare that I argue against one of her umpiring decisions. She’s a lot more practical and pragmatic than I am so she pulls me into line a lot and she’s a lot more organised than I am. I’d be completely bereft without her. I’d pretty much be living in a gutter somewhere writing on brown paper bags.
We have a really strong dynamic, you know, trading jokes and insults and we’re absolute rocks for each other. We’re really strong support for each other and we see the world the same way so it’s very rare that something will happen in a sound edit and I’ll say “I hate that bit” and she’ll say “well I love it”. If one of us makes a note, the other will agree.