Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Wolfblood creator Debbie Moon answers 6 questions
WOLFBLOOD is a new fantasy action drama starting next month on the CBBC Channel [5.15pm on Monday September 10th, to be precise, with episode two the next day at the same time]. It tells the story of two seemingly ordinary teenagers, who are secretly part of a mysterious race who has lived among humans for centuries by disguising their abilities and blending in. The series was created by Debbie Moon who kindly agreed to answer six questions about it for Vicious Imagery.
What was your original pitch for WOLFBLOOD and how has it evolved?
The core idea has stayed pretty much the same. It's a combination of two questions: "What if werewolves lived among us, some of them aspiring to a 'human' life and some of them not?" and "What if a teenager had a secret so dangerous that she had to keep it even from her closest friends?" And that's still very much the story of the series.
What has evolved is the setting, the characters, and the overall arc of the series. My original idea was set in a small town; the series takes place in an isolated village surrounded by wild countryside, which gives it a real feel of being on the edge of civilisation. I spent a long time working with the development team making decisions about the way Wolfbloods live, how they fit in, and what happens when they don't. And of course, creating a core cast of interesting characters with their own take on the issues was vital.
How did the series come about?
In artistic terms, in the simplest way possible - with a word. I was in a second-hand bookshop, scanning the shelves, and my brain jumped from half of one book title to half of the next, creating the hybrid title "Wolfblood". Interesting, I thought. What's a Wolfblood? And the whole idea sprang from that.
In more practical terms, the show came about because of the BBC Writers' Room programme, a terrific department which looks out for and develops new writers for the BBC. They held an open call for children's series, in collaboration with CBBC, and Wolfblood was selected for further development at a residential workshop, and eventually put into full development and commissioned.
What did it feel like when you heard WOLFBLOOD was going to series?
Wonderful! We were in development for around two years before there was a final decision to proceed, and I can still remember receiving the phone call while having a cuppa in the local arts centre while waiting to see a movie. So many people worked so hard to make this show happen, and it was great just to see all that hard work rewarded. And see my name on the telly, of course!
Children’s drama has been a proving ground for some celebrated scribes, such as Russell T Davis, Sally Wainwright and Paul Abbott. What are the opportunities and challenges of writing for a pre-teen audience?
There are some obvious restrictions on what you can show on children's television - doing a werewolf show where you can't really kill anyone or scare the audience too much has been interesting! But the advantage is that you're writing for an audience who really invest themselves in drama series. The characters and the situations really mean something to the audience, and though the situations may be very different, they use them as templates to decide how to live their own lives. That's a big responsibility, and a wonderful opportunity.
Your agent’s website which has a wonderful list of credits for you ranging from bilingual physical theatre in Wales to an anthology called Catwomen From Hell. Looking back, what do you think have been the turning points?
Yes, I've had an interesting career! I spent several years in theatre, and then wrote short stories and a novel, before settling on film and television writing, and I like to think all those experiences have fed into the way I work now. I've been lucky to work with some terrific people, even where the projects haven't been made (yet!), and I learned a huge amount from developing features scripts with various companies. And everything I knew about television before Wolfblood, I learned writing for The Sparticle Mystery, which was a fantastic experience.
WOLFBLOOD is due on air soon, so what are you working on at the moment?
Yup, first episode should be airing on 10th September, so the wait is nearly over. At the moment, I'm developing a low budget sci-fi thriller through the Triangle film funding scheme, and writing a couple of other film scripts that I hope will find a home somewhere. I've also got a couple of TV projects being shopped around by indie production companies - not children's drama this time - so who knows what might happen next?
Many thanks to Debbie. Visit her blog, its full of useful advice for screenwriters.