Whoosh! Issue 68 - May 2002

INSIDE THE HEAD OF AMANDA COE
By Amy Murphy
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
1974 words


Introduction (01-03)
Amanda's Head (04-71)
Amanda's Resume
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF AMANDA COE



Hey, I don't almost die in this one!
Write another story about you Joxer? Yeah. As if.

Introduction

[01] Since we have a fondness for the Xena cast, I was proud to hear Adrienne landed a new show, called As If. I was also curious about the person who created the show, so with the help of Carnival Films, the writer/creator of this fun series contacted me.

[02] Amanda Coe has been very kind person and it was great to get a peek in the mind of the creator. This was a fun interview and you can tell Amanda is well educated with a wonderful sense of humor.

[03] As If comes on Tuesdays on UPN right after Buffy. Tune in and support!


Amanda's Head

INTERVIEWER:
[04] Why did you start writing?

AMANDA COE:
[05] It was something I'd always done, off and on. Eventually it occurred to me that there might be a way of making a living doing it.

INTERVIEWER:
[06] Tell us about As If.

COE:
[07] As If is a drama centered on the lives and loves -- mainly loves -- of six London teenagers.

INTERVIEWER:
[08] What were the inspirations behind the show?

COE:
[09] We wanted to make a show about those characters that didn't take itself too seriously, that had a lot of energy. I suppose my main idea was that when you're in your late teens you have a lot of hopes and dreams about your life but reality often falls a bit short. True when you're older, of course, but the gap's not quite as painful. Maybe because your expectations get lower and you get surer of yourself.

[10] We see each of the character's take on their life when they talk to us directly. They take turns in having stories from their points of view. Then we see what's really going on and often not what they think it is.

INTERVIEWER:
[11] Tell us a bit about each character.

COE:
[12] There's Jamie. He's mouthy, perpetually horny, a bit of a wannabe and an embarrassment to his cooler mates, but he's got a heart of gold.

[13] Sooz: she and Jamie used to be best mates but have got involved in a relationship -- her first. She's really sarcastic and sharp-tongued, aspires to be a photographer, and suffers a lot behind her tough facade.

[14] Nicki: she lives for fashion and the next cute boy she sees, is a bit of an amoral good-time girl but there's something endearing about the way she keeps getting it wrong.

[15] Sasha: she can be a real b*tch, fancies herself as a bit more grown-up than her mates, but is still learning about everything. She used to go out with Rob, and gave him a really hard time.

[16] Alex: probably the most clued-up character in the ways of the world, but can come a cropper in matters of the heart. He's gay and cool about it. He, Jamie, and Sooz are very close, so when they start going out he feels a bit excluded.

[17] Rob: the only one who isn't at college. He makes cappuccinos for a living and feels he should be doing something more ambitious, except he isn't more ambitious. He seems brooding and mysterious but actually is pretty easy going. He's just learning there's life without Sasha.

INTERVIEWER:
[18] Are you enjoying the production of it?

COE:
[19] Enormously. Everyone on the production team, particularly the original director, Brian Grant, and the producers, Julian and Johnny -- and the other writers on the show (I don't write them all) -- have really picked up the ball and run with it.

INTERVIEWER:
[20] If you had to do it all over, would you be a writer?

COE:
[21] Yes.

INTERVIEWER:
[22] Give us a brief day in the life of Amanda.

COE:
[23] I share childcare with my partner -- we've got a 2-year-old -- so three days a week I spend half the day looking after my little boy, doing toddler things. Then the other half of the day I go to my office and write or have meetings or fit in the odd trip to the gym. Two days a week we have childcare so I can spend the whole day (in theory) writing.

INTERVIEWER:
[24] What are the ups and downs for writers?

COE:
[25] All the traditional ones. The upside: when it's going well, creative fulfillment, a flexible lifestyle, the chance to work with really nice, interesting people, plenty of money. The down aspects, which persist even when it's going well: rejection, no money, encountering indifference, and/or constant criticism (you have to be tough about criticism; there's no point writing if you aren't), and loneliness. It can be incredibly demoralizing to sit in a room writing on your own, day in and day out. That's what's nice about writing for TV. You get to have meetings and talk to people once in a while, and if you hit a tough problem, there are people to help you fix it.

INTERVIEWER:
[26] Do you ever get writer's block, and how do you fix it?

COE:
[27] Yes, although writing for a show like As If, where you have to write to a deadline, makes you much less prone to such things. It's much harder to dredge up big, important ideas and commit them to paper. You just have to keep going, even if you're writing crap. Often, the point when you think you're really stuck and it's hopeless and awful is actually the moment just before you crack it -- like the 'wall' in marathon running, I imagine.

INTERVIEWER:
[28] What is your footwear of choice?

COE:
[29] Boots. High heels, low heels, pointy, clumpy, I just like boots.

INTERVIEWER:
[30] What opportunity are you most happy you seized?

COE:
[31] To apply to film school, where I learned about screenwriting.

INTERVIEWER:
[32] What do you think of Shakespeare's work?

COE:
[33] That's a bit like asking 'what do you think of the universe'? There's just too much to encapsulate. You have to assimilate manageable chunks. The Tempest is my favorite. I've never liked Romeo and Juliet, and I avoid seeing productions of Hamlet.

INTERVIEWER:
[34] Is the glass half full or half empty?

COE:
[35] Full, but I'm well capable of seeing the other point of view.

INTERVIEWER:
[36] What is your pet peeve?

COE:
[37] At the moment, film trailers that show you the entire film in stock-cube form particularly irk me. If I'm going to see a film, I don't want to know the entire plot beforehand.

INTERVIEWER:
[38] What housework chore do you most detest?

COE:
[39] Ironing. Don't do it.

INTERVIEWER:
[40] What do you do on those days when you want to give up?

COE:
[41] Give up, just for the day.

INTERVIEWER:
[42] What do you see yourself doing in the future? Any future projects?

COE:
[43] I hope that I just stay employed writing things that interest me.

INTERVIEWER:
[44] How do you handle depression?

COE:
[45] Carry on regardless.

INTERVIEWER:
[46] What advice can you give to future writers?

COE:
[47] If it's really painful to buckle down and write, then it's probably not the job for you. It could still be something that gives you occasional pleasure, but not a vocation. Probably the thing people say most often when they hear you're a writer is 'isn't it difficult to get down to work'? Well no, it isn't. Because you can only really do it and persist through the difficulties if you love it on the whole. Which doesn't mean that it can't be as boring or irritating as anything else you do, but there has to be a spark that keeps you going.

INTERVIEWER:
[48] Have you worked on something that made you ask, 'Why Am I Doing This'?

COE:
[49] Yes. You have to pay your dues, and also the rent.

INTERVIEWER:
[50] What would you say every writer needs?

COE:
[51] Ideas, a computer that doesn't crash, a place to write, and moral support.

INTERVIEWER:
[52] What, if anything, can stop you from writing?

COE:
[53] My son.

INTERVIEWER:
[54] Do you or have you ever acted? Do you want to act?

COE:
[55] Not now. But I used to want to act in my teens and did a lot of acting at university, then realized it wasn't for me. And I wasn't for it -- not good enough.

INTERVIEWER:
[56] Do you want to produce or direct?

COE:
[57] Producing maybe, in the sense of being a creative producer on something I'd written. They do that much more in the states. I don't have the temperament, let alone the ability, to direct. You have to have very broad shoulders -- just be willing to solve a million problems a day and find that exciting instead of a total nightmare, which I would.

INTERVIEWER:
[58] Is it harder for women to be taken seriously in show biz?

COE:
[59] Many TV writers are women, and I think they're taken seriously on the whole.

INTERVIEWER:
[60] Does the best writing flow for you, or does it come from rewrites?

COE:
[61] Both. Sometimes it flows and that's great, but everything gets rewritten.

INTERVIEWER:
[62] Which part of writing do you enjoy most and why?

COE:
[63] Having the idea is wonderful, and so is sitting down with a red pen, and the first printed draft of a script, knowing you're going to improve it.

INTERVIEWER:
[64] Do you feel in control of your writing, or do your inspiration or characters carry you away?

COE:
[65] You have to be in control in the end, to give the material a shape. But the bits in between can take you by surprise.

INTERVIEWER:
[66] If you consider yourself to have a muse, what exactly do you mean?

COE:
[67] I don't.

INTERVIEWER:
[68] What is your favorite spot where you live now?

COE:
[69] I like cafes. There are a lot of freelances round where I live and when I'm going to my office the cafes always seem full of glamorous-looking people sipping cappuccinos -- leading me to wonder why that isn't me.

INTERVIEWER:
[70] What questions should I have asked and answer it please?

COE:
[71] You've asked way too many questions as it is. I'm knackered.


Amanda's Resume

Carnival Films Website
As If Official Website

Amanda Coe has written regularly for UK television since graduating from the National Film and Television School in 1992. She created As If for Carnival Films and remains a writer on the program, which has its premiere in an American version in March 2002. She is currently adapting the Maria Edgeworth novel Belinda for the BBC. Virago published her first collection of short stories, A Whore In the Kitchen, in 2000. She lives in London.


Acknowledgments

Thanks to Kamouraskan for the beta.


Articles

L. J. Maas and Murphy Wilson [Amy Murphy]. One Step Beyond ... Uber, That Is. WHOOSH #49 (October 2000)

The "Inside the Head of…" series in Whoosh issues #58, 61-


Biography

a woman of mystery Amy Murphy
Thirty-one-year-old Amy Murphy resides in Indiana, and is an avid reader of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction. If it exists in the Xenaverse, chances are she's read it! Murphy has also tried her hand at writing fan fiction, turning out two very nice pieces that reside on a couple of web sites throughout the Xenaverse.


Favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
Favorite line: "I have many skills" (various episodes)
First episode seen: THE TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510)

 

 

Return to Top Return to Index