Category: News + Events

26
Sep

On having one’s book adapted into a TV show.

Look, I’ve barely mentioned this, maybe once or eighty times over the past few months, but my 2014 novel, The Wrong Girl, has been adapted into a TV series, and that TV series begins this week.

Since no one – NO ONE AND I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO DECLARES OTHERWISE – is more thrilled about this than me, I wanted to diarise the process, so that I could read it one day when I’m a grown up blogger and come back to my childhood blog and go through my blog diary etc.

Timing and luck.

I may be infuriatingly self-deprecating (‘Australian’) but I also understand how lucky I am. An adaptation is not why you write books (you do it for the free bookmarks and the private jets), it’s an incredible, super cherry on top bonus.

When I was an arrogant, ignorant cute pig in my twenties I told my agent that my novels were perfect for TV, (because how could she, a seasoned professional, possibly know this unless I told her?) or even a movie, and she should “get them out there” which means nothing, and was a huge neon sign pointing to my naiveté: you don’t shop your books around – people come to you if they want in.

Obviously nothing came of any of that. And nor should it have. When you want something too much, for the wrong reasons (in my case a firm belief that my books were SO GREAT/designs on fame and grandeur/general youthful self-importance) and push it too hard, it very rarely, if ever comes off.

Fast-forward 10 years. I’m busy with a family and a business instead of losing sleep wondering why my books aren’t transformed into a film directed by Clint Eastwood.

And sometimes when you’re busy getting on with life, and not attached to the win, good stuff happens. I grew up with a mum who lovingly taught me the power of the subconscious mind at a very young age, and I still subscribe to the ask, believe, receive etc model. Manifesting is my superpower. It works because I believe it works. (Like deodorant. Or Apple TV.) (Sometimes.)

But at the core of all the ask-the-universe-for-shit stuff, is the fact that you must let go. To make the request, and believe it’s happening, and then say goodbye to it. If you hold on to it too tight, and focus only on that, to the point of obsession, it doesn’t work.

I wonder if I’ve subconsciously always had 20 projects on the go so that I don’t get too attached to any one of them too much. Awful to have too much time on your hands and one thing you’re desperate to hear about. Better to keep busy. Models, actors, writers – anyone in an ebb and flow industry learn this pretty quickly.

So make your requests, then get on with life, and do good work, and be grateful, and be present in all the great stuff you get to do and have, and think about what you can offer others and do next. This makes for a fantastic life, but also you’re in a much better flow for good stuff to happen because you’re projecting abundance, and you’re feeling abundant and so you welcome more of it. Etc etc. A date breeds another date and so on. Like attracts like.

How the TV show came about.

Annnyway. The lovely people at Playmaker (the production company who have gifted us Love Child, House Husbands and The Code) approached my agent about optioning The Wrong Girl for a TV series last year. This is not wildly unusual, but most of the time, the optioning period expires before anything comes of it. But Playmaker were enthusiastic about getting it up, and fast. And this made me VERY EXCITED. But I kept a lid on it. Didn’t pester my agent. Just played cool. Kept busy.

Playmaker asked me to come on board in a consulting capacity (official title: associate producer) (made up title: All Powerful Author Wizard) which I thought was wildly flattering and wonderful, since it meant they weren’t just buying the world of The Wrong Girl, and doing whatever they liked with it (which they are absolutely entitled to once they have bought the rights), they were asking me to be part of it, too. It felt like being picked first for the football team, which I assume feels terrific, but wouldn’t know since I prefer golf.

One of the first things they did was bring in a scriptwriter to create the first episode: Judi McCrossin, TV script magician of The Secret Life of Us and Time of Our Lives.

When I read her script, I cried a bit. It was a triumph. How the fuck do you even DO that, my author-y brain demanded. How do you turn an already fully-formed story (‘the novel’) into something fresh, and new, with so much depth and heart and breadth, while retaining the original flavour of the book? Adaptations are notoriously tricky. The balance of old and new; loyalty and innovation. But she’d nailed it. I loved it.

I was a teeeeny bit anxious before reading it, although I’d told myself as soon as I signed the contract that whatever happened with the TV show was A) okay, and B) out of my hands. Judi could do anything she wanted with it. She could have driven a horrible, cheesy, naff stake right through the heart of it. But she didn’t. She gave it five Red Bulls, etiquette lessons, a whole new family, a huge heart, intense therapy and made it onto a godamn TV princess.

IMG_9758Judi and I on set being rascals. 

After many months of hard work from Playmaker to get the show funded and sold, I got a Friday night call that Channel 10 had picked up the show, which was the official piece in their huge production puzzle. I drank all the champagne.

IMG_1095Drinking some Good News Booze the night I got the call. We always keep some GNB the fridge in case good shit happens.

 The writing

The writers began work immediately. Joining Judi was the magnificent Michael Lucas (Offspring, Wentworth, Party Tricks) and Christine Bartlett (Offspring, Party Tricks) as well as Ian Meadows (The Moodys) (… later cast as Pete!), Claire Phillips (Bedhead) and myself. This was my 30 Rock moment: getting to sit in with the writers as they worked on the story for each episode, and listen and laugh and watch and marvel as they did their thing, which is a very specific and inspiring skill.

I did ZERO writing on The Wrong Girl; I was just there with the writers, enjoying seeing them map it all out, and helping with brainstorms on plot and character developments occasionally. Another writey brain to bounce off.

The first few sessions I had to gobble the words, ‘But in the book…”  back into my mouth. This was different! It was a whole new story; a new piece of art. The key characters and loose story were the same as in the book, but that was it. This was a big, beautiful new vision. Pete, for example, I dispose of very quickly in the book. But he is a major character in the TV series, and thank F for that. He is fantastic.

As a commercial fiction writer, and having worked in magazines I’m used to my work being edited and changed. I don’t get attached to what I write, I just want it to be the best it can possibly be, and for people to read it. And that’s why editors and publishers exist, and why I trust them: they know what they’re doing.

So when characters changed, or appeared who weren’t in the book, or people were cast who didn’t look like their book cousin (Lily, for example, is Eurasian in the book, but a blonde in the show) I didn’t mind at all. It’s an adaptation, not a reenactment. I envisioned my characters to look one way; the casting process offered another. Both are great. And look, to be honest, what my characters look like is a bit of an afterthought for me. It’s their essence, their personality, the way they speak and behave that I use when I write. I often go through at the end and give them their eye colour and hair length. Especially if they’re based on someone I know and I need to REALLY make sure that person won’t recognise themselves. Ahem.

 The Cast

The many many people who worked on The Wrong Girl are extremely competent, clever, experienced people who have worked in the biz for a long time. Whenever I would visit the set, I’d be clapping giddily, unable to believe it was all really happening, and just being a pest in general, and constantly reminded I wasn’t to post any social media.

Occasionally I would touch a desk or a prop in the on-set (‘pretend’) TV production office (very meta) and say to myself, ‘This all came from your head, you beautiful bastard’ and allow myself a second to feel proud. But mostly I would just be a pest who only came when crew meals were being served.

IMG_8526My first visit to set, sitting at the split with one of the three marvellous TWG directors, Daina Reid. Playing it cool, as usual.

The show has the most exceptional crew, directors, producers, and of course, cast. EVERYTHING on this show is quality. Pay attention to Lily and Simone’s bedrooms. Jack’s apartment. The beautiful lighting of the show. The music. The wardrobe. (Lily basically got to wear every Bella Freud, Etre Cecile and Equipment sweater I’ve ever wanted.) It’s astonishingly well done.

And the cast, well, they’re diamonds.

wronggirlcast-900x506

The core four.

We have, of course, Jessica Marais, who plays Lily, and who is in almost every scene, which is a real win because she is an incredibly talented and experienced actor, who lights up the screen even when she is at rock bottom. I could watch her face all day. She is also a terrifically funny and generous player, and that came across again and again. Jess’s Lily is relatable, weak, strong, adorable, frustrating and real. It’s beautiful to watch.

Simone is played by Hayley Magnus (The Dressmaker) and from her first audition, I was enchanted. Simone is your classic manic pixie dream girl, but with heart, and vulnerability and strength, and Hayley brings it. It’s not the key love story in The Wrong Girl, but to me the relationship between Lily and Simone is the most powerful.

Rob Collins (Cleverman, The Lion King) plays Jack, and gives him the perfect measure of handsomeness, gravitas, and makes-you-feel-nervous-and-want-to-impress-him quality of Jack. Rob is a sensational actor, and the perfect gid-inducing love interest for Lily/Simone/anyone with a pulse.

Ian Meadows (The Moodys) plays Pete, Lily’s best friend (or perhaps more?). Pete is that scruffy, adorable, larrikin, brotherly-best mate you have forever, and all your friends think he’s bangable, but you can’t see it, because you have burping competitions with him after a few schooners. Ian is tremendous in this role. Charisma + caring + cute.

IMG_7694

At the first table read. I was a touch excited but didn’t let on.

… That’s the core four, but oh, there are so many more! The cast is the perfect blend of experienced faces and energetic newcomers. Craig McLachlan and Madeleine West are the attractive, bitey, passive aggressive Breakfast TV hosts, the fantastically dry David Woods plays Dale, CeCe Peters plays adorable Alice, the very funny Christie Whelan Browne plays Nikkii, Kerry Armstong and Steve Vizard play Lily’s mum and dad, Hamish Blake (hunk alert) is Hamilton the weather guy, Ryan Shelton is Bernard the cock (that’ll make sense later), Kevin Harrington plays Pete’s dad, Doris Younane is Sascha, Hugo Johnston-Burt is Lily’s brother, and Leah Vandenberg is Pete’s flame. (Fun fact: Leah is on Play School and a big hit in our house.)

IMG_9637The time Sonny and I went to set to see Daddy and he yelled just as there was a quiet and poignant moment in recording. Good one, mum!

Anyway. I think you get the picture: I’m excited. I have had the great privilege to have seen the whole season and this is a genuinely great show with tremendous feels. I would have endorsed it regardless, but I am so impressed, and so five-steps-removed proud of what has been created.

Don’t worry about not having read the book (although you should definitely read it): they are two different, glorious beasts. Just enjoy your new favourite best-ever TV show. (Too much?)

The Wrong Girl starts this Wednesday at 8:30, on Channel 10.

I’ll be tweeting hard from @zotheysay and perving on all your tweets via #thewronggirl

WOO!

WrongGirl_Shot06_083

 

Responses to this drivel: 20 Comments
06
Jul

Amazinger Face book events!

Let’s celebrate the book,
let’s celebrate beauty,
let’s have something to eat,
then take a cute selfie.

Zoë Foster Blake, 2016

It’s not every day (or even every year) I lovingly inject a new book into the literary bloodstream. As such, I quite enjoy making a big fuss about it with some events, and if at possible, skywriting and ornately dressed elephants in a spectacular procession.

And so, we are doing some Amazinger Face events this July and August. They will be intimate, and fun, and I will chat about beauty and why I wanted to update the book, and there will be nibbles and bubbles (but not squibbles) and you can ask all the beauty questions you want, and I will quickly generate answers that sound vaguely correct and smile a lot so you believe me.

I will be signing copies of Amazinger Face, there will be a Go-To pop-up, (and possibly makeup pop-ups… TBC!) and we have had some delightful free tote bags made that I’m probably a bit too proud of considering they are just tote bags.

There aren’t many events and there are even fewer spaces at said events, so probably book your ticket soon, or don’t and forever feel a gaping, endless hole in your life.

Tickets for all events go on sale tomorrow,
Thursday July 7, at 9am.

melbourne_01

Brunch with Zoë Foster Blake

Date: Saturday July 23, 2016

Time: 9am – 11am

Venue: The Langham Melbourne

Tickets: $45, includes brunch

Bookings: rest.res@langhamhotels.com


Brunch with Zoë Foster Blake

Date: Saturday July 23, 2016

Time: 12pm – 2pm

Venue: The Langham Melbourne

Tickets: $45, includes brunch

Bookings: rest.res@langhamhotels.com

 

Sydney

An intimate Friday Night with Zoë Foster Blake 

Date: Friday July 29, 2016 (omg day after my birthday)

Time: 6pm – 8pm

Venue: The Langham, Sydney

Tickets: $45, bubbles on arrival and sweet nibbles

Bookings:  tlsyd.rsvn@langhamhotels.com
NB: Pre-payment is essential to secure a ticket

 

Sophisticated Saturday Brunch with Zoë Foster Blake

Date: Saturday July 30 2016

Time: 9am – 11am

Venue: The Langham, Sydney

Tickets: $45, tea and coffee on arrival and brunch nibbles

Bookings:  tlsyd.rsvn@langhamhotels.com
NB: Pre-payment is essential to secure a ticket

 

Canberra

 An afternoon with Zoë Foster Blake

Date: Saturday August 6 2016

Time: 2pm – 3:30pm

Venue: Muse, East Hotel, Kingston

Tickets: $25, includes drink on arrival and nibbles

                $65 includes a copy of Amazinger Face, a drink on arrival and canapes

Bookings: Via Muse events

 

 A (later) afternoon with Zoë Foster Blake

Date: Saturday August 6 2016

Time: 4pm – 5:30pm

Venue: Muse, East Hotel, Kingston

Tickets: $25, includes drink on arrival and nibbles

                $65 includes a copy of Amazinger Face, a drink on arrival and canapes

Bookings: Via Muse events

 

Apologies to Perth and Adelaide and Darwin and Brisbane and Wagga and Tamworth. I love you no less than these event cities! I plead (guilty to) scheduling constraints.

To those who book a ticko and come along, I look so forward to seeing you.

To those who don’t book a ticko but do try to sneak in, I applaud your moxie, even if I don’t respect it.

ZFB x

Responses to this drivel: 27 Comments
14
Mar

I made a new book.

It’s called, ‘How To Write Intriguing, Interesting and Punchy Book Titles That Will Make People Immediately Want To Pick Up Your Book and Read It.’

Ha ha ha! As if. I would never use the word intrigiung because I can’t actually spell it. (See?)

But seriously, I am releasing a new book in June!

It’s called Amazinger Face, because, well, it is. In that it is the much-needed update to my beauty book, Amazing Facewhich I wrote back in 2010, and which is still glorious, but needed a makeover.

xamazing-face.jpg.pagespeed.ic.eqVow3wPwH

The cover. Still a total babe.

img_13731321 year-old me signing it back during the book tour.
And that’s Molly, from memory…

There are a few reasons I believe Amazing Face needed an update. (And yes, so does Textbook Romance probably, but guys, I’m so busy with my turnip farm and pet ferrets that there is just no time right now.)

1. My position on sun protection has changed. A lot.

I went for a facial last year and at the conclusion, the funny and extremely well-informed facialist presented her copy of Amazing Face with 400 post-it notes jammed in it regarding things she wanted to discuss or contest. Mostly regarding the stuff in there on skin care and sun protection, which I thoroughly agreed with her needed updating, because it was too brief for one, but mostly because since writing the book, I have made an evangelical, noisy switch from chemical sunscreens to physical, and I hated there being a book out there with my name on it that didn’t reflect my passion and education on and for properly applied sunscreen, and also, of course, physical sun protection.

 2. The beauty landscape has changed.

When I wrote Amazing Face, us beauty editors were the only ones really communicating trends, reviews, tips and technology to you, the beautiful public. Now there are countless vloggers, bloggers, makeup artists, derms and hair stylists with a shiny Youtube channel, a fat sack of Instagram followers and a pretty great technique with a foundation brush, actually.

Also, since the proliferation of online shopping, social media, and retailers like Sephora landing in Australia, we have access to around six billion more products and brands than when this book first went to print, and I wanted to include and honour these new kids on the block.

3. Products come and go.

Nothing like going to your favourite, best-ever beauty reference book (too much?) to see which nude nail polish you should buy, only to find the one recommended has been brutally yanked from shelves. War and famine aside, there might not be anything worse.

So, I went through every single product I mention in the book, and I checked if it was still:

A) Available

B) Relevant

C) The best I had tried in that category

D) Tasty on crumpets.

And look, some were still around, and some were still the best on offer, but many were not, or had been surpassed by a sexy new offering from another brand. You cannot believe how many new products I have jammed into Amazinger Face you guys. It’s friggen filthy with them.

4. I have written a lot of beauty content since then.

(And had a baby, so I know heaps more about stretch marks and pigmentation now. Lucky me.) It seemed silly to waste five years of pretty helpful beauty advice, and not fatten up and update a book that I adore and am so proud of, especially when cuteheads pop photos of it next to candles and other pretty tone-parallel books on their Instagram feed.

5. I made some of my own beauty products.

Since releasing Amazing Face I have launched a simple, effective, irritant-free skin care line, Go-To, because I felt there were gaps in the skin care industry that I knew how to fill, because yes, I really am that arrogant.

I wanted to include my products in my beauty book, because I believe in them, and of course I think they are the best in the category or why the frigdog would I bother making them. Don’t worry though, it’s subtle. I’m not that gross. Or AM I.

6. I have a phenomenal designer.

Allison Colpoys, her name is, though I refer to as Queen Magical Designypants. Al kind of created a whole new book design when Amazing Face came out; her work was (and always is) somewhere in the future, superfresh and unlike anything else out there. I’m SO LUCKY TO HAVE HER. When Amazing Face was finished neither of us could imagine a better, more delightful design.

But zoom in your spacemobile to 2016 and we have both grown up, and changed our style, and are inspired by new things, and so, in the same way I wanted to refresh all the copy and products within the book, Al wanted to overhaul the entire visual feast. Which she did. And it’s absolutely lush. Godammit she’s talented. (Buy her stationary range here! Her tear-inducing children’s book here!)

7. I get bored and need new projects.

And believe me when I say/write that even though it’s just an ‘update’, it has been quite the project.

 

Unknown-1

Proofing is terrific fun! Ask any author!

Anyway! All done now. Almost ready for you to get your mitts on. Here’s the new cover. Here’s the new look. Here’s my pretty, papery sweetypie.


Amazinger Face, Zoe Foster Blake

Amazinger Face is officially on sale June 27, but if you’re smart and cute and smart, you’ll pre-order now, here (and get almost 20% off.) That’s what a smart and cute and smart person would do.

And hey. Thank you to all of you for buying and reading Amazing Face. The feedback you have given me over the years on that book has brought me much joy, satisfaction, and many happy tears, not to mention acting as the catalyst for me to start Go-To.

I’m positive you will love her sophisticated younger sister just as much, even if she does borrow your leather jacket without telling you sometimes.

Fondest,

ZFB

Responses to this drivel: 21 Comments