Michaela Coel was a working actress and writer when a real life experience changed her life. Now it’s probably not appropriate to call this a “dream role,” but it is an important role that has had an enormous impact on our culture.
Of how the show unfolded she says,
“I based the character of Arabella on myself, especially in the beginning. She’s a writer and she takes a break from work, she goes out for a drink, her drink is spiked, and she’s sexually assaulted by strangers.
This was also my story… but it’s also about loads more.”
This show not only shines a light on the the realities of sexual assault, pushed forward conversations about consent and sexual trauma, it’s also part of Michaela’s mission to give more POC actors opportunities.
The casting director of the says,
“[MICHAELA] said to me very early on: ‘Go find the African-American, Black actors who have not had any screen opportunity to date, and find me the actors of colour who have not had their moments onscreen.’ ”
Since the smashing success of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, she has won multiple Emmys, created Killing Eve, written the screenplay for the latest James Bond film (personally requested by Daniel Craig), acted in the Star Wars Franchise, will appear in the next Indiana Jones film, Executive Produced her best friends HBO show, Run, and that doesn’t even cover all the opportunities that have come her way.
But did you know that Fleabag started out as a 10 minute piece?
Long before the one-woman show that debuted at Edinburgh, Phoebe just started writing.
“It started as a challenge from a friend to do a 10-minute slot in her stand-up storytelling night, which is where this whole idea came from..I was on with a bunch of other stand-ups, actors, and playwrights. I’ve never done that before—I never really wanted to do it, it’s terrifying.”
And do you know what her catalyst for writing the piece was? She says,
“It was driven by that sense of rage. What if I just said onstage what I say to my friend? Or if I just express some of the rage that I have but turn it up?”
Don’t let your rage (or insert emotion here) keep you stuck. Put your pen to paper and let it fuel your dream role.
Before she was the Showrunner and star of The OA, Brit Marling was a frustrated actress, who was tired of the kind of roles she was called in for.
So she did something about it.
Of what propelled her to write, she says,
“When I started out, I did it out of necessity because I couldn’t figure out ways to act that didn’t involve… being bent over the back of a car slathered in Italian salad dressing! So I started writing.”
She studied screenwriting, wrote two feature films in one year, produced and starred in both of them and they both got accepted to Sundance. These roles put her on the map for the type of complex women she has played ever since. No more cars or salad dressing.
ABOUT YOUR HOST
I’m Emily Grace, and I totally get you. I know how frustrating it is to feel like you’re on the outside looking in when it comes to the entertainment industry.
If you’re tired of waiting for permission or for the industry to pick you, it’s time to take matters into your own hands!
Your story, your voice, and your perspective matters. When you listen to that voice in your head that whispers, “write your story…” the one only you can tell, the one only you can play, that is your Dream Role.
It’s time to put pen to paper and start writing. That’s exactly what this workshop is for. To help you get out of your head, onto the page, and take the first step.