Gosh it's been a whirlwind two weeks! Of course it's nothing to what real celebrities go through, but it's been exciting, exhausting and unbelievably good for my ego
Firstly, I was overwhelmed by the wonderful messages of support from people once I had announced the news of the film. I'd been pretty scared about doing it - I didn't really know what to expect - but I really hadn't imagined I'd be the recipient of such generosity of spirit. It was incredibly heartwarming. I had so many posts on my Facebook message board, private messages, emails and of course comments on this blog. All were supportive, congratulatory and very, very kind. Thank you everyone!
Then every day last week was spent in interviews with TV, radio and national press. And this was a week that should have been completely taken up with preparation for my big student show on Saturday! I'm good at juggling but I tell you, there were a lot of balls up there! Here's a link to a BBC TV news film about the story and here's a lovely piece in the Sunday Express.
But now the student show is over (and was wonderful!) so I have time to get back to writing. And I thought you might like to know a bit more about where things are and what happens next as far as the film is concerned. Of course there are lots of things that have to be confidential, so I'm going to concentrate on stuff that is in the public domain or is standard industry practice.
How long will it take?
A film takes years to make - my brother, who works in the film industry told me to expect it to take up to ten years!! But because I'm working with a big studio it will hopefully be much quicker. This one has actually been in progress since November last year and if everything goes really quickly, it might be in cinemas two years from now.
Two years may sound like a long time, but when you think of the amount of work that is involved: writing and agreeing a script, finding the right director, casting it, finding locations, putting together all the film crew, costuming, etc etc etc. And of course the studio has to work around the busy schedules of A-list actors and directors who are not all going to be available at the same time, and certainly not at the drop of a hat.
Filming itself typically takes around ten to twelve weeks. And even when that is done, there’s the long, gutty job of editing and post production - which takes about nine months.
Where are we now?
We now have a writer in place – a BAFTA nominated writer who is very much in demand right now. And, quite magically, it turns out she’s a bellydancer! Nobody had known this in advance, but she’s been bellydancing for ten years and loves it. She regularly goes to festivals such as JoY and has taken workshops with several of my friends. She came down to our show on Saturday (and loved it) and will start work on the script in the next few weeks. One of my concerns was how well I would be able to communicate the way bellydancing can change women’s lives, but of course she totally understands – she’s experienced it herself. And she doesn’t come loaded down with pre-conceptions or misunderstandings about our dance.
We also have a famous award winning producer on board who, once again, is a woman. She will be responsible for putting the team together, for making sure the film is true to its conception, that it comes in within budget and generally keeping everything on track. She’s produced some of the biggest blockbusters of recent years so it’s incredibly exciting that she wants to do my story!
A British production
The studio executive who ‘discovered’ me is deeply committed to this being a British film. British films are a distinct genre within the industry – wonderful films such as The Full Monty, Calendar Girls, Bend It Like Beckham and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. When the story went out to writers to pitch for it, the American studio executives put forward several Hollywood writers, but my guy resisted because they wanted to "Hollywood-ise" the story. We all want real women with real curves and a few years on the clock to be represented, as well as younger ones of course.
We're all aiming for this film to be heartwarming and inspirational with crackling dialogue. We want you to laugh and cry along with the real women depicted in the film – most of whom are still Hipsinc students and teachers. And of course there will be great music, great dancing and fabulous costumes!
What’s not to love?
If you have any questions you'd like me to answer in this blog, leave a comment and I'll try to answer (subject to commercial confidentiality of course!)