Sitcom pilot Written in the Stars to be released August 14
Written in the Stars is a sitcom that follows Judith Devon (Janine Evans), a horoscope writer for a daily newspaper. Unusually, she doesn’t believe a word of what she writes.
Written in the Stars explores the changing landscape of the media industry with Judith, a woman in her 50s, dealing with being an older woman in an office full of young people. A lot of the comedy comes from the office setting and the tension created by the age gap between Judith and her co-workers as well as some almost absurd excursions into Judith’s network in the spiritualism industry.
Throughout the series, Judith begins to become disillusioned with her work and tries to find a way to have a positive effect on the world through her horoscopes, which doesn’t always go as planned. With the paper facing budgetary issues, Judith’s boss tries to get more out of her by putting her in situations out of her comfort zone such as writing a spiritual health column with Sara, the fitness editor who is a bit of a “free spirit”. Not Judith’s favourite type of person.
Alongside Judith is Paula (Kylie Ryan) a friend and confidante. Also featured are Ella Watkins (Rosehaven) who plays Ash, the overly peppy office assistant at the newspaper; Don Bridges (Wanted, Jack Irish) who plays Tarquin, a sort of modern-day apothecary and Rob Lloyd (Who Me, Bertram Poppingstock), Judith’s partner.
The pilot comes from writer/director W.D. Stevens, a Melbournian filmmaker who has produced a number of short films and series. These have been shown at film festivals around the world including the Setting Sun Film Festival at Yarraville’s historic Sun Theatre. Most recently, the piece ‘7 Minutes to Say Goodbye’ won best production at the 2019 PlaySix Short Play Festival.
“I really enjoyed working with Janine Evans to create the character of Judith,” said Stevens. “She’s a very modern middle-aged woman which is a group very underrepresented in narrative television especially in leading roles and I can’t think why. She’s confident, principled and outspoken but not afraid to have a bit of fun. Paula’s very different and almost aspires to be more like Judith at times. It’s a classic comedy pairing as they can seem quite mismatched on paper but they’re able to help each other in ways other people can’t. Ultimately, they’re both modern women who have very different ways of being modern women and I really think that will resonate with the audience.”
The pilot was shot pre-pandemic and was due to have a screening earlier this year. Unfortunately, due to lockdown, this is looking like it won’t be possible for some time so the decision has been made to release it online instead. The production until now has been entirely self-funded with lots of support from the cast and crew. Feedback is encouraged from viewers as the pilot is to be used as a proof of concept to pitch to a number of production companies around Australia.
A breakdown of the first series has been worked out with script editor Celia Handscombe as well as a rough idea of where to take the series from there. The show has a lot of heart and should be a fun way to spend half an hour. There are highs and lows throughout the series and the audience may learn something about the world or about themselves.
The pilot for Written in the Stars will be released on Vimeo and YouTube on Friday, August 14 with a trailer currently available to watch. The production team are inviting viewers to give feedback to the by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.