The Start of Different for Girls
In October last year, I mentioned that I had found a new lesbian web series from the UK, called Different for Girls, and that I fell in love with it. If you haven’t watched it already, you can find it at Lesbian Box Office. At ClexaCon London, I was able to talk to Fizz Milton and Jacquie Lawrence. Fizz is the producer of Different for Girls and Jacquie is the writer and executive producer of the show. There was plenty to discuss!
Below, you can find how Different for Girls went from a drama development to a book to a web series. Also, you can read how hard it was getting the web series funded. Well, I am glad it worked out, and I hope that one day, I can watch a second season!
We talked about more things during the interview than what you can read here. If you watch the video, you can hear how Rachel Shelley got involved in the project.
The book version of Different for Girls
Me: “So, Different for Girls started as a book, right?”
Jacquie Lawrence: “Originally, Different for Girls was a drama development for Channel 4. Then, it moved into a book and then, it changed into the series that you have just seen. But, when I was writing the book, I always had an idea that it would become a screen project. So, the chapters of the book are very short and have cliffhangers. And, to use your words, it is very, very soap-like. The chapters are like soap episodes.”
Me: “I think it was AfterEllen.com that had that article online: ‘Your new favorite soap opera.’ I read it and thought: “I guess that makes sense, but I do not fully agree.”
Jacquie: “Yeah, I liked your analysis.”
Me: “Did you read the book reviews on Amazon?”
Jacquie: “I did! It was interesting because it was first on Amazon.co.uk and then on Amazon.com and one said that it was the new L Word. I thought that was wonderful. I think overall they were pretty favorable.
Me: “Because I loved seeing the comments that people wanted to see it on screen and watch it as a web series.”
The start of Different for Girls as a web series
Me: “I am usually quite up-to-date when it comes to new lesbian web series, but I was not familiar with this one. Is it a fairly new production or has it been around longer?”
Fizz Milton: “Well, it depends. What is new? I mean, we started the series production two years ago. We were going to film twelve episodes. It was incredibly ambitious.
We were hugely reliant on the Indiegogo campaign that Jacquie had kicked off. That was a very different learning curve for me. My background is in straight mainstream TV and film. It was a completely different approach. You feel an even greater sense of responsibility, I think. People have put their own money into it. It takes you back to that ruthless… You want to make it as good as possible.”
Fizz: “We had various pledges from people and right before Brexit, something did not work out, and we had to retrench and start again. I think it is a real message about how perseverance pays off because we were going to stop.
But Jacquie went: ‘Ok, how much money do we have and what can we do? Let’s rebudget. Let’s reschedule and let’s look at the story. And let’s go to the essence of the story. Could we do six episodes?’ I said: ‘Can we do five episodes?’ The director said: “Can’t we do six episodes?’ Let’s make it work. We were really working together as a tight-knit team to bring it to fruition.”
Me: “What does an event like ClexaCon London mean to you and your projects? Do you think you can get something out of it for Different for Girls?”
Jacquie: “Absolutely. I was very interested when you said I have not heard about this. Actually, the one thing that we did not have a budget for was distribution and marketing that a tv series or film would have. It is really interesting listening to Fizz talking about how hard it was. I mean, we filmed in each other’s houses, a lot of the characters are wearing our own clothes…”
Me: “Really? That’s awesome!”
Jacquie: “I don’t know if you have noticed the recurring white Mini. That Mini is in every scene. So really, in a way, we have not even started the marketing. It has been through word of mouth. We had quite a lot of press coverage when we first dropped because one of our main actors is very well known.
There are still markets we have to get into, certainly in Europe. It has taken off really well in the UK and in the US, but everywhere else, we really need to make our presence. And ClexaCon London is, of course, ClexaCon Europe.”
The cast of Different for Girls
The rest of the interview, we discussed how Fizz and Jacquie found their actors. If you didn’t know already, Rachel Shelley is in it. “OMG is that Rachel Shelley?!” is the number one comment that people left under my video and social media posts about Different for Girls. Naturally, I wanted to know more about how she got involved in this project.
After my interview with Fizz and Jacquie, I was also able to talk to Victoria Broom, who has the very, VERY interesting part of Fran. You can read and watch that interview next week, so stay tuned (and subscribe to my channel!)
PS here are my interviews with Kat Barrell, Jamie Clayton, the team behind I Can’t Think Straight, Nicole Pacent, Mandahla Rose, and the directors of ClexaCon.