From The Writers' Room

Cathy Yardley on writing Geek Actually S1E1 "WTF"

Geeks are my people. Gamers, EECS majors, comic book fans, you name it. So are romance readers, and Chick Lit readers. I’m a woman of color, and I’m a feminist. They might seem like very different spheres, but I’m living proof that there’s overlap, and I know plenty of others that fit in the intersection of that Venn diagram.When Serial Box approached me, proposing a sexy, fun, geeky, inclusive and feminist series, I responded as you might have imagined.

Their approach was completely different than anything I’d ever worked on before. They wanted me to be a showrunner… help come up with the concept, and then work with a “writer’s room” of three other authors, to develop a thirteen episode “season.” The team – Cecilia Tan, Melissa Blue, Rachel Stuhler – and I met in New York, and spent a fun (and often raucous) weekend, hashing out details of character and development arcs, pacing and plot.What occurred to us almost immediately: this couldn’t simply be a Sex And The City styled story. Yeah, we wanted it to be fun, and light, but there were things we wanted to address. The characters were going to be either people of color, LGBTQA, or some combination of the two. We were going to be addressing things like doxing and bullying, and issues of discrimination in gaming and publishing. We wanted humor, yes, but we didn’t want to downplay the important stuff, as well.Beyond that, geek culture often has an ugly undercurrent of “cred” – are you a true geek, or a pretender? (“Oh, you’re a fan? Tell me which issue of Hellboy describes his cousin’s pet dog? Trick question: IT WAS A CAT!” Sigh. Could we not?)So yeah, there was a little bit of pressure to get it all right.

After a lot of writing, and re-writing, and lots of Slack chat, we finally dialed in the episodes. We got the voices authentic and consistent. We tempered the issues. We amped up the conflict. We got it locked down. Confidence, if not sanity, slowly started to creep in.

Now, the moment of truth. We launch… and hope that this fun, crazy, important, sexy, silly, representative thing that we’ve spent over a year getting to the page is received the way we dreamed it would be, by people who get it, and get us.God, I hope you love it as much as I do. 😊

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