Greetings all. I’m PJ Montgomery, and for unknown reasons, Mark has entrusted me with not one, but two episodes of Supermarket Matters. Oh, God, I’m a hack! They’re going to find me out, and run me out of the country, then get a good writer in to completely rewrite my episodes! Maybe Tom Stoppard? I’ll never work again!
Um…. Sorry about that. Kinda went off on one there.
In all seriousness, I think Supermarket Matters is a wonderful project, and I’m immensely proud that Mark agreed to let me write for it. At first, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d be up to. This kind of sitcom is a little out of my comfort zone for a few reasons. One, it’s for a podcast. I’m another writer who tends to think visually, and trying to switch that off and think in terms of radio has been a challenge, but one I’ve enjoyed. In the end, on my first episode anyway (episode 2, tentatively titled Divine Comedy), I actually found it quite liberating. It meant that, more than I ever have before, I was able to focus on character and dialogue, two things I particularly enjoy working on. A couple of the characters in particular are a blast to write for, and I think I found their voices relatively easily. It helps that Mark had fully realised this world and these characters beforehand, so a lot of the credit has to go to him for that.
But that’s actually the second thing which I found daunting. I’ve never written for another writers world before. Everything I’ve ever written prior to this has either been something I’ve created, or at the very least, something I’ve helped build with another writer. This is the first time someone else has let me play in their sandbox, and I found it to be a fascinating experience. I have to keep in mind that I’m not the only writer on this, but rather, I’m just a small cog in a larger machine. I can’t go nuts and blow up the Grab ‘N’ Go in my second episode, something which would be a very real possibility were I writing for myself alone. These aren’t my characters (though I take full credit for Mad Jasper and can’t wait for you to meet him), and I have to stick to Mark’s vision of his world and the people who populate it. I think, were I working for a lesser writer, then I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly so much. Thankfully, Mark is a gifted writer who has created a world that it’s a lot of fun to work in.
That said, I do enjoy shaking things up a little bit and playing with the format, which is why in my second episode (episode 3, titled The New Guy), we get to see the Grab ‘N’ Go through a different set of eyes, as most of the main characters take a back seat to someone we haven’t met before. Hopefully, if I’ve done my job properly, it’ll be a fun episode.
Finally, the third reason working on Supermarket Matters has been a bit different for me, is a simple one. There are absolutely no zombies, superheroes, aliens or atomic monsters in it. What’s up with that? Unless…. Hmmmm… Hey, Mark, I think I’ve had an idea for the second series!