Rachel Lang has been one of the driving forces behind some of New Zealand’s most popular television dramas. Beginning as a story editor on 1980s dramas Shark in the Park and Open House, she moved on to Shortland Street as a story-liner and then as the show’s Executive Producer for a number of years. Lang collaborated with writer Gavin Strawhan to create the South Pacific Pictures dramas Jackson’s Wharf and Mercy Peak. Later she developed the enormously successful Outrageous Fortune, as well as Maddigan’s Quest and Go Girls.
In this ScreenTalk, Lang talks about:
- Enjoying her first acting role and learning to march in The Marching Girls
- How Shortland Street changed the face of drama on New Zealand television
- How the soap gave voice to the Kiwi accent
- Loving creating Mercy Peak with its subtle approach to drama
- How initial despondency over network responses to the show led to major improvements
- How a spark of creativity in the shower led to Outrageous Fortune
- Wanting to make the show rude enough that people ‘had’ to watch it
- How Sex in the City influenced the home-grown show Go Girls
- Why This is Not My Life proved to be the most difficult show she’s worked on
- The need for a writer to be involved in the process of casting parts
This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via a Creative Commons licence.
Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside