Storytelling has always been an innate part of Wendy Bain’s purpose. As a child, she explored this in English and literature classes, and as she grew, acting became a way to express herself. As she became an actress, her passion for telling stories only intensified. Working as a professional actor, known under the stage name Wendy Meredith, and comedic improviser, story ideas and characters would vividly come into her imagination, and she began jotting down these thoughts as honest and fun tales started to form in her mind. Eventually, she added another role to her resume: writer. The transition came naturally, and now she knows it is what she was always meant to do.
“I’m also Welsh and we’re supposed to be good storytellers,” said Bain. “At least that’s what my Grandma said about my Granddad.”
Like many talented screenwriters, Bain doesn’t have to try to come up with a story. They are simply born in her imagination and captivate audiences. Her hit play Charlotte Davies Is to Blame for Everything tells the story of Charlotte Davies, who decides to go away with her husband, it does not go as planned. Charlotte's wildlife documentary maker husband, Duncan takes Charlotte on a job with him in Wales. The cottage that is hired for is in the middle of nowhere, and unbeknownst to Charlotte, it is owned by her old nemesis, Lesley Irwin. Lesley has married Charlotte’s boyfriend Dewey, who still sees Charlotte as the love of his life. As the weekend unfolds, so do many hilarious and heartfelt events. The play, which has been renamed Old Frenemies and will play at the Hollywood Fringe this year, was born from an experience the writer had years ago.
“As a screenwriter, I like to take a ‘slice of life’ and heighten the drama and comedy of the situation. I start off with premise of ‘this is the day when…’. I try to create believable characters that in some way remind me of myself or someone I know, to hopefully evoke accessibility and empathy in the viewer so they connect and care about the characters and enjoy the journey through the story,” said Bain.
Once again, Bain’s newest project is based around a life experience she endured. Years ago, she had a bad car accident where she suffered from terrible vertigo and lost her hearing for a period of time. Now, most of it has come back, and after knowing others who are hearing impaired, her experiences prompted her to write a pilot script for a 12-episode series titled Quiet Life. The show is a 30-minute comedy/drama with a female lead, set in the world of LA indie rock about the challenges of being newly deaf.
“Quiet Life was inspired by a neighbour of mine in London who is a singer and excellent musician and is almost deaf. She is not profoundly deaf, profoundly deaf usually means that someone is deaf at birth and cannot hear at all. She had perfect pitch as a child and her parents were professional musicians. When she lost most of her hearing, she just adapted by lip reading, wearing hearing aids and feeling vibrations,” Bain described.
The show follows Devon, who experiences a hit and run road accident that leaves her severely hearing impaired – clinically deaf. A Juilliard trained musician, she adapts by changing the cello for the electric bass. Her dream is to play in a kick ass rock bass and go on tour. She hates her day job in an online complaints department of a music equipment company. Devon wants to appear as ‘normal’ as possible. With the help of hearing aids and lip reading she gets by most of the time, but sometimes - usually the most important - she doesn’t. Audiences also are privy to Devon’s internal thoughts.
“I saw an article on Millie Bobby Brown from the show Stranger Things last week on how she is deaf in one ear and can’t fully hear herself perform, but it doesn’t hold her back and makes use of her other senses. And of course, Beethoven was a famous deaf musician and there’s a deaf band called ‘The Beethovens’. It is a disability that artists can sometimes not only overcome, but utilize, and that’s what Devon does,” said Bain.
In the story, Devon can lip read extremely well and still has some of her hearing, but only the lower range of notes. This is what prompts her to switch to the bass guitar. Bain is a large music fan, and even was a singer in a band years ago called ‘Screaming Venus.’ Her passion for music made her centre the ‘world’ of the script around the Indie Rock scene in Los Angeles, and her interest in the bass guitar led her to choose it for her character.
“I’ve always thought that bass players are the coolest band members and having had two long term relationships with bass players I felt I knew enough to write about it. Female bass players are particularly bad ass, and I wanted my lead character to have an edge and a great sense of humor,” she described.
Bain recently began working with Dianne Fraser of Industry Entertainment in Los Angeles. The two are excited for their partnership, and for Quiet Life to grace the small screen. Fraser knows Bain is a true talent, and that her story is as compelling as it is inspiring.
“It is a joy working with Wendy because she is so collaborative and open to new ideas. I think this is something that also makes her a very good writer. She creates compelling characters and has keen dialogue talent as well. I’m looking forward to more great things for Wendy in her career and for our show,” said Fraser.
With quite a year in the pipeline, Quiet Life is just a small part of what we can expect from Bain in the next twelve months. She has another pilot in the works, and a film that will be based in Los Angeles. With so much going on, Bain still remains humble, and is just happy to constantly have the opportunity to create. For those looking to follow in her footsteps, she offers the following advice:
“Learn the craft of it. I have so many people say, ‘I want to write a script’ or ‘I have a good idea’. Agents, producers and managers all look for your execution of the medium you’re writing for. They don’t have time to teach you how, no matter how talented you may be. There’s so much competition. Write and re-write, get notes and feedback from those who know. Send in clean copy. No spelling mistakes or bad grammar. Be professional and appear to be easy to work with and a team player,” she advised.