How Not To Be Single is a comedy series created by James Musgrove of J.A.M Productions that follows the highs and lows of four friends struggling with single life. I worked on the series as co-director, cameraman, and scriptwriter; acting as a mentor during the writing of episode one, offering advice on dialogue, character and plot development, and writing episode two. Although the scenarios were heightened for comic effect, we wished to present relatable experiences and provide positive messages about how to feel confident and comfortable being single.
Due to my extensive experience and a fast-approaching production date, I was asked to write the entirety of episode two (script); working from a brief from James. Matt was to move out of his old place and in with AJ, the lads would throw a housewarming party, and they’d all have to fail at being single due to their various foibles; the rest was mine to play with!
For a moment, you may think you’re rewatching episode one as it starts similarly with a knock at Matt’s front door. This isn’t derivative writing but an intentional motif that I wished to reflect Matt’s recovery from his break-up. Episode one, he couldn’t even answer. Now he can but in low spirits. What will episode three show? The main characters’ personalities were so wonderfully defined in episode one – AJ, the father figure who pulls everyone together, Pat, the anally retentive math geek, Simon, the mouthy narcissist, and Matt, the insecure victim in need of his friends’ support – that I made sure these characteristics were continued in episode two, but I also added some development, particularly for Matt and Simon, so the series didn’t stand still.
The word constantly going around my head during writing was ‘dynamic’. Although a sitcom will inevitably have far more dialogue and be less visually driven than your standard short film, I didn’t want any scene to be solely about the dialogue and strove to always have an interesting action, location or visual element at play. This, as well as elements of the brief, led to a vastly increased cast that delayed production due to actors’ availability. The challenge we laid down for episode three was to continue with this dynamic style while sticking to the main cast.
Sadly, episode three never came to pass, due to one of the main cast leaving the country: Jack, who played AJ. I did write a script for episode three, working around AJ’s absence, which is available upon request, but James did not wish to proceed with filming as he felt a series finale really should have the entire main cast present.