First-time screenwriter Kelsey Munro pens a hit that jumps and bumps off the page, News

First-time screenwriter Kelsey Munro pens a hit that jumps and bumps off the page

Audiences have fallen in love with Stan’s original series Bump. We spoke with the series co-creator and first-time screenwriter Kelsey Munro to learn more about this refreshingly candid, grounded and cheeky Australian series.


You worked as a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald. What inspired you to make the transition into screenwriting?

I think it was the sheer joy of watching a good story told well on TV, particularly these days when so many great shows are pushing the boundaries of what the medium can do. Getting swept up in stories made me want to create stories myself. I certainly didn’t start with any expectations of getting my own show, I wanted to see if I could write something good. 


You developed the concept for Bump with Claudia Karvan. Can you tell us about how the partnership came about and why you wanted to tell this story?

John and Dan Edwards introduced me to Claudia because they thought we’d get along and that we could do something with this idea I’d pitched to them about a smart teenager who has a surprise birth. I think we both related to the idea of the shock of motherhood that is dramatised in Bump, and with Bump we wanted to mess with the historical images of motherhood we’ve all previously seen on TV. 


One of the interesting things in the writing of this series’ characters is that they steer away from stereotypes of parents, teenagers and their relationships. What kinds of conversations did you have with your co-writers Jessica Tuckwell, Timothy Lee, Mithila Gupta, Steven Arriagada and Claudia Karvan to develop these characters in the writing room? 

A key thing we didn’t want to do is insult the audience’s intelligence. We talked a lot about trying to surprise the audience narratively; but in terms of avoiding stereotypes that was easy and organic because we were going for something more naturalistic that came from our own collective real-life experiences, rather than well-worn TV archetypes. 


What do you think needs to be changed within the industry to see more diverse Australian stories like Bump brought to our screens and what kind of content would you like to write in the future? 

I think industry gatekeepers perhaps need to take more chances to let fresh voices through. John Edwards, Dan Edwards and Claudia Karvan have made a lot of great TV over the years, and they were willing to give me a shot as a first timer. That’s a gamble that most other producers wouldn’t have taken. 

The world around us is far more diverse, multicultural and interesting than most TV has been historically. I was really determined to have a totally multicultural school because that’s the real world in Sydney and across most of Australia’s cities. The casting director Kirsty McGregor worked above and beyond to find diverse, talented actors, many of whom are new to the industry. 

As creators I think it's important to constantly challenge your own presumptions and keep checking yourself for unconscious bias. And to treat your characters with respect, like real people, even the minor ones. 

As for me, there are a million things I want to write. I am particularly obsessed with the advance of authoritarianism around the world and what that means for all of us, especially women. 


After having record breaking views on Stan it has been announced that Bump will be renewed for a second season. Why do you think it resonated so well with audiences and have you got plans for distributing the series overseas? 

I am both delighted and surprised with how well Bump has resonated with the audience. I really didn’t expect it. We got so lucky with the cast, we have these luminous young actors like Nathalie and Carlos who are so great to watch. Yes, we hope it will soon be seen overseas - iTV are the international distributor. 


Bump is streaming on Stan.

Watch the trailer.

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