Michelle Law is a freelance writer based in Brisbane, Australia. She writes for magazines, journals, newspapers, film and television. She is the co-author of the comedy book, Sh*t Asian Mothers Say, and has had her work anthologised in books like Women of Letters and Destroying the Joint. She is the co-creator of the web series Homecoming Queens, which will premiere on SBS On Demand in 2018.
*Photo Credit: Tammy Law
Congratulations on wrapping the filming of Homecoming Queens! Did you always envision it as a web series?
Chloë Reeson (co-creator and co-writer) and I always saw Homecoming Queens as a web series in its initial form. We’re both big fans of the web series format, in that it’s accessible and easily shareable. I also love how they provide a taster of a world and characters that can be surprisingly impactful.
Homecoming Queens features characters with chronic illness – which is not something we see enough on our screens, did you feel nervous about representing this or were you confident in your approach?
I was quite confident in doing it because illness was something I’d always wanted to see on screen but never had. The challenging part was making illness funny and finding ways to undercut any darkness with humour, as well as identifying those moments when the dramatisation of illness was necessary.
Most of the action in Australia’s arts scene seems to take place in Sydney and Melbourne. You’re based in Brisbane – have there been any particular challenges or advantages in basing yourself in your home state?
Being a freelancer means I can essentially work anywhere, but there are some opportunities I’ve missed because they require me to travel interstate and I haven’t been able to for whatever reason. But an advantage of working from Brisbane is that I feel comfortable doing my own thing and being immersed in my own projects rather than being influenced or distracted by external factors.
You write across many different mediums, do you have a preference?
I love all of them, but at the moment I’m mostly doing screenwriting and enjoying that a lot. I tend to juggle lots of different projects at once so I never get bored.
Michelle Law and Liv Hewson in ‘Homecoming Queens’ (Photo: Tammy Law)
While you’ve written your own non fiction and stories, many of your projects are quite collaborative – what do you like most about writing solo and what’s your favourite thing about being part of a creative team?
I’m quite particular about my writing and don’t like sharing it until I feel like it’s at a standard where I want to show it, so working solo means I have some control over that. But I love collaboration because at some point you get sick of your own ideas or just run out of steam and it’s exciting and reassuring to know that you’re part of a team of people who are all bearing the same responsibility.
When writing about your family, you share drafts with them ahead of being published. Have you ever been surprised by their feedback?
Sometimes I’m surprised by how differently they remember an event. Mostly though they just have suggestions for syntax!
Is there anything creative you like to do just for fun?
I’ve recently gotten into knitting and my friend just showed me what needle felting is, so I’m keen to get into that. I’d also like to get back into playing the violin again and want to join a choir.
What else is on your career bucket list?
I’d love to create more of my own TV shows and act more. I’d also love to write a YA novel one day.
Is there any advice you wish you’d been given when you first started writing professionally?
Have a proper system in place for tax! My drawers and wallet are a mess of receipts!