Starting at the Bottom

It all started with an advert in the local paper.

“Wanted! Girls and boys aged 12-13 to appear in Britain’s BIGGEST new reality show!” Harriet read, curled up in her favourite chair.
Her mother looked up from her laptop.
“That’s nice, dear. What’s the show called?”

Harriet quickly read through the rest of the article and frowned in irritation.
“It doesn’t say.”
“Hmm…odd” remarked Mrs. Marriott. She looked down at her screen again; mentally counted to ten. 8…9…
“Muuuum…” her daughter began in the wheedling tones she used when she wanted something.
“Yeees?” replied her mother, mimicking her.
There was a long pause. Mrs. Marriott looked up and smiled.
“We’ll see”

In a London office, James Crimson, TV director, leaned back in his old leather chair and took a sip of coffee. Placing the mug on his desk, he picked up a sheaf of papers and leafed through them. Budget, concept, format, schedule… It was all there. All the paperwork he needed to begin filming the controversial show that would make him a big name in the world of reality TV.

The phone on his desk rang, shattering the silence. He picked it up. Before he began to speak, he waited for the excited voice on the other end to finish. As the casting agent who was speaking went on, a smile appeared on his lips.
“Sounds perfect, Harry. Send them up.”

After great debate, Harriet had finally been allowed to audition for the show. Her natural talent at acting, and her good looks, had caught the eye of the agent. It was she, along with three of her friends who shared her talent and had come along with her, who was now on her way up to see Crimson.

Harriet looked at James, Sam, and Lucy. They gave her encouraging smiles, tinged with nerves. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door.
“Come in!” called a voice from inside. Harriet grabbed the handle and pulled.

The office was small, cramped and stuffed with paperwork and files. Five chairs had somehow been crammed in around the desk, one of which was occupied by a tall, slim man with dark hair. If the sign on the door was to be believed, this was James Crimson.
“Well, don’t just stand there! Come in, come in! Shut the door, would you?” Crimson looked them over with a benevolent smile. Perfect! he thought to himself.

“So, I expect you’d like to know a little about the show we’re going to put you on?”
The four gasped.

“You mean we got in?”
“Of course! I couldn’t interview a few hundred candidates in here, could I? No, you’re the ones.”
The four shared excited grins and high-fives.
“Now, this show is going to see how well you cope with different levels of responsibility. We’re going to film for twelve weeks. Possibly longer, we’ll see how it goes. During that time, you’ll all be confined to the house we’ll use to film in. Everyone ok so far?” Nods. “We’ll air one episode a week. Saturday night, five o’clock. Don’t worry, we’ll keep the tapes so you can all have a copy when you leave!”
Harriet looked at Lucy and grinned.

They’d done it! They were actually going to be on TV! It was unbelievable.
“Now” concluded Crimson. “It’s half four. Your parents will soon be arriving. When they do, I’d like you to bring them up to me. Just to go through the paperwork.”

The pre-teens left the stuffy office, feeling giddy with excitement. Once out in the corridor, they almost danced down to the entrance to wait for their parents.

Back in the office, there was an exchange of pleasantries. Forms were filled out, paperwork was completed, and the friends gradually grew more and more bored. Finally, it seemed as if Crimson was coming to the end.

“This is the final piece, and the most important. This is our contract. Basically, we promise to keep your children up to date with their schoolwork, and you agree on behalf of your children to complete the filming. If you leave early, the company will sue and you will lose an incredible amount of money. Please, think very carefully about this.”

After what seemed an age, the final form was signed and the kids were in!
“See you on the 12th of March for the start of filming!” Crimson concluded, as he showed them out of his office

1 Like

Re: Starting at the Bottom

This, in entirety.

This is a big improvement over your previous work. And Elibean raises some excellent points about how you can make this a much more immersive setup, rather than just rushing through the setup to get to the payoff.

Re: Starting at the Bottom

Thankyou for the critique.
Good to know I’m improving and not deteriorating!

Re: Starting at the Bottom

i hope Drake makes a cameo! ;D :wink:

Re: Starting at the Bottom

I can tell the kids are in for a rude awaking and they are not going to be happy I kind of feel sorry for them but yet I kind of feel jealous for them

Re: Starting at the Bottom

“So I’m actually going to be on TV!” Harriet laughed.
“That’s amazing!” replied Joan. The two girls were sitting in the school canteen, chatting over the school lasagna. Mainly to put off having to eat it.
“I’ll be sure to watch you when it’s on!”
“Please do. It’s going to be great!” Harriet smiled. “We’re starting filming on Monday- I get out of school!”
“Lucky!” Jean grumbled. “There’s a maths test on Tuesday, and I haven’t started revising yet.”
“Tut, tut” Harriet teased. “Not dedicated to education, does not put in enough effort, must try harder!”
“That’s so much like Mr Bailey, it’s scary!”
The bell rang, making both girls jump.
“See you later!” called Harriet, as she ran to her lesson.

It was Monday morning, and the four successful friends were standing in front of an ordinary-looking suburban house- No. 37, Gasket Street. Their parents had given up waiting half an hour earlier, and had driven home, leaving their best wishes and ‘good luck’ all round. Finally, the black front door swung open, and James Crimson stepped out.
He beamed at the faces that would make his fortune, looking from one to the next with satisfaction. Harriet, James, Sam, Lucy. Names, as the saying went, to conjure with.
“Come in!” He exclaimed. “Make yourselves at home!”
They filed in, walked through the narrow hallway and followed Crimson’s pointing finger into the lounge. They seated themselves on a soft leather sofa and looked around the room slightly nervously. Crimson walked in behind them and seated himself in an armchair by the window.
“So” he began. “I suppose you’d like to know something about the show?”
There was eager nodding. Crimson smiled wryly to himself, certain that they would not be so enthusiastic when he had finished.
“Well” he continued. “As of now, you are no longer friends, and three of you are no longer 13.”
There were some confused looks at this, and the director happily elaborated.
“You are now a family of four. At a certain point, you will change roles within the family. Every time, there will be a mother, a father, a baby, and an older sibling, who will be the age that you are now.”
There was a nervous giggle.
“It’s like playing mums and dads!” Lucy said.
“In some ways, yes” Crimson conceded. “However, our version will be somewhat more… realistic.”
There was no longer any giggling. There was a deathly silence in the room.
“For example, the baby will wear and use nappies 24/7 for the time that they play that role” Crimson began to explain, to horrified looks. “The mother and father will actually change the baby’s nappy, feed the baby, put the baby to bed, take the baby out to the park in a pram…” He broke off as the outraged hubbub grew louder.
“No way am I wearing a nappy!” Sam declared. “I don’t want to do this any more!”
“Ah, and that’s why you signed the contract. Remember, we will sue. Now, roles. To start with, the baby will be Harriet. The older sibling will be Sam, the father will be James and the mother will be Lucy. Well, I’ll leave you to get yourselves sorted out for a few hours. I’ll be back this evening to get things started.”
He rose from the chair and left the house, being sure to lock the door behind him. He chuckled to himself as he strode down the street to where his car was parked. Things were only just beginning…