From Playground Dreamer To Popular Actress and Film Producer

Tanya Franks at the Evolution CBS Seminar

Picture the scene, a six year old Tanya in primary school, hair in bunches, writing
sketches and songs, trying to rope whoever my best friend was at the time into
being the other half of my comedy double act. We were going to win Opportunity
Knocks, not just once, but week after week, with my rendition of Diana Ross and
The Supremes’ ‘Baby Love’, or my routine of impersonations to ‘Old Macdonald
Had A Farm’. I had plans, big plans.

At the age of ten my headmaster asked my Mother if “Tanya had thought about going to stage school”. Mum asked me the question and my reply was, “Yes I would like to be an actress, but I don’t fancy going to stage school”. I envisaged precocious singing and dancing girls with ringlets, the image in my head just didn’t float my boat. No, I would like to be at a secondary school with a good drama department, then drama school from the age of sixteen. And so it came to pass.

2012 is my twenty-sixth year acting and it continues to be a whirlwind of a journey. I
sussed very early on that we each spend too many hours in a day working our butts off – if I don’t love my work, then I’m doing something else.  Fortunately, I chose well, spending fourteen years treading the theatrical boards, touring nationally and internationally with numerous productions performing Shakespeare to Miller. My favourite role of this time was the seductively common female lead Sylv in Steven Berkoff’s twenty-fifth anniversary production of ‘East’ in London’s West End. The legendary Mr Berkoff taught me the art of vulnerability in every role, a lesson I constantly carry with me. I never felt more at home than at England’s renowned National Theatre, having played leading roles in three sell out runs.

With the new millennium came the offer of television. Regular role, after regular role, kept me off the streets, from Detective Chief Inspector Morrell in the long running
drama series ‘The Bill’, to drunk primary school teacher in the BBC’s award winning comedy series ‘Pulling’, to heroin/crack addict Rainie in the multi-Bafta winning ‘EastEnders’.

Challenges make every day worthwhile in my book, hence, why I took the plunge into starting my own company Stock-pot Productions, producing numerous theatre shows and progressing to writing scripts and creating films. I always thought others
could write better than me, that they must be funnier, smarter, and definitely
taller. I experimented shooting a couple of short films when actor/director James Barriscale said to me “You should write in your own words”. I’m sorry…what? I pondered this for six weeks not really knowing what he meant, until one Saturday morning in September 2006 I wrote my third short film ‘One Day’, this was the first script I had written alone, everything else I had co-written. People read it, liked it, responded to it, and financially supported it. I co-produced it, James directed it, and it was officially
selected for numerous national and international film festivals, culminating in being voted Kodak Best Short Film Finalist of 2007.

The success of our fifteen minute long ‘One Day’ (available to download from iTunes), starring Tim McInnerny of Blackadder and Notting Hill fame, gave me the confidence to
tackle writing a full-length feature film. I now find myself in the fortuitous position of having a US co-producer Todd Shill of Rhoads & Sinon, and have extended my production company to Stock-pot Films LLC based in the US, with my first feature, a drama comedy called ‘Fly Me’ which is scheduled to shoot in the Autumn once finance is finalised, to be released in 2013. My second feature, the romantic comedy ‘Squirrels and Butterflies’, is in development.

We are in the process of seeking to build relationships with individuals who would like to consider financially being part of these exciting low-budget ventures.  It’s a fulfilling time ahead… Not a bad achievement record for the six-year-old in the playground with big plans.

For further information email:

Tanya Franks
Stock-pot Films LLC




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