As a member of the script
do you get your ideas for the episodes?
Ideas come from everywhere. From events which happened to
us (The Script Department) at school, to stories in the daily
newspaper. Sometimes we would borrow from ideas (All script
departments "borrow") from other media. Sometimes we would
see a location first and then think of a story to use it for. For example, the
seal enclosure at the Manly Aquarium or the Ferry to Circular Quay.
the specific talents of our cast would suggest stories. Drazic's roller blading
and Sarah's ice skating abilities come to mind. Whatever the story, there was
one factor that was essential to make it work: It had to touch the emotions of
one of characters involved.
How do you decide when a character should leave?
There is no hard and fast rule but when coming up with new stories for a character
gets too hard, we usually know that it is time to move them on. A good character
should be able to sustain about 40 - 50 episodes before they burn out. Some exceptional
characters like Drazic, Anita and Ryan go way beyond this, however. The life
blood of the show was our ability to keep coming up with fresh new characters
that fitted into our group.
Why did the opening titles change so much mid way through the final season?
Because we were having our biggest change of cast for over 80 hours, we felt
that the titles needed to be updated in style too. It's surprising how quickly
titles seem to date a series.
What was the reason behind changing schools?
The original school was redeveloped into a couple of hundred flats. It was on
a large site and quite close to the beach and we always knew we would lose it
one day. We made 130 episodes there and it served us well. Although, having been
vacant for a number of years it wasn't exactly in tip top condition. Our production
and script departments were housed in the school in what could best be described
as primitive conditions. Cold in Winter and hot in Summer. Our new school, which
happened to be at the opposite end of Sydney was much more modern but considerably
smaller. We were much cosier there.
Where is the real Hartley Heights?
Sorry to say that there is no "Hartley Heights". The original school was in the
southern suburb of Maroubra and the second school was in the northern suburb
of Warriewood. We added "Heights" to the fictitous suburb's name to account for
the extra trees and greenery around our new school.
Why did Heartbreak High end?
Heartbreak relied on a lot of local and international money to fun the production
and one of the international broadcasters decided that it no longer wanted
the show. Although we were set to do another series and
had already plotted a number of scripts, there wasn't
time to tie up the finances before production could commence.
We all felt that the new cast were working well and there
was still life in the show , however I was happy that
were were able to tie up a lot of threads and end on a
How long does it take an episode of HH, from
writing to filming take to produce?
It takes about 8
to ten weeks to develop a script for one episode. Two
episodes are then shot over a two week period and post
production takes about another 5 weeks. That's about 15
weeks all up.
Script Writer/Editor Serge Lazareff played
the part of Drazic's father in two episodes. Did you
guys ever appear in the show?
Fortunately for the audience, no.
However, at the new school the script department was
housed in one of the demountable buildings opposite the
basketball court. You can often see us in the distance
working on future scripts!