Derby writer Lee Dilley hopes to enjoy the last laugh as job-hunt ordeal is turned into sitcom
A WRITER has drawn on his "bleak" job-hunting experiences to write a new sitcom being filmed in Derby.
Lee Dilley once applied for 120 different jobs, only to receive one reply – for a role as a supermarket shelf-stacker – in his quest for paid work.
Now the 31-year-old could be on the verge of having the last laugh, having turned his dispiriting experience into material for Jobseekers.
Lee, of Slack Lane, Derby, used to work as a croupier in casinos and had the idea for the show while on a shift.
He said: "I moved to New Zealand and worked there for a while but it was painful work and I knew it wasn't for me. When I moved back to Derby, it was at the height of the credit crunch.
"I had thought a show about people looking for work might be funny but the problem was, why would these likeable, smart characters be out of work? And then, when I came back to Derby, there were thousands of likeable, smart people out of work."
But, before he had put pen to paper, he found himself on the dole.
He said: "I did so many temporary jobs. I read gas and electricity meters, getting 20p for each meter – 20p! But, if I didn't get 90% of the homes in one area, that went down to 10p.
"In reality, I might make 60p an hour. And then I did door-to-door sales work, which was never going to make any real money. I met a lot of people in similar situations.
"But there was always – if you looked for it – humour in things.
"One bloke I knew said he was so depressed with being unemployed he tried to kill himself. He threw himself under a train but it passed clean over him. He couldn't even get that right. It's dark humour but sometimes it is the only way to deal with something bleak."
With the idea for the sitcom growing in his head, Lee enrolled on a film and video course at the University of Derby and found part-time work as an estate agent.
He then wrote the script for six episodes of the show and began pitching it to local film producers who he met through doing the course.
Jobseekers tells the story of three twentysomethings, Gaz, Josh and Ben, who are all looking for work.
Lee said: "We pitched to producers and now have £5,000 to start shooting, which we will hopefully be doing soon, working with Derby-based production company YSP Media."
Once a pilot episode has been filmed, Lee plans to pitch it to television companies to try to get it picked up for airing.
News of audition locations will be released at the show's website: www.facebook.com/JobseekersOfficial.