We’re asking writers we admire to write for us, and we’ll be releasing their posts monthly throughout 2021.
We asked Annabel Brightling, a Solihull based scriptwriter and member of the West Midlands writers’ group Script Sirens, to write the November blog entry.
Seaview is a supernatural drama set in Coventry centred around a guy who lands his dream job at a law firm, only for his night of celebrations to go awry and change the lives of his loved ones, forever. The show premiered the first three episodes at the Belgrade Theatre on 10th November with further showings on the 11th – 13th November. I was hired as a staff writer for episode one.
SeaView took a chance on first timers, both in front of and behind the camera who worked alongside seasoned professionals. There was an open call for a writers’ room. New writers are often told to “Apply to the BBC writers’ room or 4Screenwriting. Go on the Screen Skills website. Have you tried the BFI?” All brilliant and necessary companies. But sometimes, you just want to get paid to write. Without the SeaView writers’ room callout, I would still be creditless, applying for these four opportunities on loop. Or alternatively, told to get an agent to get staffed in a writers’ room and we know how that catch-22 scenario goes. I doubt open calls for writers will become industry standard, but I’m thankful to the producers for making that choice.
Seaview is also proof that there is room for a TV & Film industry to exist outside of London. There should be more stories coming from across the UK. There are places I’ve never visited and will not get the opportunity to see. That’s why I want to watch stories from different towns. Despite being born and raised in Edmonton, North London and I will never give up that identity (currently at war with my fading accent), I’ve always been curious about this little Island.
The curiosity stems from my parents. They were always keen on my siblings and I travelling outside the M25. They wanted us to explore landscapes, historical landmarks, and food. Even though Mum would be up half the morning making jollof, chicken and stew to take with us “just in case”. That curiosity about other towns and cities has helped with the type of topics I cover in my original scripts.
I still have a way to go in terms of my writing skills. Because of my personality type, I will always compare myself to other’s progress. But getting the ‘yes’ after years of ‘no’ or folks just straight-up ghosting my emails, has reassured me. The fact that I got to play a small part in a project which means so much to the Midlands, is even more rewarding.
Who knows if SeaView will be the start of the norm or a blip in the Midlands cultural zeitgeist. It’s a win for the Midlands, which showcases the area to a wider audience. I hope for investors, the Midlands will be unskippable. It will soon reach a point where you won’t be able to hear an advert anywhere in the UK without a Midland accent penetrating through the speakers. So, in conclusion, invest or lose out…