It’s almost a year since Lighthouse Young Writers regular EVE WRIGHT won a commission from the BBC to record their audio piece Anchor. In a special article Eve writes about the unexpected and unpredictable journey that followed…
In March last year, I was commissioned as part of the BBC New Creatives scheme* for my project Anchor, a short piece about grief and letting go. Navigating this (surprising but welcomed) new direction with my writing did not come without challenge, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic taking hold of the country. I have never sent as many emails as I did in 2020, the majority of them about this project, and I hope this can provide some insight into my experience thus far.
Around six months was spent grappling with the script, which sounds very scary, but I can reassure you that I did not spend every waking hour at my laptop writing it. Counter intuitively, there were many moments where I wanted nothing to do with it and would have happily thrown said laptop at a wall and vowed to never write anything again. However, despite the I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out frustration at times when I could not get anything to click, this project seemed to come at the right time, and proved somewhat therapeutic, even, in navigating the sudden grief hurled at me during the pandemic. Sounds gloomy, I know, but lucky for me, you, my mentor and production team, and the BBC, my laptop and script (after many rewrites) is intact. Unfortunately, a seagull I have affectionately named Bob, did not make the cut. Thank you, trusty mentor, for not letting me insert that Easter egg into the script no matter how hard I tried. It is better off without him, trust me.
After a lot of minutes on Skype, frantic writing many drafts on Google Docs, and me having many brain blanks and a mini-crisis, at last, the script was born. The sheer joy of finally actually managing to finish a piece of writing for once was unmatched. Sadly, there was little time for a lion king moment where I held the script up in the air, standing on my office chair, as much as I would have liked it. Then, I got to find the voice actor. If I learned anything from this experience, I learned that becoming a casting director would not be a bad shout if my current career path goes horribly wrong and I become more mad than scientist. I expected the whole process to be a lot more painstaking and complicated than it was, but then again, I always do expect things to be harder than they actually are.
This is now the part you all probably came for – the actual recording bit. At one point I was thoroughly convinced I was going to have to attend through Zoom, which would have really been quite the experience. Fortunately after a (thankfully, safe) Christmas and a (thankfully, symptom free) self-isolation, I managed to make it to the recording studio in Southampton. Honestly, it was an absolutely wonderful start to my 2021. The fact I wanted to stay and interact with people I had never met before in my life (which is something I really do not like to do normally) really did just say it all. It was nothing how I expected, but in the best way, and I am so glad I got the opportunity to work with amazing people and hear the script come to life in real time.
I want to end this blog with some thanks: thank you to my trusty mentor, Antosh, for helping me on this journey, for your encouragement and support, and for your undying patience with my thousands of questions and occasional crises because I would not have gotten anywhere without you. Thanks to the production team for dealing with all of the techy bits I would’ve had no clue how to manage; the BBC and Calling The Shots for allowing me this once in a lifetime experience; and Scarlett, for being the wonderful voice behind the words on the script pages. As always, thank you to Lighthouse and ArtfulScribe, for without the writing workshops I am fairly sure my writing journey would have not been the same.
With all that being said, I don’t have a transmission date yet, but I’m buzzing to share the finished product with everyone and hope I will be able to soon!
*A talent development scheme for writers and artists supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts, delivered in the South West by Calling The Shots.