Say exactly what you want — No one can get you where you want to go if they don’t know what you want to do. Whenever I introduced myself, I would always say I am an Assistant at XYZ and a Writer aspiring to get staffed on a comedy TV show. Anyone that spoke with me knew where I was and where I wanted to go, so they were able to point me in the right direction.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Brianna Seamster.
Born and raised in Southern California, Brianna Seamster found her love for storytelling and filmmaking during her middle school days, where she spent much of her time writing novels and scripts.
When she ventured out into the job force within the film and TV industry, she took on gigs left and right: Intern for media production company Aero Films, Production Assistant for an independent feature with Lionsgate, Grip for independent projects, ABC’s comedy show Single Parents on the production team as Office Production Assistant and producer for features, short films, and web series.’
Recently, she received the winning title for the Create the Writer’s Room 2020 competition for her original comedy pilot Homebound. Brianna’s writing portfolio speaks to her experiences as a black woman, highlighting conversations that most find difficult through the lens of comedy.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Brianna! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Igrew up in Orange County, most of my life being the only black person in every class. My parents were very supportive and encouraging to my endeavors as a writer/filmmaker. Though they weren’t knowledgeable about the industry, they always said that whatever I do, do it WELL! They also said not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. As a black woman growing up in the suburbs, that was a very invaluable lesson that helped me carry a tough skin and a positive attitude. As an adult now, I understand how important that was… and how it has helped me in the film industry.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have been writing since I was a middle schooler when I started, I wrote novels. I would write a chapter a week until the entire book was circulating among my classmates. They would all run up to me and ask, “Where is chapter 8?” Or “What’s going to happen next?” to which I would reply saying, “you have to wait till next week.” When I grew up, I realized that I had done what TV networks do nowadays; I created weekly entertainment for my audience. That is when I claimed myself as a writer. I started to explore more about filmmaking and television.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
When I first began my career, I worked on a set as an unpaid production assistant and walked out a grip! For two months, I worked very hard to learn everything I could about being a set PA, and whenever I had downtime, I would ask the crew about their jobs. I learned so much about gripping and the equipment. Because I was so eager to learn, the grip crew asked me to work with them on some of their other projects. Before I knew it, I was being paid as a grip to work on tv series’ and feature films. It’s not often you see a black G&E or a female G&E at that! So grateful to have gotten that opportunity and that the guys in the crew took the time to teach me.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now, I am working on packaging and pitching my projects, such as my episodic comedy show, Homebound.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity in film and television is important because it should mirror what our world looks like. Our world is diverse and full of color, so should the intake of our entertainment be. Our culture would be exposed to the truth that is simpler than people think. We are all beautifully different, and, in that way, we can learn and appreciate each other. We can love one another so much more if we tell our stories. It can also give more confidence and guidance to people young and old that don’t see diversity around them.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Trust your instinct — If something sounds off or you feel that someone doesn’t have your best interest at heart, you’re probably right. The times I trusted my gut, I ended up dodging a bullet.
- Just write — Sometimes I would overthink my idea’s or think they weren’t good enough. Go for it! Write out your ideas and expand on them, you will see that your mind is a powerful thing when you put it to work.
- Learn Structure — It’s important to learn your craft and know it well. As a TV Writer, I study scripts weekly to elevate my writing. When you master the structure, the stories flow, and your writing shines through.
- Go out and meet people — The film industry is a very network-based industry. The more I went to events or signed up to webinars or mixers, the more I learned about groups and people that could help me learn more about this industry.
- Say exactly what you want — No one can get you where you want to go if they don’t know what you want to do. Whenever I introduced myself, I would always say I am an Assistant at XYZ and a Writer aspiring to get staffed on a comedy TV show. Anyone that spoke with me knew where I was and where I wanted to go, so they were able to point me in the right direction.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
These are the things I do to thrive: plan, meditate, yoga, and dance. When I know what I am doing, I feel much better about my days. Then, once I know what I am doing (which soothes me, personally), I meditate and do yoga to ease my mind. Then I get up and dance. Overall — give yourself “self-care” days. Your mind needs a break!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are many people who took a chance on me to get me into jobs or to point me in the right direction. I thank them all for saying yes to me over these years.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life quote is, “You are you, that is truer than true; there is no one alive who is youer than you.” By Dr. Seus. I remind myself every day to be ME! I try to live life as unapologetically me as I possibly can.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have a coffee with Danny McBride because of how unapologetic he is about his storytelling. As a fellow comedy writer/creator, it would be great to talk about stories and new ideas to shake the world about. You can’t make change unless you shake the table.
How can our readers follow you online?
Please follow me on Instagram @briannaseamster and on Twitter @SeamsterBrianna.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!