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Arts & Culture

Second Draft to expand into documentaries and television with support from BIC

A Sunderland media company is expanding into documentaries and television, in a move that they hope could help the business grow into “the next Northern media hub”.

Second Draft, which is based at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), initially specialised in creating commercial video content for a prestigious client base. But, following a successful two years in the corporate world, they’re now branching out into documentaries and television programmes, which could see stories from the North East on national TV.

Originally founded by business partners Mark Bell and Glen College, Second Draft moved into the BIC in August 2018 after receiving support from Sunderland City Council. They rapidly established a loyal base of corporate clients, who loved their documentary-inspired approach to filmmaking.

The firm netted major contracts with Invest North East England and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and produced the official film for Sunderland’s 2021 City of Culture bid to widespread acclaim.

Now, the company is preparing to add television production and documentary making to its list of services. The business will be moving into a larger office, creating new jobs and making a substantial investment in new equipment to get the firm ready to start pitching ideas to TV commissioners.

Co-founders Mark Bell and Glen Colledge say that there’s a gap in the market for North East media content, claiming the region is an untapped source of inspiration and human stories that are ideally suited to documentary filmmaking.

Mr Bell said: “Compared to the rest of the country, our region has a relatively small number of production companies giving a voice to our communities but there is no real reason for that to be the case. We have the office space, the business support, the talent, the stories and we are a region of natural storytellers.

“We come across people every day who have the most remarkable experiences to share and we work with organisations doing amazing things that deserve the attention of the wider world. We are incredibly excited about helping to tell these stories.”

Mr Bell and Mr Colledge have spoken about the support they received from the BIC, which has helped them to expand the business so rapidly.

Mr Bell added: “It’s what allows people like us to start up a media business and enjoy such success – this just would not happen the same way in London.

“There’s so much more creative potential here and it’s exciting to think that in five years or so we could become the next Northern media hub and could successfully attract the next big broadcaster in the way Leeds secured Channel 4.”