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studied Drama & Film Studies at Manchester University and then moved to London in 2000. She started off working as an assistant to Literary Agent Jessica Sykes at ICM (Now Independent Talent) for 2 years before moving to Redwave Films to work with Uberto Pasolini (producer of The Full Monty). Beth then worked briefly at BBC In-House Drama (now morphed into BBC Studios) for Sally Woodward Gentle when she was acting head before becoming a Development Editor at BBC Films. Stayed at BBC Films for 11 years working her way up to Exec Producer before leaving in 2017 and joining Amazon as Head of Development for European Originals. She left Amazon in the summer of 2018 and is currently freelance.
This Q & A was compered by Rosie Fletcher, Movies Editor at Digital Spy.
Beth, you actually left Amazon this summer. You mentioned you’re excited to start thinking about what you’ll do next. What would someone with a CV like yours consider moving into?
It’s an excellent question, and one I am thinking about all the time! I don’t know is the answer, actually. I left Amazon at the end of August, for mainly personal reasons to do with having a young family – it was a very demanding job. We can talk about all of that.
I am interested in putting my money where my mouth is, and maybe producing some stuff more specifically. So I’m thinking about whether I set something up myself, or whether I go and work with people that I already know at other production companies. I’m just having a lot of coffees, and lunches. It’s really nice!
I honestly don’t know. It’s only been about three weeks. Amazon is a very specific place to work, so I’ve been decompressing a little bit from that. Opening myself up to see what’s next.
Is there anything you haven’t tried in the industry yet, that you’d like to?
I’ve never been a seller, as they say. I’ve always been a buyer, a commissioner, on this side of the desk. I’m interested to know how it would feel to actually be on the other side, putting a little bit more of what I know into practice.
Whether it helps that I was doing commissioning before, whether that’s actually a hindrance, whether anything I would say on this side of the desk makes sense when you’re that side of the desk, that will be interesting to find out!
And just working more closely with the people I think are great.
You mentioned that you’re a working mother. What is it like in an industry like this?
I think it’s really hard. It’s hard to be a parent of any gender in the industry! It’s obviously a really personal thing. I have two children who are 5 and 9, so quite small, and the job I was doing at Amazon was very big and involved a lot of travel. Just for me personally the balance got out of whack.
I was missing the good bits and only getting the really rubbish bits of parenthood, which is when they shout at you when you’re tired. I was wanting to remember why I’d even had them in the first place!
I think it’s really hard, and I don’t know what the answer is. Good bosses make an awful lot of difference, people who understand that it’s just TV, or it’s just film, at the end of the day, and it’s not rocket science, and assemblies are important too!
It’s an ongoing thing, and I haven’t got any answers. I talk to my friends a lot about it. A lot of people in the industry I know are dealing with it in one way or another, but I think it’s a personal thing. It’s about your sense of balance and how much you’re willing to give up, or how much work you’re willing to do.
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