Our next guest is Bethany Rooney, an acclaimed director of over two hundred episodes of television. She has worked on hit shows like NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy, and most recently CBS’s Bull. Bethany started out at Bowling Green and a friend got her the first job as a secretary in a production office. That grew into a position as an Associate Producer on the show St. Elsewhere and later her directoral debut in season four. Thinking back on her experience she firmly beleives that the job of a director is always evolving and to create that opportunity you have to make yourself stand out.
Our industry is constantly evolving whether it’s camera technology, how audiences view content, or what kind of shows are popular. Creatives never stop learning. When we stop learning, we stop growing. Bethany still views herself as a student, “I still learn something every day when I shoot which is astonishing to me.” Even with her years of experience she finds out new things about the industry. She tells others to commit yourself to absorbing as much information as you can.
This industry is team driven. One person can’t do it all by themselves. Yes, there are show runners or creative minds that drive a project, but it takes a cast and crew to pull it off. The director serves as an important role that brings all this talent together. Bethany believes it’s one of the most important responsibilities of a director, “The job of the director is to have a vision of that episode and bring together all these different people and bring them into that vision … make them feel that they contributed to that vision.” Don’t isolate your teammates, you will need them.
Be passionate, be quiet
Don’t let the heading fool you. To have a long career in this business you have to have passion. Sometimes that is expressed loudly, sometimes it’s about listening to those with years of experience. It’s very easy to think of an entry level position as a stepping stone to nowhere. In Bethany’s opinion it’s the perfect place for passion to shine, “Somebody who has a happy energy to be around, somebody who is passionate about the business, somebody who knows when to ask a question and when to be quiet, somebody who is taking what they’ve learned, what they’ve observed and using it, those people will shine and those people will step out of the crowd.” Never lose your fire, and never stop learning all you can.
We want to thank Bethany for sharing with us her words of wisdom about staying passionate, collaborating, and always be learning new skills. Join us next next as we welcome John Tinker to Stories in Film.