- Job title:
- Senior Manager, Production (Animation)
Beth had always been interested in film and television, but at the time that she was starting her career production management courses were not so readily available, so she chose to study Modern Languages and International Business, as she wanted to work in Europe.
Whilst working in Germany she took on a job at a company that analysed applications to the Distribution Fund for the European Union’s MEDIA II Programme. Through this she made contact with lots of producers, and also learnt about European licensing agreements, international broadcasters and saw how producers put together production structures and financed them.
Returning to London, Beth nurtured the connections that she had made. She ended up working with executive producer Marion Edwards at Telemagination, at a time when the company had just been taken over by TV Loonland, a large German distribution company. Her ability to speak German and her solid understanding of EU funding helped her to get the role.
Beth worked with Marion as head of production on productions including Little Ghosts and Pongwiffy and when Beth eventually took over from Marion as managing director she oversaw the completion of The Cramp Twins: Series Two and produced Rudi & Trudi, where she had to use both her creative and diplomacy skills negotiating between the German broadcaster and the script editor.
Later Beth produced My Life Me, a Canada-France co-production for TV Loonland, where both her language skills and production skills came in useful. Whilst working as head of production at TV Loonland, Beth also studied for a Masters degree in Social Policy and Criminology as she felt like a career change. She went on to work for a major youth charity for three years and then found herself consulting for charities, and also on productions for studios such as Hibbert Ralph Animation and Red Kite Animation.
Beth then took on the role of Senior Manager, Production (Animation) at Disney Channels EMEA, part of The Walt Disney Company.
Beth’s role is essentially a head of production role for the Disney Channel network in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). She manages productions for Disney Junior, Disney Channel and Disney XD across animation, from pre-school to ‘tween’.
Beth currently has 40 productions on her slate, all of which are in various stages of production and development; the average timescale for the development of a television series is three to five years. Productions are either co-productions, acquisitions or wholly owned by the network.
Disney EMEA works with studios across Europe. For example, they work with Brown Bag Films, based in Manchester and Dublin, on Henry Hugglemonster and Doc McStuffins for Disney Junior. One of their latest projects to go into production is Counterfeit Cat for the Disney XD Channel, a UK-Canada co-production. This is being produced by Wildseed Studios based in Bristol, and is one of the first times the animation tax relief has been brought into use.
Beth coordinates producers and production companies to ensure delivery of the properties that Disney has a stake in. She makes sure that the budget, cash flow, schedule and insurance is in place and they are aware of the required technical delivery specifications. Given her experience of analysing funding agreements Beth is skilled at looking at co-production budgets and seeing where discrepancies arise between what the producer has presented to Disney and to other partners and commissioners.
Working with a production studio Beth’s role is to coordinate between the producer and the legal team to ensure that the producer has all the necessary paperwork. Even on pilots there is a lot of paperwork involved, as Disney will often take co-ownership of development work.
Producers are expected to report every week to Beth on what they have delivered, what they are waiting to hear back on, and what they anticipate they will send next week, so that Beth and her team can plan the schedule for the teams at Disney.
Beth also has to work closely with the creative team at Disney EMEA who look over the scripts and animatics, to ensure that they are keeping to the schedule in making approvals and getting their notes out to producers. Her team tracks this process and keeps an eye on the schedule.