` In conversation with: Melissa Beth - Directory

In conversation with: Melissa Beth

A founder, executive producer and the driving force behind Hostage Films. Meet Melissa Beth, a passionate producer with an unwavering commitment to impactful storytelling, shares her approach to producing in this captivating conversation led by our host, Rob Payton.

Rob Payton: First and foremost, what madness prompted you to get into the world of making television commercials? 

Melissa Beth: I graduated film school at NYU planning to work in features but got my start at MTV as an assistant to an account executive selling commercial airtime. It was a really interesting look at the commercial industry from the business side. From there, I was able to move into the MTV Networks production department, which I loved. 

I left to produce an indie feature film, which led to another feature, then TV pilots, short films, tons of music videos and finally, commercials. Eventually, I ended up as the Vice President of an international production company, launching a commercial specific division. It was a full circle moment. 

Since then, I’ve been the Executive Producer at a couple of other international production companies, ultimately deciding to open my own shop. With Hostage Films, I’ve been able to stay in both the film and commercial world, developing features, shooting passion projects, and creating campaigns with agencies and clients around the globe. It’s been a dream, and also, a lot of work. 

R: You rarely hear people say ‘I want to be a producer’. But you knew that from the outset, didn’t you?

M: At NYU, if you wanted to be a director, you had to fund your own projects. I was working my way through school with very limited financial support, so directing was less of an option. As a producer, I got to work on great projects with creative people who had their own funding. In a way, it was a very relevant life lesson. 

I always had a keen interest in budgeting, managing money and managing time. Because nobody wanted to do that, I had all the doors opened for me and a lot of opportunities to gain experience. Nobody I was meeting wanted to be a producer at all. 

If you find a space where you feel you’re respected and people appreciate your efforts, then it makes you feel good. At the end of the day, everybody wants to be appreciated.

During location scouting

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