Beth's Open Road

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  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    The Original Roadtrip

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    New York, NY

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: The Original Roadtrip

  • ON DVD:

    The Open Road

BETH MCCARTHY MILLER

Director
Saturday Night Live and the MTV Video Music Awards

“If you work hard and persevere, I think that you'll be successful in whatever you do.”

INTERESTS:

Television

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Experience Hard Work Perseverance

TAGS:

directing, entertainment industry, happiness, leading, mtv, opening doors, practical, saturday night live

BIOGRAPHY:

Imagine: It’s the mid-’80s, and you’re a 20-something working a low-paying gig at MTV in its heyday. Then you get a shot at being a full-time producer. You’d take it, right? If you’re Beth McCarthy-Miller, you turn it down and wait for a plum director’s gig that’s coming down the line soon (or so your boss-mentors tell you). It was a risky move--turning down a full-time promotion to wait for the job she really wanted--but it paid off. Six months later, a directing job opened up and she got it. She was 25. She’d always known she wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but she wasn’t always so sure about her place in it. “I didn’t even know I wanted to be a director when I had the directors sitting me down telling me I should be a director,” she says. Clearly, she figured it out. And once she did, she moved fast. At the time, MTV was just starting to experiment with making its own content, so she got to do all kinds of shows, learning the different formats as she went; it was like getting paid to go to school, she says. So after she left MTV to direct The Jon Stewart Show (yes, that Jon Stewart) and it got cancelled, she was a perfect candidate for the main directing gig at Saturday Night Live, which had serendipitously just opened up as her previous job was ending. Reflecting on her career so far, she says, “If you work hard and persevere, I think you’ll be successful at whatever you do. Not every experience is going to be, ‘Wow, I’m so glad I’m doing this,’ but it might open up the door to something else.”

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