Bethany Rooney, who has directed more than 200 episodes of prime-time television during her lengthy career, will speak at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Wednesday, February 24. A recent episode she directed of the CBS stalwart Criminal Minds will be screened at 6 p.m., followed by a Q & A session.
Ms. Rooney is in town to direct an episode of the ABC-TV series Nashville; she previously spoke at the Film School in November 2013, when shooting a second-season episode of the show. Richard Gershman, chair of The Film School at Watkins, will facilitate the master class-session in the Watkins Theater, discussing the roles and responsibilities of a television director and her involvement with some of entertainment’s most iconic shows.
The event is free and the public is invited
Ms. Rooney’s three-decades Hollywood career has defied the odds of Hollywood: In a business where less than fifteen percent of directors are women, she has been at the helm of more than 200 hours of single-camera, narrative, prime-time television. A partial list of her series credits includes Criminal Minds, Scandal, NCIS, NCIS New Orleans, 90210, Rizzoli & Isles, Castle, Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, and Pretty Little Liars.
“If you have had a favorite TV drama in the last 20 years, there’s a good chance Bethany Rooney has worked on it,” said Professor Gershman, a fellow DGA member who met her in Los Angeles early in their careers. “Her experience rivals any television director working in this field. For perspective, 200 hours is enough episodes to fill about eight seasons of an episodic show.”
Bethany Rooney began her directing career on the 1980’s iconic television show, St. Elsewhere, where she had served as associate producer. Additional directing credits include the series Desperate Housewives, Arrow, Ally McBeal, Private Practice, Brothers & Sisters, In Plain Sight, Boston Public, Weeds, Parenthood, One Tree Hill, Dr. Quinn and Drop Dead Diva, and eight television movies (with three Danielle Steel adaptations for NBC).
Regarded as an actor’s director, Ms. Rooney has guided the performances of stars such as Denzel Washington, Hilary Swank, Mary Tyler Moore, Angela Bassett, George Clooney, Alfre Woodard, Felicity Huffman, Sally Field and Robert Downey Jr.
Ms. Rooney is also an author; with Mary Lou Belli, she wrote the insider’s look Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing (Focal Press, 2011), a practical guide utilized in directing classes on many college campuses.
Ms. Rooney holds a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University (Ohio). Based in Los Angeles, she has taught directing at UCLA Extension and numerous acting workshops in the LA area, most recently through Steppenwolf Theatre West. She also leads the Warner Bros. Directing Workshop as well as seminars in SAG/AFTRA’s young professionals program.
She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and has served on several committees for the Directors Guild of America.
Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in Metro Center; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit Watkins.edu or call 615-383-4848.
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four-year baccalaureate college offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a Bachelor of Arts in Art, Certificates in Film and Interior Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production. Established in 1885 as a community-based learning institution, Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997, and continues to shape and influence the cultural horizon and economy of our community through art, design and film instruction in an academic setting, as well as through the Community Education program for youth, teens and adults.
The Film School at Watkins is distinguished by a film curriculum that explores the artistic, technical and business aspects of independent filmmaking. With a focus on dramatic narrative film, the Film School helps students find their personal voice and style in order to incorporate these elements into their narrative work. Production courses are small, allowing for faculty mentoring and advising and close collaboration with colleagues. Watkins offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA) in Film with concentration in Producing, Directing, Screenwriting, Cinematography and Editing, and a Certificate in Film for those who already hold a Bachelor’s Degree.
Watkins alumni credits include television (“Nashville,” “Dexter,” “Sesame Street,” “Walking Dead”), film (American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, The Amazing Spider Man), music videos (Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift), studios and networks (Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, Discovery, A&E, Participant Media) and a variety of high-profile companies and franchises (Big Machine Label Group, Participant Media, TMZ, CAA, Tennessee Titans.)
Watkins is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); the MFA in Film Production is pending SACSCOC approval.