Name: Beatty Smith
Hometown: Brighton, England
Grad year: 2019
Dorm: Breen-Phillips Hall
Being an International Student, how did you hear about and decide to attend Notre Dame?
I always wanted to study at university in America because it was something different and exciting. I knew that at most US uni’s you are allowed to change your mind about what subject you want to study so you have more control over your degree than in the UK. An admissions officer (shout out to Don Bishop) was visiting different schools around England to talk about ND and I guess he persuaded me! I knew ND had a high academic standard but I think it was the ethos that drew me to it. To be honest, I only knew what was on the website when I applied — The first time I stepped foot on campus and saw the dome was the first day of orientation. It was terrifying!
You’re currently studying abroad in the Notre Dame London program. How is that going?
Being a British citizen, I’ve been to London many times, but I’ve never actually lived here. It’s incredible to wake up in the morning, hop on the tube and walk to Trafalgar Square for lectures. Lots of people ask me, “why would you study abroad in your own country? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?” I do understand that, but the reason I’m here has got nothing to do with coming home (although it is nice to be back). After I graduate, I may be living and working in London so the experience of living and working here now is invaluable. Whist I have built connections and had work experience in the US, I have not done the same in the UK. For me the London program has been about engaging in the UK film, TV and media industry as much as possible.
What’s been your favorite part about studying abroad so far?
My favourite part has been experiencing London film festival! I went to a premiere screening and a couple of Q&As. It was great to be around so many other people so excited about the future of film in the UK.
Do you miss Notre Dame?
I miss people constantly talking about the leaves changing colour. Why do people care so much about leaves? I don’t understand. But they’ve brainwashed me, because now I’m back in the UK and I come out with things like, “Oh, that tree’s a nice colour!” and my British friends just go “…?”
When did you first realize you had an interest in studying television/film?
None of my family have any interest in the film business, but they love films. I grew up watching films almost every night, regularly going to the cinema and always discussing them in detail afterwards. When I was about 10 I noticed on the credits of a movie it said “Directed by…” and I asked my mum what “directed” meant. The more I learnt about what happens behind the scenes in moviemaking, the more I wanted to be a part of it.
This past summer you had some pretty incredible experiences! Would you mind telling us about some of them?
I interned for a film company at Cannes Film Festival. I had to pinch myself every day – I walked the red carpet at premiere screenings and attended parties on Yachts. You know. The usual thing.
After the festival was over, I flew to LA and spent two months interning at a film company there. I grew up in the countryside in England, so LA was like a fairytale land that didn’t exist in reality. It’s safe to say this summer was the best few months of my life.
Post-Notre Dame, what are your goals and aspirations?
I intend to move to Los Angeles and get a job in a film company, preferably in acquisitions and creative development. I’m not picky – I just want to work in the business in any form. One day, I hope to be a professional screenwriter and director.
What are you involved in on campus?
I am president of the Media and Entertainment Industry Club which aims to help people learn about the business as well as how to get internships and jobs post-graduation. We host talks with alumni and other cool events – my favourite thing we do is a 48-hour video workshop event every semester where teams have 48 hours to make a short film with assigned prompts.
Favorite TV show?
Peaky Blinders. The script, the actors, the setting, the music… everything about it is incredible.
Leon: the Professional
And finally… who inspires you?
Donna Langley is a British woman from the Isle of Wight who rocked up in LA at 22 years old with no experience and no connections – and she is now the Chairman of Universal Pictures. She is a huge inspiration to me as a Brit and as a woman trying to find her way in the industry. I have read that she is fun to work with and supportive of creators, but she can be tough when she needs to be, which I think shows great leadership. She was named the Hollywood Reporters Women in Entertainment Executive of the Year in 2015.
Images provided by the interviewee