On her own terms
Beatrice Copeland ’11 is on her way to achieving her dream of directing films full time.
By Tyler Seibring ’19
The daughter of an architect and a theater producer, Beatrice Copeland ’11 discovered her passion for both organizing and storytelling at an early age. While at Elon, she came up with an idea for a show after seeing her classmates struggle with organization. She began producing videos for ESTV of her helping students be organized while offering tips to viewers, and Bea Organized was born.
”Elon provided me the opportunity to experiment,” Bea says. “I was able to find what I wanted to do both behind and in front of the camera.”
Now living in New York and working at Refinery29, a digital media company focused on women, Copeland is still doing the show, though her clients have changed a bit over time. “It’s been fun to see the show grow—from starting with Elon students to working with bloggers, celebrity chef Gabe Kennedy and sometimes organizing my employees,” Copeland says. “It’s great being able to develop a show where I can fuse my knack for organizing and interest in making video content.”
Her do-it-yourself and room-makeover series has garnered thousands of views on YouTube and become one of the company’s most popular segments. The topics she covers vary from tips on organizing “junk drawers” and streamlining closets, to how to use plants to bring light and color to a space and creating home décor items using inexpensive materials found at a dollar store.
The life of a video producer leaves little time outside of work. There are no typical 9-to-5 workdays, Copeland says. Despite her hectic schedule, she still finds time to be a filmmaker. Her coming-of-age short film, “Erstwhile,” has been featured in several festivals, including the 2015 Cannes Short Film Corner. In 2016 she won the Symbiosis Competition at the Imagine Science Film Festival sponsored by the Tribeca Film Institute with “Light Hearted,” where she partnered with geneticist Andres Mansisidor to describe love in terms of electromagnetism, chemistry and radiation. “It allowed us the opportunity to mesh science with art and film,” Copeland says.
While she is enjoying her time at Refinery29, Copeland’s ultimate goal is to be behind the camera full time, directing. It’s a dream largely inspired by her experience with Elon in LA in summer 2009, when she realized the significant difference between the number of male and female directors. “It ignited something in me that I didn’t even know I had,” she says. “I had never considered being a director before.”
Copeland is encouraged by the progress she has seen in the industry in the short time since graduating from Elon. “All of the forward momentum with women in film, commercials and TV is very exciting,” she says. “We’re at an interesting time when women in the industry should feel empowered to take risks and put their stories out there.
“Now is the time to be unapologetically yourself.”
With a short film on the horizon, Copeland is on her way to achieving her dream and continuing to tell her story and that of other women—on her own terms.