Top Producer Finds Her Gender No Handicap
LOS ANGELES — `IF I decided I would have greater problems as a woman, I probably would indeed, but that is not how I see myself,'' says Beth Polson. ``You create the truth around yourself. ... You create the exception.'' Ms. Polson, now an independent producer, is one of the most-decorated women in the TV industry: As producer for ``The Barbara Walters Specials'' (ABC, 1983-86), documentaries for ``NBC Magazine with David Brinkley'' (1975-81), and several made-for-TV movies, she has been honored with three Emmys and 20 other top awards or nominations such as the Humanitas, Luminas, and the Christopher awards. She has been on staff at two networks and produced several movies-of-the-week for a third network in her 15-year career.
``This will probably get me in trouble with the sisterhood, but I think a lot of women use sexism as an excuse for not moving forward,'' Polson says. ``I never found my career at the networks to be at disadvantage for being a woman.''
Polson doesn't look at the world in terms of male versus female, but rather quality versus schlock. In 1981 Polson founded her own independent production company, Corapeake Productions. It is one of only two in the industry run by a woman. Great filmmaking, not freedom from male domination, was the goal.
When offered control over all dramas, mini-series, and made-for-TV movies at a major studio, she declined. ``Economics forces them to do too many things I wouldn't want my name on,'' she says. Being independent ``gives me the freedom to pick the most worthwhile.''
Her latest, and as yet untitled, project she describes as the ``kind of Frank Capra-esque narrative that is hard to sell to networks.''
Asked whether her passion for high quality and unconventional drama are manifestations of femininity or just her own individuality, Polson replies: ``Maybe that's being a woman, or taking my job too seriously.''
Corapeake's ``Guess Who's Coming for Christmas'' will air on NBC Dec. 23.