Meet Elspeth Penny – Director of 2BU Productions

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2011 3:34pm


Francesca Morosi meets Elspeth Penny – Director of 2BU Productions

I met Elspeth while we were both in the hubs trying to “devour” our sandwiches in the short lunch break before our workshops started. Despite the struggle in talking and devouring, we decided to give it a go…..

Elspeth started her company about two years ago. She‘s not new to this conference, she came first time last year and it was such a productive experience that she is now looking at the CMC as a yearly appointment not to be missed. “Last year I was really lucky.  I pitched during one of the workshop and immediately after that I was invited to go on an expensive paid trip to Amsterdam at the CINEKID conference, where I had the luck to meet my Spanish commissioners!

They liked my program’s idea and they asked me whether I could adapt it for an older audience (it was originally created for 10-15 years olds) so we are now producing this program for Spain’s ITV3 aimed at 16-25s. It was all out of the blue and happened so quickly. I am now hopeful to make this program a reality in many other countries, seeing it translated in many languages, including China.” (She has already arranged four meetings with Chinese delegates).

I asked Elspeth to tell me a bit more about this program and how the idea started.

She explains that she like programs to be idea and story-oriented without a rigid structure and possibly allowing for interactive content (maybe a forum for top-tips) with viewers themselves participating actively in adding to the program with their stories and experiences.

The program in Spain is going to be a TV series with a live show attached to it. She shows me an old booklet which was printed around the time when she was a 12 year old girl: “You see this is a book lecturing girls about beauty and how to look their best (strategies tips and so on), it is done in old fashion way; in my program I want to offer a renewed version of this, including different ideas of what beauty can be and how a teenager’s life can be (their problems, interests, etc…). Basically the idea is to offer teens lots of different perspectives of how to manage this period of their life, you want to educate them without them knowing it (it must be story-based or they would lose quickly any interest), it will be mostly about LOVE, but I want to emphasise that there are many different ways to be”. Title ideas so far for the Spanish run?  “How 2B” or “How2B a Teenager”. She finally confessed that she has high hopes to see the program aired in UK, possibly in its original version (her “baby”, she called it) which was created for a younger audience (10-15).

(Good luck with your program Elspeth, I hope your lunch went down well after all!:)

She explains that it’s not only about finding commissioners but about finding new ideas to develop further: “Last year at the CMC I had very good suggestions from a guy, which I then put into practice.”