At Work With… Meredith Stephens, Executive Vice President of MPS Studios and MPS Camera & Lighting Austin
The ‘At Work With…’ Interview Series is our way of bringing you behind-the-scenes with the names and businesses included in our Texas Production Directory (TPD). We want to showcase the creatives that cover all levels of production experience, backgrounds, and geographies around the state.
This week’s spotlight is on Meredith Stephens, Executive Vice President of MPS Studios and MPS Camera & Lighting Austin and a native Texan.
What’s the most memorable experience on a project or production that you’ve had and what made it so special?
I met Drew Pearson on set, and had the opportunity to tell him how much I admire his talent. He offered to let me wear one of his Super Bowl rings for the entire shoot! That was pretty amazing.
What are the skills required to succeed in your specific area of expertise?
Honesty, patience, rolling with the punches, and knowing how lift gates work.
What advice have you been given that continues to be helpful in your work?
Do honest business, and never over- promise and under- deliver. Being upfront and transparent keeps communication clear, and everyone aligned. It makes everything so much easier!
In your industry, collaboration is the key to success. How do you best foster collaboration with your colleagues from project to project?
I work in tandem with DP's and production to find creative solutions to putting as much production value to the screen as possible. A quick brainstorming session to understand the scope of the project and shot list can lead to interesting ideas on how to achieve shots, while staying within budget.
What tools and supplies can’t you live without in your job and why?
I can't live without our team! We have a fantastic staff of craftsmen and craftswomen who help make every job successful.
How have Covid-19 safety protocols affected the way that you work?
COVID safety protocol has made meetings more efficient and meaningful. It has also made me more mindful of how and when I interact face to face with others.
What’s the best part about working in Texas?
We have incredible crew base, infrastructure, and locations in Texas. The sales tax exemption is the cherry on top!
What are some of the projects made in Texas that you feel reflect the diverse culture of the state?
A lot of auto commercials highlight the diverse locations in Texas - West Texas, Hill County, cityscapes, interstates.
Why do you choose the Lone Star State as a place to live and work?
I love being in the middle of the country, in cities that are only a 3-hour flight from almost any US location. I love the diverse terrain, and being able to drive 2-4 hours to feel like I'm in another world. And of course, all of the friends I’ve made along the way.
Interview has been edited for brevity.
Texas has thousands of freelance individuals, companies and associations that serve the film, television, commercial, video game, animation & XR industries.
If you or your business are listed in the Texas Production Directory, we want to hear about your special skills, memorable experiences and more.