Beau Ward (ABJ ’15) is a producer, director and creative executive at LD Entertainment. He’s worked in various roles in the entertainment industry, working on feature films, Broadway shows and documentaries. He’s best known for projects including “Introducing, Selma Blair”, “Jackie” and “Mama’s Boy.”
Grady L.A. changed it all
While a student at Grady College, Ward majored in mass media arts (now entertainment and media studies), and participated in the Grady L.A. program. Ward says he made about 100 cold calls to different places in L.A. while in search of an internship before landing one with LD Entertainment.
“Really, that Grady L.A. summer is what changed it all for me,” Ward said.
Ward said before the program, he was deciding between moving to Atlanta, New York or Los Angeles after graduation. After spending the summer in L.A. and having friends who were moving there, he decided on L.A.
When Ward moved after graduation, he didn’t have a full-time job lined up, but he accepted a position as a temporary receptionist at LD Entertainment.
“That sounded a lot better to me than running pizzas,” he said.
Ward said he drove across the country with a mattress on the roof of his car, thinking he would save money and not have to buy one when he arrived in California. To his surprise, the wind resistance from driving across the country with a mattress on the roof ruined his car and cost him about a thousand dollars in damage.
“My car was falling apart by the time I drove into Los Angeles,” he said.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Ward said having friends with him there helped while they were couch surfing and sleeping on floors, being “starving artists.”
“Looking back it seems sort of romantic, but at the time was not super fun. But, It was great to have a whole bunch of my friends and former classmates from Grady. We were all out there doing it together…finding jobs and rooting each other on.”
Wearing many hats at LD Entertainment
Within six months of working for LD Entertainment, Ward was working as the assistant to the CEO. After working in that position for just over a year, he was promoted to his current role as a creative executive. In his current role, Ward says he wears many hats. His role includes developing scripts, finding projects to bring to investors, and seeing projects through post-production, including casting.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to really be able to see films through from their very inception through production through post-production and then even into distribution and making sure it has an appropriate release,” Ward said.
Ward said there are two projects that he’s especially proud of.
He was a producer for the documentary, “Introducing, Selma Blair,” a Critics Choice nominee that was presented at South by Southwest film festival.
The documentary follows the life of actress Selma Blair following a diagnosis of multiple sceloris before she was about to embark on a risky medical procedure that involved stem cell replacement.
“So, it’s following her not only going through these medical treatments, but learning what it means to live with a disability and how she maintains her identity and her sense of self and even grows through this chapter of her life.”
Ward was a producer for the documentary, “Mama’s Boy,” which follows the life of Dustin Lance Black, a screenwriter who went on to be an activist for equal rights and fought for marriage equality.
“It’s about how he used the values that his mom instilled in him in terms of resilience and fighting for what you believe in and not letting the world tell you how to live your life … taking those things and then helping so many people through his through his activism,” he said. “So that’s one that I’m very, very proud of.”
Ward said “Mama’s Boy” was shot in 2021, and he and his crew traveled across the country to the different areas featured in the documentary.
“Traveling is one of my favorite parts of the job,” he said.
Recently, Ward shot an upcoming film in New Mexico. He lived in France for three months in 2019 while working on a film called, “The Cursed.”
A changing industry
“It’s a really really interesting time to be in industry,” Ward said. “Streaming is changing everything.”
Ward said the way in which films are financed shifts almost on a daily basis due to changing audience habits. Part of his role is to think about how well a script will do a year into the future once it is past post-production and goes on the market to streaming services. Ward says this is a challenging part of the job, because it’s impossible to see into the future and know what audiences want.
“It’s definitely an exciting if sometimes scary time to be making films because you’re not sure what’s gonna work,” he said.
Ward believes audiences are looking for something different. With the number of streaming services and a “saturated market” of entertainment, he believes they want to watch entertainment that “stands out from the pack.”
“There is, I think a generational change happening. I think you’re seeing a huge wave of perspectives and representation in Hollywood. It still has a long way to go, but you are seeing a big push for increasingly diverse perspectives and voices.”
Ward offered a few pieces of advice to current Grady and EMST students.
He said internships are important so that students can learn about the flow and pace of the industry and to see first-hand how businesses are run.
Ward said most industries, especially entertainment, are about who you know.
“It is such a who you know career because the creative process can be so intimate and you are dealing with creating a piece of very, very personal creative content,” he said. “So, it makes sense that you want to work with people that you know, and people that you trust that you believe in.”
“My advice would be do as much as you can to meet people to learn where their career has taken them what sort of their paths are, but also just to foster those relationships,” he said.