The slow period she endured right before her most satisfying career break might have been enough to weaken the resolve of another person, but not Carol Green. Offered a job to work as a 2nd AD on the pilot of I’ll Fly Away, she turned it down.
“They promised that if it got picked up, they’d move me up to 1st.” Instead of taking the position, she said, “Call me if it gets picked up.” They did. Green got the gig as 1st AD, and the show went on to garner 23 Emmy nominations in its two-season run. “This was a show that was so good even the dolly grips read all the scripts,” she says.
One of the most memorable production days on the Georgia-based, early ’60s civil rights drama involved 500 extras protesting the integration of a college campus. “Some people brought their kids to the set because they wanted them to see how things were. I remember sitting on the sidelines, thinking, ‘This is really good, in a twisted kind of way.’ But it was kind of strange, rehearsing extras to scream racist epithets, and have people walk through that.”
Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Green was watching Annie Hall at a movie house in Pittsburgh, where she was majoring in theater at Carnegie Mellon, when she noticed the credit “DGA Trainee.” She called the Guild to find out more. Upon graduation, she boarded a plane for Los Angeles (the trip was a gift from her parents) to take the entrance exam for the DGA Training Program.
She was chosen to be among a group of 10 trainees who rotated among shows at Universal Studios. The experience gave her a solid foundation in the basics—as well as a network of contacts that has helped her keep up a career for more than 20 years, most recently with stints as 1st AD on Crossing Jordan and House.
Her time on I’ll Fly Away inspired her in another way. For the past two years, Green has been collaborating with a writing partner to create her own TV pilot. While she waits to see what happens next in her career, she’s working as a 1st AD on Ugly Betty, an ABC nighttime drama based on a hit Spanish-language telenovela.
“I always had a plan,” she says of the road she’s traveled. “And I’ve been very, very fortunate."