Summer 2019


Duncan White

Ensuring the Surprise Factor

By Becca Nadler

It's like doing 15 different shows in one," says associate director Duncan White of the reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race. "One episode we're doing a beauty pageant, [the next] a talk show, [or] a sitcom setup. I'm grateful for the experiences that I've had on multiple shows like that when we try and do something new."

White sometimes cues additional guests like Lady Gaga when they walk the runway with the queens during the show, ensuring throughout the day that the entrance surprises them in the moment. "You're really only going to get those reactions once," he says, explaining that "we come up with a strategy to prevent queens from seeing people before they're supposed to.

"My experience in reality has [also] impacted my work in scripted," says White, remembering a day as 1st AD on The Mist when he had to turn around a major background setup involving 300 extras, five boxcars and major stunts. "To be able to do that in a very short amount of time… get the information out on changing a plan and making it work and staying calm during the whole process is a big muscle that I've gained from reality television."

At Work With

Short profiles of Guild members in all categories sharing their experiences at work.

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The latest DGA Quarterly includes our cover story on Streaming's Expanding Landscape, the DGA Interview featuring Jean-Marc Vallée, features on televisions's producer/directors, Homeland, Game of Thrones, American Ninja Warrior and more!