Fall 2019


Shawn Pipkin-West

Changing Drivers in Midstream

By Becca Nadler

There are a few rules of thumb to which 1st AD Shawn Pipkin-West subscribes, including the belief that great ideas can come from anyone. "A lot of times I'll ask my PAs, 'If you were in my shoes, what would you do?'" she says. "I never think just because of a position someone's in that what they have to say doesn't matter. I've never been one of those people."

Pipkin-West, an alum of the Assistant Directors Training Program who currently serves as an alternate on the DGA's National Board, understands that seemingly difficult problems can often result in simple solutions, whether working on Facebook Watch's Sorry for Your Loss or while filming a driving sequence on another recent project.

"There was a scene with this young man driving down this lone country road with his girlfriend. [The actor] lived in New York, and I just happened to ask if he had a driver's license," she says. He admitted that he did not, which forced a last-minute brainstorming session. "Everything I was suggesting to make it work, they said, 'No, we can't do that.' I said, 'Okay. Well, can the girlfriend drive the car?'

"And then they changed the script," laughs Pipkin-West. "Just a simple line change and it was fine."

(Photo: Brian Davis)

At Work With

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

More from this issue
The latest DGA Quarterly is the Conversations issue, featuring discussions about filmmaking history and craft between directors Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, Pamela Fryman and Mark Cendrowski, Kasi Lemmons and Ed Zwick and Bo Burnham and Olivia Wilde.