DGA members looking for avenues to success in a wider variety of genres and production platforms made their way to the DGA’s New York offices on June 2, for the AD/UPM Council East seminar, Crossing Over: How to Work Effectively in Multiple Genres — Features, Episodic Television and Commercials.
AD/UPM Council East Member Education Co-Chair Michael Reichman welcomed the audience to the seminar that featured a discussion with a panel of Assistant Directors who have had experience in working in multiple genres. The panel was comprised of 1st ADs Don Julien (Generation Um..., CSI: Miami, The Brass Teapot) and Richard Patrick (Unforgettable, Imogene, In Treatment), and 2nd ADs Daniela Barbosa (Blue Bloods, White Collar, Law & Order) and Darren Maynard (30 Rock, The Bourne Ultimatum, Entourage). 1st AD Brad Abrams (Reno 911! and commercials) served as moderator of the discussion that gave insights on how to be an effective AD in all of these project types.
The panelists spoke about the challenges of building careers in a freelance marketplace and how accepting work helped them forge relationships and contacts that ultimately opened unexpected doors. They also discussed how the skill sets required in the different genres are similar but often the pacing and practices differ, such as how the handling of transportation is completely different in film than it is in commercials. They also presented examples of the paperwork involved in features, episodic and commercials, illustrating how although much of the information is similar, there are differences such as how a film call sheet compares to a commercial call sheet, or a film production report to a commercial one.
Although the panelists proved that it is possible to find work in multiple genres and platforms, their general consensus was that eventually careers developed with an emphasis on a particular genre. According to their advice for members working in a new genre, the keys to success are to pay attention, stay flexible, and be able to adapt and learn.