On February 1, DGA members filled the Guild’s Los Angeles Boardroom as the AD/UPM Council West’s Mentor Committee celebrated the ADs and UPMs of the award-winning and nominated projects honored during the 66th Annual DGA Awards. For the eleventh time the Meet the AD/UPMs event gave attendees the opportunity to hear firsthand what went into the making of these celebrated movies, television episodes and commercials.
The morning opened with a welcome from Mentor Committee Chair Randy Turrow who introduced AD/UPM Council West Chair Marie Cantin. Cantin spoke to the assembled about the Council and encouraged them to get involved in their Guild. DGA Second Alternate National Board Member Timothy G. Engle also took the opportunity to urge support for the DGA PAC. Turrow turned the proceedings over to 2014 Frank Capra Achievement Award Recipient Lee Blaine who served as the event's moderator.
After a brief explanation of how the day would proceed, Blaine introduced the panelists: UPMs Shea Kammer from David O. Russell’s DGA Award-nominated feature film American Hustle and Stewart Lyons from Bryan Cranston’s Dramatic Series Award-nominated and Vince Gilligan’s Dramatic Series Award-winning episodes of Breaking Bad; 1st ADs David Dean from Matthijs van Heijningen’s nominated Verizon commercial, Craig Pinckes from Noam Murro’s nominated commercials for Guinness and Volkswagen, and Jey Wada from Martin de Thurah’s DGA Award-winning commercial for Acura MDX 2014; and 2nd AD Jody Spilkoman from Steven Soderbergh’s DGA Award-winning Movie for Television Behind the Candelabra. Also participating via Skype from San Francisco and New York were 1st ADs Michael Jordan from John X. Carey’s award-nominated commercial for Dove, Doug Torres from Steve McQueen’s award-nominated feature film 12 Years A Slave, and Michele ‘Shelley’ Ziegler from American Hustle.
The theme of this year's discussion was The AD/UPM Toolbox: Essentials to Achieving Success on a Project and after a screening of clips from the nominated and Award-winning works Blaine dove right in with questions that included: how has the increasing use of new technologies impacted their job; what are the biggest challenges in prepping and shooting commercials as opposed to feature films or episodic television; how to schedule sequences around a particular way a Director works in order to maintain the Director’s vision; and what are the most effective tools to use when attempting to work with minimal budgets and maintain maximum production values?
After the discussion, members were able to mingle with and ask their own questions of the panelists.