First-Time Episodic Director Orientation Program

About the Program

When an Employer employs a ‘first-time Director’ to direct an episode of a dramatic television, High Budget SVOD series, or High Budget AVOD series, the individual must, prior to commencement of employment, attend the DGA’s Television Director Orientation Course on Professional Standards for Episodic Directors (“Orientation Program”).

The Orientation Program is targeted towards educating participants about the responsibilities of a dramatic episodic television Director and is only available to individuals who have been offered employment by an Employer as a ‘first-time Director.’

For the purposes of this provision, a ‘first-time Director’ means an individual who has not previously been employed as a Director of a dramatic motion picture, which includes a commercially released theatrical motion picture, an episode (including a pilot) of not less than twenty minutes in length of a dramatic series (including a mini-series) made for free television, pay television, or basic cable, a High Budget SVOD program, a High Budget AVOD program, a long-form television motion picture or a made-for-home video production. Shorts, commercials and music videos are not considered a dramatic television motion picture.

The Employer must notify the Guild in writing at the time of booking a ‘first-time Director’, but no less than thirty days prior to commencement of employment. If employment is scheduled to commence within fewer than thirty days of the assignment, notice must be given as soon as practicable.

Sessions Schedule

The DGA offers this one-day Orientation Program both in Los Angeles and New York at the Guild’s offices, as well as virtually from time-to-time. The course is taught by highly experienced television Directors.

Upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, August 17, 2024 – Virtual
  • Saturday, September 21, 2024 – Los Angeles
  • Saturday, September 28, 2024 – New York

More Program Information

Notifications from Employers should be addressed to Libby Buchanan ( or 310-289-5383.

Notification must be given in writing and must include the following information:

  • Director’s full name
  • Series and number of the episode they have been offered employment to direct
  • Start date of directing employment
  • Director’s mailing address
  • Director’s email and phone number

Individuals may contact Libby Buchanan about the First-Time Episodic Director Orientation Program but must have a verified employment offer to be eligible to attend the course.

An Employer may notify the Guild if they intend to hire an individual currently employed on the show in another capacity, but who has not yet been formally employed. Upon review, a waiver of the requirement to have a firm offer may be granted by a DGA Executive. Notification should be sent, as stated above but excluding the employment start date and episode assignment, for Guild review.

While some work can be easily defined as one of the exempt program types above, some may not be as clear. It is the Employer’s responsibility to notify the DGA and to comply with this requirement. In order to assist, the DGA will respond to the Employer on whether a Director is considered a ‘first-time Director’ and must attend the Orientation Program.

Individuals who reside in Los Angeles or New York or who are employed in Los Angeles or New York shall attend the Orientation Program before their assignment as a ‘first-time Director.’ For others who are living outside Los Angeles and New York, or for whom no Orientation Program is available before their assignment, the DGA will make accommodations, such as one-on-one mentoring with an experienced television Director or other substitute orientation.