DDI Mis-En-Scene 0916

Mise-en-Scène: Staging & Camera

September 22, 2016 A Director Development Initiative Event

On September 22, more than 100 DGA members looking for ways to improve and help themselves get ready for their next episodic job, gathered in the Guild’s Los Angeles Theater 2 for the latest offering of the DGA Director Development Initiative’s curriculum-based speaker series. Mise-en-scène: Staging & Camera. The series is designed to provide current information on the Director’s craft in order to further the Guild’s mission to increase the diversity of the industry and this installment featured a panel of seasoned episodic television Directors discussing the behavioral, aesthetic, and technical aspects of staging — and its relationship to “camera” storytelling.

Following a welcome from DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Todd Holland (The Real O'Neals), Director/Executive Producer Michael M. Robin (Major Crimes), who was serving as the moderator for this evening, invited Directors Deborah Chow (Fear the Walking Dead), Zetna Fuentes (How to Get Away with Murder), Millicent Shelton (Empire), Sylvain White (Major Crimes), and Greg Yaitanes (Quarry) to the stage for a discussion that included how a director’s initial staging of a scene during prep might change during the shoot; the process of making the DP an ally; tips for making up time when behind; and how to do something new as a guest director on a show while maintaining the show’s desired look.

The panelists also took questions from the audience then mingled with the attendees in the reception that followed.

You can watch video highlights from the discussion in the gallery below.
DGA members, please log in to view the full discussion from this event.

Members can watch the full video from all of the
Director Development Initiative Speaker Series events by clicking here.

About the Panelists:

DDI Mis-En-Scene 0916Michael M. Robin (moderator)
A DGA member since 1990, Robin began his career as a production assistant on the hit series L.A. Law, where he worked his way up to Producer in the fourth season. Since making his directorial debut on the series Cop Rock, he has gone on to direct thirteen drama pilots, including pilots for C-16, The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Dallas and Major Crimes. In 1993, Robin earned an Emmy Award nomination for his direction of the “Guns 'N Rosaries” episode of NYPD Blue.


DDI Mis-En-Scene 0916Deborah Chow
After receiving an MFA in directing from Columbia University, Chow wrote and directed the feature, The High Cost of Living, which won the SKYY Best Feature Award during its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. She since directed for numerous television series including Fear the Walking Dead, Mr. Robot and Turn: Washington’s Spies. Chow joined the DGA in 2014.


Zetna Fuentes
A DGA member since 2007, Fuentes began her directing career in New York theatre working on numerous critically acclaimed Off-Broadway productions. A graduate of the Disney|ABC Directing Program and the CBS Directing Initiative, her credits include episodes of the series How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Jane the Virgin, iZombie, Forever, Pretty Little Liars, Longmire, Queen of the South, Madam Secretary, Scandal, and Zoo. She was also nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on Guiding Light and One Life to Live.

DDI Mis-En-Scene 0916Millicent Shelton
Since launching her career by directing over 100 music videos a including Salt-N-Pepa’s hit, “Expression,” Shelton, has gone on to work on an array of series including Empire, American Crime, The Flash, Scandal, 30 Rock, Black-ish, Shades of Blue, Parenthood, and the pilot episode of Awkward. In 2009, she was the first African American woman to receive a primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for the “Apollo Apollo” episode of 30 Rock. She has won three NAACP Image Awards for episodes of The Bernie Mac Show, The Hustle and Men of A Certain Age, which also earned her a Peabody Award. Shelton joined the DGA in 2000.
DDI Mis-En-Scene 0916Sylvain White
After starting his directorial career with award-winning short films, music videos and commercials, White made his feature directorial debut with Stomp the Yard and would go on to helm the action comedy, The Losers and the acclaimed murder mystery, La Marque Des Anges. A DGA member since 2005, White’s filmography also includes numerous television episodes for series such as Hawaii Five-0, Major Crimes, Sleepy Hollow, The Following, Empire, and Person of Interest.
DDI Mis-En-Scene 0916Greg Yaitanes
Having directed and produced over 200 hours of television, Yaitanes’ credits include episodes of Lost, Damages, Grey’s Anatomy, Ray Donovan, Heroes and Banshee. In 2008, he earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for House M.D. has led his team on House and Banshee to 29 Emmy nominations and six wins, and the first Emmy nomination for content aired exclusively online for the Fox series, Drive. Yaitanes has been a DGA member since 1996.

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