Episodic TV Directing Class

The Art & Craft of Episodic TV Directing

April 1, 2017 A DGA Director Development Initiative Workshop

A group of 20 episodic television directors were able to learn more about their craft when the DGA’s Director Development Initiative hosted an invitation-only workshop on their behalf. The three-part training that began in the Guild’s Los Angeles Boardroom on March 25, was designed to provide both the insight and knowledge that will get the participants further into their careers.

Under the tutelage of veteran television directors Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli, the attendees selected for this event engaged in an exploration of prep and production for episodic television. Utilizing a sample script and a production schedule, the instructors began with the basics of the concept meeting where they learned what is the script asking for, what kind of locations might be required and the responsibilities of each department involved. The instructors also touched upon how to handle a casting concept meeting, familiarize oneself with the directing team and what to look for in a “tone” meeting.

The second day of the workshop dove into camera blocking and shot listing and the concept of editing the cut to have a clear point of view. The participants were asked to create shot lists and discuss the breakdown of scenes and explored how to prepare to direct actors. For the final session, the workshop moved to a sound stage where they were able to put their training into action via a hands-on situation where they directed actors.

About the Instructors:
Belli is an Emmy Award®-winning director with more than 20 years of experience and has directed more than 150 episodes for such series as Hart of Dixie, The Game, Monk, Wizards of Waverly Place; Sister, Sister; Charles in Charge and Girlfriends. She is the co-author of three books: The NEW Sitcom Career Book, Acting for Young Actors and Directors Tell the Story, which she co-wrote with fellow DGA member Bethany Rooney and teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. A DGA member since 1987, Belli also currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Guild’s Women’s Steering Committee..

Rooney has directed over 200 hours of prime time TV including critically acclaimed series such as Scandal, Arrow and Nashville, and classics including Desperate Housewives, Ally McBeal and Brothers & Sisters. She began her directing career on the 1980s iconic television show, St. Elsewhere, where she also served as an associate producer. In addition to co-authoring three books on directing with Belli, Rooney has taught directing at UCLA Extension and numerous acting workshops in the LA area. A DGA member since 1985, Rooney also currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Guild’s Women’s Steering Committee and as a Co-Chair of the DGA Diversity Task Force.

About DGA Diversity:

photos by Elisa Haber & DGA Staff

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