DDI Post 0918

Visual Storytelling: Editing and the Magic that is Post

September 20, 2018 A DGA Director Development Initiative interactive lab in Los Angeles

On September 20, DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment gathered at the Guild’s Los Angeles headquarters for Visual Storytelling: Editing and the Magic that is Post, the DGA Director Development Initiative’s (DDI) fourth panel and interactive lab of 2018 in Los Angeles. This lab explored how Episodic Television Directors can shape the story through editing and post-production.

Following a welcome by DGA Executive in Charge of Diversity Programs and Committees Frank Bennett Gonzalez, DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Todd Holland (The Real O'Neals) served as the moderator as Directors Kabir Akhtar (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Arthur Forney (Chicago Fire), Jaffar Mahmood (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and David Semel (Star Trek: Discovery), discussed how skillful use of post-production is an opportunity for Directors to enhance their storytelling process. Utilizing the old Hollywood aphorism, “There are three movies: the movie you write, the one you shoot and the one you cut,” the discussion explored the relationship between the three phases of the filmmaking process.

Following the panel discussion, the lab’s attendees had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions where they continued their explorations of the subject of the day and got practical advice from the veteran directors. The lab concluded with a recap from each of the groups with members discussing the information disseminated during their explorations.

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 Director Development Initiative events
by clicking here.


DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Todd Holland Director Todd Holland (moderator)
A DGA member since 1986, Holland broke into the industry after Steven Spielberg saw his short film, Chicken Thing, and hired him to write and direct for the series Amazing Stories. Since that start, he has directed three feature films and more than 170 episodes of television spanning the gamut of genres from dramas like Twin Peaks, My So Called Life, and Shameless to comedies like Tales of the Crypt, Friends and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in comedy. His work has earned him three Emmy Awards and eight nominations; five CableAce Awards; a DGA award and six DGA nominations; and a WGA nomination. He was a key creative force behind The Larry Sanders Show, Malcolm in the Middle, and co-creator of Wonderfalls. His recent work includes executive producing and directing the pilots for the series The Real O’Neals and Furst Born. Holland also serves as an alternate on both the DGA National Board and has served on the Western Directors Council.

Kabir AkhtarKabir Akhtar
Akhtar is an Emmy-winning director-editor whose work includes Arrested Development, New Girl, Unsolved Mysteries and the pilot episodes of 8th & Ocean and the relaunched edition of Unsolved Mysteries. He is currently a director/producer on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. A three-time Emmy nominee, Akhtar won the award in 2016 for editing the pilot of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He has been a DGA member since 2005 and previously served as a Co-Chair of the Asian American Committee.


Arthur W. ForneyArthur W. Forney
A 30-year veteran in the industry, Forney began his career in post-production at Warner Bros. before moving to Universal where he served as an editor on the hit CBS series, Magnum, P.I. He joined Wolf Films in 1987, and began working as an editor with Dick Wolf. He began directing in 1994 with episodes of Profiler and has since directed numerous episodes of New York Undercover, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and more recently, Wolf’s Chicago-based series, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. Forney joined the DGA in 1992.

Jaffar MahmoodJaffar Mahmood
A DGA member since 2015, Mahmood made his feature directorial debut with the independent film, Shades of Ray. The success of the film landed him a spot in the 2010-2012 Disney/ABC DGA Directing Program, the 2011 NBC Director Fellowship, and the 2013 Warner Bros. Directors’ Workshop. He finally booked his first network television directing gig on NBC’s About a Boy and went on to helm episodes of Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Santa Clarita Diet, The Middle and The Real O’Neals. Mahmood is currently the producing director on Young Sheldon.


David SemelDavid Semel
Recognized as one of television’s most versatile and successful producer/directors, Semel has guided a long list of pilots to series for both network and streaming services for over three decades. His directing credits include the pilots for Star Trek: Discovery, Code Black, Madam Secretary, Heroes, American Dreams, Life, Revelations, The Cleaner, My Own Worst Enemy, No Ordinary Family, Person of Interest, Legends, Intelligence and Pure Genius. His additional directing credits include multiple episodes of Homeland, American Horror Story, Hannibal, The Strain, House M.D., Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Beverly Hills, 90210, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, C.S.I., The Practice and Dawson’s Creek. Semel joined the DGA in 1989.

About the Director Development Initiative:

The Director Development Initiative 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.


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