DDI Performance: The Actor-Director Dynamic 2018

Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic - A DGA Director Development Initiative Lab

July 25, 2018 A DGA Director Development Initiative interactive lab in Los Angeles

On July 25, DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment gathered at the Guild's Los Angeles headquarters for Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic, the DGA Director Development Initiative's (DDI) third interactive lab of the year of 2018 in Los Angeles. This lab explored the Episodic Television Directors' approach to performance, how to adapt to an actor’s method of reaching their goals and workshopped techniques that inspires an actor’s best performance.

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 Carlos Bernard (MacGyver), Regina King (Insecure), Kimberly McCullough (All About the Washingtons), Fred Savage (Modern Family) and Tom Verica (Scandal), discussed the challenging aspects of working with actors.

Following the panel discussion, the lab’s attendees had the opportunity to participate in hands-on breakout sessions where they directed and performed scenes, continuing their explorations of the subject of the day and got practical advice from the veteran actor/directors. The lab concluded with a recap from each of the groups with members discussing the information disseminated during the discussions.

You can watch video highlights from the discussion in the gallery below.
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Todd HollandDirector 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.


Carlos Bernard
Best known for his portrayal of agent Tony Almeida on the Emmy Award-winning series 24, Bernard began his career as an actor and appeared in over 200 episodes of television including Madame Secretary, Supergirl, The Orville, Castle, CSI: Miami and Burn Notice. He segued into the director's chair and wrote and directed his first film, Your Father's Daughter, and has since directed episodes of Criminal Minds, MacGyver, The Inspectors and Hawaii 5-0. Bernard joined the DGA in 2016.


Kimberly McCulloughKimberly McCullough
McCullough made her acting debut at the age of six in Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. In 1985, she joined General Hospital as Robin Scorpio, and earned two Daytime Emmys for the role. She began directing with the short films Life After, Lil Star and Nice Guys Finish Last before directing her first episode of Shake it Up! In addition to Pretty Little Liars, her directorial credits includes episodes of All About the Washingtons, K.C. Undercover, One Day at a Time and Youth and Consequences. McCullough joined the DGA in 2013.


Regina King Regina King
King made her television debut acting in 227 before taking to the big screen with roles in Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Friday, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Jerry Maguire, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Enemy of the State, Down to Earth, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous and the Oscar-nominated Ray, among many others. She wrapped the fifth and final season of Southland, starring as Detective Lydia Adams. In addition, King directed Let the Church Say Amen for BET, episodes of Scandal, The Catch, Animal Kingdom, Being Mary Jane, Greenleaf, Pitch, Shameless and This is Us. She earned a Critics' Choice Award nomination for her role in The Leftovers, two Emmy Awards and three nominations for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for her role in American Crime. Seven Seconds is King's latest television series, garnering an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Next, she’ll be working on HBO's Watchmen series. King joined the DGA in 2012.

Fred SavageFred Savage
Savage's acting career has included such feature films as Vice Versa, The Princess Bride, Austin Powers in Goldmember and Super Troopers 2 as well as several television series, most notably a six-year run as Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years, a role that earned him two Emmy nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. Savage has produced and directed over 100 of television. His work has earned him four Directors Guild Award nominations. He has served as producer/director on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. His episodic work includes Modern Family, Casual, Fresh Off the Boat, 2 Broke Girls, Happy Endings, The Goldbergs and The Crazy Ones. He served as director and executive producer on Garfunkle & Oates. Fred joined the DGA in 1999.


Tom VericaTom Verica
A member of the DGA Diversity Task Force, Verica has directed episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, The Mentalist, Harry's Law, Boston Legal, Ugly Betty, American Dreams, Body of Proof, No Ordinary Family, The Cleaner, Army Wives and Dirty Sexy Money. He serves as executive producer and head director on For The People and acts opposite Viola Davis in Shonda Rhimes' hit, How To Get Away With Murder. He executive produced and directed on Scandal during its seven-year run. Verica joined the DGA in 2004.

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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