DDI LA Blocking and Shot Listing

The Director’s Prep: Blocking & Shot Listing

October 23, 2019 A DGA Director Development Initiative interactive lab in Los Angeles

DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment gathered at the Guild headquarters on October 23 for the DGA Director Development Initiative’s (DDI) final interactive lab in Los Angeles for 2019. The Director’s Prep: Blocking & Shot Listing provided an opportunity for the participants to take part in an experiential workshop in which they would block and shot list a scene and get feedback on their work from experienced directors.

Following a welcome by DGA Executive in Charge of Diversity Programs and Committees Frank Bennett Gonzalez, DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Todd Holland (Hannah and Her Family) gave a breakdown of how the lab would proceed. Then the lab kicked off with a panel discussion with Directors Steph Green (The Deuce), Kimberly McCullough (Roswell, New Mexico), Edward Ornelas (Grey’s Anatomy) and Millicent Shelton (The Flash). In a conversation moderated by Holland, the panelists defined “blocking” and “shot listing” and discussed why directors do this, the benefits of doing so and some of the pitfalls in not doing so.

Following the discussion, the assembly broke into pods where the panelists acted as moderators to teach the attendees how to block and shot list. Each pod worked with a sample script and floor plan provided by the moderator and the participants were given 30 minutes to block and shot list a scene. Following a short break, participants returned to their pods to discuss their approaches and receive feedback. At the end of the day, the pods all came together and the moderators screened the actual scenes from the sample scripts as they were originally shot.

You can watch video highlights from the discussion in the gallery below.
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Todd HollandTodd 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 200 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 and Hannah (and Her Family). Holland also serves as a member of the DGA National Board, the Western Directors Council and he currently co-chairs the DGA Feature Film and Television Negotiations Committee alongside Director Jon Avnet.

Steph GreenSteph Green
Green has directed episodes for series, including The Americans, The Deuce, Man in the High Castle, American Crime, Bates Motel, You’re the Worst, Billions, Preacher, Luke Cage, Scandal and most recently, Watchmen for HBO. Her recent pilot Dare Me was picked up by USA/Netflix and will premiere in 2020. She also just directed the pilot for The L Word: Generation Q, which has a straight-to-series pickup from Showtime. Her filmography also includes the critically-acclaimed feature film, Run & Jump. Green has been a DGA member since 2007.


Kimberly McCulloughKimberly McCullough
A true utility player with a diverse resume covering hour long drama, single-cam and multi-cam comedies, McCullough most recently wrapped directing an episode of the sci-fi drama, Roswell, New Mexico. Her work also includes episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Bold Type, The Conners, One Day at a Time, Youth & Consequences and Pretty Little Liars; as well as the reboot of the iconic High School Musical for the new streaming service, Disney+. McCullough joined the DGA in 2013.


Edward OrnelasEdward Ornelas
After several seasons as an editor on Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Ornelas broke into directing by helming multiple episodes of both shows. His directing credits also include episodes of: American Gothic, The Blacklist, Limitless, The Mentalist, NCIS: New Orleans, Rizzoli & Isles, Bull, Code Black, Taken, FBI, The Resident and Roswell, New Mexico; and the independent feature film, The Legend of Billy Fail. Ornelas has been a DGA member since 2009, where he currently co-chairs the DGA Latino Steering Committee and is a mentor in the DGA DDI Mentorship program.


Millicent SheltonMillicent 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, 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. A DGA member since 2000, Shelton currently serves as an alternate to the DGA National Board and is a member of the Western Directors Council.

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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