Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic

Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic

December 8, 2018 A DGA Director Development Initiative interactive lab in New York

On December 8, DGA members gathered at the Guild’s New York Offices for Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic, an interactive lab presented by the Director Development Initiative (DDI). 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 Assistant Executive Director Michael Berger, DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Bethany Rooney (Bull) spoke briefly about the program and introduced the panelists for the lab: DGA Second Vice President Brooke Kennedy (The Good Fight), and Directors Norberto Barba (FBI), Michael Smith (Manifest) and Eric Stoltz (Madam Secretary).

In a conversation moderated by Rooney, the panelists engaged in a lively and informative discussion about the challenging aspects of working with actors. After the panel discussion, the lab’s attendees had the opportunity to participate in hands-on breakout sessions where they directed and performed scenes, 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 the discussions.

DGA members can watch the full video from other
Director Development Initiative events by clicking here.


Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic Bethany Rooney (moderator)
Rooney has directed over 200 hours of primetime television 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 formerly served as a Co-Chair of the Guild’s Women’s Steering Committee and is currently member of the Western Directors Council, an alternate on the DGA National Board, and a Co-Chair of the DGA Diversity Task Force.


Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic Brooke Kennedy
After beginning her career as a location coordinator, Kennedy served as an executive producer for several television series including Third Watch and The Good Wife for which she directed select episodes. Other directing credits include episodes of The Good Fight, and Brain Dead. Currently, Kennedy serves as the Second Vice President of the DGA and as a member of the Eastern Directors Council. She has been a DGA member since 1985.


Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic Norberto Barba
Barba has directed over 100 hours of television including episodes of Mayans M.C., FBI, S.W.A.T., The Path, The Strain, Preacher, Designated Survivor, Chicago Justice, Pure Genius, The Bridge, Lights Out, Ice, Against the Wall, Trauma, In Treatment, Fringe, The Event, Suits, NCIS: Los Angeles, Blade: The Series, Conviction, Threshold, CSI: Miami, Kojak, Medical Investigation, American Dreams, Resurrection Blvd, Level 9, NY Undercover, Vanishing Son, The Mentalist, Numb3rs, CSI:NY and Law & Order: SVU. Barba also directed the Emmy-nominated movie for television Apollo 11: The Movie. His feature credits include Blue Tiger and SOLO. He was also an Executive Producer and Director on the series Grimm and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. A DGA member since 1994, Barba has served as an alternate on Western Directors Council.


Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic Michael Smith
Smith is a New York based Director with over 20 years of experience in the film and television industry. His directing portfolio includes episodes of Manifest, Bull, How to Get Away with Murder, Suits, Covert Affairs, Burn Notice, White Collar and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He has also served as Producer/Director on full seasons of Satisfaction, The Mysteries of Laura, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Smith has been a DGA member since 1996.

Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic Eric Stoltz
Stoltz began his directorial career with the Emmy-winning children’s special My Horrible Year! His other directing credits include episodes of Boston Legal, Glee, Madam Secretary, and the feature Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk. A DGA member since 2000, Stoltz formerly served as an alternate on the DGA National Board and is currently a member of the Eastern 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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