DDI Lab Prep - NY 0419

The Director’s Prep: Blocking & Shot Listing

April 6, 2019 A DGA Director Development Initiative interactive lab in New York

On April 6, the DGA Director Development Initiative held its first interactive lab of 2019 on the East Coast. DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment gathered at the Guild’s New York offices for The Director’s Prep: Blocking and Shot Listing, an event where members participated 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 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: Directors David McCoy Barrett (Blue Bloods), Jim McKay (Better Call Saul) and Michael Slovis (New Amsterdam).

In a conversation moderated by Rooney, 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 it.

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 20 minutes to block and shot list a scene and receive feedback. At the end of the day, the pods reassembled and the moderators screened the actual scenes from the sample scripts as they were originally shot.

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


Bethany RooneyBethany Rooney (moderator)
Rooney has directed over 220 episodes of primetime network television over the past thirty years and is still amazingly enthusiastic about the creative process and the craft! She has expanded her visibility in the business, moving from freelance director (NCIS, Criminal Minds, The Blacklist) to producer/director (The Originals, Bull) She is sharing her hard-earned knowledge and giving back, especially to incoming directors, by teaching the Warner Brothers TV Directors Workshop and co-chairing the DGA Diversity Committee. Along with her co-chair, Todd Holland, Rooney has created, developed and now oversees the Directors Development Initiative, the training and networking program for new directors at the DGA. The directing textbook she co-wrote with Mary Lou Belli, Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing, remains the preeminent resource for episodic directors and is in wide use in studio diversity programs and university classes. 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.


David McCoy BarrettDavid McCoy Barrett
Barrett is a television/film director and producer who has directed over 100 episodes for more than 40 different television series. Presently a recurring director and co-executive producer of the hit CBS crime drama, Blue Bloods Barrett’s other directorial credits include episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, Fear the Walking Dead, Zoo, Under the Dome, Arrow, The Mentalist, Once Upon a Time, Castle, NCIS: Los Angeles, Cold Case, Smallville, Fastlane, FreakyLinks and Pacific Blue. Barrett has been a DGA member since 1998.


Jim McKayJim McKay
A DGA member since 2003, McKay currently serves on the Eastern Directors Council. His directorial credits includes the feature films Girls Town, Our Song, Everyday People and En el Séptimo Día (On the Seventh Day); the full-length documentary Lighthearted Nation; the feature-length concert film Tourfilm: R.E.M.; the movie for television Angel; and episodes of the series Wire, In Treatment, Treme, Mr. Robot, The Americans, The Good Wife, Boss, Breaking Bad, Rectify, Power, The Good Fight and Better Call Saul.


Michael SlovisMichael Slovis
Slovis has worked as a producer/director with fellow key creative producers that developed the visual/audio languages and performance styles of Preacher and, currently, New Amsterdam. His directorial credits include episodes of The Walking Dead, Ed, Rubicon, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Hell on Wheels, Grace Point, Elementary, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Man in the High Castle, The Affair, The New Yorker, The Path and The Looming Tower. Slovis has been a DGA member since 2003.

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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Performance: The Director-Actor Dynamic
A DGA Director Development Initiative interactive lab in New York