Jafar Panahi

Putting the ‘Act’ in Action: The Director/Actor Dynamic

March 30, 2019 A Special Projects Directing for Professionals seminar

On March 30, the DGA Special Projects Committee presented the latest installment in its Directing for Professionals series, which provides practical skills and techniques for Directors to work productively with their creative teams. Members gathered in the Los Angeles Headquarters Boardroom for Putting the ‘Act’ in Action: The Director/Actor Dynamic, a seminar that explored the Director/Actor relationship and how to bring a character to life onscreen through effective communication.

Following a welcome from DGA Special Projects Committee Directing for Professionals Subcommittee Chair Arthur Allan Seidelman, the attendees learned more about this subject from a panel of experts consisting of Directors John Badham, Roxann Dawson, Anna Foerster and Adam Shankman.

In a conversation moderated by Seidelman and illustrated by video clips, the panelists discussed communication techniques Directors utilize to achieve a desired performance. The final hour of the seminar included an open forum where the attendees could ask the panelists questions on these matters and more.

About the Panelists:

John BadhamJohn Badham
A DGA member since 1970, Badham received two Emmy nominations for his directing on the ’70s series The Senator and The Law before his 1977 feature Saturday Night Fever became a worldwide hit. His 1983 features, Blue Thunder and WarGames, received four Academy Award nominations. His other credits include the features American Flyers, Short Circuit, Stakeout, Point of No Return, Drop Zone, and Nick of Time; the movies for television The Jack Bull and The Last Debate; and episodes of the series The Shield, Night Gallery, The Event, Psych, Blind Justice, Supernatural and Siren. Badham currently leads the Directing Program in the Graduate Conservatory of Motion Pictures at Chapman University and is the author of the books: John Badham on Directing and I'll Be in My Trailer: The Creative Wars Between Directors and Actors.


Roxann DawsonRoxann Dawson
Previously known as an actor on series like Star Trek: Voyager, Dawson launched her directing career with an episode of Voyager and went on to direct ten episodes of the subsequent Star Trek series, Enterprise. Her other directing credits include the pilot and first two episodes of Mercy Street, as well as episodes of The Americans, The Chi, Runaways, The Deuce, Chance, House of Cards, The Path, Bates Motel, Hell on Wheels, Treme, The Good Wife, Lost, Scandal, Cold Case and Crossing Jordan. A DGA member since 1999, this year Dawson made her feature film directorial debut with Breakthrough, an adaptation of Joyce Smith’s memoir, The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection.


Putting the ‘Act’ in Action: The Director/Actor DynamicAnna Foerster
Foerster has been working as a Director and Cinematographer for over twenty years and recently directed episodes of the Netflix/Marvel series Jessica Jones and the upcoming Amazon fantasy series Carnival Row. Her directing credits also include the feature film, Underworld: Blood Wars, as well as critically acclaimed episodes of the series Outlander and Criminal Minds. She also served as Second Unit Director and Cinematographer on Roland Emmerich’s features 10,000 B.C. and The Day After Tomorrow. Foerster joined the DGA in 2003.


Adam ShankmanAdam Shankman
A two-time Emmy Award nominee and recipient of the Bob Fosse Award, Shankman has enjoyed success as a Director, Producer, Choreographer and Author. He began his directing career in 2001 with the feature film The Wedding Planner. His subsequent works include the features What Men Want, Rock of Ages, Bedtime Stories, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Pacifier, Bringing Down the House, A Walk to Remember, and the Golden Globe-nominated Hairspray which he also produced and choreographed. His other directorial credits include episodes of Being Mary Jane, Modern Family, Glee and Monk. Shankman is also set to direct Disenchanted, the highly-anticipated sequel to the global smash, Enchanted. He joined the DGA in 1999.

About the moderator

Arthur Allan Seidelman Arthur Allan Seidelman (moderator)
Seidelman has directed more than 50 films and 23 episodic television series including Hill Street Blues; Magnum P.I.; Murder, She Wrote; L.A. Law and Trapper John, M.D. His feature credits include The Sisters; Puerto Vallarta Squeeze; The Awakening of Spring; Walking across Egypt and most recently, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks. Among his movies for television are A Christmas Carol: The Musical; By Dawn’s Early Light; The Summer of Ben Tyler; Grace and Glorie; Kate’s Secret; Miracle in the Woods; A Friendship in Vienna and Poker Alice. Arthur’s directing honors include two Emmys, five Emmy nominations, the Milagro Award for Best American Independent Feature, the Grand Prize from the New York Film and Television Festival, the Humanitas Award, Peabody Award, Western Heritage Award, three Christopher Awards, and a Writers Guild Award for I Love Liberty, which he co-wrote. Seidelman serves on the DGA’s Special Projects Committee and has been a DGA member since 1978.

About this series:

The Directing for Professionals series is designed to keep members up-to-date on developments in the industry and deepen their understanding of their craft. Workshops and seminars on various film and television related topics are offered throughout the year.

Pictures & Video

photos by Shane Karns

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Jafar Panahi
A Special Projects Directing for Pros seminar:
Jafar Panahi
A Special Projects Directing for Pros seminar:
Jafar Panahi
A Special Projects Directing for Pros seminar:
Jafar Panahi
A Special Projects Directing for Pros seminar: