AAC Art of Directing Comedy

The Art of Directing Comedy

October 27, 2020 A DGA Asian American Committee Virtual Event

On October 27, the Asian American Committee’s (AAC) meeting featured the panel discussion, The Art of Directing Comedy.

In a conversation moderated by Director Kabir Akhtar (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Directors Yulin Kuang (The Healing Powers of Dude), Steven J. Kung (Fresh Off the Boat) and Kim Nguyen (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) spoke about how they broke into episodic comedy directing, the challenges they faced after getting their first shot, and more.

Speaking about the difficulties of breaking into the genre, Kuang recalled how she created her own you tube channel to showcase her skills, Kung took part in the Disney ABC Directing Program and made shorts and Nguyen prepped for her own shot by shadowing other Directors as part of NBC's Female Forward Program.

Other subjects discussed included the challenges of directing their first episodes, dealing with actors not getting a joke and working through it, dealing with writers on the set and utilizing post-production techniques to make a scene work.

Following the moderated portion of the event, the panelists took questions from the online audience.


Yulin Kuang Yulin Kuang
Kuang’s directorial credits include episodes of The Healing Powers of DudeI Ship It#WineLineQuirky Female ProtagonistJust Go with ItKissing in the Rain and seven episodes of the mini-series, A Tell Tale Vlog. She also created two YouTube channels – Yulinis Working and Shipwrecked Comedy – that have collectively amassed over 7.5 million views. She is currently adapting Maurene Goo’s YA novel, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, for A-Major Media. Kuang became a DGA member in 2019.

Steven KungSteven J. Kung
Kung’s directing credits include the feature film A Leading Man, an episode of Fresh Off the Boat and the award-winning documentary, SPEW: The Competitive World of High School Debate as well as promotional videos for the development campaigns of the Victory Fund and the University of Virginia. Kung has been a DGA member since 2011 and previously served as a co-chair of the Asian American Committee. 
Kim NguyenKim Nguyen
A graduate of the DGA’s inaugural Director Development Initiative Mentorship Program, Nguyen’s directing credits include episodes of NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, as well as short films, sketches for Comedy Central and commercial campaigns for Tracee Ellis Ross, John Cena, and Reese Witherspoon. She is currently prepping episodes for NBC Universal and Netflix. Her documentary, SantaLand, was shortlisted for Full Frame’s Documentary Film Festival Best Filmmaker Award. Nguyen joined the DGA in 2012. 
Kabir AkhtarKabir Akhtar (moderator)
Akhtar is an Emmy-winning director-editor whose work includes episodes of Never Have I EverBH 90210The UnicornMumbai CallingSaved by the BellGrown-ishArrested DevelopmentNew Girl, the pilot episode of 8th & Ocean and the relaunched edition of Unsolved Mysteries. He was also a director/producer on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Akhtar also won the Emmy Award in 2016 for editing the pilot of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He has been a DGA member since 2005 and previously served as a co-chair of the Asian American Committee. 

About the Asian American Committee:

The Asian American Committee (AAC) was created as a networking group to provide a forum for interests and issues that concern Asian-American Guild members. Through outreach efforts in the entertainment industry that emphasize career development and skills enhancement, the committee provides a variety of networking opportunities as well as screenings, seminars and discussions with industry professionals. The current AAC Co-Chairs are Directors Cellin Gluck, Michael Goi and Lily Mariye.

See video from this event in the gallery below.
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