EDSC Street Scenes

Street Scenes

November 23, 2019 An Eastern Diversity Steering Committee panel discussion

On November 23, DGA members were joined by film workers from the DGA Assistant Directors Training Program and the Made In New York PA Training Program for the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee’s (EDSC) panel discussion and reception, Street Scenes. Held in the Guild’s New York Boardroom, the evening featured a fun and informative exploration of movie and television scenes shot on the streets of New York via a panel discussion from the perspectives of the DGA Director’s Team members who were instrumental in making them happen.

The evening kicked off with a welcome from EDSC Co-Chair/Director Jono Oliver, who spoke about the work of the Committee, then introduced the evening’s panelists: Director Darnell Martin (from the feature, Prison Song), 1st AD Rebecca Strickland (from the CBS series Blue Bloods), 2nd AD Jason Hightower (from Chris Rock’s feature, Top Five) and Location Manager Charlynne Hopson (from Ava DuVernay’s mini-series, When They See Us).

In a conversation moderated by Oliver and illustrated by clips from their above-mentioned projects, Martin, Strickland, Hightower and Hopson shared their experiences of filming on the streets and parks of the Big Apple, gave tips on how to do so successfully and discussed challenges they had to overcome.

Following a Q&A where the audience was able to glean information from the panelists, all the participants mingled with the attendees and passed on additional tips to the attendees from the DGA Assistant Directors Training Program and the Made In New York PA Training Program who were hungry for information from experienced DGA members.

About the Panelists:

Darnell MartinDirector Darnell Martin
With 40 credits to her name Martin’s filmography includes the feature film Cadillac Records, and episodes of the series Sleepy Hollow, Blindspot, The Walking Dead, Grimm, The Vampire Diaries and Law & Order: Criminal Intent to name a few. In 1994 she was nominated for Cannes Film Festival Golden Camera award for her debut feature I Like It Like That, which also earned her the "Best New Director" prize at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. She also garnered a DGA Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television for her 2005 film Their Eyes Were Watching God. Martin has been a DGA member since 1993 and has served as an alternate on the Eastern Directors Council.

Rebecca Strickland1st AD Rebecca Strickland
A DGA member since 1986, Strickland got her start working in as an Associate Director on Daytime Dramas like All My Children and Loving. Her resume includes work on feature film including James Mangold’s Cop Land, Stephen Norrington’s Blade and Peter Weir’s DGA Award-nominated Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. For the last 10 years, Strickland has been working predominately in episodic television on shows including Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Blue Bloods, Orange is the New Black and The Romanoffs.


Jason Hightower2nd AD Jason Hightower
Hightower is a graduate of the DGA Assistant Director Trainee Program where his first project was Ridley Scott’s American Gangster. Since joining the Guild in 2008, he has worked on features including Chris Rock’s Top Five and Stefon Bristol’s See You Yesterday; and television shows including Shades of Blue, Blindspot, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Hightower also served as a co-chair of the EDSC from 2013-2015.


Charlynn HopsonLocation Manager Charlynne Hopson
After moving to New York to pursue a career in film and television, Hopson’s first foray into the industry was on Spike Lee’s feature, Crooklyn. This opportunity led to her working consistently as a Location Manager, Assistant Location Manager and Scout for close to 20 years during which she has worked with such esteemed Directors as Penny Marshall (The Preacher’s Wife), Ava DuVernay (When They See Us) and Spike Lee (Clockers, Girl Six, 25th Hour). Hopson has been a DGA member since 2015.


Jono OliverDirector Jono Oliver (moderator)
Oliver recently directed episodes of series such as Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Bull and The Enemy Within. His directing filmography also includes the independent feature film, Home. A DGA member since 1991, he currently serves as co-chair of the EDSC and as an Alternate to the DGA’s Eastern Directors Council.

About the Committee:

Eastern Diversity Steering Committee

The Eastern Diversity Steering Committee represents the concerns of Guild members of African, Asian, Native American, Arab-Middle Eastern or Latino descent residing in the East. Committed to improving the employment opportunities, working conditions and the skills of ethnically diverse Guild members, the Committee sponsors workshops, seminars, round-table discussions and networking events to showcase the talents of its members, recognize their contributions and increase their visibility in the industry. The Committee’s current Co-Chairs are Directors Jono Oliver and Louis Venosta and Associate Director Joyce A. Thomas.


event photos by Marcie Revens

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