DDI Craft Workshop Weekend in New York 0422

Television Mentorship Program Hosts Craft Workshop Weekend in New York

April 3, 2022 A DGA Director Development Initiative Event

From April 2-3, participants from the DGA Director Development Initiative’s (DDI) Television Mentorship Program were able to sharpened their skill set during a two-day workshop taught by Directors Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli. The event was designed to provide both the insight and knowledge that will get the participants further into their careers.

Created for DGA members who aspire to direct or expand their directorial career in episodic television direction, the Program aims to set members up for success through professional development so that they can turn new opportunities into long-term careers. The program is designed to provide an interactive setting in which DGA members with limited or no episodic television directing experience (protégés) are matched with experienced episodic Directors (mentors) for a nine-month program that will expose them to the latest technical skillsets in demand and best practices in preparation for a career in directing episodic television.

During the first session in the Guild’s New York offices on April 2, the attendees engaged in an exploration of prep and production for episodic television. Utilizing a sample script from an actual upcoming episode of the series Chicago Med and a production schedule, Rooney and Belli covered topics including how to determine what is the script asking for, what kind of locations might be required, and the responsibilities of each department involved. They also dove into camera blocking and shot listing and the concept of editing the cut to have a clear point of view. The protégés were asked to create shot lists and discuss the breakdown of scenes and explored how to prepare to direct actors. The attendees had been encouraged to watch recent episodes of the series in order to familiarize themselves with the characters, structure and style of the show.

On the second day of the workshop, thanks to Television Mentorship Program mentor Michael Slovis, the action moved to the actual set of the series New Amsterdam where the protégés were able to put their training into action via a hands-on situation where they directed professional actors. Other mentors from the program were also invited to watch their protégés work.

Mary Lou BelliMary Lou Belli
A two-time Emmy Award winner, Belli has been directing television for over 30 years in many genres from sitcoms to procedurals to documentaries. She is the Co-Author of four books: The NEW Sitcom Career BookActing for Young ActorsPERFORM: Acting for the Screen and Directors Tell the Story which she co-wrote with fellow DGA member Bethany Rooney. A DGA member since 1987, Belli has served two terms as a Co-Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee and has also served on the Western Directors Council and as an alternate to the DGA National Board. 
Bethany RooneyBethany Rooney
Rooney has directed more than 230 episodes of primetime television including Law & Order: Organized Crime, Chicago PD, Desperate Housewives, Ally McBeal, Scandal, Arrow, Nashville, NCIS and Criminal Minds. For two seasons, she was the Producing Director on the series Bull, following her earlier stint in that position on The Originals. She is the co-author of Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing with Mary Lou Belli. A DGA member since 1985, Rooney has served as the Fifth Vice President of the DGA, on the Western Directors Council and formerly as a Co-Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee. She is currently an alternate on the DGA National Board and she Co-Chairs the DGA Diversity Task Force.

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.


Classroom photos by Marcie Revens, Soundstage photos by DGA Staff

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