DDI Lab Strategic Branding

Strategic Branding: Marketing Yourself for Directorial Success

March 30, 2023 A Director Development Initiative Conversational Lab

Nearly 400 DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment received valuable information on March 30 when the DGA Director Development Initiative (DDI) hosted the conversational lab, Strategic Branding: Marketing Yourself for Directorial Success.

The online event featured Directors Maureen Bharoocha, Tara Miele and Salli Richardson-Whitfield in a conversation moderated by Director Linda Mendoza where they shared insights on how to use modern tools and techniques to make your brand memorable in a crowded field, and offered tips on connecting with potential employers in a way that personalizes your approach.

Prefacing the conversation, Mendoza remarked how excited she was to learn more about the hot topic of branding from this panel of incredible Directors.

Sharing how she transitioned into directing from acting, Richardson-Whitfield revealed that she utilized resources suggested by Directors she had worked with and went through the Sony studio program to help better prepare her for establishing a career behind the camera. She encouraged the attendees to think strategically about the use of publicists noting that they can be expensive so one should think about how that publicist can help. She added that it is important that Directors take on projects that move them towards the type of work they would like to direct.

Bharoocha suggested that new Directors utilize social media to their advantage – but strategically. She further recalled how she met her publicist at SXSW and working with her has created windows for the right opportunities. Leaning on a point made by other panelists about being intentional about your directorial choices, she disclosed how her work on Jimmy Kimmel Live! aided in her carving out a lane for herself in single-cam comedy directing in the episodic world.

Miele pointed out that much of her own journey into television directing was informed and inspired by the path that fellow Director, Hanelle Culpepper, took into the industry. Early on, she was encouraged to go shadow the Director on Hawaii Five-0 so that she could get more experience directing action. That shadowing opportunity led to her directing on that production – creating a productive opening into episodic directing.

All the panelists noted the importance of building relationships, going to different events and connecting with new people. They said that everyone should remember that every meeting, no matter how small, is an important meeting and consistently meeting with new people, no matter what level that studio person may be on, can be beneficial because you never know where someone in this industry will land.

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

Maureen BharoochaMaureen Bharoocha
Bharoocha’s directorial credits include the feature films The Prank and Golden Arm; and episodes of Saved by the BellDrama Club and Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin. She was previously a segment Director for three seasons on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Bharoocha has been a DGA member since 2016 and serves as a Co-Chair of the Asian American Committee and co-created of the Women’s Steering Committee’s WSC Squad Mentorship Program
Tara MieleTara Miele
Miele’s directorial credits include the feature films Wander DarklyStarving in SuburbiaGone Missing and The Lake Effect; the movie for television Lost Boy; and episodes of BatwomanArrow and Hawaii Five-0. She is also well known for the viral video Meet a Muslim which she created to combat Islamophobia and directed. Miele has been a DGA member since 2014 and serves as a Co-Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee. 
Salli Richardson WhitfieldSalli Richardson-Whitfield 
Richardson-Whitfield’s directorial credits include episodes of Queen SugarThe Wheel of TimeAmerican GodsThe ChiScandalBlack-ishShadowhuntersDear White PeopleLuke CageThe PunisherThe MagiciansEurekaBlack LightningAll AmericanThe Gilded Age and Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. Richardson-Whitfield joined the DGA in 2010 and previously served as a Co-Chair of the African American Steering Committee. 
Linda MendozaLinda Mendoza (moderator)
Mendoza’s directorial credits include episodes of Quantum Leap, Harlem, Life by Ella30 RockThe Good Place, Superstore, Scrubs, Cavemen, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ugly Betty, Never Have I Ever, The Baby-Sitters Club, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Black-ish, Fuller House, The Tick, The Chris Rock Show and The Bernie Mac Show. She earned DGA Award nominations for her specials, Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (2019), Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize Celebrating David Letterman (2017), Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles: In Performance at the White House (2015) and Paul McCartney: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in Performance at The White House (2010). She is currently working on the Netflix pilot, Survival of the Thickest. Mendoza has been a DGA Member since 1987. 

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 goal to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry.

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