I Got You: The Director-1st AD Collaboration

July 17, 2023 An African American Steering Committee Virtual Event

On July 17, the African American Steering Committee (AASC) virtual meeting featured the panel discussion, I Got You: The Director-1st AD Collaboration. In a conversation moderated by Committee Co-Chair Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King), First Assistant Directors H.H. Cooper (Full Circle), Van Hayden (Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody) and Shawn Pipkin-West (Secret Invasion) discussed the special relationship that creates a successful film or television project.

During the discussion, Cooper spoke about delineating clear roles on set, the importance of constant communication and respecting the Director’s creative vision. Pipkin-West recalled how she once foresaw a missed shot she deemed was essential and worked with the Director to make sure they got it. Hayden discussed the challenges of putting together a team and shared tips on how to prepare yourself and others to be the best possible assets for a Director.


See video from this event in the gallery below.

About the Panelists:
Gina Prince-BythewoodDirector Gina Prince-Bythewood (moderator)
Prince-Bythewood’s directorial credits include the award-winning features, Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees; the award-nominated feature, Beyond the Lights; the critically acclaimed features, The Woman King and The Old Guard; the movie for television, Disappearing Acts; and episodes of the series, Women of the MovementCloak and DaggerShots FiredGirlfriends and The Bernie Mac Show. She has been a DGA member since 1999 and currently serves as Third Vice-President of the DGA, a co-chair of the African American Steering Committee, and on the Western Directors Council. 
HHC1st AD H.H. Cooper
Cooper’s AD credits include features such as Nicholas Stoller’s Bros, Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move, Lee Daniels’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island, Melina Matsoukas’s Queen & Slim; and episodes of Full CircleManifestWhen They See UsMozart in the Jungle and House of Cards. He has been a DGA member since 1992. 

Van Hayden1st AD Van Hayden
Hayden’s AD credits include features such as Kasi Lemmons’ Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Liesl Tommy’s Respect, Nate Parker’s American Skin, Benny Boom’s All Eyez on Me, George C. Wolfe’s Nights in Rodanthe, Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow, Nicole Holofcener’s Lovely & Amazing and Jamie Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader; as well as episodes of series including The Wonder YearsKenan and Real Husbands of Hollywood. A DGA member since 2000, Hayden has served as a member of the Diversity Task Force, three DGA Negotiating Committees and as an alternate on the Western AD/UPM Council. 

Shawn Pipkin West1st AD Shawn Pipkin-West
Pipkin-West’s AD credits include Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights; and episodes of Secret InvasionGrey's Anatomy and Community. She was on the AD team for two DGA Award-winning productions: Thomas Schlamme’s 2020 special, A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote and Mick Jackson’s 2010 movie for television, Temple Grandin. A DGA member since 2004, Pipkin-West serves as an Associate Member of the DGA National Board, a Co-Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee, a member of the DGA Diversity Taskforce, on the Board of Trustees for the Directors Guild-Producer Training Program, and has served on the Western AD/UPM Council. 

About the Committee:

The African American Steering Committee (AASC) was born of a desire to address the specific needs of the African-American members of the Directors Guild. One of the primary goals of the Committee is to establish a productive line of communication between African-American members and the creative community. The Committee meets monthly to plan events throughout the year celebrating the achievements of African-Americans, as well as forums with industry executives to proactively address what can be done to hire more African-Americans.

Pictures & Video

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