DDI Interviewing 0224

How to Interview for a Directing Job in Television

February 28, 2024 A Director Development Initiative Conversational Lab

In keeping with the old adage “you only get one time to make a good first impression,” 300 DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment received valuable information when on February 28 the Director Development Initiative (DDI) hosted the conversational lab, How to Interview for a Directing Job in Television.

The online event featured Directors Nzingha Stewart (Daisy Jones & The Six), Dinh Thai (American Born Chinese) and Robert Townsend (Power Book IV: Force) in a conversation moderated by Director Carl Seaton (The Irrational) that shared insider’s knowledge of how to secure the job, along with tips for navigating the interview process and advice on putting the best presentation forward in interactions with creative executives.

During the discussion, Thai revealed the importance of relationship building and how those relationships also created important career opportunities that were built on his skill but also made possible by those connections.

Stewart spoke about how she prepares for interviews for a job on a show by watching episodes, doing script analysis and showing how well versed she is in the content prior to the interview – particularly since its important to be able to speak to how you will approach the storytelling in your role as a Director.

Townsend shared how he goes the extra mile and emphasized how he uses his prep process to ensure he makes his day when shooting and the impact that has on studios’ desire to hire him.

Seaton summed it all up when he said find a Director you admire who has direct at a level you would like to see yourself on and become a student of not just their work but their life as a way of preparing yourself for not just the interview process but also how you leverage a directing job to create an opportunity afterward.

The conversation was followed by Q&A with attending members as all the panelists fielded questions on topics such as shadowing as an opportunity to get through the door, agents and managers, and how to get over when you are stuck and seemingly not securing a new opportunity.


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

ABOUT THE PANELISTS:

Nzingha StewartNzingha Stewart
Stewart’s directorial credits include the feature Tall Girl; the movies for television Love by the 10th Date and With This Ring; the pilots for From Scratch, Cross and Me/We; episodes of Inventing Anna, Maid, Black Monday, Little Fires Everywhere, A Million Little Things, Station 19, Good Girls, For The People, Grey’s Anatomy, Step Up: High Water, Scandal, Major Crimes, How to Get Away with Murder, The Catch, K.C. Undercover, Pretty Little Liars and The Game; and over 100 music videos and ad campaigns for major brands. She was recently nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television & Limited Series for her Daisy Jones & The Six episode “Track 10: Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.” Stewart has been a DGA member since 2013. 

 

Dinh ThaiDinh Thai
Thai’s directorial credits include episodes of Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Warrior, New Amsterdam, The Good Doctor, In The Dark, American Born Chinese, Under The Bridge, Career Opportunities in Murder and Mayhem; as well as multiple commercials. He has also co-written and directed AZNBBGRL, a Vietnamese American pilot for Freeform. He was recently nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs for his American Born Chinese episode “A Monkey on a Quest.” Thai joined the DGA in 2020. 

 

Robert TownsendRobert Townsend
Since making his directorial debut with the indie sensation Hollywood Shuffle in 1987, some of Townsend’s directorial credits include the features Playin’ for Love, In the Hive and Meteor Man; the special Carmen: A Hip Hopera; and episodes of Power Book IV: Force, Kaleidoscope, The Best Man: The Final Chapters, The Wonder Years, Colin in Black & White, The Last O.G., Black Lightning, American Soul, and Diary of a Single Mom. Townsend has been a DGA member since 1986 and previously served as an alternate on the Western Directors Council

 

Carl SeatonCarl Seaton (moderator)
Seaton’s directorial credits include the feature film One Week; the movie for television Bad Dad Rehab; and episodes of FBI, Legacies, Batwoman, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Snowfall, Supergirl, The Originals, Godfather of Harlem, Rebel, The Chi, Bel Air, The Equalizer, Bull, Dynasty and The Irrational. Seaton has been a member of the DGA since 2007 and currently serves as a co-chair of the DGA Diversity Task Force and previously served as a co-chair of the Guild’s African American Steering Committee from 2014-2016 and from 2018-2020. 

 

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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