The Path to AUPM-ing

The Path to AUPM-ing

February 24, 2024 An Eastern AD/UPM Council Location Manager Committee Event

Beginning with the understanding that every road within the Guild is unique, on February 24, DGA members interested in exploring the various paths that current UPMs and Producers took to land their first AUPM or UPM position, gathered online and in the DGA’s New York offices for the Eastern AD/UPM Council Location Manager Committee’s event, The Path to AUPM-ing: A Roundtable Discussion with Former 1st ADs, 2nd ADs and Location Managers on Navigating the DGA road to UPM Work and Beyond...

In a discussion moderated by Former Location Manager Committee Co-Chairs Ellen Athena Catsikeas and Lynn H. Powers, panelists Joan G Bostwick, Celia Costas, Jeff Bernstein, Kristin Bernstein, Patricia Doherty Hess, Robert Striem and Dana Zolli shared stories on how they advanced within the Guild from ADs and Location Managers to successful UPMs and Producers.

During the welcome, moderators Catsikeas and Powers, thanked current Committee Co-Chairs Ryan Ferguson, David Velasco and Paul Hamill and acknowledged the assistance of other committees of the Council and DGA staff before speaking to how the event came to be.

“We thought it would be fitting to bring together successful UPMs and Producers who came up in the Guild as ADs and Location Managers and have them discuss their experiences,” said Catsikeas. “Through their stories and advice, hopefully, you can learn how to expand your growth and learn more as you go through your daily job as ADs.”

“There is a wealth of information and resources all around us on set, every day,” added Powers. “You just have to know how to tap in to ask the right questions to the right people and absorb the information around you. But you kind of have to know what you don't know, and that's the purpose of today's event.”

After sharing a bit of their own journeys to the position, the moderators introduced DGA Business Representative Michael Mintz who gave a primer on the inner workings of advancing from ADing to AUPMing or UPMing, including the mechanics of deal memos, the QL, and more.

Then the panelists began to field questions from the moderators covering topics such as developing and maintaining relationships with the crew, the importance of mentorship, and how AUPM experience can prepare someone for eventually taking on UPM work.

Costas spoke about the small things that a UPM can do to boost morale and a sense of togetherness on a production.

Doherty Hess revealed her history working across many DGA categories and its culmination in her first AUPM credit on Director Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence.

Jeff Bernstein recalled how he gained a greater appreciation for the off-set aspects of production after moving from AD work and becoming a UPM.

Kristin Bernstein shared the importance of constantly trying to learn and educate yourself on the job, no matter how experienced you might already be.

Striem discussed how he applied his skills as an experienced Location Manager to his work as an AUPM and UPM.

Zolli shared her childhood aspirations of producing and the role that her 2nd AD experience played in transitioning to UPM work.

And Bostwick detailed her unique journey from running set as a 1st AD to eventually UPMing. 

About the panelists:

Ellen Athena CatsikeasUPM Ellen Athena Catsikeas (moderator)
Catsikeas’s production management credits include feature films such as Michael Almereyda’s Tesla, Shawn Snyder’s To Dust; Jennifer Lebeau & Ron Kantor’s documentary Trouble No More; and episodes of Invasion. Her Location Manager credits include features such as Shari Springer-Berman & Robert Pulcini’s The Extra Man, Michael D. Olmos’s Windows on the World, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Megan Leavey and Rebecca Miller’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee; Jack Bender’s movie for television Weekends at Bellevue; and episodes of Deception and Allegiance. She has been a DGA member since 2008 and serves on the Eastern AD/UPM Council and is a former Co-Chair of the Eastern AD/UPM Council’s Location Manager Committee. 

Lynn PowersUPM Lynn Powers (moderator)
Powers’ production management credits include episodes of Evil and The Good Fight. Her Location Manager credits include feature films such as George LaVoo’s A Dog Year, James DeMonaco’s Little New York and Woody Allen’s Whatever Works; movies for televisions including Barry Levinson’s DGA Award-nominated Paterno; and episodes of The Good Shepherd, Third WatchBrainDeadThe Good WifeFringe and Sex and the City. She has been a DGA member since 2008 and is a former Co-Chair of the Eastern AD/UPM Council’s Location Manager Committee 
Jeff BernsteinProducer/UPM Jeff Bernstein
Bernstein’s recent producing credits include limited series such as I Know This Much Is TrueThe White House Plumbers and the series Poker Face. Some of his UPM credits include episodes of The Following, Banshee, Mrs. Fletcher, Divorce, Marvel’s Daredevil, The Newsroom and Bored to Death; and his AD credits include The Unusuals, The Sopranos and Ed. Bernstein has been a DGA member since 1995 and has served as an alternate on the Eastern AD/UPM Council. 
Kristin BernsteinProducer/UPM Kristin Bernstein
Bernstein’s recent producing credits include episodes of Only Murders in the Building, Evil, The Politician, The Good Fight and BrainDead. Her UPM credits include episodes of Instinct, The Good Wife and The Sopranos; and her AD credits include features such as Kevin Lima’s Enchanted, Mira Nair’s The Namesake and Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind. Bernstein has been a DGA member since 1995. 
Joan BostwickUPM Joan G. Bostwick
Bostwick’s production management credits include feature films such as Koyalee Chanda & Matt Stawski’s Blue’s Big City Adventure, Jennifer Gelfer’s The Second Sun and Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor; and episodes of the series Billy & Billie and From NY, I Love You. Her AD credits include features such as J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year and Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime and Tesla; and episodes of Nurse Jackie, White Collar and New Amsterdam. She has been a DGA member since 1996 and currently serves as an alternate on the Eastern AD/UPM Council. 
Celia CostasExecutive Producer/UPM Celia Costas
A few of Costas’ producing credits include features such as Doug Liman’s The Instigators, Marc Forster’s A Man Called Otto, Lin Manuel Miranda’s DGA Award-nominated first feature, tick, tick... BOOM! and Susanne Bier’s DGA Award-nominated limited series, The Undoing. Some of her UPM credits include John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, Mike Nichols’ Closer and Betty Thomas' Private Parts. Costas has been a DGA member since 1981 and has served on the Eastern AD/UPM Council. 
Patricia Doherty HessProducer/UPM Patricia Doherty Hess
Doherty Hess’ production management credits include features such as Peter Segal’s Get Smart and Betty Thomas’ 28 Days; movies for television such as George C. Wolfe’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; limited series such as Angels in America, We Own This City and The Plot Against America; and episodes of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and Red Oaks. Her previous Location Manager credits include Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, James Foley’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Oliver Stone’s JFK and episodes of The Equalizer. She has been a DGA member since 1987 and has served on two negotiating committees. 

Robert StriemUPM Robert Striem
Striem’s production management credits include Steven Soderbergh’s limited series Full Circle, Steven Spielberg’s DGA Award-nominated feature West Side Story and Mark Mylod’s DGA Dramatic Series Award-winning episode of Succession, “All the Bells Say.” His Location Manager credits Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead, Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter, Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe and Tom McCarthy’s DGA Award-nominated feature Spotlight; as well as episodes of Red Oaks and The Knick. Striem has been a DGA member since 2001 and currently serves on the Eastern AD/UPM Council. 

Dana ZolliProducer/UPM Dana Zolli
Zolli’s recent producing credits include Nate Grubb’s mobileseries The Brief Tragedy of Ernest Carter and Jacqueline Pereda’s pilot Generation Por Qué? Her UPM credits Nicholas Stoller’s feature Bros and episodes of American Horror Story, Everything’s Trash and Dickinson. Her AD credits include features such as Nicole Holofcener’s The Land of Steady Habits and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl; and episodes of Younger, The Sinner, Happy!, Elementary, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Mysteries of Laura, The Americans, Ugly Betty and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Zolli has been a DGA member since 2009, has served on the Eastern AD/UPM Council and previously served as a Co-Chair of the Council’s Second AD Committee. 

About the Eastern AD/UPM Council Location Manager Committee

The Eastern AD/UPM Council is  the elected body that represent the Assistant Director and Unit Production Manager members of the Guild who work in film, television, commercials and new media. The Location Manager Committee is currently co-chaired by Ryan Ferguson, Paul Hamill and David Velasco with members: Gretchen Brown, Michael Buonano, Ellen Athena Catsikeas, Eddy Collyns, Ana Cuadra, Katarina Dedicova, Josh Dorn, Kurt Enger, Michael Fucci, Nathan Gendzier, Shane Haden, Paul Hamill, Samson Jacobson, Suk Yi Mar, Christie Mullen, Michael Nickodem, Stuart Nicolai, Lauri Pitkus, Lynn Powers, Nick Rafferty, and Morgan Roche


photos by Marcie Revens

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