Winter 2018

Jaysene Overton

Overton Gets Real


When running through morning logistics with her background actors, 2nd AD Jaysene Overton usually slips in a joke. "I watch for who is actively listening," says Overton, "as a way of figuring out who I can use for the difficult crosses."

Having worked on fast-paced medical dramas, including Miami Medical and Grey's Anatomy, Overton finds this technique produces results. "When you have a gurney flying toward camera, a Steadicam racing backward, and you need a foreground cross," Overton explains, "you need to figure out very quickly which background artists are capable of doing that cross without running into the camera, slowing down the gurney, getting in the way of lines being said and still contributing to the action of the scene without distracting from it."

Overton's experience with background was particularly useful on the pilot for Code Black, a series that prides itself on realism. "We brought in 60 background artists and had them learn different medical procedures," says Overton, "And when we shot the scene… it worked like a beautifully choreographed dance of saving someone's life."

For Overton, getting into character herself is sometimes part of the job: "In order to make the world look real, I would wear scrubs to work."

(Photo: Dale Berman)

At Work With

Short profiles of Guild members in all categories sharing their experiences at work.

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Check out the latest DGA Quarterly, featuring a Special Report exploring Content Distribution in the Streaming Age as well as interviews with Michael Apted, Reed Morano, Lily Olszewski, Martin Campbell, Kenneth Branagh, Pamela Adlon, and more!