Orange is the New Black

Cons and Pros: An Evening with the Directing Team from Orange is the New Black

July 24, 2019 An EDSC and EDC Focus on Women Committee panel discussion

On July 24, DGA members gathered in the Guild’s New York Theater for the panel discussion, Cons and Pros: An Evening with the Directing Team from ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Presented by the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee (EDSC) and Eastern Directors Council’s Focus on Women Committee (FOW), the evening featured Director/Actors Natasha Lyonne and Laura Prepon, 1st AD Becky Chin and 2nd ADs Heather Verbeke and Arianne Apicelli in a conversation about the making of the DGA Award-nominated series. The discussion was moderated by Director Chioke Nassor.

Orange is the New Black tells the story of Piper Chapman, a privileged New Yorker who is sentenced to a minimum-security women’s prison in Connecticut after her past association with a drug runner catches up with her. Forced to trade power suits for prison orange, she must adjust to life behind bars and make her way through the corrections system and the many eccentric, unusual and unexpected people she meets.

The series, which recently wrapped, has received critical acclaim and praised for humanizing prisoners and for its depiction of race, sexuality, gender and body types. Orange is the New Black earned a DGA Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for Director Jodie Foster’s 2014 episode "Thirsty Bird" and an Emmy Award nomination for Foster for her 2014 episode "Lesbian Request Denied."

The evening kicked off with a welcome from FOW chair Maggie Greenwald and EDSC Co-Chair Joyce Thomas, both of whom spoke about their respective committees before turning the stage over to Nassor, who introduced Lyonne, Prepon, Chin, Verbeke and Apicelli.

Illustrated by clips from Orange is the New Black’s seventh and final season, the panelists engaged in an informative discussion where they shared their experiences of crafting the program that became Netflix’s most-watched original series. Following the panel discussion, the panelists took questions from the audience.


About the Panelists:

A four-time Emmy nominee for her acting and writing on the Netflix series Russian Doll — which she also co executive produces, directs and stars in — Lyonne also earned an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy Award nomination in 2014 for her work as Nicky Nichols on Orange Is the New Black. In 2017, she made her directorial debut with the short film Cabiria, Charity, Chastity, for which she also wrote the screenplay. Her directing credits also include an episode of the final season of Orange Is the New Black. Lyonne has been a DGA member since 2018.

Prepon won a Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television in 2013 for her role as Alex Vause in Orange Is the New Black. In addition to her on-camera work in Orange, she has directed three episodes of the series. She also directed, produced and edited the comedic web series/movie for television, Neighbros. Prepon has been a DGA member since 2016.


In addition to her work as both a 1st AD and a 2nd AD on Orange Is the New Black, Chin’s credits include 1st AD work on BrainDead, The Family, Blindspot, FBI, Bull, Tales of the City and Russian Doll; as well as 2nd AD jobs on Gossip Girl, Blue Bloods and Unforgettable. Chin has been a DGA member since 2007.


In addition to her work as a Key 2nd AD on Orange Is the New Black for Seasons 3, 4 and 5, Verbeke’s other television credits include The Plot Against America, Divorce, The Good Fight, The Tick, The Leftovers, The Knick and Gossip Girl. She also volunteers for the Made in NY PA Training program and has been a guest speaker for the DGA’s 2nd AD Skills Training Event. Verbeke has been a DGA member since 2009.


Apicelli broke into the film industry as a production assistant in 2003. In addition to her work on Orange Is the New Black, her credits include Gossip Girl, White Collar, Gotham, Russian Doll and Tales of the City. A DGA member since 2007, Apicelli is a member of the Eastern AD/UPM Council and is also one of the Co-Chairs of the Council’s 2nd AD Committee.


Nassor’s filmography includes the feature How to Follow Strangers; the movie for television 3Peat Presents: The Blackening; and episodes of High Maintenance, The Last O.G. and Loosely Exactly Nicole; and Ali Siddiq’s Comedy Central special It’s Bigger Than These Bars. His previous work includes writing and directing short films for NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. Nassor has been a DGA member since 2014.


About the Committees:

Eastern Diversity Steering Committee

The Eastern Diversity Steering Committee represents the concerns of Guild members of African, Asian, Native American, Arab-Middle Eastern or Latino descent residing in the East. Committed to improving the employment opportunities, working conditions and the skills of ethnically diverse Guild members, the Committee sponsors workshops, seminars, round-table discussions and networking events to showcase the talents of its members, recognize their contributions and increase their visibility in the industry. The Committee’s current Co-Chairs are Directors Jono Oliver and Louis Venosta and Associate Director Joyce A. Thomas.

Eastern Directors Council’s Focus on Women Committee

The Focus on Women Committee explores ways to educate, inform, and create opportunities while highlighting the talents of many of the Guild’s prominent women Directors. The Committee members are appointed by the National Vice President. In addition to current Committee Chair Maggie Greenwald, the members are: Marilyn Agrelo, Laura Belsey, Sarah Carlson Brooke, Jan Eliasberg, Nicole Kassell, Annetta Marion, Martha Mitchell, Sarah Pirozek, Shari Springer-Berman, Caroline Suh and Vivien Vitolo. The Committee would like to remind members that while their events are designed with a special focus on women Directors, all DGA members are welcome to attend.

Pictures & Video

event photos by Marcie Revens

< >
Log in as a Member to see upcoming events, screenings, and meetings.