DDI - Directing in the Time of COVID

Directing in the Time of COVID: Lessons from the Frontlines of Hollywood’s Return to Production

October 21, 2020 A DGA Director Development Initiative Virtual Panel Discussion

With the global Coronavirus pandemic rewriting the rules, Directors and their teams are finding creative new ways to practice their craft while maintaining a safe environment. DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment received valuable information on October 21 during the DGA Director Development Initiative’s (DDI) panel discussion, Directing in the Time of COVID: Lessons from the Frontlines of Hollywood’s Return to Production. The online event provided an opportunity for the participants to hear DGA Past President Paris Barclay, Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Michael Goi and Director Valerie Weiss speak about what they've learned while working during the pandemic during a conversation moderated by Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Carl Seaton.

Following a welcome by DGA Executive in Charge of Diversity Programs and Committees Frank Bennett Gonzalez, Seaton introduced the panelists and gave more information on the topics that would be discussed. During the conversation, the panelists revealed what they’ve learned, how it works, what to expect and how to prepare. Barclay spoke about focusing the crew and actors on the work at hand to get the job done and keep the set safe. Weiss gave information about various apps, devices and products that can allow Directors to go paperless and stay organized. Goi delved into the realities of rehearsing with actors while wearing masks and how to adjust your direction to get the best performances.

Following the discussion, the floor was opened to questions submitted by the online audience.

You can watch video highlights from the discussion in the gallery below.
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Paris BarclayParis Barclay 
A preeminent force in television entertainment, Barclay has directed more than 150 episodes of television and was active as a Director/Producer for series including: Station 19, PitchThe Bastard ExecutionerSons of AnarchyCold CaseCity of Angels and NYPD Blue. He also has directed episodes of HouseNCIS: Los AngelesThe Good WifeCSILostThe ShieldThe West Wing andER; as well as three films: Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; and the movies for television The Cherokee Kid and The Big Time. He earned two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Drama Series for NYPD Blue, received six additional Emmy nominations for both producing and directing, garnered ten DGA Award nominations and became the first Director in the history of the Guild to receive a comedy and a drama nomination in the same year, two years in a row (In Treatment and Weeds in 2008; In Treatment and Glee in 2009). He won the 1998 DGA Dramatic Series Award for his NYPD Blue episode “Heart and Souls.” A DGA member since 1992, Barclay was the first African-American and openly gay President in the Guild’s history. In addition to his two terms as President of the Guild, his service includes numerous terms on the National Board and Western Directors Council and chairmanship and participation in several committees. He was honored with the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in 2007, which is given for providing extraordinary service to the DGA.

Michael GoiMichael Goi
A DGA member since 2014, Goi currently serves as a co-chair of both the DGA’s Asian American Committee, and the DGA Diversity Task Force and as an alternate on the Western Directors Council. Goi’s directing credits include the feature films Megan Is Missing and Voyeur; and episodes of the television series Sexy Urban LegendsPretty Little Liars, and American Horror Story. He is also known as an acclaimed cinematographer with over 70 narrative credits and earned Emmy nominations for his cinematography work on GleeAmerican Horror Story and My Name Is Earl

Valerie WeissValerie Weiss
Weiss’s directorial credits include the feature films, The ArcherA Light Beneath Their Feet and Losing Control; the movie for television, An American Girl Story: Maryellen 1955 – Extraordinary Christmas; and episodes of, Outer BanksWhy Women KillSuits and Impulse. She has been a DGA member since 2016.

Carl SeasonCarl Seaton (moderator)
Seaton’s filmography includes the feature film Of Boys and Men; the movie for television Bad Dad Rehab; and episodes of FBILegaciesBatwomanChicago FireSnowfallSupergirlThe OriginalsChicago PD and Dynasty. He 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 mission to increase the diversity of the industry.

See video highlights from this discussion in the gallery below.

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