DDI Reels Feb 2021

Reel? Short? Episode? How to Put Your Best Film Forward

February 28, 2021 A DGA Director Development Initiative Virtual Lab

DGA members seeking ways to better prepare for their next episodic directing assignment received valuable information on February 28 when the DGA Director Development Initiative (DDI) hosted its first interactive lab of 2021, Reel? Short? Episode? How to Put Your Best Film Forward. The online event was designed to help the attendees identify an action plan to unlock their competitive edge and featured a curated presentation of Director samples to showcase exceptional work by emerging Directors who have broken through to their first hire.

Following a welcome from DGA Executive in Charge of Diversity & Inclusion Programs Frank B. Gonzalez, the attendees viewed a screening of the highly regarded reels and shorts, then heard a panel discussion moderated by DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs Bethany Rooney and Carl Seaton. The panel consisted of a conversation with Creative Executives Eric Bjorklund (VP of Current Series – Disney Branded Television), Phil Breman (Network Executive), Eddie Gamarra (VP of Studio Development – Viacom CBS Kids & Family Studio), Chad Kennedy (SVP of Current Programming – Warner Bros. TV), Erik Rechsteiner (SVP of Current Series – Universal Television Studios) and Sydnee Rimes (VP of Current Programming – ABC Studios).

The panelists covered subjects including understanding what types of elements in reels and other film samples have the most impact, how to approach and prepare for meetings with Creative Executives, and their role in advocating or approving the hiring of Directors within the television series process.

After the panel discussion, the Creative Executives were joined by Producer-Directors in breakout rooms to view and provide feedback on reels, shorts, and scenes submitted by the participating lab members. Producer-Directors Kabir Akhtar (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Unicorn), Tessa Blake (NCIS: New Orleans, A Million Little Things), Michael Goi (The Rookie, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Jaffar Mahmood (Young Sheldon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Oz Scott (Black Lightning, The District), and DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs Todd Holland (Mr. Mayor, The Real O'Neals) Bethany Rooney (All Rise, Bull) and Carl Seaton (Batwoman, FBI) all lent their expertise to the discussion.

The lab ended with a summary meeting where the attendees had a further opportunity to have their questions addressed by the VIPs.

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

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 diversity and inclusion in the industry.

See video highlights from this discussion in the gallery below.

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