Best Practices – Navigating Ensemble & Crowd Scenes During a Pandemic

April 20, 2021 A DGA Women's Steering Committee Virtual Event

On April 20, ahead of their online meeting, the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC) hosted the discussion, Best Practices – Navigating Ensemble & Crowd Scenes During a Pandemic. The event featured Directors Kelly Park and Kristin Windell and Assistant Director Anne Carroll speaking about working with large ensemble casts and crowds during a conversation moderated by Directors Jodi Binstock and Eda Benjakul.

During the discussion, the panelists explored the best practices of director’s team on ensemble and crowd blocking during a pandemic, including management of the set, crew, and atmosphere. On the subject of crowds, Windell used pre-and post-Pandemic crowd scenes from episodes she directed for the series, All-American, to illustrate the creative approach to the show from the director’s POV, and discussed the visual differences in the scenes as well as the parameters, she was given prior to prep.

Covering the area of blocking and directing for an ensemble cast, Park discussed how she approached both for the multi-cam ensemble show pilot she directed right before the shut-down, Country Comfort, as compared to the similarly structured pilot she directed during the pandemic, Black Don’t Crack; and revealed how some of her decisions were altered by the circumstances.

Using her work as an AD on the Netflix series True Story, Carroll handled the section dedicated to the work of the director’s team and spoke about cross-boarding/shooting four-eight episodes at one time at one location; dealing with contact tracing; the challenges of booking background actors on how that required sequestering; masking and other considerations now required that that didn’t exist prior to the pandemic.

Following the moderated portion of the conversation, the panelists fielded questions submitted by the online audience.

About the Panelists:
ParkDirector Kelly Park
Park’s directorial credits include the pilots Country Comfort and Black Don’t Crack; episodes of Alexa & KatieCall Me KatCall Your Mother, the Punky Brewster reboot, and the Mad About You revival. Formerly an actor and acting coach, Park joined the DGA in 2018. 
WindellDirector Kristin Windell
Windell’s directorial credits include episodes of ArrowAll AmericanDoom PatrolMagnum P.I., DC’s Legends of TomorrowThe FlashBlindspot and Hawaii Five-O. Prior to directing, she worked as an Editor on such hit TV shows as ArrowBlindspot and Brothers & Sisters. An alumnus of the Warner Bros Director Workshop, Windell joined the DGA in 2016. 
CarrollAssistant Director Anne Carroll
A graduate of the NY ADTP, Carroll became a DGA member in 2000 and started her career as a 2nd AD on series such as Law & OrderLaw & Order: SVU and doing crowd work on Sex and the City. Her resume also includes features such as Rob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha, Doug Atchison’s Akeelah and the Bee, and 12 seasons of Criminal Minds where she worked the last five seasons as a 1st AD. Carroll recently completed work on the first season of Netflix’s True Story
Eda BenjakulEda Benjakul (co-moderator)
Benjakul’s directorial credits include the movie for television, Shrinking Violet; an episode of the series, Switched!; the mini-series short, Hope Builders: Making a Difference in the Inland Empire; and the short films Home Restaurant and Ugly Sweet. Benjakul joined the DGA in 2015 and has served as the co-chair of the WSC ad-hoc committee, Best DirectHer, since 2019, and serves as a co-coordinator of the WSC Events and Activities Committee. 
BinstockDirector Jodi Binstock (co-moderator)
Binstock’s directorial credits include the feature Call Waiting; the movies for television I’ll Be Watching and A Snowglobe Christmas; episodes of Z NationBoy Meets World and You Wish; and the award-winning short film A Limited Engagement. A graduate of NYU Film School and an alumnus of the Disney Directing Fellowship Binstock has been a DGA member since 1998 and serves as a co-coordinator of the WSC Events and Activities Committee. 

Video from this event coming soon to the gallery below


The Women's Steering Committee (WSC) was created to advance the professional interests of its members, and to heighten their visibility and career opportunities in the entertainment industry. The WSC currently promotes diversity through sponsoring net-working events, screenings and seminars, and fosters relationships between the members to provide support, mentoring and networking opportunities. The WSC’s current Co-Chairs are Maria Burton, Hanelle Culpepper and Liz Ryan.

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