How the DDI Mentorship Program Can Benefit You

January 12, 2023 A DGA Director Development Initiative conversational lab

Since 2016, the DGA’s Director Development Initiative (DDI) Labs are programs designed to provide Members interested in Episodic Television directing with current information on the Director’s craft delivered by experienced Episodic Television Directors. While all members have the opportunity to participate in the DDI Labs, the DDI Mentorship Program is a competitive programmatic offering that provides intensive learning and pairs each participant with a seasoned episodic television Director for mentorship. On January 12, the DDI hosted the conversational lab, How the DDI Mentorship Program Can Benefit You, where interested members had an opportunity to learn more about the process, experience, and impact of the program from the perspective of past participants: Directors Marcus Stokes (Quantum Leap, The Flash), Jessica Lowrey (Perry Mason, Queen of the South), Kim Nguyen (Survival of the Thickest, Welcome to Flatch) and Valerie Weiss (Outer Banks, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds) during a conversation moderated by Television Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Michael Goi (American Horror Story, Big Sky).

In his welcome to the audience, Goi spoke about the goals of the program, while announcing the delay of the 2023 DDI Mentorship application cycle due to unforeseen circumstances and promised more information will be released in the coming weeks as a new timeline is established. He then turned his attentions to the program at hand and introduced the panelists who began the conversation by revealing what type of directing they did prior to participating in the DDI Mentorship Program, and what they had worked on most recently.

During the discussion, the panelists also covered topics including: What prompted them to apply for the DDI Mentorship Program and how they prepared for the application process; how having a mentored impact their experience in the program; and how has your experience in the DDI Mentorship Program impacted their careers as television Directors.

The panelists also shared their experiences with the DDI Craft Workshops and offered advice to members thinking about applying to participate in the DDI Mentorship Program. Stokes spoke about the importance of building a solid relationship with and taking the opportunity to learn from your mentor. Weiss referenced the importance of self-driven continuing education by consulting books and articles written by seasoned episodic Directors. Nguyen recalled how incredible the mentors who participate in the program are and added that proteges had the opportunity to network with mentors beyond their own. Lowrey shared how valuable the relationships developed with other Directors who participated in the program continue to be after the program and how helpful it is to have people who understand what you do that you can talk to.

See a video highlight from this discussion in the gallery below.
DGA Members can watch the full video from Director Development Initiative events
by clicking here.

Jessica LowreyJessica Lowrey
Lowrey is an alumnus of the DGA Director Development Initiative mentorship program as well as the DGA Assistant Directors Training Program. Her directing credits include episodes of Perry MasonHaloLightyearsHeelsBriarpatchNight Sky and Queen of the South. A DGA member since 2006, before beginning her directing career, Lowrey gained extensive experience as an Assistant Director on multiple series including BallersTogethernessLooking and Mad Men

Kim NguyenKim Nguyen
A graduate of the inaugural DDI Mentorship Program, Nguyen has directed award-winning commercials for clients such as Google, Target, and Samsung. Her episodic directing credits include episodes of Never Have I EverBrooklyn Nine-NineFresh Off the BoatSuperstoreThe Other TwoMr. MayorWelcome to Flatch and Survival of the Fittest. Nguyen joined the DGA in 2012.

Marcus StokesMarcus Stokes
A graduate of the inaugural DDI Mentorship Program, Stokes began his directorial career as a commercial director for clients including GMC, Nissan and Walt Disney Pictures before transitioning into narrative filmmaking. His episodic directing credits include episodes of Quantum LeapThe FlashCriminal MindsLife in Pieces and Blindspot. Stokes joined the DGA in 2002. 
Valerie WeissValerie Weiss
Weiss’s directorial credits include the feature films, MixtapeThe ArcherA Light Beneath Their Feet and Losing Control; the movie for television, An American Girl Story: Maryellen 1955 – Extraordinary Christmas; and episodes of Star Trek: Strange New WorldsEchoesMonarchOuter BanksWhy Women KillSuits and Impulse. A DGA member since 2016, Weiss serves as the Director Category Representative of the Women’s Steering Committee and on the DGA's new Sustainable Future Committee. 
Michael GoiMichael Goi (moderator)
A DGA member since 2015, Goi currently serves as a Co-Chair of the DGA Television Diversity Task Force. He also serves as an Alternate to both the DGA National Board and Western Directors Council and is a member of the DGA Special Projects Committee and Co-Chair of its Digital Day Subcommittee. Goi previously served a co-chair of the DGA’s Asian American Committee. His directing credits include the feature films Megan Is Missing and Voyeur; the pilot of Avatar: The Last Airbender; and episodes of the television series Big SkySexy 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.  

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 goal to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry.

Pictures & Video

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