New to The Game

March 21, 2023 A DGA Women's Steering Committee Virtual Event

On March 21, the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC) virtual meeting was preceded by a panel discussion New to the Game. In a conversation moderated by Director/WSC Activities and Events Committee Co-Coordinator Dana Nachman (Dear Santa), Directors who made a transition into narrative directing – Quyen Tran (Minx), Charissa Sanjarernsuithikul (All American), Jennifer Morrison (Dr. Death) and Lisa Demaine (Power Book IV: Force) – discussed how they made their transition from other on-set roles, behind and in front of the camera, to the Director’s chair.

During this lively conversation each of the speakers spoke about the insights their previous experiences brought as they took on narrative directing while also talking about the ways they needed to pivot in order to establish themselves as Directors and shoot a great episode. All of the panelists noted the importance of understanding set dynamics and having a good working relationship with the crew; and the added importance of preparation when you make the transition into directing.

Morrison spoke about how she utilizes her experience and knowledge of acting to more effectively communicate with actors when she is directing. She noted the importance of understand the dynamics between an actor and director and the importance of what the Director brings in facilitating great performances.

Tran spoke extensively about how she utilizes her expertise as a Cinematographer to capture eye-catching shots and tell stories from various perspectives. She made note of how her work as a Director and Cinematographer often flow into one another in terms of how it influences those roles when she’s on set.

Sanjarernsuithikul echoed the sentiments of Tran in how her experiences as a Projectionist and Editor really impacted her storytelling style as a Director. Her love of the craft made her shift into directing as a natural progression where all of those skills served to create a better story on screen.

Demaine spoke to how her work as an Assistant Director made the transition to the Director’s chair easier. Having been a part of the directorial team she had seen first-hand how Directors get the right shots and make their day. She added how all of her experiences culminated into opportunities to work as a Producing Director on hit shows like Power Book IV: Force.

During the discussion the moderator fielded questions for the panelists from the online audience.

Lisa DemaineLisa Demaine
Demaine’s directorial credits include episodes of LuciferChicago P.D., The Rookie and Chicago Fire. Before taking the Director’s chair, she worked as an Assistant Director on series including DeadwoodWestworldRay Donovan and Grace and Frankie. Demaine has been a DGA member since 1997 and served as an alternate on the Western AD/UPM Council. 
Jennifer MorrisonJennifer Morrison
Morrison’s directorial credits include the feature Sun Dogs; and episodes of Dr. DeathJoe PickettEuphoria; and the pilot for the series One of Us Is Lying. Before taking the Director’s chair, she worked as an actress on series including House and Once Upon A Time and features such as Star Trek. Morrison has been a DGA member since 2018. 
Charissa SanjarernsuithikulCharissa Sanjarernsuithikul 
Sanjarernsuithikul’s directorial credits include episodes of God Friended MeWalkerGood Trouble and All American: Homecoming. Before taking the Director’s chair, she worked as an Editor on series including Doom PatrolThe RookieDesignated Survivor and The Following. Sanjarernsuithikul has been a DGA member since 2019. 
Quyen TranQuyen Tran 
Tran’s directorial credits include episodes of MaidRoar and The Madness. Before taking the Director’s chair, she worked as a Cinematographer on features such as Jonathan Lim’s Pali Road, Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs and Matt Smukler’s documentary Wildflower; as well as episodes of series including MinxA Teacher and Camping. Tran has been a DGA member since 2021. 
Dana NachmanDana Nachman (moderator) 
Nachman's directorial credits include the feature documentaries Dear Santa and Pick of the Litter as well as episodes of the remake of Pick of the Litter as a limited original series for Disney+ and the mini-series, Dear Santa, the Series. She also directed the narrative short, Hook Up 2.0 and the documentaries, Batkid BeginsWitch HuntLove Hate Love and The Human Experiment. Nachman has been a DGA member since 2019 and serves as the Co-Coordinator of the Women’s Steering Committee’s Activities & Events Committee. 


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 Tara Miele, Shawn Pipkin-West and Liz Ryan.

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