The AD to Director Transition

January 16, 2024 A DGA Women's Steering Committee Meeting Panel Discussion

On January 16, the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC) meeting included the panel discussion, The AD to Director Transition, where Directors Anya K. Adams, Jessica Lowrey and Daniella Eisman shared how they made the jump from Assistant Director to Director in a conversation moderated by 1st AD/WSC Co-Chair Shawn Pipkin-West.

During the discussion, the panelists spoke about the advantages of having experience as an Assistant Director before taking on the job of a Director. They stressed the need to avoid stepping on the toes of their own ADs by trying to cover non-directorial duties and how that could lead to complicated conditions on the set. They also discussed the importance of centering the directorial role of getting the right shot and de-emphasizing making your day. They shared doubts expressed by colleagues as they were looking to move into directing and emphasized the importance of believing in yourself and pursuing your dreams despite other’s visions of your limitations. They encouraged others in the group to push forward, know who your allies are and test the waters as you make the transition to the Director’s chair.

Anya AdamsAnya K. Adams
Adams’s directorial credits include the feature Prom Pact; and episodes of Yellowjackets, The Expanse, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless. Prior to directing, her Assistant Directing credits include episodes of Black-ish, Insecure, The Comeback, Community, Scrubs and CSI: Miami. She has been a DGA member since 2003. 
Daniella EismanDaniella Eisman
Eisman’s directorial credits include episodes of The Really Loud House, First Wives Club, The Sex Lives of College Girls and Pivoting. Prior to directing, her Assistant Directing credits include episodes of Shameless, Never Have I Ever, The Mindy Project and Murder in the First. She has been a DGA member since 2005 and serves as an alternate on the LGBTQ+ Committee. 
Jessica LowreyJessica Lowrey
Lowrey’s directorial credits include episodes of The MadnessPerry Mason, Halo, Lightyears, Heels, Briarpatch, Night Sky and Queen of the South. Prior to that, her Assistant Directing credits include episodes of Ballers, Togetherness, Looking and Mad Men. She has been a DGA member since 2006. 
Shawn Pipkin-WestShawn Pipkin-West (moderator)
Pipkin-West’s Assistant Director credits include features such as Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls, and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights; and episodes of Raising Dion, Grey’s Anatomy, Friday Night Lights and Sorry for Your Loss. She was on the AD team for two DGA Award-winning productions: Thomas Schlamme’s 2020 special, A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote and Mick Jackson’s 2010 movie for television, Temple Grandin. A DGA member since 2004, she serves as an Associate member of the DGA National Board, on the Western AD/UPM Council and as a Co-Chair of the WSC. 


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.

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