The inaugural Shaw Media Diverse TV Director training course in association with the National Screen Institute kicked off its bootcamp on June 15 in Toronto.
Elise Swerhone, program manager, and I designed the curriculum along with production manager James Crouch over a period of three months. The four very skilled director participants were immersed in workshops right away, giving them the skills to enable them to make the leap to directing scripted television.
We kicked off at the Directors Guild of Canada offices on Peter Street, meeting in their amazing board room.
The first guests that came to share their knowledge were three very established television directors, with me moderating the panel.
Above: Tina Horowitz and Carl Liberman with the students.
They were very open and honest with all the participants and I felt gave advice that hit home for all of them, in particular Melanie Orr.
Producers Peter Meyboom and Ilana Frank, along with Susan Alexander from Shaw Media outlined the difficulties of getting a job on a TV series. This was followed by The Art of Directing Series with Larysa Kondracki and Adrienne Mitchell.
I spent the afternoon talking about the politics of directing and sharing war stories from various sets.
Above: Paul Day, editor extraordinaire.
And Waneta Storms, writer on Saving Hope talked about how directors and writers interact.
Above: Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski from Rock-It Promotions
Tim Southam shared all his workbooks and scripts for everything he has directed, showing participants how he organizes and approaches the POV in a scene, screening lots of scenes from Bates Motel and other shows he has directed. Amazing!
Then Eric Roberts talked to the students via Skype.
Above: Eric Roberts on set with Gail.
DP Anton Van Rooyen talks about a DP’s concerns when working with series directors.
Above: production manager James Crouch with Anton Van Rooyen.
For the last two days of training we moved to the Raindance Studio on Carlaw.
Clint Green talked visual effects with the students.
Then Colin Brunton shared his experiences as the coolest producer in town having worked with Bruce McDonald and done punk rock documentaries. Colin was hired as the first producer for the CFC Features program.
He’s now producing Schitt’s Creek for CBC with Eugene and Dan Levy.
Above: Colin Brunton.
Then we had stunts with Eddie Queffelec (below).
And actress/director Amy Jo Johnson (Flashpoint) came in to talk to students.
Day 6 – Warren P. Sonoda
Above: students with Warren P. Sonoda.
Above: our director students directed! Melanie Orr in pink with actor Ann Pirvu.
Above: Gloria Ui Young Kim (far left) and Randall Okita (far right) with Ann Pirvu during the directing exercises.
Above: Actors Stephanie Jung and Ann Pirvu with Warren and Lindsay MacKay during the directing exercises.
Throughout the six days, I shared everything I could with the four amazing participants: shot lists, websites, demo reels, tips for working with actors, producers, writers and editors, and the politics of directing. Basically how I did it and how I do it now.
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Shaw Media Diverse TV Director is supported by Presenting Sponsor Shaw Media; Industry Partners the Directors Guild of Canada and the Directors Guild of Canada Ontario; Supporting Sponsors Entertainment One, Super Channel, Corus Entertainment and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television; and Service Sponsor William F. White International.