Directing Episodic TV

Gain hands-on experience and learn the necessary skills for directing high-quality episodic television with Peter Werner

Nicole FullerIn the last few years, there has been an explosion in the development of high-quality episodic programming by cable networks such as AMC, FX, and Sci Fi, as well as the major networks. Programs such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, 24, and Homeland have raised television programming to a new standard and are extremely lucrative due to the worldwide demand for this programming.

Directing for television requires the same skills needed for feature productions, and additionally, the ability to step into an existing production structure and quickly absorb and direct to the tone and style of the show while working efficiently to shoot an entire hour series in just seven or eight days.

This workshop walks students through the experience of directing a TV series by taking a recent network show and breaking down all of the stages from pre-production through shooting and into post-production. Using actual scripts, students discuss scheduling and scouting, recreate casting sessions, look at the director’s role in making production boards, discuss shot breakdowns, and choose locations.
Students work on different scenes and learn how to rehearse and work with the director of photography to find the best way to shoot a scene, keeping in mind the other 8 pages of script they must shoot in the same day. Throughout the course, students direct actors and set shots. The student's work is compared and contrasted to the real life dailies from a specific episode, giving them a first-hand look at the numerous choices a director must constantly be making to both advance the story and find a visual language appropriate for the scene.

Students work with editors to edit scenes, compare dailies, cut scenes, and create a final cut from the actual episode. The instructor brings a script and dailies from a complete show and uses it as the template for exploring what the director does in television. Students break down the script, define how they would rehearse and shoot it, and then have the opportunity to see what was done with the actual episode. Students discuss all of the conceptual thought processes that led to the decisions that were made for that particular episode.

Testimonials:

"I can't wait to come back."
- Mario Vaz, Pawtucket, RI

"The teacher allowed us to work hands on immediately."
- Jack Klein, Boca Raton, FL

Instructors

Peter Werner

Peter Werner is an accomplished director with an extensive background in both television and film. He most recently added Justified (FX), Grimm, A Gifted Man, and Unforgettable to his list of television credits which also include multiple episodes of Medium (NBC), Army Wives (Lifetime), Law & Order: CI (NBC), Ghost Whisperer (CBS), Boomtown (NBC), A Different World (NBC),  and The Wonder Years (ABC.) He was the primary director for the first two seasons of Moonlighting (ABC). One of his episodes was voted one of the top 50 in television history by TV. Guide.

Mr. Werner has also directed numerous television pilots including Suburban Sleuths (Lifetime), Ghost Cop (FBC) and Nash Bridges (CBS) and more than twenty Movies of the Week including Lifetime’s Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story, which earned him an Emmy® nomination. He also received Emmy nominations for L.B.J.: The Early Years, Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, and Moonlighting as well as multiple Director’s Guild nominations. He won an Ace Award for The Image ( HBO) with a cast that included Albert Finney, John Mahoney, and Brad Pitt.

Werner has several feature film and short film credits to his name including No Man’s Land ( Charlie Sheen), Don’t Cry and It’s Only Thunder, plus an Academy Award for In The Region of Ice which he adapted from a short story by Joyce Carol Oates. He has also written numerous scripts and directed a number of documentaries including Frances Flaherty: Hidden and Seeking and Findhorn.

Finally, the father of three, Mr. Werner is a graduate of Dartmouth College, received a Masters in Teaching from Antioch, and an M.F.A. from the American Film Institute. He has lectured widely but loves teaching week long workshops in Maine as well as practicing Buddhism for twenty five years.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0921464/