There are no available registration dates at this time.

NOTE: This class will be held in a live, online format using the Zoom Platform.
Class meets daily from 11am-5:30pm EDT

Limited scholarship opportunities may be available under the BILL LINSMAN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND.  Details and application form may be found here.

Designed by an accomplished director to be the class he would have liked to have had before dealing with the realities of a film set. Learn the real-world dynamics that will give you confidence in directing actors and crew.

Accomplished as both a director and a cinematographer, Geary McLeod understands the complex creative components of a film shoot better than most.  This is the class he would have liked to have had before walking onto a set for the first time.

The week will take students through a granular nuts-and-bolts examination of how a director prepares and manages a shoot.  How do you deal with the dynamics of a film set and keep your creative focus while balancing all the competing demands of budget and schedule. How do you effectively interact with actors, collaborators, producers and studios?

While most of the elements explored will have relevance for different kinds of productions, the workshop will focus on the production of an episodic TV show as a useful way to examine the compressed timetable and budgetary confines that a director typically faces on any kind of project.

We will look at how a director constructively communicates with the Actors, Writer, Cinematographer, Showrunner, Line Producer, ADs, Production Designer, Art Director, Locations Manager, Wardrobe Supervisor, Hair/Make-up Supervisor(s), Property Master, Transportation Coordinator, Special Effects, Visual Effects, Post Production Producer, and Editor.

You’ll see what happens on a day-to-day basis in prepping an episode of a TV show. From what has to be accomplished from the moment you receive your shooting script on day one of prep up to the first day of production, through the shoot, and into editing and post-production.

The instructor’s background as both a director and cinematographer will allow students to gain new insights on the dynamics of interaction between these two key collaborators as well as the relationship between camera and performance.

You’ll learn how to start thinking through blocking and camera angles at the script stage, how to conduct a table read with the actors, how to deal with studio script notes, and how to handle auditions.

In examining how to communicate with your actors, we’ll consider:

How does a director work with an actor to figure out a specific character’s relationship to the other characters, as well as the larger themes?

How to assess what kind of actor you’re working with in terms of their preferred process.  Do they want to discuss a performance in minute detail or be left to figure it out on their own?  Reading which kind of actor you’re working with is one of the most important skills a director needs to acquire. When actors have different methods of approach, how do you get performers on the same page?

How to direct supporting actors. Directors often meet them for the first time on set – particularly in television. As you rehearse their scene, and make adjustments as needed, crisp, concise actable notes are all you’ll have time for before rolling camera. You’ll learn how to direct on the fly.

And much more.


In addition to directors who want to examine these dynamics, the class will also be valuable for cinematographers who want to explore this content in depth.

Leave the week with increased confidence that you are prepared to deal with the realities of a film set!

This workshop may be taken on its own or as part of the 2020 Four Week Directing Intensive

Please note: If your computer supports it, the instructor highly recommends that you download Scriptation software for reading and annotating scripts, available free at the App Store. There might also be modest streaming fees (under $10) to watch films outside of class.

BEFORE THE WORKSHOP:  Students are advised to watch all of season one of “Fleabag”, available on Amazon Prime, and to read two books before the workshop: “Directors Tell the Story” by Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli: Focal Press; “Film Directing Shot by Shot” by Steven D. Katz: Michael Wiese Productions/Focal Press.

Image Credit:  ©Tor Rolf Johansen

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Instructor: Geary McLeod, ASC, DGA

Geary McLeod’s directing credits include Empire, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS: New Orleans, The Mentalist, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, Light as a Feather, The Bold Type, Dynasty, and Famous in Love. Previously a cinematographer, he brings a unique perspective to the dynamics of directing actors for the camera. His cinematography credits include Barbershop, The Mentalist, Carmen: A Hip Hopera, Dirt, City of Angels, and Mad Men. Earlier in his career he was a camera operator on films like The Deep End of the Ocean, Malcolm X, He Got Game, Money Train, Clockers, and Holes. He is a member of both the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) as well as the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).