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It took an extra year (thanks to the pandemic), but the inaugural cohort from the Netflix Series Director Development Program is finally celebrating its completion.
Nine directors hoping to expand their opportunities in episodic work — nominated by a creative executive at the streamer and ultimately selected by Netflix exec producers — have spent the past two years participating in a part-time program that involved weekly classes and a dozen training sessions as well as hands-on experience and directing assignments on a Netflix show. Three participants did not direct an episode through the program as a result of the pandemic and what Netflix described as other “unforeseen circumstances,” but all were paid DGA scale, and also received stipends, travel and accommodations for shadowing assignments.
“The Netflix Original Series Directors Development Program aims to be the gold standard in the industry,” said the workshop’s director and lead mentor, Paris Barclay, in a statement. “Our primary goal was to educate, develop and prepare a diverse group of emerging directors for a career in episodic television directing. They learned from top directors, writers, producers and other key personnel the secrets they don’t tell you in film school. And what really sets us apart — we have the chance to help jumpstart the careers of our participants by lining them up with opportunities to direct on Netflix shows.”
These shows included Ozark, Family Reunion and On My Block, as well as upcoming projects that have yet to be announced. “The Netflix program not only taught us the ‘hard skills’ of directing an episode, like learning the different kinds of pre-production meetings, how to prep for an episode and how to run a safe set, but also taught us the ‘soft skills’ of how to manage the interpersonal relationships on a set,” said Anne Hu, one of the program participants alongside Arlyn Richardson, Attila Szalay, Dennis Liu, Juanesta “Winnie” Holmes, Jabbar Raisani, Melissa Hickey, Paula Garces and Pavlina Hatoupis.
The second cohort is set to begin its program experience in the coming year. Participants can be belong or not belong to the DGA but are all required to have some film or video experience and no more than three episodic credits.
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