Directing The Series Premiere Of A Television Show – Dan Attias

Dan Attias, Director, Producer and Author: When you get a script that looks challenging, the easiest thing to do is say It can’t be done.

Film Courage: What made Snowfall season three, episode one a challenge for you?

Dan: What was most challenging about it was how big it was meaning how many huge sequences were scripted. A season premiere episode needs to be exciting. It needs to pack a lot in to kind of sustain the audience’s interest to come back for future episodes. In season three it was one of the most…this was a show in case your viewers don’t know about which dealt with the crack cocaine epidemic in the early 80’s in South Central Los Angeles. There was so much packed into this particular episode. There were stunt sequences, there were aerial sequences, there were deep interpersonal things going on. Whenever I’m given a script to read or that I’m going to direct, I try to read it at first putting aside all those considerations. One of the challenges I had transitioning from being an assistant director to becoming a director is to stop being an assistant director, to stop looking at something in terms of the difficulty to do it but instead to look at how this story is affecting me, how might I tell the most exciting wonderful story exploring all of the depths as possible and let myself dream about it. I’ll read a script just letting it wash over me and seeing what interests me, determining what is it really about, what am I drawn to in the characters because I can’t really know how difficult it is to shoot it within the time and budget constraints until I figure out what story I’m telling, where I want the emphasis to be, how I’m going to do certain things. Some things that read as being difficult might be shot very simply. Some things that seem simple might be very, very complicated to shoot…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

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Dan Attias has worked as a director in the film and television industry for 37 years. As a director of series television he has received the Directors Guild of America award for outstanding direction of dramatic television and has been nominated for multiple Emmy awards for his comedy directing. He continues to work on some of the most celebrated and critically acclaimed American television shows, including Homeland, The Americans, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Billions, and The Boys. Previously he has directed The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under, True Blood, Entourage, The Killing, The Walking Dead, True Detective, Ray Donovan, Bloodline, Friday Night Lights, Northern Exposure, House, Lost, Alias, among many others. His first professional directing assignment was the feature film, Stephen King’s Silver Bullet, produced by Dino DeLaurentiis. Dan started his career studying acting, then worked as an assistant director on E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Airplane!, One From the Heart and several other feature films. He has taught acting and directing workshops in the United States, and has appeared as a guest speaker at festivals in Italy, Brazil, Greece, Mexico and Canada. Before working in the film and television industry, Dan was enrolled in a Ph.D. program in English literature at U.C.L.A., then transferred to the Theater Arts Department where he earned an M.F.A. in film production. 





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