The Business – Directors on Acting: TV Comedy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 7:05 PM (PDT)


A conversation with directors of television comedies to discuss their approaches to working with actors. The panel will address techniques for communicating the director’s vision for a scene and the ways in which they collaborate with performers to execute specific goals for the episode as a whole. Hear from these distinguished directors about their process behind directing an episode of TV comedy and how the actor can best serve that process.


Payman Benz, Key and Peele, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Payman Benz is a comedy director based in Los Angeles. He’s directed episodes of The Last Man on Earth, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Key & Peele, Great News, The Good Place, Son of Zorn, Teachers and Angie Tribeca, amongst others.

Prior to his half-hour work, Payman was a segment director on Jimmy Kimmel Live. His short films and sketches have been screened at several film festivals and have amassed over 30 million views online.

Ryan Case, Modern Family, The Mindy Project
Ryan is an Emmy Award-winning editor turned director. She started out her directing career with several episodes of the hit series Modern Family, and won a 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing – Comedy Series for her work on the pilot.

Ryan edited the pilots of Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23, among others. She then went on to direct full time, helming episodes of The Mindy Project, Brooklyn 9-9, Man Seeking Woman, Trial and Error, American Housewife, and Wrecked, among others. She is currently in casting for her first feature film, titled Fire Me, for Fox Studios and Red Hour.

Ryan was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 35 Women Under 35 in Hollywood in 2013.

Nisha Ganatra, Transparent, Better Things
Nisha is an Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner as the Director/Producer of Transparent. She recently sold a half-hour pilot based on her life to NBC/UTV with Amy Poehler producing. She is the Co-EP/Director of the first season of You Me Her, as well as the Co-EP/Director for the Louis CK and Pamela Adlon show, Better Things.

Nisha’s acclaimed début feature, Chutney Popcorn won Audience Awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Newport Film Festival, Paris International Film Festival and Madrid International Film Festival and Best Feature Film Awards at the Outfest Los Angeles, San Francisco Gay and Lesbian film festivals and Munich Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Her sophomore feature, Cosmopolitan starring Carol Kane and Roshan Seth, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival and was selected by Input as one of the top ten films shown on public television. It was the only narrative film chosen for this distinction.

Nisha has directed episodes of Mr. RobotThe Mindy ProjectRed OaksMarriedShamelessBrooklyn 99Better Things and GIRLS.

Nisha has also been presented with Women In Film’s Original Vision Award and was selected as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s Indie Filmmakers to watch.

Jay Karas, Workaholics, Parks and Recreation

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