Directing the Actor Lab

AWD’s Directing the Actor Lab is a popular annual program taught by AWD Founder and USC Professor Jennifer Warren. The selected Directors meet for monthly sessions to enhance their experience working with actors. Topics covered include in-depth scene breakdowns, rehearsal exercises and techniques, and playable direction and adjustments for actors.

Throughout the lab each of the participating directors chooses a scene from an established screenplay, casts it, and holds a rehearsal during class, where they receive feedback in preparation for shooting their scene outside of class. The last class is a screening of all scenes, which is critiqued by the class participants and an invited guest director.

Submissions for the 2023 Lab are currently closed.
This Lab is open for auditing by AWD Directing and Ally Members.

2022 Lab Participants

Click here to read all about our game-changing AWD Directors selected for the 2022 Lab.


“Directing the Actor Lab was a unique experience, which nurtured me to work on a very specific directing muscle. The camaraderie with the fellow Alliance of Women Directors is genuine and Jennifer Warren’s feedback is intelligent and nurturing. The entire lab is organized with what bell hooks would have called the “love ethic” – it’s a workshop led by Love for the working women directors to Grow as Artists.” – Anna Sang Park, 2022 Lab Fellow

“The Directing the Actor Lab was in incredible experience, and has given me much more confidence in my work with actors, and that’s only because of the wonderful tools that I’ve learned throughout the class and especially because of Jennifer’s thoughtful and encouraging feedback.” – Sarah Smith, 2022 Lab Fellow