Directing the Actor Lab

Taught by AWD Founder and USC Professor Jennifer Warren, this nine-month course meets for monthly sessions (currently virtually). 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 will choose a scene from an established screenplay, cast it, and hold a rehearsal during class where they receive feedback in preparation for shooting their scene outside of class. The last class will be a screening of all 12 scenes, which will be critiqued by the class and an invited guest director.

Apply to the AWD Directing the Actor Lab

Submissions for 2022 are now closed. 

AWD Members can audit the seven class sessions. Information can be found on each class’s calendar page. 

2022 Lab Participants

AWD Directors selected for the 2022 lab are Natalie Harris, Eva Midgley, April Maxey, Cameo WoodSarah Smith, Anna Sang Park, Natalie SimpkinsLisa DonatoCandice Carella, Mora Carew, Sailaja Bandyopadhyay, and Sofia Garza-Barba.


“The Directing the Actor Lab with Jennifer Warren was an awesome experience that allowed me to hone my skills directing actors in a safe space with instruction and practical experience. The fellowship with other AWD members was a bonus!” ~ Jessica Petelle, 2021 Lab Fellow 

Participating in Jennifer Warren’s Directing the Actor Lab was such a gift. The lab was a very supportive space to work with my actors, Jennifer is an incredibly generous teacher, and the other directors in my cohort have become lifelong friends.” ~ Ashley Brim, 2021 Lab Fellow 

“The best opportunity for meeting and learning from fellow female directors I have come across.”~ Bonnie Foster, 2021 Lab Fellow