TOTS Directors Toolkit with Chris Dudman – Blenheim

Up-skill with this two-day practical guide to the directing process. 

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ and Top of the South Film Production Society (TOTS) presents the first of two Top of the South Island Directors Toolkits with New Zealand director Chris Dudman.

This workshop will take place in Blenheim, with a second in Nelson scheduled for early August.

About Chris Dudman

Chris’ career has involved writing and directing short films, commercials, feature and series documentary and series TV drama. He directed short film successes THE GRAFITTI OF MR TUPAIA and CHOICE NIGHT, and later co-wrote and directed HARRY, the gritty crime drama series starring Oscar Kightley and Sam Neill. He wrote and directed THE DAY THAT CHANGED MY LIFE, the multi-award winning documentary about Christchurch’s devastating earthquake. He most recently directed two standalone episodes of James Patterson’s true crime anthology series MURDER IS FOREVER for U.S. company Stephen David Entertainment. Chris was also a longtime partner of and director at Auckland TV commercials company Robber’s Dog.

Directors Tookit

Chris will explore the directing process from his own personal experience on a variety of directing assignments from commercials to long-form documentary, from short film to dramatic television series. He will discuss the way he prepares (analyses scripts, casts, rehearses actors, storyboards), the way he directs actors and camera, and the way he works with editors and composers during post-production.

Taking a warts and all approach, he will use highlights and low-points as examples showing how he adapts this process to the various forms of the work he’s directing. In doing so he’ll touch on the differences between being a gun for hire and working on projects he’s instigated, on collaboration and compromise, on the director/producer relationship, on making decisions under pressure, avoiding pitfalls, the role of chance and luck…

His intention is to create a dialogue in the workshop – about process and what is really involved in directing as a career…

And, most importantly, why it has been worth it.

Sat 23 June, 9am – 5pm
Sun 24 June 9am – 4pm

Where: Marlborough campus, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), 85 Budge Street, Blenheim

Cost: Free
Class: 20 max

Blenheim Registration

Register by Wednesday 13 June, 4PM. Priority for Blenheim will be given to Marlborough TOTS Film Production Society members, as a result, Nelson TOTS Film Production Society members may be placed on a waitlist (Nelson members will be given priority for the Nelson workshop).

TOTS members: Fill in the form below and DEGNZ will contact you to confirm your place.
DEGNZ members: If you would like to attend, please email to be placed on the waitlist.

These workshops are closed to TOTS and DEGNZ members only.


This event is brought to you by the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ and Top of the South Film Production Society, and made possible thanks to the New Zealand Film Commission.

Top of the South Society    NZFC

Rehearsal & Performance logo

Auckland – Rehearsal & Performance with Director/Producer Simon Bennett

Rehearsal & Performance is a practical half-day workshop focused on developing directors and actors’ tools to build better director/actor relationships for on-screen results.

Guided by director/producer Simon Bennett, participants will explore a scene in groups (one director, two actors) in a safe and non-pressured environment. Lunch is provided.

Simon Bennett

Simon Bennett / photo courtesy of Amanda Billing

Simon Bennett has worked extensively as a stage and screen director and producer since graduating from Toi Whakaari in 1988. In 1995, he moved into television work: first directing, then producing Shortland Street.

In the years since, Simon’s directing highlights have included five seasons of Outrageous Fortune (for which he won an Achievement in Directing award in the 2007 Air NZ Screen Awards), Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business, The Almighty Johnsons, and Spies and Lies.

We are honoured to have Simon facilitate this workshop.

When: Sat 16 June, 9am – 2pm
Where: DEGNZ, Level 2, 66 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn, Auckland


Register your interest

Registrations close Tuesday 5 June, 10AM.

Spots are limited to four directors and eight actors. If your name is selected, DEGNZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation. Only members of DEGNZ and Equity NZ are eligible to register.


The selected directors and actors will be expected to do some script prep beforehand. DEGNZ will provide the scene in advance.


The Rehearsal & Performance series is hosted by Directors & Editors Guild of NZ with the support of the Equity Foundation and funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.



Call for Applications: Editing Drama with Peter Roberts

DEGNZ invites editors to apply for an Editing Drama Workshop with Peter Roberts, award-winning editor and former President of the Guild. The 2-day workshop will be held on 14-15 April in Auckland.

Learn about narrative feature-length editing and dramatic storytelling from a highly experienced New Zealand editor. The workshop will also combine teaching with practical editing exercises. Applicants require basic skills in Avid to attend*.

Peter Roberts has cut a prolific range of documentaries, shorts, features and TV shows. In 2014, Peter edited the drama feature film The Dark Horse, documentary feature Hip Hop-eration, and the short film Dive. All three won Best Film locally and each earned him a nomination for best editor. Follow-up projects have ranged across the globe: from ensemble drama Vermilion, shot in Auckland, to American indie drama For Izzy (produced by Kiwi actor Michelle Ang) and Kiwi-Chinese fantasy Into the Rainbow. Recent TV credits include telemovie Jean and Australian drama Cleverman. Peter was the first editor president of DEGNZ.

Saturday 14 April, 9am – 5pm
Sunday 15 April, 9am – 4pm, followed by post-workshop drinks

South Seas Film and Television School, Auckland
A travel allowance is available to some DEGNZ members travelling from out of town.

Cost: DEGNZ members free, Non-members $100. Lunch will be provided each day.


Application Deadline: Wednesday 28 March, 12 noon

TO APPLY please send your application in ONE PDF or DOC to with ‘Editing Drama’ in the subject line. In your application, please include:

  • your CV with filmography
  • links to samples of your work
  • a maximum one-page letter explaining why you would like to attend the workshop
  • your capability with Avid: Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced
  • your mobile number and any dietary requirements.

* If you are new to Avid Media Composer, a free 30-day trial is available for download to familiarise yourself with the software ahead of the workshop.

This event is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Rehearsal & Performance logo

Wellington – Rehearsal & Performance with Director Michael Duignan

DEGNZ invites directors and actors to register their interest in the first Wellington edition of Rehearsal & Performance, taking place on April 7.

Director Michael Duignan (Go Girls, The Blue Rose) will share his insights into how directors and actors can work better collaboratively to achieve great on screen performances.

This is a practical half-day workshop focused on giving participants tools to build better director/actor relationships. Participants will spend time exploring and rehearsing a scene in groups (one director, two actors) in a safe and non-pressured environment with guidance from Michael.

The selected directors and actors will be expected to do some preparation beforehand – DEGNZ will provide the scene in advance.

Directors and actors register via Eventbrite by Friday 23 March, 12 noon. Spots are limited to four directors and eight actors. If selected, DEGNZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation.

What: Rehearsal & Performance with Director Michael Duignan – Wellington

When: Saturday 7 April, 9am – 2pm; lunch provided

Where: Te Aro, Wellington

Cost: Free; workshop is restricted to members of DEGNZ and Equity NZ only.

Register at: Eventbrite

Michael Duignan

Michael Duignan is a writer/director creating film, television, commercials and photography. His short films have screened all around the world including the New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival and many others. Michael has directed episodes of top rating and critically acclaimed shows The CultGo Girls and The Blue Rose which was nominated at the 2013 Monte Carlo TV festival alongside Breaking Bad, The Killing and Homeland. He was recently awarded a writing residency at Studio One Toi Tu where he continued to develop a number of feature film projects.

Rehearsal & Performance is hosted by Directors & Editors Guild of NZ and supported by the Equity Foundation. This series is made possible with funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

Call for Applications: Director’s Workshop & Project Consultations with Rachel Perkins

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ invites directors to apply for a first-time feature Director’s Workshop and Project Consultation with Australian director Rachel Perkins to be held in Auckland.

Rachel Perkins

Rachel Perkins is well established in the Australian filmmaking industry as a film and television director, producer and writer. Through these various roles she has managed to provide a much-needed voice for indigenous stories, something Rachel is very passionate about. In 1992, she founded the documentary and narrative production company Blackfella Films. The company’s achievements include the award-winning landmark documentary series First Australians.

Rachel has directed four feature films, which have screened at over 75 film festivals worldwide: Jasper Jones (2017), Bran Nue Dae (2009), One Night the Moon (2001) and Radiance (1998). She currently serves on the Board of the Charles Perkins Trust, the Council of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), and the Australian Heritage Council (Department of the Environment and Energy).

On Saturday 17 March, Rachel will give a morning half-day Director’s Workshop on the trails, tribulations and preparation for your first feature for up to 30 participants.

The afternoon will be reserved for 1-hour Project Consultations with up to four selected writer/directors or writer and director teams with a narrative drama or feature documentary project in active development.

Directors can apply for both the Workshop and Project Consultation, or just the Workshop if you do not have a project currently in active development.


When: Saturday 17 March. Workshop – 8.30am to 12pm. Project Consultations will be held from 12.45 to 5.30pm.

Where: Auckland
Travel assistance may be available for some DEGNZ members coming from out of Auckland.

DEGNZ members – Free
Non-members – Workshop $50 / Project Consultation $100 (Workshop attendance free)
Payable upon successful application.

Selected projects may bring along the writer(s) to the consultation session at no extra cost.


TO APPLY please send your application in ONE PDF or DOC to with ‘Rachel Perkins Workshop’ in the subject line.

In your application, please provide:

  • your CV/bio, filmography and mobile number.

To apply for a Project Consultation, please also provide:

  • a short letter detailing the reasons why you would like a consultation on your project
  • a CV/bio and filmography for the writer(s) if applying as a writer and director team
  • your project in active development:

Narrative Drama – logline, short synopsis, 1-pager, feature-length script (first draft or later).


Feature Documentary – logline, short synopsis, detailed treatment.


Application Deadline: 9am, Wednesday 28 February.


This event is brought to you with the support of the New Zealand Film Commission and the Australian Screen Directors Authorship Collecting Society (ASDACS).