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Prolific TV director Gail Mancuso dishes on her directorial debut, breaking Hollywood’s glass ceiling and mentoring young women in entertainment




Winner for Best Directing for a Comedy Series, Gail Mancuso speaks onstage during the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Winner for Best Directing for a Comedy Series, Gail Mancuso speaks onstage during the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
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You may not know her name at first glance, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen Gail Mancuso’s work.

The prolific director’s career in television spans three decades and she has her fingerprints on some of the most well-respected TV comedies out there. She began her career as an usher on TV talk show sets, which led her to become a script supervisor and eventually to an associate directing gig on ABC’s “Roseanne” in 1991. She would go on to direct much more TV through the late ‘90s, 2000s, and 2010s, adding shows like “Friends,” “30 Rock,” “Scrubs,” and more to her filmography.

In 2013, Gail became the first woman to win an Emmy for directing a comedy series for her work on “Modern Family,” an award she won again the following year for the same show. And this week, Mancuso makes her first venture into the world of film with “A Dog’s Journey,” which opens wide in theatres this weekend. But outside of her prolific directing career, Gail is also working to find and mentor the next generation of women TV and film directors. She is one of the founders of the Director’s Guild of America’s TV Director Mentorship Program, which pairs aspiring directors with veterans of the industry who guide them through the year in episodic television.

Today on FilmWeek, Gail Mancuso and her former roommate, KPCC FilmWeek critic Claudia Puig, join Larry Mantle to talk about making your first film in middle age, making the transition from TV to film and the barriers that women film and TV directors face. 

Guests:

Gail Mancuso, Emmy-winning television director; her directorial debut is “A Dog’s Journey,” which is in wide release this week; she has directed multiple episodes of several critically-acclaimed TV series, including “Friends,” “Scrubs,” “30 Rock,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Modern Family” and more

Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) and Gail Mancuso’s former roommate; she tweets @ClaudiaPuig