Thankfully, more and more female directors are getting their shot to prove themselves in the TV industry. It is becoming easier for women to get that first foot in the door, but that certainly hasn’t always been the case. Holly Dale has been able to find incredible success directing over the years, but even she had a hard time getting that first chance to direct TV drama.
While Dale has been recognized as Best Director by the Director’s Guild of Canada on three separate occasions for her work on Flashpoint, Being Erica and Mary Kills People, she recently recalled how the industry was not always open to hiring women. In our interview as part of our Women Behind Canadian TV series, Dale says that it was through her work on documentaries that she was able to break in and begin directing an impressive list of shows that include Dexter, The Americans, X-Files, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Law & Order:SVU.
Dale is currently working as a producing director on the first season of The CW’s Batwoman. While she has had an impressive amount of success working in the U.S., Dale tells us that she always loves coming home to work on some of Canada’s best TV series. In fact, she recently spent time in Montreal directing several episodes of the upcoming CTV drama Transplant, and she shares why it’s so rewarding to be with a show from the very start.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
The TV Junkies: You’ve been a successful director for a while, but can you share a little bit about how you first got into the business? How did you get that first foot in the door?
Holly Dale: I’m a couple of generations back, in terms of my career, and a generation after Helen Shaver, who I really admire. I just think she’s a champion. But I started out making documentaries because at that time, women were ghettoized into them. If you wanted to make shows, then you could do those because women weren’t even doing children’s television yet in this country. I always wanted to make dramas, but it turns out that documentaries were a really great training ground for me.