Millicent Shelton Runaway Production Variety
Photograph by Gregg Segal

TV director worries about impact runaway production is having on her family

Millicent Shelton, 47, is worried about the impact that runaway production is having on her twins, a boy and a girl.

“They are 5½ years old, and one of them is already having separation anxiety, because when I’m gone, it’s often for six months at a time,” Shelton muses.

It wasn’t always like this for the episodic TV director.

“I started working in 2005, and the only time I left town was for ‘30 Rock,’ until a few years ago,” she recalls. “Then things started changing. I had to leave town in 2010 for ‘Leverage’ and for “Pan Am.’ ”

Now, leaving town is the norm.

“My husband works out of the home, and he takes wonderful care of my kids while I work out of town,” notes Shelton, whose recent credits include “Parenthood,” “Dallas” and “The Fosters.”

Shelton says that at a recent meeting at the DGA “everyone said that they are outside L.A. from August to Christmas. When I get work in L.A. now, I feel super-fortunate.”

It’s not just missing her family that makes it rough to leave town.

“Working in Atlanta is a logistical nightmare,” Shelton says. “You have to wait for the wardrobe to come from Los Angeles; they don’t have cranes you need. It’s a real pain in the ass. The crews can be really infuriating. You’ll have the first two crews that will be OK, but then you’ll get novices on the next crew.”

 

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