‘NCIS’: Rocky Carroll Explained the ‘Worst Thing’ You Can Do as a Director

by Anna Dunn

NCIS actor Rocky Carroll recently explained his process as a director. He also talked about the worst thing you can do in that role. Carroll plays Director Leon Vance on the show, but his directing is equally as important. He’s directed 16 episodes of the hit series over the years.

When asked about how he directs and if he feels like “the guy in charge” in an interview with Parade in 2017, Carroll cautioned that he wants to have a more democratic approach to directing. He doesn’t want to simply boss people around, especially since he just has to work with them as a peer the next week.

“I like to think of myself as the head collaborator, not the director because I think for a lot of people, director connotes giving orders and telling people what to do. That’s the worst thing you can do, especially when you have to come back next week as another cast member,” he says.

When he directs, he always reminds himself that when it’s all over he comes back as an actor and works alongside these people. He doesn’t want to create any “friction” with his co-workers that would be a problem later down the line.

This has become a lot easier as he continues to direct on NCIS.

“Having been there for so many years and having been a part of the cast, it’s a lot easier. It’s like a home game to me,” he explained.

Rocky Carroll Has Learned a Lot in the ‘NCIS’ Director’s Chair

Because he’s been directing for NCIS for a while now, Carroll has learned a lot about communication and the different responsibilities that come with being a director.

“I’m surprised sometimes at the responsibilities you have as a director. I have a lot more respect for directors now than I did before because you have the weight of the world on your shoulders literally. To me, it’s akin to being the royal wedding planner,” he explained.

Something like that certainly doesn’t sound like an easy task, but as a director, your job is to make things run on a very complex and dynamic set.

“There are so many details, so many things to think about that as an actor you don’t think about. As an actor, you get into makeup, you get into hair, you come out of your trailer and you hit your mark. As a director, you’re the first one there and the last one to leave,” he said.

Carroll is one of the cast members whose been on the show for a while. It doesn’t seem like he has any immediate plans to leave, either. You can catch the cast of NCIS in a new episode tomorrow night (12/5) at 9/8 CT on CBS.