We’re not just excited for Thursday’s all-new episode of The Vampire Diaries because it marks the end of a short hiatus — we’re also psyched to see the ep because it marks Paul Wesley’s directorial debut. Paul stopped by PIX11 to talk the transition between actor and director in Season 5, Episode 18 (“Resident Evil”).

“That has sort of infused this new level of excitement in my life, professionally,” Paul said about making his directorial debut after five seasons of playing Stefan Salvatore on the hit series. Paul joked about the focus it takes to separate his vanity as an actor from his goals as a director: “You have to really try not to be a narcissist because you … have a playback monitor so you shoot a scene, you sort of watch the scene, and then you have to be objective enough to sort of say I’m going to move, I’m not going to redo that take because I don’t like the way my hair was off in one angle.”

As for the potentially complicated experience of directing his co-stars and friends, Paul was moved by how much they put into it: “People think that the director is sort of the leadership role, but I needed them so badly,” he said. “I needed them as much as they needed me. I needed them to be there, to nail their performances, and I talked to all of them prior to the directorial debut and I said, ‘Guys, I need you.’ And they all came in and they knew their lines and they nailed it for me and I was so impressed.”

Aww. We will never get tired of hearing stories about the TVD family being there for one another. And we can’t wait to see the results of Paul and the cast’s efforts. Check out the PIX11 video for footage of Paul directing his co-stars behind-the-scenes of the episode. It’s cool to see the actor in directorial action! We’re so proud of his decision to step outside of his comfort zone and try something new.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!