What do Emmy-nominated TV directors know today that they wished they would have known at the start of their careers? We discuss that and more during our “Meet the Experts” roundtable panel with 2022 Emmy contenders. This informative panel includes television directors Danny Strong (“Dopesick”), Nneka Onuorah (“Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”), Nick Murray (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and Karyn Kusama (“Yellowjackets”). Watch our full group chat above and click on each name above to view the individual video interviews.
“You’ll never figure it all out,” declares Kusama. “It’s this endless series of questions, and coming up against the questions and the obstacles is the job, and there’s something really liberating about coming to peace with that. It used to sort of feel like something I was gonna have a greater sense of control over as a director, but what I’m becoming more comfortable with is how much I don’t have in my control. That’s been the biggest lesson, to just take a deep breath and relax, minute to minute and day to day in the job.”
Murray chimes in, “In a way, the job is never finished. There’s always something new and interesting to do. It’s not like, ‘Oh, that’s the end of my directing job,’ because something else is coming up that’s new, interesting, challenging. This country pays a lot of respect to experience that’s gained as a director, more so in this country than in the U.K. But for me, saying the word stop, to be able to pause and redo something, rethink something through … for me is something that I’ve learned over the years.”
Strong concedes, “Every day I’m on set it’s as if I’m starting from scratch, to a certain extent. I’m just sort of open to the process. I’ve over-prepared in the past and then gotten to set and thrown everything away. I think that there’s something to preparation, to having a plan, but also being prepared to just completely move on from that plan. I view it like a tightrope and [if I step off] then maybe I’m not fully in this creative process.”
“Being a Black director, queer, just someone who typically you don’t even see in the genre, it means a lot” to be included in the Emmy line-up, notes Onuorah. “It tells us that more of us can do this job. I didn’t even know that this was even a possibility of a job to do, ’cause I’d never seen anyone that looked like me creating and being the head of that vision.” She concludes, “It sends a message to the world of how important it is for our voices to be heard and stories to be told by people who lived the experience.”
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