Variety recently gathered some of the top women directors, including the Insecure director, Melina Matsoukas, and black-ish director, Tracee Ellis Ross. The women engaged in a conversation about the challenges they faced, barriers they’re set to break, and the things they’ve learned throughout their journey.

When asked about their process as a director and how they approach material, Matsoukas said, “I always base a story on the research. I just dive into a time, the characters, the story, the colors, the art, the history of whatever story I’m trying to tell, the architecture. And then from there, a painting kind of comes alive, and I have a vision for how to tell that story. I prepare myself in that way, and then I do a shot list, and storyboards, and overly prepare, and then get on set and it stays in my pocket usually, but I know I have that confidence if I need to go back into it. And then still trying to be open to seeing when you’re on set, because that is where the magic happens, things that you would never expect to happen.” She went on to say, “Education is never over. I’m constantly learning. What I feel like I need to work on is how I work with actors and how I give those notes. Ross answered with, “I actually asked a lot of questions. The best note I got, because I didn’t know what things were called — the best note that I got was make sounds and use your hands. I did so much of that, and it totally worked, and then by the end of the scene, I knew what that thing was called. And on our show, the thing that’s fascinating is so much of the comedy is told through the editing. I think that that challenge is what I found really exciting, is how do you think of the story before, and how you’re going to tell it through shots so that when you get in the editing room, it’s in there. I found that to be the most exciting puzzle. Especially when I was in scenes: Don’t do that!”

In a space where Hollywood has a lack of female directors, the women were asked, what can [they] do to create more opportunities for women? Matsoukas stated, “For me, it’s about the conversation, and when a door opens for you, opening it for somebody else. Having these kinds of connections and networks, where we can support each other, so that we don’t feel like we’re in competition with each other — because I think we all have very specific and singular voices that are all so important — and that we support each other with those voices. I think it’s just about bringing the next generation up, and also crewing, and being very conscious of that and making sure everybody that you bring into this family has a priority to bring in other women and other people of color. I think that’s something you can do tomorrow.” Ross included, “I do think some of it has to do with the fact that we are still fighting against a system that makes little girls grow up to dream of their wedding and not of the many, many things that they could do in the world, and how they’re going to shape their lives and what kind of life they want to be living, and what they want to do with their hands, and they want to do with their minds. I think that’s part of what is changing. And then we support with, OK, and here are the places you can go.”

Season three of Insecure is set to premiere August 12 on HBO and the fifth season of black-ish is set to air this fall on ABC.

Comments

comments