In its most recent season, the hit FX show Atlanta features an episode directed by Atlanta
native Angela Barnes, who has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her work on the show. Barnes had this to say about her experience:
“Donald and Hiro Murai, who’s the executive director and who directs most of the episodes, the two of them are, I don’t know, they’re just mad cool dudes,” said Barnes. “For a show that has a lot of men in charge and is about dudes, you’d worry about having a ‘bro’ energy behind the scenes. And I joked with Donald, ‘The awards are nice. This Emmy is nice. The Golden Globes are nice. But literally, this is the only show I’ve never been mansplained on.’ That, to me, is the best award ever– that I can come in and not have to worry about second-guessing people because, as a woman and as a woman of color, people don’t always want to listen to what you have to say the first time; sometimes you need somebody else to say it for you.”
Barnes was excited for her opportunity to not only direct an episode of a popular TV show, but also to put her own spin on the storytelling and the message behind the show.
“Directing, to me, is like music or dancing. There’s a rhythm to it, and if you stay in the same beat for too long, sometimes you just need to change it up a little bit. I like snappy shows. I like scenes that, you know, go-go-go-go-go. But here’s a guy who’s easing into his therapy; he’s easing into opening up to this man he’s just met that is his therapist. So stuff like that can’t be in a hurry,” said Barnes. “That last scene in the therapist’s office was one of the most incredible directing experiences I’ve ever had on set, and it was one of those things that I thought it was just me – I was just excited that the scene was going the way I wanted it to and that it felt right – and then when we were all done, and we wrapped the scene, two of the crew members came up to me, separately, like ‘That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,’ and that never happens.”