In scoring we have a lot that was not evident in the shooting. The radio is on all the time.
That’s the only way I can control my movie. If you shoot everything, then everything is liable to end up in the movie. If you have a vision, you don’t have to cover every scene.
The production team’s first meeting took place at my house. I had ideas and a color scheme in mind, how I wanted the movie to look, because that has to be a real collaboration.
The radio for these women is like television is for us today, which is really like looking at the radio.
The riot isn’t seen in the movie, but it is alluded to. He has this one speech that gives a great sense of texture and paints a picture of what was happening in Harlem then.
It goes back to a style of moviemaking I remember seeing as a child, in movies like The Man With The Golden Arm, which I think was shot all on a sound stage.
I use something that is a real staple in the directing world. It’s called a dance floor. You lay it down so that it’s so smooth you can roll around, and you can put furniture on top of it. It’s seamless and you don’t see it.
The clothes back in those days were made so much better than clothes are today. They actually took time to make clothes to fit a woman’s body. Today they make clothes that fit sizes, so it stretches to fit this and that.
The biggest challenge was that we had to shoot so quickly and with such a limited budget.
As far as pacing the shoot is concerned, I know when I’ve got it. I don’t think there’s any reason to take ten takes unless you need them.
It’s kind of dangerous to cut in the camera, but that’s the only way I know how to direct.
There are some scenes that work beautifully in a moving, sweeping master, which is how I like to work.
Even when you have a big budget, you can’t just shoot everything.
I design my shots. I walk the rehearsal as the camera and say ‘this is where I want to be… I want this look.
A director just pushes them a little this way or that way.