Essay on Research: Steven Spielberg and Henry Burnell

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Shakala Alvaranga
Interview with Leslie Glatter

Tell me about some of your previous work before Homeland

Before I was a director I was a modern dance choreographer and a modern dancer. And the first series that I have ever directed was Twin Peaks, which was a very iconic series started by David Lynch, whose another director. It was an extraordinary experience. I directed four of them. And I’ve been working ever since I made the shift from modern dance choreography. And I’ve worked on amazing shows. I’m really grateful. I’ve worked on things ranging from Freaks and Geeks, to ER, to West Wing, to Madmen, which was my last Emmy nomination, to Justified, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex, True Blood, and The Newsroom. I think were in a golden age of television. It’s been a fortunate ride.

What made you transition from dancing, to wanting to be a director?

I was living in Tokya, Japan, back when the American government actually sponsored the arts. And I was on a cultural exchange program. I was told a series of stories that I knew I had to pass on, and I knew it wasn’t dance. So, if I hadn’t been told those stories, I would’ve probably never directed

From the shows that you listed, what were some of your favorite ones that you worked on?

I feel like I’ve been really lucky to be working with amazing writers and actors, and all of those listed have been extraordinary experiences, all for very separate reasons. One of the things I love about working in television is that you get to go into different worlds...tell very different kinds of stories and then go into another world. And for that period you have to immerse yourself in whatever that world is.

How long have you been in the business for?

Wow. I made my first film, which was based on the stories I was told in Japan, my mentor story. And I made that film in 1985 so, I’ve been working ever since.

How do you think you’ve grown from that period to right now?

It’s certainly a lot of experience. When one starts out, you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. And you have a story, for me that I really want to tell. And I feel that I’m the right person to tell that story. Even though in television you come into an episode, I’ve always approached it like doing a film. But, you have to do it a lot quicker, and you have to know really what you’re story is about. If you have to move quicker, you really have to know what the dollar scene is, and what the 25-cent scene is. What can you really move quicker? What can you spend your time on? That’s the point of the story. That’s the main scene. Of course I feel much more confidant and I hope I was then to some degree. We’re in a very collaborative field, and you want to come in with a very clear point of view but also be opened to all the creative people that you get to work with. So for me it’s always about the best idea winning. I feel like now if things are going crazy, and they inevitably will, I can center myself quicker. Its not like it doesn’t happen, but I can get back on track. And I’m very open to anything that’s happening in the moment with the actors with the development of the story. I love what I do. I get to do this; I get to be a storyteller. It’s fantastic.

You mentioned before that you feel like this is the golden age of TV. Why do you think that is?

I feel like what’s happened in cable TV and partially what’s happened with the film business, is that it’s so hard to get movies made. So it seems that either these huge big budget often time comic book movies are getting made or the tiny little amazing independent film is getting made but the movies in between, the character-driven drama or romantic comedies, those are harder to get made. I think a lot has gone to television, especially to cable TV. So it feels like in some way, cable is the new indie film. I feel like there’s more goo storytelling in cable, then anywhere else now. There are so many good series. There are so many…