Magazine article Variety

Vision Quest

Magazine article Variety

Vision Quest

Article excerpt

A SHOWRUNNER might have overall creative authority over a TV series, but the director has a lion's share of responsibility when it comes to putting her defining stamp on each episode. Showrunners don't usually helm every episode, and they rely on directors to drum up their own personal vision and bring the storyline to life in a way that enhances the overarching themes and esthetic of each show.

Kari Skogland, who most recently directed season 2, episode 7 ("After") of Hulu's Emmy-winning dystopian-set series "The Handmaid's Tale," works closely with showrunner Bruce Miller to create an episode that reflects her own artistic sensibilities while also staying true to Miller's.

"'Handmaid' has a signature look overall," says Skogland. "There are certain kinds of lenses, certain kinds of aesthetics. So you want to honor that which has been established, and a lot of that is embedded in the writing. No matter what, the strength of the writing really guides you, and then it's a bit of a conversation back and forth with [Miller]. Obviously, there are budget issues, always, and you have to fit within a certain box. And then there's making sure that I fully understand Bruce's vision on an episode-per-episode basis. There are layers and layers of emotions, storyline, and you want to make sure you are honoring the emotional space that each character is in."

When shooting "Dear White People," Justin Simien's subversive comedy about racial discrimination at a mostly white Ivy League college, the process works similarly. …

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