decor Welcome to Stephanie Beatriz Web, your newest fan source for the talented actress. Stephanie is best known as Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but you may also know her from guest appearances in Modern Family and Southland, as well as her roles in Half Magic and Short Term 12.

Stephanie Beatriz on Directing Her First Brooklyn Nine-Nine Episode: ‘I Asked Myself, What Would Ava DuVernay Do?’

Posted by renee on 03 March 2019 with 0 Comments

This week NBC will air an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine titled “He Said, She Said.” It will feel a lot like every episode of B99—funny and fast-moving, a snappy half-hour sitcom. But it’s special to me because it features the characters of Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) investigating a case that deals with the #MeToo movement.

It will also be the first episode of television I directed.

If you follow the news, then you know the show got canceled on Fox last year. All seemed lost, but then a very Hollywood turn of events happened and NBC swooped in to bring us back for another season. That’s when a very loud voice in my head said something terrifying: You should ask to direct.

Over the course of working on our sitcom, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate and work with many directors. The vast majority of them were men, and that’s simply because there are far more men than women in the Directors Guild of America. There are even fewer members of the DGA who are women of color. I started having a very strong feeling that I had a point of view that could add something to the work that was happening on television, that my voice and sensibilities and sensitivities and brain could add something to a show and help tell a story.

But thinking and doing are two different things, and I wondered if I was being ridiculous. What the actual fuck was I thinking?! I’ve never directed a short film, let alone a whole episode of network comedy. I didn’t go to film school. What credentials did I have? Besides, millions of dollars are on the line when directing a TV show. There’s an immense responsibility to deliver an episode that will be extremely funny, fit the vibe of the show, and do it all while keeping the cast happy and the crew from hating you. Oh, and you have to stick to an extremely tight schedule—five days.

I chickened out.

So I didn’t ask to direct. I was too scared. When the directors for all 13 episodes of season six were announced, I figured I had missed my shot. I’d been on this show for five seasons. I knew Brooklyn Nine-Nine like the back of my hand. I knew the way our show shoots. I knew the characters, the actors, the sets, the history, the quirks. I’d logged more than 100 episodes working with, watching, and learning from the best episodic television directors. I’d been secretly shadowing each of them for the last few years, using my time on set as a master class in directing. Deep down I knew that I could direct, except now I had blown my chance and wouldn’t get another one. At least not anytime soon.

But then NBC ordered five more episodes for season six. I felt like I’d been given another chance.

So I asked. I wrote an email—one that I read over and over before it was ready to be sent—to our showrunner and creator Dan Goor and our producer David Miner. I outlined my case for directing and told them what I knew to be true: that there are very few female directors in television, and even fewer women of color. I wanted to join their ranks.

And they said yes.

It turns out that asking isn’t the only scary part of going after a big dream. You know what’s just as scary? When you hear “yes.”

I was informed that my episode would center on Jake and Amy working on a case involving #MeToo and sexual assault. So while I felt a lot of pressure to get it right, I also felt so much trust. It gave me confidence because I knew I could prepare in a way that would lead to a smooth, even joyful, set. I could use this opportunity to give space to actors to create and play, which is what we do best. As I read the script, images began bursting into my mind and there was a fire inside me to tell the story that Lang Fisher and our writing staff had so beautifully and hilariously written. I felt full of ideas. I felt compelled to tell this story as honestly as I could. Mostly, I felt a very strange yet solid trust that the director who could do this was already inside me.

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