Donald Glover, Issa Rae And Lin-Manuel Miranda participated in a recent creativity roundtable moderated by director Jon Favreau for The Hollywood Reporter. The wunderkinds, who have all open doors for themselves and others thanks to their out-of-the-box approaches fueling their respective projects, discussed the year they’ve had and their keys to success.
Hot off a strong first season of his show Atlanta and a new album as the musician Childish Gambino, Glover talked about improvisation in the industry with La La Land director Damien Chazelle, who also spoke on his successes during the roundtable.
“The way we live now is mostly editing and knowing your brand,” says Glover, 33. “I know a lot of jazz musicians, and it’s cool when you can hear them mess up and hear them turn it into something cool.”
Miranda, whose play Broadway musical Hamilton won Grammys, Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize this year, also talked about his formula for keeping his audience interested in his work, and why he thinks it paid off.
“I had an interesting thing with Hamilton,” he says. “We start with heightened language – this heightened hip-hop speech. And there was a version of Act 1 of Hamilton where we’d have songs and then we would break into scenes and there’d be like, ‘Hey, I’ll see you at the dinner’ dialogue. We realized it didn’t work with Hamilton because when you have an opening number that is this intense, heightened speech, to go back to, “Oh, I’m going to have some water,” you can’t drop the ball.”
Issa Rae’s HBO series Insecure garnered her a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actress- Musical or Comedy category, and she says that she is starting to understand what success feels like. To her, it’s all about being able to reach someone.
“I guess when people are talking about it, when people are sharing it,” she explains. “I like making people relate to people of color and black people specifically. Especially in these times, that’s a cool trait: ‘I’m from this specific background, and I identify with what you’re going through.’ That’s such a powerful tool, to bring people into your world and to bring a sense of understanding. With this show, I wanted to just make black people relatable.”
Check out the full conversation below. The full transcript can also be viewed, and the issue will hit newsstands on Jan. 6, 2017.