Random Acts of Flyness is a show about the beauty and ugliness of present-day American life through the lens of the black experience. Created by writer/director/producer Terence Nance, the six-episode season on HBO explores thought-provoking themes such as patriarchy, white supremacy and mindless violence that accompanies being black in America.
The show follows an Afro-surrealism motif comparable of recent movies like “Get Out”, “Sorry to Bother You” and shows like “Atlanta” and “Dear White People”. These projects share a desire to explore black male vulnerability and interrogate modern blackness.
Nance and his collaborators weave together themes such as ancestral trauma, history, death and sensuality, crafting a one of a kind show. We sat down with Terence Nance to chat more about the project and how The Mill’s New York studio aided his final vision.
Tell us a bit about how the idea of RAOF came about and what inspired you to create the show?
I came up with it so long ago I can't remember the original inspiration but I think in general it became urgent for me when I started to understand it to be a platform for lots of artists in our community to create work that lots of people will see.
Colour has the power to evoke several moods and emotions – how did you work with Elias on this particular grade and what were you both trying to achieve?
I think the potential of the show is to be immersed fully in a wide variety of emotional tonalities. Color is a big part of how emotion is conveyed visually. I think that we have a very fluid way of finding points of reference that are emotional as opposed to overly technical.
I also think that is how Director of Photography Shawn Peters communicates as a cinematographer and he is the main conduit through which the emotions get translated into images. (He worked closely with Elias to achieve the show’s look and feel)
What other projects have you had graded by The Mill’s color team in the past?
Literally, everything I've ever done! Dee Allen, Josh Bohoskey, Elias Nousiopoulos, Mikey Rossiter and Evan Bauer all have supported Shawn and I on everything we've done for almost 6 years, I believe they are too many to name.
Some say the relationship between colourists and directors is particularly important, as there’s a high level of trust involved for colorists to embody the director’s vision and accurately represent their story. How do you feel about this?
I think it’s very important especially on a project like this where there is no chromatic "home base" and the creative and emotional intent is constantly in flux.
How do you want to see RAOF impact, inspire and change the entertainment industry?I have no idea but I hope people can bear witness to the fact that you can do anything you want, there are no limits.
The six-episode season was graded by The Mill’s Elias Nousiopoulos, who comments on the collaboration and the grade:
“Working on RAOF was more than just another color job with Terance Nance, it was an experience to really dive into his creative mind. The show was an opportunity to really collaborate with an artist I fully respect and to cover a variety of important topics in a single show was amazing. Terance's attention to detail in creating each episode of RAOF kept me on my toes creatively, challenging me colorwise to push his message through to the audience while experiment with something new.
His visual stream of consciousness lead to different visual representations through color. All of the looks we did for the show would vary depending on what the content was about. I have enormous respect Terrence and his art, it was exciting to be part of such an important, fresh and clever show. It is the perfect brain food and meaningful content we all have been looking for.”
The show has already been renewed for a second season. You can stream Random Acts if Flyness on HBO now.