“Anita Avery Norman is definitely her mama’s daughter, her daddy’s girl. She’s a big believer in light and truth and song and jump roping and chocolate-covered pretzels.”
“Now, In Color” is a project meant to speak to the vast range of experiences in the Black community. Blackness is not a monolith — there are so many ways to experience Blackness, and “Now, In Color” seeks to celebrate that. The series’ first episode with Anita Avery Norman is filled with insight, inspiration and love. Anita’s wisdom and reflections on her own life speak so much to what this endeavor represents. Anita’s magnetic personality draws the viewers in, and, as she so eloquently and charismatically narrates her life and worldview, it almost feels like you’re experiencing the world with her. We are so excited to be able to share these stories of Black Yalies with all of you because our stories matter. There is no one way to be black, and students like Anita remind us of that.
Anita’s episode is the first of six comprising the first season. The second season wrapped filming this January. Below is a chronicle of the process.
It’s winter break. The Now, In Color team is trying to figure out what the next few months will look like. Clark is studying abroad in Ghana this semester, and the team agrees we should try to film Season 2 in January before we’re separated.
3 weeks before shooting. Team meeting over Google Hangouts. Amani is a little sick, but about to leave to travel in Brazil. J really wants us to stay organized by using a proper agenda. We stick to it. Sort of.
Less than 3 weeks before shooting. The team brainstorms for Season 2. J really wants us to fill out a google spreadsheet to stay organized. We fill it out with names and dates. Boom, organized. Now to reach out to people to interview…
2 weeks before shooting. We may have some leads on media coverage. J and Clark share good news. Amani is in Brazil. Clark is in Florida at his grandmother’s house. (Homemade dumplings.) Stressed but excited.
1.5 weeks before shooting. Clark reaches out to Professor Claudia Rankine to meet and get feedback on the series.
5 days before shooting. Some potential interviewees don’t respond. Professor Rankine reschedules. Karnessia Georgetown helps the team prepare for media coverage. Clark reserves equipment through The Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, the Yale School of Art, and the Student Technology Collaborative. Not all the equipment is available, so he calls in some favors. Rebecca Shoptaw (BK ‘18) and Xinyuan Chen (JE ‘17) to the rescue.
4 days before shooting. The team works with the Afam House to prepare for shooting and to figure out last minute logistics. Thank you Dean Nelson. The AfAm Gala was a blast.
3 days before shooting. Clark buys two new mugs with his godmother at a mall in New Jersey.
1 day before shooting. Clark takes the train for 4hrs up to New Haven for the second time that week from NJ. He stays at J’s house. Thank you J.
Clark picks up equipment from around campus. Amani and J shop courses.
Night before Day 1 of shooting. Production meeting. Equipment tests. J doesn’t love either mug Clark bought, but that’s ok: J. drives like a pro to Bed Bath and Beyond, arriving 3 minutes before closing. Clark dashes out of the car and buys the mugs J. placed on hold over the phone. Just in time! That’s a venmo charge.
8:45am. Clark and J dress to impress. Just fly enough for a photoshoot, but pragmatic enough for a day of shooting.
9am. The team meets at the House. J and Clark set up equipment and play music. Perhaps BROCKHAMPTON. Or Kanye. Or Noname.
10am. First interviewee shows up. We make casual conversation, compose the shot, expose the image, run sound tests, and create a not-so-effective Filming in Progress sign.
10:15am. Just as we’re about to start rolling, the heat turns on. It’s noisy. We wait another 15 minutes for it to shut off so we can start filming. Yikes.
10:45am. The interview makes us laugh, (almost) cry, and feel everything in between. We take turns asking questions. Just as we’re about to continue, the heat turns back on…
The day goes on. The team is hard at work. They take promotional photos and prepare for the next shoot. J. buys us food (Thanks J.) Clark times the intervals during which the heat turns off and on in an attempt to predict when the best time to film will be. Optimization!
After shooting is done for the day, Clark does data management— transferring video and audio files, organizing folders, and labeling them accordingly.
It’s almost 5pm, and equipment rentals are due. J. breaks down the set and begins to gather equipment for returns. We narrowly avoid late fees.
The team does an hour long interview to promote the series.
That night, we meet up with Professor Claudia Rankine for feedback. J’s Bluetooth speaker comes in handy.
J and Amani keep working in New Haven, answering texts and emails. Clark arrives at the University of Ghana in Legon, Ghana. They all know it was worth it.