'Brooklyn. Blue. Sky.' Premieres and Wins Top Award
Jarrod is a playwright and actor in New York City who directed his first feature, Lesson Before Love, which he made in 2011, played in theaters in 2012 and put out on video in 2014. He's written and produced several plays. He starred in a one-man show, The Definitive Loser's Guide to Winning in 2015.
Drummer is a freelance casting director and producer in Atlanta. She graduated in 2007 from the University of Virginia where she started the Paul Robeson Players, a theater company focused on producing African-American stories. She began her career as a casting assistant at Tyler Perry Studios where she was promoted in 2011 and worked on many, if not all of Perry's film and TV projects.
Brooklyn. Blue. Sky. isn't autobiographical to Jarrod or Drummer's lives, even though an episode features the two protagonists sitting down and writing a web series not unlike what Jarrod and Drummer themselves did. The series has issues that have affected Jarrod and Drummer's families, but not them personally. The series is about two broken people dealing with past decisions that haunt them, topical problems like health and politics, as well as what Jarrod calls "throws of disconnection."
Jarrod and Drummer did write the series with the intention of the two of them acting in it as the two leads. Jarrod would have played the male protagonist named Blue, a character who is arguably more like Jarrod in temperament and personality. Drummer would have played the female protagonist named Sky, a character who is nothing like Drummer, but who is a character that both really wanted to explore because of the fact that Sky has a sheltered, wealthy black background that neither Jarrod nor Drummer had ever encountered before coming to New York.
Jarrod and Drummer wrote eight episodes, each intended to be less than ten minutes. They wrote the episodes in a way that they could be produced and shot quickly. They filmed from January 6th to January 9th of this year. While the episodes are really short, doing eight of them is still a lot to shoot in only four days.
"Perry's most salient characteristic as a director may be the speed at which he accomplishes things." In 2008, Perry reportedly directed 100 episodes of House of Payne and two movies in one year. His fast directing is affectionately called "Perry pace." Drummer has worked with Perry for six years, so she must have picked up a bit of that Perry pace.
What also perhaps helped is having a great cast who can deliver even under a tight schedule. Jarrod and Drummer knew that they would be more effective behind the camera. It would also make managing the production easier for them if they weren't also actors in it. They had an open casting call two days after Christmas and it was not opportune, given a lot of actors were out of town for the holiday, but they still pulled in some great talent who could handle the fast pace.
With the exception of a party episode, which had Jarrod and Drummer juggling and trying to cover seven actors, the production went smoothly. Jarrod said they finished early every day, mainly because they didn't need to shoot many takes. The look of it seems like natural lighting was used often. Jarrod said the first day of shooting was mostly run-and-gun. Thankfully, there wasn't any dialogue, which made that first day simpler and gelled the crew.
The episode shot on that first day called "Hawthorne" became the episode they screened at ABFF. Jarrod said he loved what this episode was doing visually and its idea of black love in an unlikely place. "Hawthorne" captures two strong emotional beats at the beginning and at the end. It also captures in the middle two gorgeous black people falling in love with gorgeous camerawork.
He said his heart is set to do more. Brooklyn. Blue. Sky. was designed to have a three season arc. This first season is set to be released in the fall. Until then, Jarrod continues working on other ideas. One of which is another web series called King Ester, about a trans character in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina.
For more information about Dui Jarrod and Rhavynn Drummer, go to their web sites: DuiJarrod.com and RhavynnDrummer.com.
For more information about Brooklyn. Blue. Sky., go to its web site: BrooklynBlueSky.com.
You can also follow both on Twitter and Instagram: @DuiJarrod and @RhavynnDrummer.