Adamma: We were shocked that not everybody knew it, namely Sterling and Regina.
Oh, they didn’t know it?
Adanne: Not before shooting.
They nailed it.
Adamma and Adanne: They did.
Adamma: They’re pros.
How did you find the balance between how much of the film is the documentary and how much of the film is the private time between Trinitie and Lee-Curtis?
Adamma: The majority of it is written into the script. Every slugline in the script will say “Exterior: Wander To Greater Paths Baptist Church – Documentary.” And if it wasn’t in that format, it would be “Exterior: Wander To Greater Paths Baptist Church – Cinematic” is how we delineated the standard narrative work. So it was written into the script every time we switched back and forth, and the switches were motivated by the story. We’re playing a lot with what’s the truth and who’s telling the truth and who’s being their true selves, and so we loved this idea that when the cameras are on, Trinitie and Lee-Curtis are putting on the most, they’re not being their true selves. Then when the cameras are off, it’s the opposite.
Something I became really interested in when trying to figure out when were the best times to switch back and forth, was when you want them to break in front of the camera. When you want the camera to catch them doing something, when they’re most uncomfortable, when they’re at their most desperate, and then switching right before it gets too nitty gritty … up until the camera crew catches everything.
Adanne: I will say there are certain things that were wholly in the edit. Most of it was scripted, but there are things we found wholly in the edit. We shot a lot of the scenes both ways.
Adamma: Shout out to Gwiz. That was his idea.
Adanne: For example, when Regina is on stage by herself, and she’s talking directly to Anita (Andrea Laing) saying, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. We shot that both ways. Both the full documentary style and the cinematic style. On the page, I don’t think that scene is written so that it goes into the cinematic.
Adamma: No, it’s the documentary style.
Adanne: But because we got it both ways, we felt like when Trinitie asks Anita to cut, storywise, that feels right. She asked her to cut, therefore the cameras are off, or at least she thinks they’re off. So then we switched from the full documentary style to the cinematic style. I think that was wholly built in the edit. It’s finding those story points where we would switch between the styles in one scene.