Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Diversify Your Skills

Issa Rae

Lesson time 09:20 min

As one of the leading multi-hyphenates today, Issa doesn’t believe that it always makes sense to “stay in your lane.” Discover why it’s crucial to expand your skills.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Embrace Being A Multi-Hyphenate · Expanding Your Brand


[MUSIC PLAYING] ISSA RAE: Early on in my attempts to pitch my work and projects, I always heard the advice that it's important to stick with one lane and focus on one thing. And I feel like that really limits you. It limits you in the sense that you're put into a box. And some people can't view you as anything else. I think it's only in your best interest to try as much as you can in that field because that knowledge is going to benefit you at some point. So even directing, I thought I wanted to be a director. I was directing a lot of the work that I did. And then it wasn't until I worked alongside an actual director and was, like, oh, never mind. You got this, you know? And now I know that that's just not my ministry. And it's not something I'm even passionate about. I was doing it out of a necessity. But do I know what good direction is now? Absolutely. Shooting, I had no business shooting my own stuff. And I was doing it. And then, again, met and worked with an actual DP. And I was, like, these lights, what? That's what you should do? Oh, it's not supposed to be dark like this? You don't fix this in post? So I think for me, it is about, like, I had to at least try it, and do it, and then know what was bad about it. One tool kind of sharpens the other. So by directing, I felt like I learned how to be a better actor. And I learned to communicate better. By acting, I'm way more tuned in to the writing. And obviously, the writing informs so much of the acting and the directing, of course. So even producing, thinking about all the components of every facet, because I've been in multiple roles, just really helps to empathize and sympathize with the people who are working on set to complete these jobs. You just get it all around. And it's just good to get that experience. I encourage you to take on every role that you can because that is the best way to learn about those roles. And it's only going to sharpen your skills in the main one or two roles that you want to take on. But it does not hurt to understand what every department in your industry does by doing that. To me, a multi-hyphenate means wearing multiple hats. It means multitasking. It's a jack of all trades. You're a Swiss Army Knife of talents. And you equally love all of those talents. You have to love having multiple things to do at once. You have to listen and always be willing to learn. And you have to be focused. You have to have the ability to juggle while focusing and enjoy it. INTERVIEWER: Can you juggle? ISSA RAE: I can juggle two balls. Whoa, let me run that back. Just caught that. No, I can't juggle. I think one of the first multi-hyphenates that I recognized was Larry David because I loved "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and then realized, oh, he wrote on "Seinfeld"? And now, he's doing this show, where he's writing and he's in it and he's a producer. And then, I think, the second one I noticed was Tina Fey, thinking about "...

About the Instructor

The Emmy-nominated star and creator of the award-winning HBO series Insecure is here to show you how it’s done. Issa Rae uses her signature do-it-yourself ethos, humor, and voice to offer writers and creators of all types the motivation and tools they’ll need on their journey. Issa shares how she has navigated Hollywood while Black and inspires you to reach your creative dreams and never take no for an answer.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Issa Rae

Emmy-nominated writer, actor, and producer Issa Rae teaches you how to bring your creative vision to life.

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