Paris Barclay

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Paris Barclay speaks about his experiences in theater under the tutelage of Stephen Sondheim. He describes his big break in television, making music videos (including directing LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out") and working on the early '90s drama Angel Street. He comments on his work as a guest director on a number of drama series in the mid 1990s, notably on ER. He then details his extensive directing work on NYPD Blue, and talks about working with the ensemble cast and directing memorable episodes. Barclay recalls directing episodes of The West Wing, and speaks about working with creator Aaron Sorkin and showrunner John Wells. He discusses his work on several of the series he has directed since The West Wing, including American Dreams, Cold Case, Lost, and CSI. Barclay also talks about his directing process and offers advice to aspiring directors. Karen Herman conducted the interview on November 2, 2007 in North Hollywood, CA. 

"When I'm teaching my directing class, I always ask, 'how happy was your childhood? Were your parents always together?' And if they're really happy and their parents are together, I say 'oooh, the odds are going to be against you!' Because part of what being a director is, certainly in television and also in films, is that we try to recreate our families, and we try to perfect them." 

Highlights
Paris Barclay on his involvement with the Directors Guild of America
03:00
Paris Barclay on winning an Emmy for directing an episode of NYPD Blue
05:33
Paris Barclay on directing the music video for LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"
02:42
Paris Barclay on directing the House episode "Three Stories" (airdate: May 17, 2005)
01:35
Paris Barclay on his directing process once he receives a script
02:05
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on growing up in a large family and being interested in music; on loving TV comedies; on attending boarding school
On being the first African American to integrate his high school; on attending Harvard University and writing musicals; on working in advertising and directing his first commercial

Chapter 2

On working for the Museum of Broadcasting in New York, archiving Studio One; on his involvement with ASCAP Musical Theater and advice from mentor Stephen Sondheim; on his style for writing musicals (including "Almost a Man")
On leaving advertising; on creating a music video company, Black and White Television, and directing music videos
On transitioning to directing television dramas; on directing Angel Street, Diagnosis Murder, Sliders, and C.S.I.

Chapter 3

On directing Silk Stockings and ER; on how directors are selected to direct individual episodes
On directing an episode of Clueless; on directing movies and television movies; on dealing with difficult actors
On directing NYPD Blue

Chapter 4

On directing and becoming producer on NYPD Blue; on producing and directing City of Angels
On directing episodes of The West Wing, Fastlane, American Dreams, Cold Case, Huff, Law & Orde r, House, Dirt, Lost, and CSI
On his directing process once he receives a script

Chapter 5

On his directing process; on how television and its audience have changed
On his involvement with the Directors Guild of America; on being openly gay and how it has affected his career; on whether or not he's faced racism in the television industry; on advice to aspiring directors
Shows

American Dreams

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Paris Barclay on directing American Dreams
01:19

Angel Street

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Paris Barclay on directing Angel Street for creator John Wells
02:36

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

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Paris Barclay on directing CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
00:47
Paris Barclay on directing CSI
01:22
Paris Barclay on directing CSI
00:56

City of Angels (2000)

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Paris Barclay on producing and directing City of Angels
02:47

Clueless

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Paris Barclay on directing an episode of Clueless
01:01

Cold Case

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Paris Barclay on directing episodes of Cold Case
00:53

Diagnosis Murder

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Paris Barclay on directing Dick Van Dyke in an episode of Diagnosis Murder
02:02

Dirt

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Paris Barclay on directing Dirt
00:31

ER

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Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER
04:43
Paris Barclay on directing several episodes of ER
02:57

Fastlane

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Paris Barclay on directing Fastlane
01:05

House

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Paris Barclay on directing the House episode "Three Stories" (airdate: May 17, 2005)
01:35

Huff

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Paris Barclay on directing Huff
00:42

Law & Order

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Paris Barclay on directing Law & Order
01:11

Lost

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Paris Barclay on directing Lost
01:09

NYPD Blue

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Paris Barclay on directing NYPD Blue
03:39
Paris Barclay on directing and later producing NYPD Blue
14:51

Silk Stalkings

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Paris Barclay on directing the Silk Stalkings episode "Tricks of the Trade"
02:08

Sliders

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Paris Barclay on directing Sliders
00:49

Studio One

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Paris Barclay on working for the Museum of Broadcasting in New York, archiving Studio One
02:30

West Wing, The

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Paris Barclay on directing episodes of The West Wing
01:13
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

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Paris Barclay on the state of television advertising when he worked in it
00:54
Paris Barclay on rarely seeing African Americans in production when he worked in television advertising
02:06

Classic TV series episodes

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Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER in which a main character is revealed to have AIDS, and seeing the power of television's reach
04:43

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Paris Barclay on advice from mentor Stephen Sondheim
01:14
Paris Barclay on advice from mentor Stephen Sondheim
01:14

Diversity in Television

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Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER in which a main character is revealed to have AIDS, and seeing the power of television's reach
04:43
Paris Barclay on producing City of Angels
02:47
Paris Barclay on his involvement with the Diversity Committee of the Directors Guild of America
01:26
Paris Barclay on being openly gay and how it has affected his career
01:57
Paris Barclay on whether or not he's faced racism in the television industry
01:05

Emmy Awards

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Paris Barclay on winning an Emmy for directing an episode of NYPD Blue
05:33

Health and Medicine

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Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER in which a main character is revealed to have AIDS, and seeing the power of television's reach
04:43

Historic Events and Social Change

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Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER in which a main character is revealed to have AIDS, and seeing the power of television's reach
04:43

LGBTQ

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Paris Barclay on being openly gay and how it has affected his career
01:57

Memorable Moments on Television

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Paris Barclay on directing Jimmy Smits' last episode of NYPD Blue
05:05

Minorities

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Paris Barclay on producing City of Angels
02:47
Paris Barclay on his involvement with the Diversity Committee of the Directors Guild of America
01:26
Paris Barclay on whether or not he's faced racism in the television industry
01:05

Pivotal Career Moments

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Paris Barclay on advice from mentor Stephen Sondheim
01:14

Pop Culture

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Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER in which a main character is revealed to have AIDS, and seeing the power of television's reach
04:43

Technological Innovation

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Paris Barclay on how technology affects his directing process
00:37

Television Industry

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Paris Barclay on the state of television advertising when he worked in it
00:54
Paris Barclay on rarely seeing African Americans in production when he worked in television advertising
02:06
Paris Barclay on how television has changed
01:00
Paris Barclay on the television audience
01:56

We Cried

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Paris Barclay on directing Jimmy Smits' last episode of NYPD Blue
05:05
Professions

Directors

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Paris Barclay on the process of directing music videos
01:02
Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER
04:43
Paris Barclay on how directors are selected to direct individual episodes
03:39
Paris Barclay on directing comedy
00:51
Paris Barclay on directing difficult actors
02:33
Paris Barclay on his reputation as a director
02:42
Paris Barclay on his directing process once he receives a script
02:05
Paris Barclay on his directing process
01:22
Paris Barclay on his directing style being recognizable
00:47
Paris Barclay on his involvement with the Directors Guild of America
03:00
Paris Barclay on advice to aspiring directors
05:17

Producers

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Paris Barclay on becoming a producer on NYPD Blue
01:18
Genres

Commercials

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Paris Barclay on co-directing a PSA for "AIDS: It's nobody's fault and everybody's problem" with Elizabeth Taylor
04:55

Drama Series

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Paris Barclay on directing Dick Van Dyke in an episode of Diagnosis Murder
02:02
Paris Barclay on directing NYPD Blue
03:39
Paris Barclay on directing and later producing NYPD Blue
14:51

Medical Dramas

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Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER
03:56
Paris Barclay on producing and directing City of Angels
02:47

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Paris Barclay on directing a music video for Bob Dylan
03:15
Paris Barclay on directing the music video for LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"
02:42

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Paris Barclay on directing television movies
02:20
People

Steven Bochco

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Paris Barclay on producing and directing City of Angels
02:47

George Clooney

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Paris Barclay on directing several episodes of ER and working with George Clooney
02:57

James Coburn

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Paris Barclay on directing the television movie "The Cherokee Kid"
02:20

Dick Van Dyke

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Paris Barclay on directing Dick Van Dyke in an episode of Diagnosis Murder
02:02

Bob Dylan

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Paris Barclay on directing a music video for Bob Dylan
03:15

LL Cool J

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Paris Barclay on directing the music video for LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"
02:42

Hugh Laurie

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Paris Barclay on directing the House episode "Three Stories" (airdate: May 17, 2005)
01:35

David Milch

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Paris Barclay on David Milch's stories on NYPD Blue
02:12
Paris Barclay on directing and later producing NYPD Blue
14:51

Worthington Miner

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Paris Barclay on interviewing Worthington Miner while archiving Studio One
00:33

Robert De Niro

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Paris Barclay on doing the Hasty Pudding Show at Harvard University and meeting honoree Robert De Niro
00:52

Burt Reynolds

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Paris Barclay on directing the television movie "The Cherokee Kid"
02:20

David Shore

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Paris Barclay on directing the House episode "Three Stories" (airdate: May 17, 2005)
01:35

Jimmy Smits

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Paris Barclay on directing Jimmy Smits' last episode of NYPD Blue
05:05

Stephen Sondheim

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Paris Barclay on advice from mentor Stephen Sondheim
01:14

Elizabeth Taylor

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Paris Barclay on doing the Hasty Pudding Show at Harvard University and meeting honoree Elizabeth Taylor
00:19
Paris Barclay on co-directing a PSA for "AIDS: It's nobody's fault and everybody's problem" with Elizabeth Taylor
04:55

Mark Tinker

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Paris Barclay on directing NYPD Blue
03:39

John Wells

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Paris Barclay on directing Angel Street for creator John Wells
02:36
Paris Barclay on directing a pivotal episode of ER for showrunner John Wells
04:43

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