Master the Art: Michaela Coel on how to tell a story

The Editors
·2-min read
Photo credit: Josh Shinner for Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Josh Shinner for Harper's Bazaar

From Harper's BAZAAR

Michaela Coel deftly created art from trauma in her hit series I May Destroy You, which captivated audiences across the globe when it was released back in June - but even the most talented among us need a little help from time to time.

"I can only tell you things that I have done that have helped me tell stories," she tells us, in the latest instalment of our Master the Art video series, in which she shares an insight into her creative writing process. "I have Googled 'how to write a TV show'. I highly recommend doing that. There is a lot of information there."

Coel's debut series, sitcom Chewing Gum, ran from 2015 to 2017 and received similar levels of both public adoration and critical acclaim - eventually winning her a Bafta for Best Comedy Actress.

"As an artist, I don't really control the stories that I tell," she explains. "My responsibility is to serve the story, and the story has aims that are out of my control a lot of the time."

Ultimately, she says, "everything we do is an attempt to make a difference, to have an effect", and her aim is to leave a lasting impression upon her audience.

"The thing I want to leave the audience member with, it's a feeling - and I don't know what the word is for that feeling. And I don't think that there is a word for that feeling. It's very hard to get 'the feeling', but I want it to do something viscerally and hit all the senses. I want them to feel like they've just been on a huge ride, even though they've been still the whole time."

Watch our video interview in full, above.

The December issue of Harper's Bazaar, featuring Michaela Coel, is out now.

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VIDEO CREDITS:

Michaela wears blazer and T-shirt by Bianca Saunders; durag, Michaela's own; styled by Georgia Medley

Video by Eleonora Cristin

Hair by Charlotte Mensah at Premier

Make-up by Michelle Leandra

Manicure by Michelle Class

Stylist's assistant: Eden Hurley

Casting: Tom Macklin

Digital editor: Sarah Karmali

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