When Lynn Shelton died in May, she left behind a legacy that included directing episodes of programs such as “Little Fires Everywhere,” “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson,” “GLOW,” “Shameless,” “Fresh off the Boat,” “The Mindy Project,” “New Girl” and “Mad Men.” She also directed multiple Marc Maron standup specials, including this year’s “Marc Maron: End Times Fun.” However, Shelton has never been nominated for an Emmy — yet. Her longtime publicist, Adam Kersh, with help from Shelton’s father, is mounting an effort to get the director recognized this year.
“Lynn was a remarkably versatile television director whose humanistic sensibility and warmth emanated through everything she touched,” Kersh says. “She was also an incredibly collaborative artist who loved working with actors and inspired everyone around her to be and do their best, which is partially why she thrived in the TV medium. In just a 10-year span, Lynn directed around 50 episodes of television across an array of genres starting in 2010 with the acclaimed ‘Hands and Knees’ episode of ‘Mad Men’ where Joan discovers she’s pregnant…Lynn has been very touching. Lynn is long overdue for an Emmy nomination; let’s hope the voters take notice this year.”
Variety’s Awards HQ newsletter has been given a copy of Shelton’s look book for Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” for which she used as a guide to come up with the show’s look and feel. (Scroll all the way down to view all 89 pages of it.)
Shelton directed four episodes, including the finale, and her vision for the show was pivotal, says executive producer Liz Tigelaar: “Lynn’s look book for ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ was thoughtful and thorough, visually compelling, and deeply deeply personal.”
“From Babydoll dresses to high-waisted mom jeans, she set us smack in the 90s, with images of middle class teens sprawled out in bedrooms with boom boxes, cordless phones and troll doll collections,” says Tigelaar.
“Stills from ‘Virgin Suicides’ to ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ to ‘American Beauty’ painted a tonal picture, while colorful Tina Barney photos captured the rituals of the wealthy.
“Lynn, like Barney, wanted to capture how the subjects in the photo — especially the teenagers — could appear both detached from their space and simultaneously immersed in it. We talked about them feeling, to paraphrase the book, like pieces of the furniture themselves. Lynn talked us through the color palate of the show — how she’d take us through the warmness of summer to the cold blue of winter,” she said.
“She included images of the cars each character would drive — Lexie’s Ford Explorer to Bill’s blue BMW. And showed the details of their homes – Mia’s converted bathroom as a dark room and the sprawling yard of the Richardson’s.”
“As a self-proclaimed Elena who deep down wanted to be a Mia, she shared that she actually attended the same alma mater as Mia and also like Mia, began as a photographer. Lynn’s early work — her own images and self-portraits — were the most stunning and revealing part of this book, showing no separation between the artist and the art. Much like her.”
“And my favorite part of the book was that as a non-conformer like Mia, she even shared her wedding photo – an image of herself with cropped short hair, in a white suit, looking as if she was carrying her husband over the threshold, instead of the typical other way around (In fact, to tell her she was hired, we replicated this picture and sent it to her to break the news),” says Tigelaar.
“Her look book was so very much like Lynn herself – a cup overflowing, with every thought she could muster, capturing the intimacy, beauty and pain of everyday life.”
Adds Shelton’s father, Mac Shelton: “For Lynn’s parents and family, an Emmy nomination would recognize her as an artist but more importantly as a role model for her lifelong devotion to uplifting and enabling people to feel and be their best possible selves. For many years, while going to film festivals and visiting Lynn’s sets, we would hear stories of Lynn, the ultimate collaborationist, who made every member of the crew and cast feel important and that the person’s opinion mattered to her. Known for her kindness and generosity, the payoff for Lynn were the many superb ideas, large and small, she elicited from co-workers that she incorporated into her work. I’ll never forget the Q&A after a Sundance Film Festival premiere screening of a film of hers when she had 23 cast and crew members on the stage instead of just one famous star. ‘It’s the only time in the spotlight for the people who make it possible for me to produce good work,’ she explained.”