Milton Glaser

Directed, Shot & Edited by Hillman Curtis. Produced by Karen Schneider/Adobe

I shot this one back when I did everything myself. I actually rode my old green three speed across town with my tripod strapped to the basket and my HVX100 in a shoulder bag. Milton has a four story brownstone in the 30s on the east side. When I got there the woman at the reception desk…I think almost every employee was a woman…showed me a room I could use to film in. I set up two chairs facing each other and set the camera on sticks behind one. Milton came in and we sat facing each other. He was gracious as always, though I was super nervous … I think the fact that Adobe had come on board as sponsor and producer of this film helped buy me some legitimacy.

I began by asking Milton some of the questions I had prepared but quickly realized he was giving stock answers to questions he’s been asked hundreds of times before. At one point I realized I was losing his interest. I took a chance and asked for a tour of the brownstone. I unhooked the camera from the tripod, threw away my list of prepared questions and followed Milton with the camera running. Milton was best around his work. He literally bounded up and down the stairs and showed me sketchbooks from fifty years ago, packaging, posters, books…this went on for over an hour. The film works because of this.

The lessons: don’t bring a list of questions to an interview. Focus on a theme and have the courage to have a conversation.