Thursday, November 17, 2011

An old interview with Alan Ball that I find inspiring

I just wrote the most therapeutic long post about my current state of mind and the process of waking up to some truths that I've experienced over the last two weeks, and then I realized it would piss somebody off, so I decided it's not worth it. Who cares if other people know whether or not you're over their bullshit?

Instead, I'll post this:

Like I posted Tuesday, I've been wrestling lately with the idea of writing a passion project that is not terribly commercial, a project I've been working on for some time and have been dying to write. I have a more commercial idea waiting to be written, but I'm meh about it, and I want to get back into darker stuff anyway, but it's still risky to spend time working on something that people may not think they can sell.

But you only have so many years to live, and if I'm writing for free then I'm going to write something fun.

Then I came across the old interview with Alan Ball about his process with American Beauty. A relevant portion:

I pitched him two fairly standard romantic comedies that were pretty, you know -- if I couldn't pitch them in one sentence, I could pitch them in two. And then I pitched him American Beauty, which I had tried to write as a play years ago and I had sort of been toying around with these characters and their stories for years. And as you can imagine, the pitch was rambling, but I think I was really excited, you know.

"You think it's about this, but it's about something else, and you're feeling it -- oh, and underneath it is all about this whole sort of what's the nature of reality and there's this kind of metaphysical thing." I was totally expecting him to just sort of go catatonic and fall out of his chair.

And to my surprise he says, "That's the one I think you should write." 
And I said, "Why?" And he said, "Because it's obviously the one you feel the most passionate about." It's the best piece of advice I ever got.

He goes on to talk in great deal about the creative choices he made and the process of working the script through the system from start to finish. It's a great interview, and it inspired me to feel more confident in what I have to do.

The full interview is here: Inside Film Online.

If you've never read it, do. And thanks to Greg Beal for mentioning this interview in a recent Done Deal thread.


  1. Joe Unidos1:35 PM

    I prefer the drama. heehee.

  2. Yeah boring inspirational shit isn't going to win me top ratings, but it will keep away the ulcers.

  3. Anonymous7:06 AM

    Allan started off decently. Slowly he wrote and made some failures. Just shows that New Dawn will fail too.




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