‘Six Feet Under’ was about repressing our deepest, most primal impulses, and ‘True Blood’ is about giving full sway to them all the time. In a way they are like yin and yang.
‘True Blood’ differs from ‘Six Feet Under’ in that there are way more characters and plot-lines, but fundamentally it’s still about the characters and their emotions.
A lot of times, the choice of the right song will save a scene. Or there will be a scene that’s a little flat and you put in the right song and somehow it just comes alive.
And as I stumbled onto Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, it was the first time I had ever read any sort of philosophy that really made a tremendous amount of sense. What I liked that was missing from my experience of Christianity growing up was a sort of acceptance, a sort of being OK with being imperfect and not focusing on the sin.
As a culture, we are not comfortable with mortality. We do not accept it the way other cultures do. We cling to youth, and we don’t want to die. It’s like, ‘Well, too bad, we do.’
As a writer, it’s fun to create. And once you get into a long-running show with very established characters and a very established tone and format, after a while it’s a really great job, but that’s what it is – a job.
Beauty is in the strangest places. A piece of garbage floating in the wind. And that beauty exists in America. It exists everywhere. You have to develop an eye for it and be able to see it.
Death is a companion for all of us, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we’re aware of it or not, and it’s not necessarily a terrible thing.
Death showed up in my life very early on, so I’m aware of it. If you look at most of the things I write there’s a sort of contemplation of mortality – although ‘True Blood’ doesn’t fall into that. Even though there’s such a ridiculously high body count!
Depending on what happens with my directing career, I don’t think I’ll stop writing, even if I crash and burn in movies and TV. I’ll go back to plays. Even if I crash and burn there, I’ll write a novel. That’s the great thing about writing is that you don’t have to wait for people to give you permission to do it.
Directing is physically exciting because there’s a ticking clock, you’re working with people, it’s very social, it’s very enjoyable.
Happy relationships are boring. We all want them in our own life. But I don’t want to watch them on TV.
I always choose to look, as much as one can, at the supernatural not being something that exists outside of nature, but a deeper, fundamental heart of nature that perhaps humans… have lost touch with. It’s a more primal thing than perhaps we are attuned to in our modern, self-aware way of life.
I am a little suspicious of industry paradigms. I feel like so many movies and TV shows feel so familiar because of over-reliance on these paradigms.
I am so spoiled. I cannot watch a show where it gets interrupted for ads. I have to TiVo it and skip through the ads, because the culture of advertising is so false and phony that I just… ugh, you know?
I believe forgiveness is possible for everybody, for everything, but I’m a Buddhist.
I certainly believe that what we perceive as humans is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t necessarily believe in vampires or werewolves or that kind of thing, but I believe there is definitely a realm we don’t necessarily have access to.
I certainly feel fortunate in my career to have been able to continue to work in different mediums. I don’t ever want to be the guy who gets really good at one thing and just does that over and over and over again.
I definitely see the good in people. Certainly in my own life I strive to be somebody who is functional and well adjusted and can face conflict in a non-emotional and non-destructive way, and those are the people I try to surround myself with in my life. But as characters, they bore me.
I don’t believe in any particular definition of the afterlife, but I do believe we’re spiritual creatures and more than our biology and that energy cannot be destroyed, but can change. I don’t know what the afterlife is going to be, but I’m not afraid of it.
I don’t really know what it is about vampires that makes them such a powerful symbol, metaphor, whatever in people’s consciousness. But I do know they’re tremendously powerful. I mean, there’s a vampire on ‘Sesame Street.’ And Count Chocula. I don’t know why it’s so powerful.
I guess in America we’re so sold on this ideal of the perfect, well-adjusted family that is able to confront any conflict and, with true love and understanding, work things through. I’m sure they do exist, but I never knew any of them.
I know a lot of shows are like, ‘Here’s the pages,’ right before they start filming. I’d have a heart attack. The anxiety would be way too much for me. I don’t have as strong a backbone as those other show writers.
I love to direct! I get really jazzed by directing, but directing is not the same kind of personal expression, the same kind of personal intimate expression that writing is. Because when you’re directing, you’re basically managing, basically getting out of people doing their job, except when you see them going astray.
I need to feel like the work I’m doing is not necessarily important, but meaningful, at least to me, because otherwise it just becomes a day job. It just becomes factory work and I get really frustrated.
I really feel like my goal, and I don’t always achieve it, is to do the best work I can do, and stay out of the results. Because ultimately, the result is not what the work is about. There are other people whose jobs are to focus on those results and maximize them, and that’s great. Let them do their job.
I really love storytelling, and I love the stories as they reveal themselves. It’s an incredibly nourishing process; it’s probably the closest I come to having a religion.
I think all writers are armchair psychologists to some degree or another, and I think a character’s sexuality is fascinating. It’s a great way to really get at the root of their identity, because it’s such a personal thing.
I think it’s very difficult, and it requires a tremendous amount of spiritual integrity and discipline, to not be a narcissist in a culture that encourages it every step of the way.
I think sexuality is a window into someone’s soul.
I think the world is a place for oddballs and freaks. I’m only interested in oddballs and freaks as characters.
I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff on TV. I feel much more optimistic about TV than I do about movies. There will always be good movies but I think, for the most part, it’s always going to be a huge fight to get those movies made. TV is the best place to be as a writer, I think.
I think vampires are a timeless powerful archetype that can tap into people’s psyches.
I try to tell the best story, and the story that has some heart and some genuine terror and some social commentary and some comedy and some romance and some sex and some violence.
I was conveniently bisexual for a long time, and then I went, ‘Come on, who am I kidding?’ And I have to say, it was the single biggest step I took toward emotional well-being, to stop feeling like I had to hide who I am.
I will say that the environment I grew up in was not the most progressive.
I would say try to tell stories that you care about as opposed to stories that you think will sell.
I’d seen ‘Interview with A Vampire’ and saw Dracula movies growing up, but I never thought, ‘I love vampires; I have to do a show about vampires.’
I’m 53. I don’t care about high school students. I find them irritating and uninformed.
I’m a Buddhist, so one of my biggest beliefs is, ‘Everything changes, don’t take it personally.’
I’m a huge freak, and always have been. I spent the first part of my life trying really desperately not to be one, and it was just a waste of time.
I’m at the point in my life where I don’t want to work as hard. Actually, I’ve had to take a good hard look at workaholism and it’s effect on one’s mental health.
I’m aware of ‘Twilight,’ but I’ve never seen the movies or read any of the books. Frankly, the story leaves me cold – why do a vampire story about abstinence?
I’m from the South, so while I personally find it impossible to live there, I still have a fondness for it as a geographical region.
I’m not like J.K. Rowling, where I know there’s going to be this number of seasons, and I know exactly what’s going to happen. I would be so bored if that was the case. There would be no journey. There would be nothing to discover.
I’m not saying that being gay is what defines me, but at the same time, if you feel like you have to hide it, then it becomes what defines you. You keep it hidden, and the secret becomes you.
I’m used to American actors who have a movie career thinking television acting is beneath them.
If a scene is longer than three pages, it better be for a good reason.
In my own life, I think legends of supernatural, mythic things are really just a manifestation of the collective unconscious. So I don’t really get freaked out. I mean certainly, you read about things people did to each other in the pursuit of some mystical or occult goal, and it’s horrifying. But that’s just human nature.
It’s a lot harder to find fault with the mundane details of daily existence when you really, really know on a cellular level that you’re going to go, and that this moment, right now, is life. Life isn’t what happens to you in 20 years. This moment, right now, is your life.
It’s easy to look at the vampires as a metaphor for any feared or misunderstood group. It’s also easy to look at them as a metaphor for a shadow organization that says one thing and has a completely different agenda on their mind, and anybody who gets in their way, they just get rid of them. Does that sound familiar?
It’s hard for me to get interested in stories that ignore death, which is what American marketing culture would like to do: pretend that death doesn’t exist, that you can buy immortality; just buy these products, and you’ll be forever young and happy.
Life is infinitely complex, and I feel like we live in a culture that really seems to want to simplify it into sound bites and bromides, and that does not work.
Life is too mysterious to try to map it out. I’ve certainly lived long enough to know it will take you places you never thought it would take you – and some of those places are kind of wonderful.
Most of us live in artificial environments and then we go to work in artificial environments and the world becomes something that you see through a window.
My own belief is that people can come back from anything. It doesn’t mean that it won’t come at a huge cost.
Not everything is going to be successful. To strive for that is really naive. You just do the best you can do.
Obviously death is a theme I’m fascinated by.
Racism is ridiculous no matter where it’s coming from.
Somebody asked me, ‘Why do people like vampires so much?’ This was right after Obama had been elected and I said, ‘Because we just spent eight years being sucked dry by one.’
Television viewing has become for me a completely different experience, because I don’t watch shows on a weekly basis. I wait until the DVD or I TiVo everything and wait until the end of a season and watch it all over a weekend. For me that’s a really satisfying experience, like reading a book.
The difference between film and TV is the pace. You don’t have the leisure of time in television.
The ego is kind of a big, unwieldy thing. It’s not so easily tamed or subdued.
There are times when I am directing, and there are a couple of moments I didn’t get the way I wanted, but I know I still have other angles to shoot and I have to be done by noon; I move on.
There is a fetishization of victimization in our culture. And I just am not interested in victimhood.
Ultimately, physical resemblance isn’t as important as whether this person can bring this character to life in a way that’s compelling and makes me care about what happens to them.
Vampires are total sexual metaphors; there’s just no way around that.
We live in a patriarchal culture. It’s okay for women to be objectified but not for men.
We live in a time where there’s an alienation factor. There’s a certain disconnection. We don’t have any real sense of community anymore.
Well, here’s the thing with relationships on ‘True Blood’: Once they happen then you have to throw a monkey-wrench into them, because to have people be happy is not that exciting.
When I go home, the last thing I want to do is read about the popular lore of vampires.
You cannot hold a child accountable to the same standards that you hold an adult accountable to.
You know, I’m gay and I grew up being aware of that at a very early age, in a fairly repressed family.