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Alan Ball's Quotes

Alan Ball profile photo

Born: 1957-05-13
Profession: Director
Nation: American
Biography of Alan Ball

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We live in a patriarchal culture. It's okay for women to be objectified but not for men.

Tags: Culture, Men, Women

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.

Tags: Real, Sense, Time

When I go home, the last thing I want to do is read about the popular lore of vampires.

Tags: Home, Last, Read

You cannot hold a child accountable to the same standards that you hold an adult accountable to.

Tags: Cannot, Child, Hold

You know, I'm gay and I grew up being aware of that at a very early age, in a fairly repressed family.

Tags: Age, Family, Gay

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.

Tags: Choice, Put, Song

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.

Tags: Acceptance, Experience, Time

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.'

Tags: Accept, Bad, Die

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.

Tags: Fun, Great, 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.

Tags: Able, America, Beauty

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!

Tags: Death, Life, True

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.

Tags: Great, Movies, Writing

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.

Tags: Heart, Life, Nature

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?

Tags: Cannot, Culture, Show

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.

Tags: Definitely, Humans, Vampires

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.

Tags: Career, Good, Work

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.

Tags: Good, Life, Try

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.

Tags: Cannot, Change, Spiritual

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.

Tags: Mean, Powerful, Why

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.

Tags: Family, Love, Work

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.

Tags: Heart, Here, Strong

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.

Tags: Job, Love, Writing

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.

Tags: Frustrated, Job, Work

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.

Tags: Best, Great, Work

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.

Tags: Love, Religion, Themselves

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.

Tags: Another, Character, Great
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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.

Tags: Difficult, Integrity, Spiritual

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.

Tags: Best, Good, Movies

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.

Tags: Best, Heart, Sex

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.

Tags: Emotional, Feeling, 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.

Tags: Good, Life, Work

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?

Tags: Movies, Read, Why

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.

Tags: Bored, Happen, Journey

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.

Tags: Gay, Saying, Time

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.

Tags: Human, Life, 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.

Tags: Daily, Life, Moment

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?

Tags: Easy, Group, Mind

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.

Tags: Death, Happy, Hard

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.

Tags: Culture, Life, Work

Life is suffering. We have desires and expectations and egos, and we compare the reality we have, which is miraculous and wondrous, with this reality we desire. That somehow distances us from actually taking part fully with the reality we do have, and that creates suffering. For me, the thing that I love is that it's all about the present moment.

Tags: Life, Love, Reality

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.

Tags: Enough, Life, Thought

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.

Tags: Artificial, Window, Work

'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.

Tags: Giving, Time, True

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.'

Tags: After, Said, Why

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.

Tags: Book, End, Experience

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.

Tags: Done, Times, Wanted

'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.

Tags: Blood, Emotions, True

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.

Tags: Care, Character, Life

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.

Tags: Happen, Happy, True

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.

Tags: Death, Terrible, Whether

Directing is physically exciting because there's a ticking clock, you're working with people, it's very social, it's very enjoyable.

Tags: Exciting, Social, Working

Happy relationships are boring. We all want them in our own life. But I don't want to watch them on TV.

Tags: Boring, Happy, 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.

Tags: Industry, Movies, Shows

I believe forgiveness is possible for everybody, for everything, but I'm a Buddhist.

Tags: Buddhist, Everybody, Possible

I think sexuality is a window into someone's soul.

Tags: Sexuality, Someone, Soul

I think the world is a place for oddballs and freaks. I'm only interested in oddballs and freaks as characters.

Tags: Characters, Interested, Place

I think vampires are a timeless powerful archetype that can tap into people's psyches.

Tags: Powerful, Tap, Vampires

I will say that the environment I grew up in was not the most progressive.

Tags: Care, Tell, Try

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.'

Tags: Love, Movies, Thought

I'm 53. I don't care about high school students. I find them irritating and uninformed.

Tags: Care, High, School

I'm a Buddhist, so one of my biggest beliefs is, 'Everything changes, don't take it personally.'

Tags: Beliefs, Biggest, Changes

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.

Tags: Life, Time, Trying

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.

Tags: Impossible, South, While

I'm used to American actors who have a movie career thinking television acting is beneath them.

Tags: Acting, Career, Thinking

If a scene is longer than three pages, it better be for a good reason.

Tags: Good, Reason, Three

My own belief is that people can come back from anything. It doesn't mean that it won't come at a huge cost.

Tags: Belief, Mean, Won

Not everything is going to be successful. To strive for that is really naive. You just do the best you can do.

Tags: Best, Naive, Successful

Obviously death is a theme I'm fascinated by.

Tags: Death, Fascinated, Theme

Racism is ridiculous no matter where it's coming from.

Tags: Coming, Matter, Racism

The difference between film and TV is the pace. You don't have the leisure of time in television.

Tags: Between, Film, Time

The ego is kind of a big, unwieldy thing. It's not so easily tamed or subdued.

Tags: Big, Ego, Tamed

There is a fetishization of victimization in our culture. And I just am not interested in victimhood.

Tags: Culture, Interested

Vampires are total sexual metaphors; there's just no way around that.

Tags: Sexual, Total, Vampires

All of us in the Ball family in South Carolina, from the time we're children, hear stories about our ancestors, the slave owners.

Tags: Children, Family, Time

Before the American Revolution there were frequent slave uprisings, and a lot of people would run away.

Tags: American, Away, Revolution

It's not a common thing for a Southern white family to go out and seek their black cousins.

Tags: Black, Common, Family

Slavery in West Africa, and in Rome and in the Mediterranean, was something different than slavery in America.

Tags: Africa, America, Slavery

The topic of slavery is like an electric fence. Touch it and people will react.

Tags: React, Slavery, Touch

If you read the memoirs of slave-owning families, you'd be hard pressed to find evidence of black people in the lives of the whites, even though for most of the time on the plantations black people outnumbered whites by a ratio of seven to one.

Tags: Black, Hard, Time

There are, after all, between seventy-five thousand and a hundred thousand descendants of the Ball-family slaves. If I were to begin apologizing to every one of these families, it would quickly become a meaningless act.

Tags: After, Become, Between

There was a uniqueness to the American case of slavery. 10 million people, a conservative estimate, were brought to America... hundreds of people were set up in work camps, and hereditary-forced labor was put in place. That's a very different thing than the personal slavery that existed elsewhere.

Tags: America, Put, Work

Nostalgia is a seductive liar.

Tags: Liar, Nostalgia, Seductive

Most Americans approach the problems of the Middle East with a pro-Israeli bias - and rightly so.

Tags: Approach, Middle, Problems

Not only must Americans admire Israel, there can be no doubt that we have an interest in, and special responsibility for, that valiant nation.

Tags: Doubt, Nation, Special

The question is no longer whether the United States should contribute to assuring Israel's survival and prosperity; that goes without saying.

Tags: Question, Saying, Whether

Until 1956, America treated Israel not much differently from other friendly states.

Tags: America, Friendly, Until

Yet the wonder of it all is that, while engaged in a seemingly endless struggle, the Israelis have managed to turn a desert into a garden.

Tags: Struggle, Turn, While
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