INTERVIEW: PAUL HAGGIS 

 "Great actors allow you in.

   You can see it in their eyes." 

At TVSF Berlin, we interview screenwriter and director Paul Haggis about the lessons learned in his award winning career.  

What makes a good storyteller?
Somebody who finds a unique story and tells it truthfully. Even an old story - but with a new point of view. It is somebody who finds a way to show us something that we haven't seen before and to make us feel something - perhaps in an unexpected way.

 

What made you say 'yes' to David Simon who wrote the script for 'Show Me A Hero?
David Simon is an incredible writer and I've admired his work for so long - through 'Wire' and 'Treme'. He takes really tough subjects and he takes an unflinching look at those subjects. He loves the minutiae, the moment-to-moment of drama that other writers would skip over.  He finds the drama in the interpersonal relationships, in something that surprises us. He finds enlightenment without preaching.  


What project are you most proud of?
I have a really hard time looking at my own films and tv series. I love them and I certainly love the work that actors do. I'm proud of them but it is really hard to watch them.


You have worked very successfully in both, film & tv. What do you enjoy more - doing television for a longer period of time or just working on a feature film?
The great thing about television - and especially television series - is that you can explore the characters over many hours. That's always fun because you get to twist them and show how they mutate. At the same time you can't change them too much because the dynamic of the original conflict has to stay the same. The conflict between two protagonist has to work throughout the entire series. But it's fun to test their edge and continuously push their boundaries. You can see that in some of the best television that is done today - you just keep pushing them further and further. In film you only have 2 hours and that is very difficult to test them and retest them. But I really enjoy whatever process I'm in. I just love to carry the characters along and live with them. In features you sometimes as a writer don't know where you failed. In a tv series you hopefully get it right in the pilot so that you can then extrapolate from those characters and keep twisting and turning them.