I don't think we have to suffer personally to make great art. If you're prepared and organized, and you know what you're looking for, you can make great art and then go home.

The job at broadcast is to figure out what the dumbest person in the room is going to think. That's not the case at FX.

I come from a family of writers. My mom had been a writer, nonfiction books, and her mother was a playwright in the 1930s and '40s. And my twin brother, Alexi, is a writer on 'The Following.'

I always feel like you can take a genre that has a familiar structure to it and then reinvent it as a character piece. Suddenly, what's old is new again. With 'Fargo,' I adapted a movie without any of the characters or the story. Yet somehow it feels like 'Fargo.'

Bringing back stamp collecting and bringing back bridge seems like a pretty good way to fight the modern world.

My mom never went to college, so she just assumed the writer identity, and that was always really inspiring to me. It's not something you need nine levels of education for. It's really an identity that you claim for yourself, and then you have to make yourself one.

What makes something tragic is that it could've been averted at multiple points.

I think a writer's first job is to entertain, even in novels: to tell a compelling story that pulls the reader along toward an end. At the same time, the best stories are character-driven.

In 'The X-Men' world, one can be a hero one day and a villain the next, which means there's a constant battle for a character's soul that's dynamic. I find that really fascinating.

'Fargo' becomes a metaphor for a type of true crime case where truth is stranger than fiction. So, there's no reason that there isn't another 10-hour true crime story that could be told in this region.

I remain a huge 'Game of Thrones' fan.

The most dangerous thing, when you have a serious mental illness, is convincing yourself that you don't have it. And you see it all the time. People get on medication, and they feel better, and they stop taking it. And some flirt with unreality on some levels. But it feels so convincing to them that it feels real.

In a traditional TV show or movie, your hero is always where the action is. But in real life, at the end of the movie 'Fargo,' when Bill Macy is arrested, Marge is nowhere to be found because it's a different jurisdiction, and she wouldn't be there. I took that to heart.

When you're a writer on a show, your job is to write in the show runner's voice, really.

My goal is always to make something unpredictable that feels inevitable in the end. It's getting harder to do that. Audiences are so sophisticated and so smart.

I did some feature work, then tried TV. I was always very aware that the only power that you have is the power of options. If the film industry dries up, then you focus on the TV or the books. For me, it was always about what story do I want to tell next?

There's the craft of acting, and then there's a quality. There's a quality that someone has.

Let me be clear. 'The Good Father' isn't a handbook on how to assassinate the president.

As for my schedule, I tend to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, and I try to be as productive as possible. Some days, I can devote to one specific thing. Other days, it's a catch-all day.

The anthology format is completely normal to me. That's just how TV works in my experience.

The thing with making your art your business is: It's a business. You can't sit around waiting for the muse, especially when you run a show, and you're in production, and an outline is due, a script is due, and a reshoot is due. No. You look at the calendar, and you go, 'OK. I can write from 4 to 6.' So you write.

I am a salesman, I am an executive, I look at budgets, I think about power politics, but then I am also a creative person.

The last thing you want is to be desperate in Hollywood.

I'm Kubrick without the O.C.D.

TV is all about learning to write in someone else's voice, so if you do it long enough without selling your own project, they assume you don't have your own voice; you're just a good mimic.

The 'X-Men' stories are the stories of outsiders: people who don't fit into normal society and are ostracised; it's a metaphor for gender, race, or sexual orientation.

The great thing about 'Fargo' is that it's a more objective style of filmmaking: the camera moves in very classical ways, and the most interesting things normally are the characters.

The best strategy for making people care about what happens is if they empathize with both sides. If you just have a Villain with a capital V, it becomes very two-dimensional.

We're used to a story in modern terms as an information delivery device. Certainly on television and even with the studio films, there's really only one note that you get, and that's clarity. And people will sacrifice everything for clarity. They'll sacrifice the joke. They'll sacrifice the moment, or the romance.

Anytime you want to create something different, you have to convince people that it's O.K. 'We'll be O.K. It's going to work out. It's going to be great.'

I try to approach the film medium as a novelist and the novel medium as a filmmaker on some level. It's that question: Do we think in pictures, or do we think in language? And the novelist believes one thing, and the filmmaker believes another thing - and I'm fascinated by that balance.

I love the idea that the editing room is the final time you write. You should still be creatively solving problems even at that point. It's not really until you're locked that you can call it quits.

As a storyteller, you have the story that you tell, and you have the way you can tell it, and both are equally important.

The great thing about an anthology is that each year is its own 10-hour movie, and the only requirement is that it's the best 10-hour movie that I can make out of the story.

I guess I still have this motto: 'What else can I get away with?' And unpredictability in film - that's the hardest thing there is.

There's a degree to which music bypasses our rational brain and accesses our emotional core in a way that's really visceral and allows you to make a strong impression on people without necessary delivering information.

I sat down to take a break from writing a book and wrote a spec feature that would end up being the movie 'Lies & Alibis' with Steve Coogan.

For some reason, I tend to take on the stuff that people are really passionate about. If you make a list of people you don't want to offend, it's Vonnegut readers, comic book fans, and Coen brothers enthusiasts.

I think this idea of fighting the enemy within is sort of more interesting than fighting an external enemy.

The idea was always going to be that each year is a stand-alone story, which did make it easier on some level. It also requires the network to have the creative imagination to say, 'This is also 'Fargo,' you know what I mean?

What's great is that each medium has a unique set of things that it does and does well. Film is a visual medium, and obviously, you can't fit a whole book into two hours unless you're really economical about it. Obviously, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and on some level, it's sort of true.

I'm not that guy who thinks I have all the answers. Writing is a means of communicating, and if enough people say, 'I don't get it,' it's worth looking at.

I think that we're pattern-seeking animals, and what we like best is a story where everything fits together, where there's no puzzle pieces left over.

When I sold my first book, 'A Conspiracy of Tall Men,' it was part of a two-book deal. It wasn't hugely lucrative, but it was enough money for me to quit the paralegal job I had in San Francisco.

When Fox asked me if I'd consider taking on The X-Men universe for television, my first thought was, 'What would you do with those stories or that genre that hasn't been done?'

I would have loved to have been in the room with the ABC executives when they watched David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' TV pilot. You know that had to be a long silence after that thing stopped.

It used to be for writers that that six seasons and a movie thing, that's the holy grail as writers - your series goes eight, 10 seasons, you're set for life.

People, they don't know how to bend; they just break.

I'm a big believer that the structure of stories should reflect the content of the story.