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.'
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.
'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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.