Exclusive David Simon Q&A (posted August 16, 2006)   pdf pdf (269kB)
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Exclusive David Simon Q&A Q: David, what are your personal and professional goals for the "The Wire"?  To change minds, to make money, to employ people, to be successful?  [Jim King]

A: Change minds?  Nobody changes anyone's mind anymore.  People strain facts through their own ideology and ignore that which is happening before their eyes.  Alive in this millennium, Orwell would be embarrassed for having so grossly understated his case.

My goal is to tell the best story about that which matters most to me and that which I believe to be true.  Truth is subjective and so are any writer's choices, but you have to at least believe in what you believe, don't you?  Everybody has to be somewhere and to believe in nothing is to be a cynic.  I'm often accused of being cynical, but I'm not sure the word is being used properly.  I'm being carefully realistic, I think.

It's nice to work with people I admire and respect and I'm glad we all have jobs, but that isn't really the ultimate point of any act of storytelling.  And it's nice to be paid well for doing this gig, but if money was the goal I would not be trying to construct a television drama anything like The Wire.  I think I've demonstrated, with The Wire and The Corner both, that I am capable of marginalizing myself in a niche within television's mass communications model.  Specifically, I've shown the television networks that I can produce stories that receive critical acclaim but do not draw big Hollywood numbers, and therefore, my opportunities to make big Hollywood money are not there.  Don't misunderstand:  I am well paid.  But if money were the purpose here, my bad guys would be Irish or Italian, my cops would hunt them down to great gratification, and the city depicted would be whiter, more affluent and filled with big-titted, long-legged women.  The Wire is either not the work of someone thinking about payday, or if I am that someone, I am quite incompetent.

If you can do what you want to do in this world and say what you want to say and make enough of a living to support your family, then you are successful.  Too many people - most people, perhaps - have to do things they don't want to do to make a living, and they can't speak their mind while they go about doing it.  That's the nature of the modern world and, come to think of it, a theme of The Wire. So by standards of most human beings, I'm successful, whether The Wire achieves all that I might hope for it or not.  And I have too much regard for people who get up every day and go to work at jobs far less interesting and self-absorbed than making television or writing books to seriously sit here and consider my success based on what happens to my writing or how much credit/money/attention I receive for that writing.

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