Exclusive David Simon Q&A (page 3)
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Exclusive David Simon Q&A Q: What key things have you learned about making television while doing "The Wire"?  [Drew Johnson]

A: These "key" things only apply to filmmaking in the style of The Wire.  There are lots of different films and lots of different ways to tell different kinds of story.  But for the purpose of what we have attempted to do in Baltimore, with these particular tales:

Black people all look alike.  Not so much to me, but to a lot of white people, apparently.  Therefore, if you don't do everything you can to distinguish between characters early and often, you will end up having some fucked-up flashback stuck into the end of your pilot episode.  Moving on from that small lesson:

Less is more.  Musical score, unless it is an earned moment, is a sign of weak storytelling.  You are cueing your audience what to think and when to think it.

Less is more.  Explaining everything to the slowest or laziest member of the audience destroys verisimilitude and reveals the movie itself, rather than the reality that the movie is trying to convey.  The audience need not understand everything at the moment they see or hear it, and some small details need never be explained - if they get it, great, if not, that's a lot like life.  On a larger scale, however, every character and every plotline must, in the end, pay out and be therefore justified.

Less is more.  There are relatively few moments that require dramatic action or dramatic acting, and those moments must be earned.

Less is more.  The camera should only move to tell the story.  The camera should not be the story.  And the camera should only know what it is reasonable for the camera to know given the facts that have already been revealed.  If a camera move "fishes" for a punchline or a telltale moment, we're probably ruining the reveal through an inelegant move.

Less is more.  If I was smarter or less voluble, I would not write stuff like this or do interviews and I would just let the work speak for itself.  But the truth is, I have felt from the first that The Wire's survival on television was an improbability and so I have done everything possible to connect with audience and maintain the show's presence at the distant edge of the zeitgeist in the hope that we will be able to complete the project.  So here I am drawing your attention as best I can.

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