Tag Archives: Alan Ball

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Mark Hudis Interview: Takes a Bite Out of True Blood Season 6

True Blood’s new showrunner, Mark Hudis was interviewed by Rebecca Raber for the Haverford College publication. (Mark is an alumni) He gave a few tidbits regarding True Blood’s season 6.

“It’s impossible to fill Alan Ball’s shoes,” says Hudis of his new gig. “That’s not false modesty, that the truth. The guy’s created two massive hit shows for HBO and has an Oscar (for American Beauty). Really this plan is in the air, and I just want to land it sadly.”

Ball’s “plane,” however is in good hands. Hudis, who has written for Nurse Jackie, That 70′s Show and Cybill, is part of a seven-person writing team that works democratically and by consensus to map out the best story-lines to engage the fans and be true to the characters’ journeys.

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Season five ended with our normally human-friendly vampire hero Bill Compton drinking the blood of vampire savior Lilith, exploding and reconstituting into something evil. “Certainly he’s not going to be the Bill we know and love,” says Hudis of the character’s evolution next season. “He’s going to have more bite, no pun intended.”

What else can we expect? Following a season that dealt with more global issues (such as national vampire politics), Hudis wants to bring the action back to Bon Temps, the small Louisiana town that is home to the show’s central characters, and focus on telling fewer stories with more characters. (True Blood-ophiiles might also be interested to know that Sookie and Jason will spend the year searching for Warlow, the vampire that Sookie has been promised to.)

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So what do you hope Mark Hudis does with Season 6 of True Blood? I like the idea of telling fewer stories but not so sure about the “more characters” part. The show is definitely not lacking in characters already. Waiting sucks! Filming has started at least !!

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Q & A With True Blood’s Alan Ball

After the season 5 finale for True Blood aired fans had a chance to ask Alan Ball questions. The transcript below is from HBO Connect:

  • TrueBloodHBOThanks to Alan Ball for joining us today. What would you say is more stressful, the beginning or end of a season of True Blood?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Definitely the end of a season. By the time episode 12 rolls around, everyone is fried.

  • Q  MonBedon There are many story arcs within the show this season. Which one would you say you enjoyed the most in creating and why?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    My two favorites were the coup d’etat of the authority by vampire fundamentalists and the Obama-mask wearing anti-supe hate group.

  • Q
    Kelly_HugsWhat inspired you to create True Blood (besides the novels)?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    It’s hard to say there was anything besides the novels. When I read the novels, they were so entertaining. I couldn’t wait for the next one. The way the chapters ended in cliffhangers, I would end up reading late into the night and somewhere in the third or fourth novel I just felt like this is a TV show.

  • Q   mohrgainelefay  When writing for film, do you follow any specific industry paradigms for structure? Is there a specific structure you follow for TV?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I am a little suspicious of industry paradigms. I feel like so many movies and TV shows feel so familiar because of over-reliance on these paradigms. We just try to keep it moving and keep it interesting and fun and to spread the story around among our characters so that everybody gets at least one really great episode per season. Also, if a scene is longer than three pages, it better be for a good reason.

  • Q
    facucardoso  True Blood’s trademarks are the cliffhangers. Have you ever written one NOT knowing what would happen next?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Sometimes at the very end of the season, we’re not sure what’s going to happen next. But in the context of the season, we know what the next episode is going to be. When Sookie went with Claudine, we didn’t know what was going to happen. We had to wait until the writers started breaking the next season to figure it out.

  • Q  Rachel WillbanksI really love the opening sequence, it’s phenomenal! and has become one of the most memorable things about True Blood. Was that something you shot especially for the show?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    There is some archival footage and some footage we shoot specifically for the sequence and some footage we shot to resemble archival footage that would not clear. The main titles were designed by a company called Digital Kitchen in Seattle (the same company that created the six feet under main titles). We gave them Jace Everett’s great song “bad things” and they went from there.

  • Q    AgentM83  How does your writing process for ‘genre’ television differ from, say, Six Feet Under, if at all?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    There’s certainly more sex and violence… But fundamentally it doesn’t differ at all because ultimately it’s all about the characters. True Blood differs from Six Feet Under in that there are way more characters and plot-lines, but fundamentally it’s still about the characters and their emotions.

  • Q  peggysue_d  Would you consider adding outtakes and bloopers to the DVD of this season?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I would have no problem with that. Ultimately it’s HBO’s call.

  • Q  Marc-André Blondin  7 years after the final episode of Six Feet Under, do you still enjoy watching it as if it was your first time?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    No, I don’t really watch it. I’ve sort of moved on. I was very proud of that but I don’t think I’ve seen it since it aired.

  • Q  Brett ThomasIf you could be any “supernatural species” (supe) what would it be? A

    Alan Ball says:

    Shifter. It would be the most interesting because you get to be so many different creatures.

  • Q  kristen4445  How do you think your vision for the show has changed since it first began?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    It’s definitely gotten bigger. But I think that’s the nature of the fact that the show is ongoing and once it opens up and larger things start to happen, you can’t go back. It’s also become more of a metaphor for things we see going on in the world without being too on the nose or opinionated about those things in and of themselves.

  • Q  Zukie Sarantos  What was your inspiration in creating characters such as Jessica on the show?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    We wanted to see a vampire from the point of being made, and we also like the idea of a teenage vampire. We knew that for Bill, the most ambivalent of vampires (at that point in season 1, at least), the very worst punishment for staking Longshadow would be to have to make a vampire, as his own making had been so tragic for him, losing his human life and family.

  • Q  hardmandy  What is your favorite part about the creative process of making True Blood?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I love casting and I love working with writers – the collaboration that takes place for each episode. And I love editing. And I also love scoring.

  • Q   BradRBarber   Whose character development have you enjoyed the most?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I really enjoyed Bill because he’s always struggled with being what he is. I’ve really enjoyed Jason because I think he has really struggled to find meaning in his life over these last couple of seasons, and he’s really hit a wall with being the “hot guy,” and that’s not really doing anything for him. I’ve enjoyed Pam and how earlier she was mostly comic relief but now she’s developed her own story with her own emotional landscape. And I think that’s really interesting, because she’s such a guarded character.

  • Q   Łukasz Drobnik  I was happy to see Peter Macdissi in True Blood. Are you open to working with any other of the Six Feet Under cast members in the future?
    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Absolutely

  • Q  Kajoolka  Which season of True Blood has been your personal favorite so far, and why?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    That’s hard to answer. I really enjoyed season 2, because I felt like that was when the show really became a phenomenon and I loved all of the Maryann Dionysis cult stuff and the Fellowship of the Sun stuff. And then I really enjoyed this last season and the undermining of the Authority by the fundamentalists. I thought it was a really fun thing for our characters to be involved in and really interesting and complicated.

  • Q  true_blah  What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I would say try to tell stories that you care about as opposed to stories that you think will sell.

  • Q   stinalnelson  Your creative vision is the reason I watch TB. I’m very excited to see what’s next for you. So what’s your next project following TB?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I am one of the executive producers of a new Cinemax show called Banshee that will start to air in 2013. My company has several other projects in development at HBO, both series and movies. And I have three screenplays at various stages in development, hoping that one or all of them will get made.

  • Q  Marjo__   How is it that vampires are always shown of as the greatest sex symbols?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    They’re immortal, they’re sort of bad, they live at night, they’re incredibly powerful. And the whole idea of biting and feeding on another person is a metaphor for sex. However, I’m sure there are people out there who think that Alcide is hotter than any vampire… so I think that’s a subjective thing.

  • Q  taelcat  I know you are stepping down as showrunner, but will you write any episodes for S6?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    That remains to be seen.

  • Q    Valerie Daisy Barrett  Mr. Ball – I am winning a battle with cancer. True Blood is my escape. i find strength in every episode. How are you preparing Mark Hudis for his new role? Thank you and all those involved in True Blood for providing my escape. Would you send me some “V?” JK

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I don’t need to prepare Mark, he knows what he’s doing, he’s run shows before, he’s been a writer-producer on this show for 2 seasons and has written and produced some really excellent episodes. I’m just asking him and the writing staff to keep making True Blood… True Blood! And I truly wish V was real because I think I could use some of it!

  • Q
    CareyLSperl  With Six Feet Under, who was your favorite character to write?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    David and Ruth. David because his journey was something I could really identify with. And Ruth because I just felt that she was such a great character, the way she was played by Frances Conroy. Not to say I didn’t enjoy writing for all the other characters, because I did.

  • Q   Egebility  Are there any particular scenes you like to watch in the show? Who’s your favourite character from True Blood and why?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Even after five years, i still enjoy just about every single scene of every single episode. Watching the finale last night, I really liked the fly POV, Maurella giving birth, Rosalyn’s death, and Bill tricking Salome out of Lilith’s blood. I love all the characters deeply, but the most fun for me to write are Jason, Lafayette and Russell Edgington, they each have such a distinctive voice.

  • Q  musicjunkay  Are there any practical jokers on set? If so, who and what was the best prank thus far?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I’m not sure there are any, everyone takes their work pretty seriously.

  • Q  benakahas  How do you choose the music you put in each episode

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Each writer puts their own choices for music, in terms of songs playing on the radio or something like that, in their script. And then when the director puts together the first cut of the episode, they’ll use those songs or pick other songs, and then our music supervisor Gary Calamar comes in and will provide us with several alternates for each song that’s been used as a temp and we’ll pick the one that sounds best. Sometimes the one we like the most is way too expensive to clear, so we’ll try to find an alternate that sounds as good. So it’s a real collaboration.

  • Q  saavvyy   Will we see more of Hoyt or is his storyline over?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Hoyt is not dead, he may return, he may need to return for some reason or other. That remains to be seen. But he’s clearly still alive. And on our show, characters who remain alive and disappear do tend to come back at some point. Even the dead ones, for that matter.

  • Q   izmaritinkrali  what is your favourite tv series beside yours?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Breaking Bad. I just think it’s so genius and it’s such a dark story that manages to be hilarious and grim at the same time. I think it’s done so incredibly well. Actually, it might be between Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.

  • Q_Alissita  if you were a vampire, you would be sanguinista or mainstream?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    Mainstream. I think the Sanguinistas are crazy and fueled by religious fundamentalism, and I think they’re very shortsighted and not very smart in terms of what their agenda is. I would be a secular vampire.

  • Q   BonTempsGrrl  What do you feel is the greatest risk you’ve taken with the show/story so far?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    Probably delving so deeply into vampire religion and the fine line between fundamentalism and insanity.

  • Q    cleitonleive  In your opinion, which was more difficult to deal, the realism of Six feet under or the fiction of True blood?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    I think telling a good, compelling story and keeping it based in characters is never easy. But the production aspects of True Blood are more difficult. It takes more days to film an episode of True Blood, there are so many special effects and so many things that have to be storyboarded and shot in pieces and put together, so the production aspect is a lot more difficult than Six Feet Under. But in terms of just writing the story, they’re about the same.

  • Q   China_Buffet   would you ever consider doing an episode as a musical episode in mostly all song?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    No, that’s been done. It feels derivative. And I don’t understand how I could make sense of everybody just singing all of a sudden.

  • Q   MoBeasleySpeaks  Have you gotten any backlash for tackling religious fundamentalism in TB?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I’m sure we have, I just don’t pay attention to that stuff.

  • Q  FernandesMig  Do have plans for making a movie soon?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I have some screenplays that I’m trying to set up, but it’s very difficult to get a movie off the ground in this current environment. But I’m stepping back from TV for a while because the grind is too much and I’m too old. I would rather work on some smaller, self-contained things like some smaller, independent movies. Supposedly, What’s the Matter with Margie is going to come together to shoot in January. it’s something I wrote, but I will not be directing it.

  • Q    Jonathan Joyner   Any chance we’ll see more gay or hetero-flexible characters in future seasons of True Blood?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I’m not running things anymore, but I would imagine there would be because we’ve never had a problem with that.

  • Q   omereshef  Six feet under dealt with death and so did American Beauty. On TB Vamps are dead, but live forever. How do u see your theme continue here?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I think after five years of Six Feet Under, I got a little tired of staring into the abyss, and one of the things that appealed to me about Charlaine’s books was the idea that death is present, but when there are creatures that can transcend it, it loses some of its sting. And I wanted to have fun for a while. And what I’m writing now is less about mortality specifically, and more about people at various stages in their lives.

  • Q   brookeash  In all 5 seasons, what has been the most exciting and/or challenging scene to film?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    It’s hard to say exactly which single scene, but I know the orgy scenes with Maryann in the woods were hard. When Sam, as a fly, goes into Rosalyn’s mouth and makes her explode… Eric and Nora taking out the majority of the Authority guards… Certainly the very end of season 2, Maryann’s wedding was pretty difficult. I’m sure I’m missing others. Last season, when Marnie and the witches were holed up in MoonGoddess and the vampires were outside and Pam shot a bazooka at the wall of energy, and everything that was going on inside, that was very difficult.

  • Q  rhcpmary  Your favourite character trait of Eric is?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    His dry sense of humor.

  • Q  Robhern   What has/have been your favourite locations to shoot in throughout the seasons?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    I love the Fellowship of the Sun church, and I always love Merlotte’s. It’s such a great set and it looks so great on screen. I loved the vampire Authority, even though that was a set on stage, it wasn’t a location. The exterior of Russell’s house in Louisiana was really beautiful. I didn’t go down for that shoot, but I thought that was just gorgeous. All of our standing sets are really fantastic, and that’s because of our Production Designer Suzuki Ingerslev and our Art Director Cat Smith.

  • Q   Philipp Wolf   What is your favourite Six Feet Under beginning death?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    I really liked the guy who left the gas on and we thought he was going to die, but it ended up being a disgruntled office worker who shot up his office. I really liked the porn star who got electrocuted in her bathtub. John Billingsley (who plays Mike Spencer on True Blood) gets killed with a skillet, that was a great opener.

  • Q  gabryL91  Do you have an idea of how the show is going to end?

    A

    Alan Ball says:

    I know that there are some things we talked about in the room last year, so I do have an idea. But I don’t know that’s going to be what will actually happen.

  • Q  TrueBloodHBO  Thank you to Alan Ball for participating in today’s Q&A, and for giving the fans an amazing Season 5 finale last night. Any parting words?
    A
    Alan Ball says:

    Keep watching. I know I’m going to!

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Alan Ball Talks True Blood : TV Guide

TV Guide interviewed Alan Ball: (note looks like season 6 will only have 10 episodes! NOOOOOOOO)

After five deliriously bloody seasons, True Blood‘s creator and showrunner Alan Ball is departing. (He’s currently exec producing the “noir” thriller Banshee for Cinemax). But first, Ball answers some finale burning questions — and offers some thoughts on next season.

TV Guide Magazine: Are you satisfied with where you’re leaving the characters of Bon Temps as you hand your showrunning duties over to Mark Hudis?
Alan Ball: I am. I was very happy with this season. The last thing you want to do with a show that lives as long as this one is to repeat yourself. I don’t think we did. I really liked seeing a secular vampire government being taken over by crazy fundamentalists. I’m not saying that there are parallels in our own human world. [Laughs]

TV Guide Magazine: Much of last year, and particularly the finale, really severed the connection to Charlaine Harris’ books.
Ball: It’s something organic that happens. You can’t just transcribe the books. That said, there’s some stuff in the later books that I think later seasons of the show will address. But we did go on our own little path this year.

TV Guide Magazine: Let’s answer some burning questions left by the finale. First, what the heck is Bill or “Bilith” as some call him? An evil god? A demon?
Ball: We don’t know! Honestly, we didn’t know what Lilith was. Just because the fundamentalists called her “God,” that doesn’t mean she was. On our show, there’s room for all kinds of supernatural creatures. We do know that Bill had some kind of major transformation into a deeper supernatural being. The question for me is has he lost his humanity entirely or will it just have to fight harder to come out. That’s certainly something that the writers are talking about for next year

TV Guide Magazine: Is Bill still planning to use humans as a food source?
Ball: That will be his story in Season 6. Is he going to come up with his own master plan? What kind of battle will the humans wage against him?

TV Guide Magazine: Bill’s been such a monster. Can he really come back?
Ball: My own belief is that people can come back from anything. It doesn’t mean that it won’t come at a huge cost. But I’m interested in a Bill who is really evil. Because after almost five seasons of a Bill who was “I hate that I’m a vampire, I’m so nice,” it was time to make him really go dark and  see what that does to everybody else.

TV Guide Magazine: Will Sookie fight to rescue Bill?
Ball: It could be that or it could also be that Sookie is trying to save herself from him.

TV Guide Magazine: Season 5 had a lot more gore than lust. Lots of fans missed the Bill, Sookie and Eric triangle. Will we see that again?
Ball: I don’t think that that central triangle has gone away. Anna [Paquin] was like ‘I’ve played three seasons of falling in love with people.” I agreed and found her something different to do. But right now we don’t know how Sookie feels about vampires. The fairy elder said, “There’s a reason you give your heart out to every fangster you meet.” That’s going to be very interesting to find out why.

TV Guide Magazine: That sounds like it has to do with Warlow, the unseen vampire who killed Sookie and Jason’s parents and “owns” Sookie? Jason’s off to kill him, so will we meet him soon?
Ball: We will definitely see Warlow. Whether or not we have met him already, I will remain mum. There will also be some other characters maybe who we know and love who are pursuing a less than generous agenda.

TV Guide Magazine: Does all that leave the door open for non-bloodsucker love for Sookie?
Ball: Even though it looks like Alcide and Sookie may have cooled things off, I’m not so sure that he’s totally dropped the torch that he carries for her.

TV Guide Magazine: Who and what are the apparitions that Jason sees as his vampire-hating parents who are urging him kill all fangers?
Ball: When he was thrown across the field and hit his head, it shook something loose in his subconscious, which is using his parents as a way to communicate his more violent and vengeful impulses.

TV Guide Magazine: Will Jason be a danger to all the undead in town?
Ball: He might be! In the extra scene on HBO GO when he’s in the elevator with [his vampire allies] he’s tempted to kill them right there like his “father” tells him.

TV Guide Magazine: Is Sam’s love, fellow shape shifter Luna, dead after shifting into vampire Steve Newlin’s body?
Ball: I can’t tell you that! But Newlin isn’t dead. We love him.

TV Guide Magazine: How did Eric manage to kill the much older and strong Russell Edgington?
Ball: Russell was so crazed with fairy blood lust that he wasn’t paying attention. That’s how Eric could stake him.

TV Guide Magazine: Was it always going to be Eric who killed Russell?
Ball: There was a moment at some point when we were pitching that somebody else would kill Russell, but it just really felt that it should belong to Eric, because Russell killed his mortal family.

TV Guide Magazine: Is Andy Bellefleur really going to raise four little half-fairy babies next season?
Ball: It’s definitely going to complicate things for him. But they may go to live with the fairies where it’s safer for them. Also, who knows how quickly they age!

TV Guide Magazine: After that sizzling kiss, are Tara and Pam now Bon Temps hot new couple?
Ball: Yeah. [Laughs] We wanted that to happen from the very beginning of the season, but we wanted to really, really, really take our time with it.

TV Guide Magazine: Will Anna be back full time right away after the birth of her twins in November?
Ball:  She is. We’re moving production to January to accommodate her. And there will only be 10 shows next season partly because of Anna and partly because of the economics

TV Guide Magazine: Do you have a series ending in mind yet?
Ball: We talked about one in the writers’ room this season. We definitely have some ideas.

TV Guide Magazine: Even if you’re not running the show, will you come back for the series finale?
Ball: I will. I just needed to take some time off just to recharge my batteries.

TV Guide Magazine: Any last thoughts for your fans?
Ball: It’s still True Blood. People tend to say, “Alan writes everything,” but it’s always been a big collaboration. I am personally very excited to see where the show’s going to go and I hope fans feel the same way.

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True Blood Finale Alan Ball Answers Questions TV Line

MIchael Aussiello  was able to have Alan Ball answer some burning questions after the True Blood sason 5 finale.

TVLINE | So, is Bill God now?

I don’t want to say if he is or he isn’t. Who’s to say what Lilith really is? He is still Bill but he is something different.

TVLINE | So there is some of the old Bill in there?

It is Bill, but it is a transformed Bill. He is not a completely new person. It’s not like his memories or his experiences have been left out and he’s just a baby.

TVLINE | Can he revert back to the old Bill?

Well, that’s the question: Is he going to be evil? What does he want? What is he going to do? Will he be able to revert back to Bill? That’s for future seasons. The implication, certainly, is that he is more ferocious.

TVLINE | As you warned me back at Comic-Con, there was a lot of death in the episode — some more ambiguous than others. Did Luna die?

You’ll have to watch [next season]. We didn’t see her die.

TVLINE | And Russell? Is he really dead?

He’s gone. We may see him in flashbacks, but he bit it.

TVLINE | Also back at Comic-Con, you declined to tell me which couple you were having the most fun writing for this season because it would be too much of a spoiler. Can you now confirm it was Russell and Steve?

Yes. I love both of those actors and I thought they were hilarious and kind of touching.

TVLINE | Will Steve remain a viable character next season? I

don’t know. I’ve spoken to Mark briefly. They’ve only pitched some very broad ideas. I hope he does because I think he’s such a great character. I don’t know if he would be a big part of the season, but he definitely seems like that would be a person to bring back.

TVLINE | You really outdid yourself with Rosalyn’s death scene. Congratulations.

I think that is probably the most jaw-dropping [death] that we’ve done. Every time I see it I laugh.

TVLINE | The Pam/Tara kiss – did you know at the start of the season that it was all leading up to this?

It was in our mind at the beginning of the season, yes. We wanted to really tease it out.

TVLINE | What was it about those two characters that made them relationship material in your mind?

They both were, if not full-on lesbians, than bisexual. They both were characters with real attitude. And they both hate each other — at least they did at the beginning of the season. And that, to me, felt like it could create a lot of tension that could turn romantic towards the end.

TVLINE | Where would you personally like to see that relationship go next season?

Well, here’s the thing with relationships on True Blood: Once they happen then you have to throw a monkey-wrench into them, because to have people be happy is not that exciting.

TVLINE | But it’s your understanding that Mark is committed to that story?

All of the writers were into [them], so that is my understanding, yes.

TVLINE | Did you ever consider introducing or unmasking Warlow in the finale? No. We didn’t want to really define Warlow until the next season.

TVLINE | So he’ll definitely figure into Season 6?

I think he’ll be kind of a big part of it.

TVLINE | Is he someone we’ve met before? No comment.

For the rest of the interview please visit: TV LIne

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Read More at: http://tvline.com/2012/08/26/true-blood-season-6-spoilers/#utm_source=copypaste&utm_campaign=referral

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The True Blood panel at Comic Con was definitely one of the fan favorites. My group started camping out for ballroom 20 at midnight and there were already many many fans there. It was well worth the exhaustion and lack of sleep!! Still editing the many photos I was able to take from the front row.

My friend got this photo from the screen showing Stephen pointing me out wearing the ‘awful yellow sweatshirt’ (as Pam said to Sookie!):

ComicCon 2012

I wore a yellow sweatshirt much like the one Kristin wore as Vampire Pam when she turned Tara. Yes the awful yellow sweatshirt. Kristin spotted me and the other cast as well saw me there. They asked me to stand up and I let them know I had 2 friends further back who also had them on. Alex was trying to spot them in the photo below:

the text below is from the San Jose Mercury News (but my photos)

The Saturday presentation at Comic-Con for HBO’s “True Blood” kicked off with a trailer teasing the remaining episodes of the campy HBO vampire series’ fifth season.

The fast-moving footage showed Lafayette (played by Nelsan Ellis) channeling spirits, newbie vampire Tara (Rutina Wesley) working as a burlesque dancer, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) going wild and old-school vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) seemingly sucking down on Sookie (Anna Paquin).

“True Blood” actors Paquin, Moyer, Wesley, and Woll were joined by their co-stars Alexander Skarsgard, Christopher Meloni, Kristin Bauer, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell and Joe Manganiello, as well as “True Blood” executive producer Alan Ball for the high-energy panel attended by more than 4,000 con-goers.

Other than the spoilery footage, the cast kept the biggest secrets about the current season under wraps. Paquin called the final scene in the fifth season finale “very, very crazy,” while Ball hinted that the audience will learn more about Sookie’s parents, and there would be three new romances.

“There’s also a lot of people having sex, but those don’t really count as romances,” Ball added.

The panel descended into a howling frenziness at several points during the hour-long presentation, including when “Magic Mike” co-star Manganiello empowered Ball and new cast member Meloni to perform the “body roll”. Ryan Kwanten was dared to walk on his hands across the stage inside a mammoth ballroom in the San Diego Convention Center.

Saturday’s panel ended with a standing ovation for Ball, who is stepping down as the showrunner of “True Blood” next season.

I will add my commentary as soon as I can. Some of my favorite moments were seeing Alex console Kristin when she started to cry talking about the scene where Eric releases Pam, How neither of them wanted to do that scene. Alex also blushed quite a bit when Joe was doing the body roll. When Christopher Meloni gave Alex his name tag, Alex planted a big ole kiss on his cheek. (he had blown a kiss to the fan who had asked Alex for his name tag).

It was fun to see the cast once again. Alex has some of the most amazing fans in the world! It was so worth the waiting on line since midnight  to get a great seat.

The images below are only a few of the ones I took. Have almost 600 photos from the True Blood panel. Please if you wish to use the images do not remove the watermark. I worked pretty long and hard to get these done. Thanks and can’t wait to finish the rest!!
UPDATE: one of my photos from the True Blood panel was published by OK Magazine- in their August 6, 2012 issue! Scan below:
OKMagazine080612

 

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Alan Ball and Anna Paquin, PaleyFest 2011

Alan Ball Stepping Down as True Blood Showrunner

Forbes first brought the story that Alan Ball would be stepping down from running True Blood on Friday. The rumors started to fly and finally on Monday HBO released the followoing statement:

[box] “When we extended our multiyear deal with Alan Ball in July 2011, we always intended that if we proceeded to True Blood’s sixth season that Alan would take a supervisory role on the series and not be the day-to-day showrunner. If we proceed to season six, the show will remain in the very capable hands of the talented team of writers and producers who have been with the show for a number of years.  This is the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball. Alan will remain available as executive producer to consult and advise on True Blood and he will be free to develop new shows for both HBO and Cinemax.  Banshee, on which Alan serves as executive producer, is the first in house series for Cinemax and is expected to begin production this spring.” A replacement has not been named at this time.[/box]

 

Forbes spoke with Alan Ball and wrote the first news on the story:

Alan Ball, I have confirmed, will step down from being headwriter of the show about sexy vampires mixing it up in Louisiana. Explanations include exhaustion, and maybe that the show seemed like it had tired blood last season. Ball will still be with the show, I’m told, but a new regime will guide the fates of the characters into their new season. This could also very well be a money issue, as series tend to get more and more expensive as they drag on.  SOURCE:

Alan Ball said this in a statement:
“True Blood has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life,” Ball says in a statement. “Because of the fantastic cast, writers, producers and crew, with whom I have been lucky enough to work these past five years, I know I could step back and the show will continue to thrive as I look forward to new and exciting ventures.”

Alan Ball will have plenty to keep him busy after the fifth season of True Blood is over. HIs crime drama “Banshee” was picked up as a series from Cinemaxfor 10 episodes. He also has an HBO drama in development “Wichita” which is an hour long medical drama about a Kansas doctor (a surgeon) who becomes a focal point in the late-term abortion issue. SOURCE:

So what do you think True Blood fans? I know for me many of my big issues in the past few seasons were the direction of how the characters were being developed (or not developed). Alan Ball’s endearment with the character of Bill Compton was another one that he did not seem willing to let go of in order for the story to continue to evolve. The “sticking to the spirit” was another big issue I also had with some of the prior episodes.

I am grateful that Alan Ball did get the rights from Charlaine Harris and brought the Sookie Stackhouse world to us on HBO. They are filming for season 5 right now (appears to be episode 5.05) so waiting for the new season to start is getting closer. With the news of Alan Ball not being around for a sixth season of True Blood what will that mean? It gives me some hope that perhaps fresh “blood” will help out.

So chime in on what you hope. Waiting sucks!

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Alan Ball on True Blood | CraveOnline

 

Crave Online: Some fans think there are too many storylines on the show. What is your take on that?

Alan Ball: Well, just pay attention to the ones you like. To me, that’s part of what the show is. It’s this big, sprawling cast of characters and I love that about the show. We have a tremendous amount of really talented actors so just pay attention. Watch it more than once. Watch it three or four times so that way any questions will get answered.

Crave Online: Is it a dramatic struggle for you?

Alan Ball: No, I love it. I love having a lot of characters.

Crave Online: How do you see True Blood has influenced the popular lore of vampires?

Alan Ball: You know what? I don’t pay much attention to that stuff. I work and I work like a dog. When I go home, the last thing I want to do is read about the popular lore of vampires. for the full interview click below:


Alan Ball on True Blood | CraveOnline
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Which Witch Was Way Wicked

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Taking a second look at a few of the scnes fro episode 4.02.

Marnie’s spell may not have been the full trigger. Seems that Holly’s incantation-Elements of the night Elements of the dead , come this way,  we call upon ye, we summon ye...

The video below shows the “incantation” and later spell from Marnie from episode 4.02:

Which witch was the “trigger” for the full summoning? Holly did start the incantation. She grabs the hands of the two women on either side of her and joins the circle. Jesus tries to bring Lafayette into the circle but  Lafayette pulls away.

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Marnie had told the wiccans to join hands right before Eric bit her. When Holly saw that Marnie was attacked by Eric she started the chant. (which seems to be a protection spell she called upon the elementals-energies/spirits of the night. Interesting how she also called upon the elements of the dead)

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Tara enters the room and tries to stake Eric from behind with a wooden cross (conveniently placed by the doorway with other wands). Eric drops Marnie and grab Tara. This causes Lafayette to join the incantation and the circle. When Lafayette joins in , there seemed to be a “surge” of energy again and it seemed that the spirt did swoop down onto Marnie (and also through Eric ).  Lafayette only  joined in on the incantation after seeing Tara was in danger. (Tara seriously-did you think you could sneek up on Eric with that wooden cross?)

Did Jesus talk Lafayette into joining the wiccans again that night? Still have my doubts about Jesus. Wrote about some of those linked here.  Still have a feeling that perhaps the spirit that was summoned is somehow linked to Jesus’ family (or perhaps also to Eric since he was around when this powerful witch was still alive during the inquisition). I know a lot of time has been spent on analyzing the Latin spell that Marnie chants and the effect it has on Eric. I just realized that the spirit that did seem to be in control of Marnie had to be “summoned” somehow and it looks like Holly’s chant may have started the whole thing rolling.

Something wicked this way surely does come in season 4. Sunday’s new episode will give fans a bit more insight into what effect the spell does have on Eric Northman. I can’t wait!

 

 

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True Blood Season 4 Alan Ball Intro Video

The video below is from HBO and it features Alan Ball discussing some of the upcoming action for season 4 of True Blood. There are a few BIG spoilers in the video that will be airing in the episodes ahead so don’t watch if you don’t want to be spoiled!

This part of the video shows action that has not yet aired. Can’t say that I’m very happy with this scene at all!
SPOILER!!

Sorry to say that this does not bode well for a certain Fae! Same dress.

UPDATE #2:

Don’t know how I forgot about this part! There is a lot of buzz over the sound byte of King Bill stating that the vampire must meet his true death. I still say it is a bait and switch (to get fans in a tizzy over which vampire will it be. Not going to be Eric in my opinion..) Don’t forget about the casting call for a vampire feeding from a woman and humans are video taping it. I saw a snippet in the video above that shows Marnie “controlling” a vampire. Images below: (that looks like the vampire that is feeding from the woman wearing a bad “Dracula” type wig)

 

 

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Inside ‘True Blood’’s Fourth Season-An interview with Alan Ball

Alan Ball was interviewed by Jace Lacob from the Daily Beast.  Ball revealed True Blood Season 4 it’s a real love story!

About Season 3:

For his part, Ball doesn’t look back once a chapter comes to an end. “Honestly, at this point, I don’t even remember Season 3,” he said. “I’m not a big postmortem guy. Maybe that’s just a way of avoiding even my own criticism, but there’s so much to be done now, so I just move on.”

Vampires vs. Witches:

“For the first time, our vampires are facing a real enemy who is not another [more powerful] vampire,” Ball said of Season 4’s Big Bad, related to the coven of witches at the center of the storyline. “For the first time, our vampires have had their weapons taken away from them. There’s a really funny moment later in the season where they have to resort to conventional weapons because their powers are very effectively taken from them…

More Love!

The season may be a little touch more romantic than other seasons have been… It’s a real love story.”

About fans expectations:

“Once you start paying too much attention to that stuff, then it all becomes about your perception of what other people’s perceptions of the show are,” said Ball, who doesn’t visit Internet boards to see what fans are talking about and will never join Twitter. “I don’t want to create a direct line between myself and fans of the show and start feeling like I have to satisfy this particular desire or need of these people, because then it’s not writing, it’s marketing.”

Happiness in True Blood:

“I have a rule of thumb,” said Ball. “Once people come together and they’re happy, they get one episode of happiness before we blow it all to hell.”

To read the complete article visit The Daily Beast.

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