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Alan Ball
Alan Ball
Key Information
Profession Motion picture writer and producer
Role Executive Producer
First episode "Pilot"
Last episode "The Fire Trials"
Birthdate May 13, 1957
Birthplace Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Alan Ball, born May 13, 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, is a motion picture writer and producer. He is an Executive Producer for Banshee. He wrote the Oscar winning film American Beauty (1999) and wrote and directed the film Towelheads. He created the series Six Feet Under. He created the series True Blood based on the Southern Vampire novels by Charlaine Harris. He has also worked on the series Oh, Grow Up, Cybill, and Grace Under Fire.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Ball was born May 13, 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia to Frank and Mary Ball, an aircraft inspector and a homemaker. He attended high school in Marietta, and went on to attend the University of Georgia and Florida State University, from which he graduated in 1980 with a degree in theater arts. After college, he began work as a playwright at the General Nonsense Theater Company in Sarasota, Florida.

CareerEdit

Early careerEdit

He began his television career as a writer and Story Editor for the second season of situation comedy series Grace Under Fire in fall 1994. The show was created by Chuck Lorre. Ball wrote four episodes of the season "The Road to Paris, Texas", "Grace vs. Wade", "A Night at the Opera" and "Memphis Bound".

He then became a writer and Story Editor for the second season of Lorre's situation comedy Cybill in fall 1995. He co-wrote the teleplay for the episode "Zing!" with Lee Aronsohn from a story by Aronsohn. Ball was promoted to co-producer midseason, beginning with the tenth episode "The Odd Couples". He wrote the seventh episode "To Sir, with Lust", which aired out of sequence. He wrote the season's penultimate episode "Three Women and a Dummy".

He remained a co-producer and writer for the third season of Cybill in fall 1996. He wrote the second episode "Venice or Bust". He was promoted to Supervising Producer midseason, beginning with the tenth episode "Buffalo Gals". He also wrote "Buffalo Gals". He co-wrote the teleplay for the episode "Name That Tune" with Michael Langworthy from a story by Linda Wallem. He wrote the story for the episode "Mother's Day"; the teleplay was written by Langworthy and Michael Poryes.

He was promoted to Co-Executive Producer for the fourth season in fall 1997 and continued to write episodes. He wrote the story for the season premiere "Regarding Henry"; the teleplay was written by Erin A. Bishop & Susan Nirah Jaffe. He co-wrote the teleplay for the seventh episode "Halloween" with Mark Hudis from a story by Jaffe. He co-wrote the teleplay for the eighth episode "Where's a Harpoon When You Need One?" with Kim C. Fries from a story by Poryes. He wrote the story for the thirteenth episode "Bakersfield"; the teleplay was co-written by Fries & Hudis. He co-wrote the teleplay for the seventeenth episode "Oh Brother!" with Hudis from a story by Poryes. Cybill was cancelled after completing its fourth season.

He wrote the film American Beauty (1999). He was also a producer for the project. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 2000 ceremony for American Beauty. He won similar awards from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Golden Globes, London Critics Circle Film Awards, ShoWest Convention, Southeastern Film Critics Association, and the Writer's Guild of America (WGA). He was nominated for similar awards by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Chicago Film Critics Association, Chlotrudis Awards, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, Online Film Critics Society Awards, the Satellite Awards.

He created the situation comedy series Oh, Grow Up!. The show was ordered to series by the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and began airing in fall 1999. Ball was an Executive Producer and as well as writing the series pilot he also scripted the second episode "Good Pop, Bad Pop". The show was canceled after eleven episodes had aired, although thirteen were produced.

Six Feet UnderEdit

He created the drama series Six Feet Under for the Home Box Office (HBO) network. The show was about a family of funeral directors. As well as writing the pilot he was the show runner and an Executive Producer for the project. He directed the pilot episode and HBO ordered a thirteen episode first season which aired in summer 2001. He wrote the fifth episode "An Open Book". He had an uncredited cameo role in the twelfth episode "A Private Life" as a psychiatrist. He wrote and directed the first season finale "Knock, Knock". He won the Director's Guild of America (DGA) Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Night for his work on the pilot episode. He won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the pilot. Ball and the producers were also nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding drama series for their work on the first season. Ball won a Gay and Lesbian Alliance Arts Division Media Award in 2002.

Six Feet Under was renewed for a second season and Ball returned as the show runner and an Executive Producer. He wrote the season premiere "In the Game" and the ninth episode "Someone Else's Eyes". He directed the season finale "The Last Time". Ball and the producers were agan nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding drama series for their work on the second season. They were also nominated for the Producer's Guild of America (PGA) Award for Television Producer of the Year in Episodic.

The show was again renewed and the third season aired in 2003. Ball remained the show runner and an Executive Producer. He continued to write and direct episodes. He wrote the season premiere "Perfect Circles" and co-wrote the fourth episode "Nobody Sleeps" with Rick Cleveland. He again directed the season finale, "I'm Sorry, I'm Lost". The producers won the the PGA Award for Television Producer of the Year in Episodic for the third season. Ball was nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Night for "I'm Sorry, I'm Lost".

The show was renewed for a fourth season which aired in 2004. Ball remained the show runner and an Executive Producer. He wrote the fourth episode "Can I Come Up Now?" and directed the season finale "Untitled". The fourth season producers were nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2005.

The show was renewed for a fifth and final season, which aired in 2005. Ball remained the show runner and an Executive Producer. He wrote and directed the series finale "Everyone's Waiting" and also made an uncredited voice acting cameo as a New Image Rep in the episode. He was nominated for the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for "Everyone's Waiting". He was also nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Night for the finale. The producers were nominated for the Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic. The writing staff were nominated for the WGA Award for Dramatic Series for the fourth season.

TowelheadEdit

In 2006 he wrote and directed the film Towelhead based on Alicia Erian's novel of the same name. The film is about the sexual awakening of an Arab American girl. The film premiered at the Toronto film festival on September 8, 2007. It received mixed reviews. He won the 2008 ShoWest Award for Groundbreaking Filmmaker of the Year.

True BloodEdit

In 2008 he created the series True Blood for HBO, basing it on the Southern Vampire book series by Charlaine Harris. He wrote and directed the series pilot "Strange Love". The show was ordered to series and he remained an Executive Producer and the show runner for the first season, which aired in 2008. He wrote the second episode "The First Taste" and the third episode "Mine". He directed the season finale "You'll Be the Death of Me". The writing staff were nominated for the WGA Award for New Series in 2009.

The show was renewed for a second season and Ball remained the show runner and an Executive Producer. He wrote the fourth episode "Shake and Fingerpop" and the eleventh episode "Frenzy". Ball and Gregg Fienberg shared the American Film Institute Television Award for Programme of the Year for the second season. The producers were nominated for the PGA Award for Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Drama and the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for the second season. Ball and Brian Buckner were also nominated for the BAFTA Television Award for Best International Series.

The show was renewed for a third season with Ball returning as the show runner and an Executive Producer. The third season aired in 2010. He wrote the sixth episode "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" and the season finale "Evil is Going On". The producers were nominated for the PGA Award for Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Drama for the third season.

In 2010 Ball began work on a television adaptation of the crime noir novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston, to be titled All Signs of Death. In December 2010, after several months of pre-production, HBO cancelled production on All Signs of Death.

True Blood was renewed for a twelve episode fourth season with Ball remaining the show runner and an Executive Producer. The fourth season aired in 2011. He wrote the eighth episode "Spellbound". He was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Screenplay for "Spellbound".

The show was again renewed. Ball announced that he would remain show runner for the fifth season but would then hand over the show to another producer. He will remain an Executive Producer for the duration of the series. The twelve episode fifth season aired in 2012. Ball wrote the sixth episode "Hopeless" and the season finale "Save Yourself".

Personal lifeEdit

Ball is gay and has been called "a strong voice for [the] LGBT community". In 2008 he made Out magazine's annual list of the 100 most impressive gay men and women. Alan Ball has, in numerous interviews, discussed his Buddhist faith and how it has influenced his film making. In an interview with Amazon.com Ball commented on the iconic scene in American Beauty with the plastic bag, stating, "I had an encounter with a plastic bag! And I didn't have a video camera, like Ricky does... There's a Buddhist notion of the miraculous within the mundane, and I think we certainly live in a culture that encourages us not to look for that." Ball has also discussed how his Buddhism has shaped themes in Six Feet Under and True Blood which he has substantially contributed to.

Ball keeps a collection of Macaw parrots, much to the ire of his neighbor Quentin Tarantino, who in March 2011 sued him under California civil code section 3479 over the "obnoxious pterodactyl-like screams" they make.

CreditsEdit

Executive ProducerEdit

Season one credits
Pilot The Rave Meet the New Boss Half Deaf Is Better Than All Dead The Kindred
Wicks Behold a Pale Rider We Shall Live Forever Always the Cowboy A Mixture of Madness
Season two credits
Little Fish The Thunder Man The Warrior Class Bloodlines The Truth About Unicorns
Firekeeper Ways to Bury a Man Evil for Evil Homecoming Bullets and Tears
Season three credits
The Fire Trials Snakes and Whatnot A Fixer of Sorts Real Life Is the Nightmare Tribal
We Were All Someone Else Yesterday You Can’t Hide From the Dead All the Wisdom I Got Left Even God Doesn’t Know What to Make of You We All Pay Eventually

External linksEdit

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