Nic Pizzolatto is the writer and creator of the HBO crime drama series True Detective based down South in Louisiana. Alexander Slotnick’s piece in The Last Magazine, titled with the name of the showrunner-auteur himself, showcases to the prospective audience why the brand Pizzolatto of the new, around-the-corner show will be superior. “For him, the art of telling stories is a personal affair,” Slotnick writes. Pizzolatto is the auteur, because the idea for True Detective came to him in the shape of a thick novel. Moreover, he has already tasted success as an author, which lends credibility to the originality of creative vision and legitimacy to the television he is set to produce.
Newman and Levine state that, “authorship functions as a branding to attract a desirable upscale audience to programming constructed as authentically artistic” (42). Pizzolatto, who has written a successful debut novel, comes across precisely as an artist who cares about his personal craft. Slotnick elaborates upon Pizzolatto’s professorial track, his writing and a variety of awards he has received for it including the French Academy’s award for Best First Novel, Foreign. For a first time showrunner, his accolades serve as a “guarantee of his art”.
The fact that Pizzolatto has proved himself as a novelist, sets up his television production as high art and ‘quality television’. “Television,” he tells Slotnick, “is the writer’s medium.” Slotnick highlights Pizzolatto’s locally grounded but globally inspired storytelling by elaborating on his ‘cosmopolitan’ taste in literature, in which his personal favorites range from classic Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Fyodor Dostoevsky, as well as his familiarity and expertise in the Southern literary canon. As Newman and Levine say, “You are what you like: ‘taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier” (7). Pizzolatto’s combination of appreciating and enjoying ‘formidable,’ classic literature from home as well as around the world marks his aesthetic preferences as one of superior quality and lends legitimacy to his forthcoming show.
Auterism differs from impersonal industrial culture production in that it suggests the personal and deliberately crafted expressions of an individual who is not limited by commercial constraits (Newman and Levine 48). This trope is realized in the article when Slotnick suggests that the idea of the show’s setting in the South comes straight from Pizzolatto’s childhood and upbringing in the deep South and thus makes it abundantly clear to the readers that this auteur’s work will be a product of personal experience. On his formative years in the South, Pizzolatto said, “They are my most intense memories. They metaphysically haunt me” (Slotnick). He goes on to discuss his remembrances of the South, which suggests a sense of personal stake and authenticity of Pizzolatto’s show. According to Newman and Levine, the connections between experience and expression guarantee the artistry of individualized production (49). Indeed, Slotnick illustrates this promise when he says, “His noir will disarm you, then sweep you off your feet. And it will always bring you home – to Pizzolatto’s home, at least, the South”. There is a clear sense from the article that Nic Pizzolatto holds the promise of a visionary, a man who wants to make his stories a visual reality through collaboration. His unique vision and personality in story-telling seem to have the auteuristic elements for becoming a brand.
Slotnick, Alexander. “Nic Pizzolatto.” The Last Magazine. N.p., 8 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fthelast-magazine.com%2Ftlm09-nic-pizzolatto%2F>.