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Steven Soderbergh on Tackling TV and the Artistic Temperament

The writer/director of 'The Knick' gives his advice for making it in the biz.

Last year, Steven Soderbergh famously claimed to be retiring from movies after helming Behind the Candelabra. In reality, the writer/director has stayed busy with theater, art, a new liquor launch and, now, a new TV show called The Knick.

Says Soderbergh to Esquire about transitioning to television, “I’ve never been a snob. It’s just about stories. And I’ve never felt just because it’s a big screen and you plop down your eight bucks that gives it a special meaning. It’s just ‘Are you good at telling a story?'”

The Oscar-winning director also speaks frankly of the artistic temperament and what it takes to really make it in the business. “Whenever I go and talk to aspiring filmmakers, I go, ‘Look, at the end of the day, I can talk about craft, whether you have a soul of an artist, I don’t know.’ Your take on things is what is either going to make you somebody we talk about or no,” he says. “You have to have a take on s***. It’s got to be specific and engaging. We’re all standing on the shoulders of what other people have done. But you’re supposed to take that and add your own sauce. It can be intimidating, believe me. When I look at amazing work that’s been done, I don’t look at… Persona or Hard Day’s Night and think, ‘Oh, I can do better than that.’ I just look at that and say, ‘That’s f***ing amazing,’ and say, ‘What about me can make it slightly different?’ So it’s not just a Xerox. Everybody steals, that’s a given. If you steal a coat, what are the buttons you’re going to put on it? Ego is something that everybody, creative especially, has to grapple with. You need enough ego to keep going but not so much ego that you’re deaf or blind, that you’re making a mistake and can’t fix the course.”

Read the full story here.