Truth and fear

The husband and I recently watched the first season of the excellent BBC show The Hour. There’s an exchange in one of the early episodes that’s stuck with me, so I thought it worth sharing.

The set-up: A reporter and a presenter for a fledgling news program are meeting with a foreign diplomat on the other side of a major political conflict, hoping to convince him to be interviewed on the show. The presenter, as is his style, tries to reassure and charm the diplomat. The reporter, as is his style, cuts right to the chase with the sort of pointed remarks they all know the British public is wondering. The presenter tries to quiet him, but the diplomat ultimately agrees to come on the show because of the reporter’s honesty.

Afterward, the presenter says to the reporter, “How do you know exactly the right question to ask?”

The reporter replies, “Because I’m not afraid of the answers.”

And isn’t that the essence of getting at the truth (not facts, but truth, which every good work of fiction has) in all art forms? To write a powerful story, one that grabs people and doesn’t let them go, you need the courage to ask the right questions and hear out the answers.

Something I hope to remember as long as I’m in this business.

Are there any quotes relating to the creative process that have stuck with you lately?


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