David Milch And Nick Pizzolatto Worked Together On ‘True Detective’ Season 3 And The ‘Deadwood’ Movie


“Peak TV” could be due for a reboot in 2019 when True Detective season 3 (lovingly known online as #truedetectiveseason3) debuts on HBO. Then sometime down the road we will get Deadwood, but in movie form. Those two properties previously had nothing to do with each other, beyond a parent network, but from here on out, they will share DNA.

According to IndieWire, Deadwood’s David Milch and True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto collaborated on both of their upcoming projects. Milch and Pizzolatto got together to work on the Deadwood film script around the time that Pizzolatto was trying to figure out True Detective season 3. Milch will be credited as a co-writer on the fourth episodes of the upcoming season of True Detective.
He also apparently helped Pizzolatto “craft a good chunk of the season,” but his influence on Pizzolatto goes way beyond words.

“He turned me on to writing out loud, which I’d never done before, and I ended up writing most of the second half of the season out loud, which was a much more spiritually healthy thing to do than be alone in a room with a blank page,” Pizzolatto said. “I knew he was going to have to go back and do ‘Deadwood’ and get that on its feet again, but I was just glad we had that time together. It’s something I’m going to remember and take with me for the rest of my life.

What exactly is, “writing out loud,” you might be asking yourself. Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like: dictating.

Here’s Steven Bochco’s description of the method in a 2006 Variety article titled, “Got Milch?“:

He continues to battle with obsessive/compulsive behavior, using a unique writing system and style that both deals with it and takes advantage of it. Mostly, he stays away from the computer keyboard, dictating to an audience of writers and interns — sometimes up to 15 of them in a room, according to Tinker — while laying on his back to relieve chronic back pain.

“I call it ‘the art of performance writing,’” Bochco explains. “He reads to a group of young writing students, who sit and watch him write. And because he’s doing it out loud, he can editorialize as he goes,” a method Milch has practiced since “NYPD Blue.” “There’s a difference between the internal writing process, which is the way most of us write, and externalizing everything that you write as you’re writing. David doesn’t write — he says.”

Anyone who writes for a living can tell you that sounds awesome. Unfortunately, only very successful people get to practice such a spiritually healthy writing style. Until you write a hit TV series or two, you write quietly, without an audience. However you write, the thought that these two great showrunners helped each other should be a great sign for the upcoming projects.