Alan Ball graduated from Florida State University in 1980 with a degree in theater arts. After college, he worked as a playwright for the General Nonsense Theater Company in Sarasota. In 2000, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for <citetitle>American Beauty</citetitle>. He followed up his <citetitle>American Beauty</citetitle> success by creating and producing the award-winning TV shows, <citetitle>Six Feet Under</citetitle> and <citetitle>True Blood</citetitle>, both for HBO. Ball is openly gay and often features gay characters in his work, such as <citetitle>Six Feet Under</citetitle>âs David Fisher. In 2008, he was named one of <citetitle>Out </citetitle>magazineâs 100 most impressive gay men and women. Fun fact: Ball collects Macaw parrots. In 2011, Quentin Tarantino, his neighbor, made headlines when he sued Ball because of the "obnoxious pterodactyl-like screams" the parrots make.