“This is a business that’s based on rejection and the anticipation of rejection. It’s tough. You have to be like one of those mechanical toys that, when you knock it down, it pops back up again.”
95-year old Oscar-nominated screenwriter Walter Bernstein (The Front)
Variety article by Scott Foundas (@foundasonfilm)
H/T Christopher Lockhart, The Inside Pitch Facebook group
Screenwriting Quote #141 (Melissa Rosenburg) “Don’t give up. You’re going to get kicked in the teeth. A lot. Learn to take a hit, then pick yourself up off the floor. Resilience is the true key to success.”—Rosenburg
Jailbait, Rejection& Screenwriter Mark Boal “You have to be willing to get your teeth kicked in continually before you achieve even a modicum of success. And once you achieve that you have to be willing to put up with a bunch of rejection before you can get anywhere.”—Boal
Perseverance (Werner Herzog) “Perseverance has kept me going over the years. Things rarely happen overnight. Filmmakers should be prepared for many years of hard work.”—Herzog
Scott W. Smith
Posted in Screenwriting Biz | Tagged film business, rejection, Scott Foundas, screenwriting, The Front, Variety, Walter Bernstein | Leave a Comment »
“Perseverance has kept me going over the years. Things rarely happen overnight. Filmmakers should be prepared for many years of hard work. The sheer toil can be healthy and exhilarating. Although for many years I lived hand to mouth — sometimes in semi-poverty — I have lived like a rich man ever since I started making films. Throughout my life I have been able to do what I truly love, which is more valuable than any cash you could throw at me. At a time when friends were establishing themselves by getting university degrees, going into business, building careers and buying houses, I was making films, investing everything back into my work. Money lost, film gained.”
Filmmaker Werner Herzog (who was a welder in a steel mill before making films)
Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed
Conversations with Paul Cronin
via Maria Popova at Brain Pickings
P.S. If you want to see perseverance in action watch Fitzcarraldo (1982) written, directed and co-produced by Herzog. Then follow that viewing with the Les Blank documentary Burden of Dreams on the making of Fitzcarraldo.
Filmmaker Les Blank (1935-2013)
Orson Welles at USC in 1981 (Part 3) “Anybody who goes into film has to be a little crazy. And has to be ready for every kind of disappointment and defeat.”—Welles
Bob DeRosa’s “Shortcuts” — “There are no shortcuts. There is only hard work. Perseverance….”—DeRosa
Iowa Kutcher on Jobs/Work “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”—Steve Jobs
Scott W. Smith
Posted in filmmaking | Tagged Brain Pickings, filmmaking, Fitzcarraldo, Les Blank, Maria Popova, Paul Cronin, perseverance, Werner Herzog, Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed Conversations with Paul Cronin | 3 Comments »
“Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is in this: to step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of orange trees; to walk under the arched canopy of their jadelike leaves; to see the long aisles of lichened trunks stretch ahead in a geometric rhythm; to feel the mystery of a seclusion that yet has shafts of light striking through it. This is the essence of an ancient and secret magic. It goes back, perhaps, to the fairy tales of childhood, to Hansel and Gretel, to Babes in the Wood, to Alice in Wonderland, to all half-luminous places that pleased the imagination as a child. It may go back still farther, to racial Druid memories, to an atavistic sense of safety and delight in an open forest. And after long years of spiritual homelessness, of nostalgia, here is that mystic loveliness of childhood again. Here is home. An old thread, long tangled, comes straight again.”
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek
Posted in screenwriting | Tagged Cross Creek, Enchantment, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings | Leave a Comment »
“It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its sesonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters.”
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek
Since my last post had a shout-out to Lake Howell High School I thought it fitting to show Lake Howell the lake. The lake actually sits just 100 yards off one of the busiest roads in Central Florida (State Road 436). In fact, if you cross eight lanes of traffic from where this picture was taken you’ll be at the parking lot of a Super Wall Mart.
But as you watch a sunrise though the Spanish moss hanging on the trees, the Wall Mart seems not only 100 miles away, but 100 years away. A remnant of old Florida that was captured so well in the The Yearling, the 1939 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. In 1939 the book was actually the best selling novel in the United States.
The 1946 film version of The Yearling won two Oscars (Cinematography and Art Direction) and a Best Motion Picture Actor Golden Globe for Gregory Peck.
“Every man wants life to be a fine thing, and easy. And it tis fine, son, powerful fine— but t’aint easy.”
Penny Baxter (Gregory Peck) in The Yearling
But the movie I prefer more based on Rawlings’ work is Cross Creek (1983) starring Mary Steenburgen, Rip Torn, Peter Coyote , directed by Martin Ritt, and screenplay by Dalene Young.
“In the late 1920s, it took a lot of guts for a woman to pack up her typewriter and move off to the wilds of Florida like that. This is the story of a woman finding herself.”
Director Martin Ritt on Rawlings
P.S. The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home in Florida is now part of the Florida State Parks system and can be toured at various times of the year. Though Rawlings is connected to Florida through he life and writings in the state, she was born in Washington, D.C., received an English degree from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, worked as a reporter in Louisville, Kentucky and was living in New York when she received an inheritance from her mother and decided to move to rural Florida.Later she would move to Crescent Beach, Florida and died in nearby St. Augustine in 1953.
Scott W. Smith
Posted in Post Cards on the Road | Tagged Cross Creek, Florida, Gregory Peck, Lake Howell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Mary Steenburgen, Rip Torn, The Yearling | Leave a Comment »
” I wanted to minimize the locations and there are really only four locations in the movie so we designed the production to allow us to go from one location to the next.”
Writer/director Jamie Linden (10 Years)
Variety article by Stuart Oldham
There’s nothing quite like high school friends.
Yesterday I missed writing a post on a weekday for the first time in a long time. But it was just one of those crazy 15 hour shooting days. I’m working on a video version of the Mike and the Mechanics song The Living Years that will be used in symphony concert settings. The budget’s tight so I had to reach out to some friends for some assistance with props and people.
The video is an arc of life concept shot in silhouettes and I needed a bride and groom and just put it out there on Facebook and a friend from high school said his nephew got married earlier this year and thought they’d be game to help. So Chris and Danielle were kind enough to drop by yesterday and allow me to shoot the above shot. (The finished shot will be more stylized, but I do like the simplicity of this shot.)
Turns out that Chris went to the same high school I did (many years after, of course) and two of his classmates just happened to be actor Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) and screenwriter Jamie Linden (We Are Marshall). Small world, huh? A few years ago Linden and Porter returned to Florida for their 10-year reunion of Lake Howell High School.
“I went to [my high school reunion] with my friend, Scott Porter, who is an actor. We grew up in Orlando, Florida, as far away from this business as you could be. I have a couple other friends who live here in L.A. that went to high school with us, and we went back as a group ‘cause we don’t get a lot of chances to go home and definitely not together, so it was an excuse. And I don’t think I was disappointed by it, but just was underwhelmed by it all. But, I found it interesting, just purely on a sociological and anthropological level.”
Writer/director of 10 Years
Collider article by Christina Radish
That experience was the beginning of Linden writing and directing the feature 10 Years. If you didn’t see (or even hear of) the 2011 film that’s because it was a small indie film. But the ensemble cast included Channing Tatum (who both Porter and Linden worked with on Dear John), Rosario Dawson and Chris Pratt.
Two days ago Variety reported that Linden, “will write the screenplay of Lionsgate’s franchise starter Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go.” George Clooney and Jodie Foster are set to co-star and Robert Zemeckis attached to direct. Porter plays George Tucker on the TV program Hart of Dixie. Linden and Porter are kind of the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck of Orlando.
And speaking of Lake Howell High School, last week I dropped off two boxes of my screenwriting and filmmaking books at the school in hopes that they would inspire the next crop of Scott Porter’s and Jamie Linden’s. Go Silver Hawks.
P.S. Yesterday’s shoot was the first time I’ve done a 4K shoot. Used the little Lumex GH4 which for the price may end up being the hottest camera to come along since the Canon 5D. Here’s Philip Bloom’s review of the camera.
Remembering the Friday Night Lights
The 10 Film Commandments of Edward Burns Low-budget indie film tips
Screenwriting from High School (Back in 2008 I went back to my old high school to give a talk.)
Scott W. Smith
Posted in screenwriting | Tagged 10 Years, Channing Tatum, Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go, Jamie Linden, Lake Howell High School, Lumex GH4, Mike and the Mechanics, Philip Bloom, Scott Porter, screenwriting, The Living Years | Leave a Comment »
“There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three — storyteller, teacher, enchanter — but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer.“
Russian American Novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)
From Brain Picking article by Maria Popova
P.S. In the athletic world some unusually talented people have what’s known as an extra gear. (Probably true of any field, but I remember back in the day watching Deion Sanders returning punts and it’s easier to see that extra gear kick in when it happens in real time on national television. For Nabokov that extra gear for the writer is being the enchanter. Do you think Vladimir Nabokov and Deion Sanders have ever been mentioned in the same article ever before? By the way, I’ve worked with Deion and he’s not only a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer but also a storyteller, teacher and enchanter.
Related post: Postcard #28 (Prime Time)
Scott W. Smith
Posted in Writing Quotes | Tagged Brian Pickings, Deion Sanders, Maria Popova, Vladimir Nabokov | Leave a Comment »
“Plays are about conflict. Plays are about people not getting along.”
“Behavior interests me more than anything. I think in any play that I’ve ever written the people all have options to behave in another way; they don’t, and that’s what makes it so funny and so poignant. It’s generally people who get themselves in all of the problems…Generally in a lot of my plays, two people are in major confrontation with each other, like in The Odd Couple or Barefoot in the Park or The Sunshine Boys.”
The Playwright’s Art
In that same interview with Simon he also said, “Generally speaking, when a play opens, 95 percent of what’s up there is what I have approved of. With a film, I’m at mercy of the director, and what comes out on the screen is about 10 percent of what I approved of.” Not sure how much he approved of in The Sunshine Boys (1975), but George Burns did win a Best Actor in a Supporting Role as part of a vaudeville duo who can’t stand his partner.
P.S. The Odd Couple was not only a Broadway play, a movie in 1968, a popular TV show in the 70s, but has been remade into several other plays and TV shows including the female and the African-American versions. In 2015, yet another version hits TV.
Screenwriting the Pixar Way (Part 2) —A character comes to a fork in the road and a choice must be made. Take the high road (the healthy responsible choice) or the low road (unhealthy, irresponsible choice). If the character chooses the right thing you really don’t have a story.
Everything I Learned In Film School (Tip #1)
Neil Simon on Conflict
Scott W. Smith
Posted in screenwriting | Tagged Barefoot in the Park, Neil Simon, screenwriting, The Odd Couple, The Playwright's Art, The Sunshine Boys, writing | Leave a Comment »