“There is no way I’d be doing what I do now if it wasn’t for The Beatles. I was watching the Ed Sullivan show and I saw them. Those skinny little boys, kind of androgynous, with long hair like girls. It blew me away that these four boys in the middle of nowhere could make that music.”
Gene Simmons of KISS
Gene Simmons Talks Liverpool, The Beatles
Just after 3AM this morning I arrived back home in Florida after a road trip that lasted 22 days and covered 4099 miles. I worked on a variety of projects performing a variety of roles (producing, directing, shooting–stills and video–and editing).
Worked on everything from a long form multimedia symphony project that was performed live, to a one minute corporate web video. In fact as my trip came to a close I thought of the eclectic week I had just this week. Over the weekend I shot a reality auction TV show that I will also be editing. On Sunday, while at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott I saw a travel infomercial I shot and edited in Central Florida last month airing on TV.
On Monday a short film I was DP on years ago had a screening in Decorah, Iowa. On Monday a four camera production I produced, shot, and edited in Orlando launched online Monday. A commercial I edited Monday will air regionally in the Midwest next week. Another video I shot and edited (partly in a Starbucks in Atlanta yesterday) will be apart of an award show at the end of the month. And a feature film shot in Iowa last year will its a debut tonight. I shot some footage for extras part of the DVD that I’m told they are selling tonight at the screening. And I supplied some rental production equipment to a documentary that will be shown in Algeria.
All that to say, if your desire is to work in feature films or TV and you’re not doing so there are 1,000s of other opportunities out there for you to gain valuable production experience—and to make money to pay your bills. And you get the bonus to meet and work with plenty of production people who have like-minded goals that you do. (Go back and read the ’09 post Beatles, Cody, King and 10,000 Hours.)
And if you’re a writer you also get tons of material to file away in your idea bank. Here’s one example I picked up over the weekend. At the auction in Des Moines was a 11 or 12-year-old boy who had traveled from California with his father to bid on some antique billiard racks. (They won the main rack they wanted with a bid of more than $10,000.) Bu the auction also had some rock-n-roll memorabilia—including a KISS Pinball machine, a Bo Diddley outfit, and the Beatles Butcher album–so when I interviewed the 11/12-year-old I asked him if he knew who the Beatles were and he said he did.
Then I asked him if he could name them. He jumped right in with “John, Paul, George and…” then there was a paused, he thought for a few seconds and said, “Rambo.” I bet even Ringo Starr would laugh at being excluded from the fab four. It was a fresh line and I’m not sure I’ll never think of the Beatles again without thinking of John, Paul, George and Rambo. (Perhaps I can start a rumor that Rambo was the sixth Beatle. Pete Best, of course, being the fifth Beatle.)
Speaking of the Beatles I did miss an opportunity to hear Paul McCarney’s son James McCartney and his band who were playing in Des Moines at Vaudeville Mews last Saturday night just a few blocks from my hotel. And speaking of KISS that Pinball machine I pictured with above went for $2,300. Made me think of their song Beth which was a favorite of mine back in the day. Looked it up on You Tube and found this unusual version performed with a small symphony in Melbourne, Australia—with orchestra members wearing KISS painted faces. (Like that Rambo line, I’m not making this stuff up.)
From Pat Conroy to KISS is one day—that’s how we roll here at Screenwriting from Iowa…and Other Unlikely Places.