Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Since this is the last day of spring 2014, I thought I’d do a little spring cleaning and doing something I don’t often do–write two posts in one day. (There may even be a third one later.) But in light of yesterday’s post (Susannah Grant on Failure) by the screenwriter of Erin Brockovich, I thought I’d sneak in this quote I read in last Sunday’s NY Times that was part of a graduation speech at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Failure is going to be a part of the process. You’re all here because you’re good at not failing, right? This is the culmination of doing a great job at not failing. There are no G.P.A.s after this. There’s going to be lots of setbacks. There’s going to be lots of failures. No one introduces me as the founder of My Mobile Menu, also known as Mmm, because that was the company we started before Reddit, Steve [Huffman] and I started that, and for a year and a half worked on something that went nowhere. But that’s O.K. Failure is an option.”
Alexis Ohanian
The 31-year-old co-founder of Reddit (one of the 50 biggest websites in the United States)
New York Times
Sunday June 15, 2014

P.S. Just to tie in a great filmmaker born in Kenosha, WI—who knew both success and failure in his career —read the post Screenwriting Quote #38 (Orson Welles).

Related post:
The Shakespeare of Hollywood spent part of his childhood not far from Kenosha in Racine, WI.
J.K. Rowling on the Benefits of Failure

Scott W. Smith

 

Read Full Post »

Personal projects are a must for many reasons. Chiefly, they showcase your interests and give the client a better sense of your own personal interests. I am into relationship building with creatives, and understanding what drives and motivates them is important.  In a perfect scenario, I might see someone’s personal work that could tie in nicely with a show or upcoming series on the Channel – knowing their passion helps me understand them as an artist and as just a person.  Personal projects are also entirely YOURS – it says a lot about your own personal aesthetic, and your creative sensibilities… And the last thing I’ll say about personal projects: You’re reading one right now!  This blog is entirely a personal project for me. It’s gotten a little bit of attention which is nice, but most importantly it has been a lot of fun, and something that I do for my own creative happiness. And that’s hugely important for all creatives, to have a place that is theirs to own and control and create.”
Andy Baker, SVP/Group Creative Director at the National Geographic Channels
The Client Blog

Like Baker’s blog, this blog is a personal project I’ve been cranking away on since January 2008—over 1,800 posts. Hopefully there’s been at least one or two posts tucked in there that have helped give some traction to your own personal projects.  (And in the screenwriting world I think spec scripts qualify as personal projects.) May your creativity flourish.

P.S. As a follow-up to another personal project I produced a few months ago, Tinker Field: A Love Letterit not only connected me with various people and groups but was featured in the Orlando Sentinel article by Mark Schlueb— Filmmaker produces video tribute to Tinker Field.

Related Posts:
Personal Projects (Part 1)
Personal Projects (Part 2)
Personal Projects (Part 3)
Personal Projects (Part 4)
Personal Projects (Part 5)
Personal Projects (Part 6)

Scott W. Smith

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 “I knew I didn’t want to make it like a normal narrative film where it’s all about story.  I wanted it to be more like a meditation.”
Pawel Pawlikowski
Collier interview by Shelia Roberts

ida_poster-620x353

“The real inspiration for how [Ida] looks was my impatience with cinema, where the vein of cinema is going. I wanted to make an anti-cinema film where there are no pointless camera moves, no pointless close-ups. I’m not emotionally excited by the power of cinema’s tricks anymore. Maybe it’s my personal midlife crisis. I’d love to see something that was calm and meditative, where you suggest more than show, where each kind of shot has some kind of density and tension, not just in the drama and the acting, but in the visuals, and where acting and image and sound are all part of the same thing. When I watch most films, with some exception, I always ask myself: ‘Why is the camera moving? Why is there a close-up now? Why does this have to be handheld now?’ It was a way of purifying, getting rid of habits, and doing something really simply. Looking at a picture, contemplating it, while not really reading the emotional charge. But staying away from the kind of cinema rhetoric that I’m finding myself more and more impatient with. Maybe it’s my last film, like a farewell to my career—although I don’t have much of a career.”
Pawel Pawlikowski (Director/co-writer Ida)
Interview in Film Comment by Violet Lucca

Just about a year ago, in my post State of Cinema’, I quoted filmmaker Steven Soderbergh from his talk at the 2013 San Francisco International Film Festival where he said, “Whenever I despair I think, OK, somebody out there somewhere, while we’re sitting right here, somebody out there somewhere is making something cool that we’re going to love, and that keeps me going.”

As those words were spoken, Pawlikowski was somewhere in Poland working on Ida. I don’t know if Pawlikowski ever watched Soderbergh’s talk, or if Soderbergh has seen Ida—but I’d like to think that at some point those two will be sitting together in a cafe in Warsaw, or a bar in Baton Rouge, talking about cinema.

“I never made films like kind of career moves, like making this film in order to make that film in order to end up in Hollywood. “
Pawel Pawlikowski

Ironically, Pawlikowski is now scheduled to direct Godzilla vs. Spider-Man. Kidding.

P.S. I know a little more about anti-heroes and anti-piracy than anti-cinema, but a quick Internet search connected a short list of filmmakers some associate with anti-cinema; Yasujirō Ozu, Andy Warhol, Lars von Trier, and Carl Dreyer.

One film that resonates with Ida is Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). A film where Roger Ebert said, “To see Renee Maria Falconetti…is to too look into eyes that will never leave you,” and Pauline Kael said, “Perhaps the finest performance ever recorded on film.”

Scott W. Smith

 

 

Read Full Post »

You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Maya Angelou, poem Still I Rise

It’s like the boy who cried wolf—all those over-the-top Facebook titles that are meant to entice us. Daring us click and watch the video. “What this woman did at this end of this video will make your jaw drop and your entrails spill out.” But the below video of Heather Dorniden  really is exceptional, and is a great lesson on what to do  after you fall on your face.

File this one under “Who does that?”

“All great victories, be they in politics, business, art, or seduction, involved resolving vexing problems with potent cocktail of creativity, focus, and daring. When you have a goal, obstacles are actually teaching you how to get where you want to go—carving a path. ‘The Things which hurt,’ Benjamin Franklin wrote, ‘instruct.'”
Ryan Holiday
The Obstacle is the Way

Related Posts:
Earn Your Ending (Tip #76)
“Returning to Zero—Robert Redford “I was a failure at everything I tried.”—Redford
Arron Sorkin on Failure
‘The Lord of the Rings’—Failure
Spectacular Failures
Iowa Kutcher on Jobs/Work
J.K. Rowlings on the Benefits of Failure

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I write for myself and that reader who will pay the dues. There’s a phrase in West Africa, in Ghana; it’s called ‘deep talk.’ For instance, there’s a saying: ‘The trouble for the thief is not how to steal the chief’s bugle but where to blow it.’ Now, on the face of it, one understands that. But when you really think about it, it takes you deeper. In West Africa they call that ‘deep talk.’ I’d like to think I write ‘deep talk.’ When you read me, you should be able to say, Gosh, that’s pretty. That’s lovely. That’s nice. Maybe there’s something else? Better read it again. Years ago I read a man named Machado de Assis who wrote a book called Dom Casmurro. Machado de Assis is a South American writer—black father, Portuguese mother—writing in 1865, say. I thought the book was very nice. Then I went back and read the book and said, Hmm. I didn’t realize all that was in that book. Then I read it again, and again, and I came to the conclusion that what Machado de Assis had done for me was almost a trick: he had beckoned me onto the beach to watch a sunset. And I had watched the sunset with pleasure. When I turned around to come back in I found that the tide had come in over my head. That’s when I decided to write. I would write so that the reader says, That’s so nice. Oh boy, that’s pretty. Let me read that again. I think that’s why Caged Bird is in its twenty-first printing in hardcover and its twenty-ninth in paper.
Maya Angelou
the Paris Review interview with George Plimpton

Read Full Post »

Leave It to Beaver is probably the most classic TV show ever. There’s just something so wholesome about it.”
Kurt Cobain interview with Kurt Saint Thomas

Who knows how long this will last
Now we’ve come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us
The End of the Innocence 
Written by Don Henley and Bruce Hornsby

I always enjoy hearing from people who’ve been to the top of the mountain. Their experiences and stories help give one perspective on life.  Just a few months before Rod Serling died he was asked, “If you could live in another time, another era, what period would that be?”

“That’s a good one. Well, if I had the means, I think I would like to be in Victorian times. Small town. Bandstands. Summer. That kind of thing. Without disease.  I think that’s what I would crave, a simpler form of existence. When you walked to a store and sat on the front porch.”
Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Final Interview

Related posts:

Rod Serling’s Binghamton Roots
Movies from Main Street

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

No movie related golf link today—but a compelling golf related story via ESPN’s E:60:

Challenged Athletes Foundation: It is the mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) to provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.

Related: In four days there will be a St. Andrews Tournament at The American Veterans Golf Course in Lakewood, Washington. According to the website for Friends of American Lake Veterans:

The American Lake Veterans Golf Course is proud to sponsor this event to help send four combat wounded golfers to Scotland for six rounds of golf on some Scottish Links to include the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland.  We solicit your participation and/or support to make this an enjoyable event for some of our own.

 

Related posts:

Screenwriting from a Wheelchair
Screenwriitng from Hell

Scott W. Smith

 

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: