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Archive for the ‘Off Screen Quotes’ Category

“[Death of a Salesman] really seeps into why we’re here. What are we doing, family, work, friends, hopes, dreams, careers, what’s happiness, what’s success, what does it mean, is it important, how do you get it? It really does seep into all those areas. “
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)
2012 NPR interview about his Broadway role playing Willy Loman 

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There are many layers to Jackie Robinson’s life story, but here’s a quote from him that at first doesn’t seem inspirational but I think fits this blog well:

“In those days [1941] no major football or basketball clubs hired black players. The only job offered me [after a great athletic career at UCLA] was with the Honolulu Bears, and when I reported there I got a job with a construction company headquartered near Pearl Harbor. I worked for them during the week and played football on Sundays with my first pro team, the Bears. They were not major league, but they were integrated. The football season ended in November and I wanted to get back to California. I arranged for ship passage and left Honolulu on December 5, 1941, two days before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.”
Jackie Robinson
I Never Had it Made 

Before Jackie Robinson went on to greatness, he is a fine example of somebody who did what he could, with what he had, where he was.

Related Posts: The First Black Feature Filmmaker
“One of the greatest tasks of my life has been to teach that the colored man can be anything,”
Filmmaker Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951)

Scott W. Smith 

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“When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.”
Steve Jobs (Former CEO of Apple)
Wired magazine (1996)
Steve Jobs: The Next Insanely Great Thing
 by Gary Wolf

Kickstarter campaign update: Only four days to go for you to help Screenwriting from Iowa…and Other UnlikelyPlacesbecome a book.

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“She was known and loved universally as Gertrude Stein, born at Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in 1874, now rests in the cemetery of Pere Lachaise at Paris, along with Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Daumier, Beaumachais, Delacroix, Brillat-Savarin, and countless other writers, painters, and musicians.”
Bruce Kellner
Baby Woojums in Iowa 

Watching Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and Kathy Bates’ performance of Gertrude Stein reminded me of a Stein quote that I have been familiar with ever since I moved to Iowa in 2003, but had never found a place to drop it in. So it’s now or never.

“You are brilliant and subtle if you come from Iowa and really strange and you live as you live and you are always well taken care of if you come from Iowa.”
Gertrude Stein
Everybody’s Autobiography (1937)

Gertrude Stein never actually stepped foot in Iowa. She had plan to give a lecture in Iowa City, but was prevented because of a snow storm. But undoubtedly she had met Iowans in her circle of writers and artists. Perhaps her quote was simply a reference to writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten who was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and who met Stein in Paris in 1913.

Scott W. Smith


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In light of the Dallas Mavericks winner there first NBA title last night I thought it would be fitting to find a quote from the teams controversal ower Mark Cuban—the Ted Turner of his day. As an entrepreneur who sold his Internet company vBroadcast.com years ago in a deal worth $5.7 billion, Cuban has a history of going against the grain and winning. Last night’s victory was the first NBA title for Mavericks in franchise history. On the film & TV side of things I can’t even keep up with all that Cuban in involved in, but here is an overview; In 2001 he launched HDNet, he’s part-owner in Landmark Theatres, and his IMDB credits are more than 20 films deep including the George Clooney directed Good Night, and Good Luck, the documentary Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room, and Steven Soderbergh’s indie film Bubble. 

If you’re looking where everybody else is looking, you’re looking in the wrong spot…Wherever I see people doing something the way it’s always been done, the way it’s ‘supposed’ to be done, following the same old trends, well, that’s just a big red flag to me to go look somewhere else.”
Mark Cuban
What I’ve Learned from Mark Cuban by Mike Sager
Esquire

If you’ve ever seen the Magnolia Pictures logo come onscreen of a movie you’re watching—well, Cuban has a piece of that as well. On camera he was a part of Dancing with the Stars in 2007, and has appeared on HBO’s Entourage. Cuban’s home base is in Dallas, Texas and if he ever said he bought the Hollywood sign and was moving it to the Big D he probably wouldn’t be joking. Remember Ted Turner was laughed at back in the 1980 when he launched CNN saying that no one was going to watch a channel that featured news all the time.

Now that he has a nice addition to his trophy case, that won’t be the last you hear of Mark Cuban.

Scott W. Smith 

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Here is one more quote to add to the stack about growing up in a place somewhat disconnected. In a 1966 interview Bob Dylan spoke about growing up in Hibbing, Minnesota* (located in northern Minnesota).

“Well, in the winter, everything was still, nothing moved. Eight months of that. You can put it together. You can have some amazing hallucinogenic experiences doing nothing but looking out your window. There is also the summer, when it gets hot and sticky and the air is very metallic. There is a lot of Indian spirit. The earth there is unusual, filled with ore. So there is something happening that is hard to define. There is a magnetic attraction there. Maybe thousands and thousands of years ago, some planet bumped into the land there. There is a great spiritual quality throughout the Midwest. Very subtle, very strong, and that is where I grew up.”
Bob Dylan
1966 Interview with Ron Rosenbaum

*Though Hibbing is a small town in the range of 20,000 people it also happens to be “where ‘Carl’ Wickman and Andrew ‘Bus Andy’ Anderson, started a bus line between Hibbing and Alice, Minnesota which would eventually become Greyhound Lines, the world’s largest bus company.” It’s where New York Yankee Roger Maris, who once had the Major League Baseball single season home run record, was born. And Hibbing is where the parents of Hall-of-Fame vineyard operator Robert Mondavi’s parents settled when they emigrated from Italy.

Scott W. Smith

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“Everything I do I just assume I’m going to fail. All seems impossible but I’m very scared of failure –you know, everyone is –and that sence of the impossibility gets me to crank up the turbines. Everything mentally and physically at my disposal I pour into a project.”
Sebastian Junger (Author of The Perfect Storm and War)
Outside mag Sept 2010
Article: The path of most resistance
Page 74

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On Friday night, I happened to catch my first game at Target Field where the Minneapolis Twins play. (That’s baseball for the non-sports fans out there.) That happened to be the night that the Twins organization was honoring 50 of its greatest all-time players. One of those players was the great second baseman Rod Carew.

Ever since that game I’ve been thinking about Carew. When I played little league ball and in high school Carew was a hero of mine. He was an all-star second baseman, who hit singles and stole bases quite well. (A pattern I tried my best to repeat.) He is one of only 27 MLB players who has had over 3,000 career hits and he was voted into the baseball hall of fame in 1991.

According to the official Rod Carew website: “Rodney Cline Carew was born on a train in Gatun, Panama on October 1, 1945. He moved with his family to New York when he was fourteen years old, and signed with the Minnesota Twins on the day he graduated from high school.”

One vivid memory I have of watching Carew take spring training batting practice at Tinker Field in Orlando was how he would take a small towel and place it down the third base line and practice hitting bunts that would land on or near the towel. Whether bunting or swinging away he had amazing precision at hitting the ball wherever he wanted to. (Something that comes with natural born talent and lots of practice.) And no matter how far he succeeded professionally he never seemed to forget where it all started…far from the spotlight.

“There is a special sensation in getting good wood on the ball and driving a double down the left-field line as the crowd in the ballpark rises to its feet and cheers. But, I also remember how much fun I had as a skinny barefoot kid hitting a tennis ball with a broomstick on a quiet, dusty street in Panama.”
Rod Carew

An interesting lesser known fact is Carew spent six years as a Marine in the reserves. He also wrote the autobiography Carew (along with Ira Berkow).

Scott W. Smith

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It’s been a few months since I posted an off-screen quote and found this one in a new book called A Very Modest Cottage by Tereasa Surratt which documents the history and story of a restoration of an old cottage:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas A. Edison

Years ago I went  to Thomas Edison’s Winter Estate in Ft. Myers, Florida and remember seeing his workshop that contained a sleeping cot. Apparently having 1.093 U.S. patents to your name took a little work.

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A popular quote attributed to composer & musican Scott Joplin is, “When I’m dead twenty-five years, people are going to begin to recognize me.” And here we are almost 100 years after his death still talking about “The King of Ragtime” and playing his music.

I thought of Joplin yesterday when I drove by the Scott Joplin House in St. Louis where he lived for part of his life. It actually took more than 25 years for Joplin to be properly recognized. But it happened.

Part of the rediscovery of Joplin was the recordings by Joshua Rifkin and the movie The Sting in the early 1970s which featured Joplin’s The Entertainer.  In 1976 he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize, 59 years after he died.

So you can make a name for yourself while you’re alive, but sometimes it takes a little while for your talent to be fully recognized. But blaze away on your vision that may put you a little out of step with the times.

Scott W. Smith

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