Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Post Cards on the Road’ Category

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening—and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
Arnold Palmer

“Golf is a bond that has drawn us all together and created a special fraternity among celebrities of show business, sports and politics.”
Bob Hope

Palmer

 

When I stopped by the Golf Channel headquarters today it was hard to miss the empty spot up front dedicated for Arnold Palmer. The 84-year-old golfing legend was busy with his duties up in Augusta, Georgia where The Masters Tournament is being held.

Last month The Hollywood Reporter wrote about a three-part documentary on the life and career of Arnold Palmer that is the first project by Golf Channel Films. (The doc begins airing Sunday night 4/13/14.)

“The Palmer documentary has been over a year in the making and will include more than 100 interviews with Palmer’s friends, peers and fans including President Clinton, Kurt Russell, Herm Edwards, Bob Costas, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. The film is produced by veteran NBC Sports and Olympics producer Israel DeHerrera and written by 18-time Emmy winner Aaron Cohen.”
Marisa Guthrie
The Hollywood Reporter 3/5/14

Part of what’s made Palmer so iconic over the years is he helped grow the game via television and his entertainment connections. Aside from  televised tournaments where he batted Jack Nicklaus, he also appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson numerous times and also in the Bob Hope movie Call Be Bwana (1963). Hope was an avid golfer—he once said he told jokes to pay for his greens s fee—and he was a long time friend of Palmer.

Here’s another side of Palmer that you may not know about. Here’s a 3-minute video for The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children made by Jon Strong that tied for Best In Show at this year’s Addy Awards in Orlando.

Scott W. Smith

 

Read Full Post »

“Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion.”
Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) in Caddyshack

Bill Murray

Since today is the first day of the 2014 Masters Tournament  in Augusta, Georgia I’ll use that to jump ship from blogging about baseball to blogging about golf (all connected to movies and filmmaking in one way or another).

Today I visited the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida and  a couple hundred yards away in World Golf Village is where I I took the above photo (of a photo cutout of actor Bill Murray) at Murray Bros. Caddyshack restaurant. (Bill Murray opened the restaurant in 2001 with his five brothers.)

“[The movie Caddyshack] is really a gripping tale of the Murray brothers’ first experiment with employment. It suited us. You didn’t have to punch a clock; that failure would come later.  No dress code; you could work barefoot. No age limit, no income tax. I want this job now.”
Actor Bill Murray
Cinderella Story; My Life in Golf

Related Post: Harold Ramis on ‘Caddyshack’

Scott W. Smith

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today I went to the last ’14 Spring Training baseball game in Lakeland, Florida where the Detroit Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3. I took this photo of a couple Tiger mopeds in front of Joker Marchant Stadium at the complex known as Tiger Town. It’s a jungle out there…

Lakeland, FL

 

Related post: Screenwriting from Michigan

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I’m gonna to do something really outragous—I’m gonna tell the truth.”
Presidential candidate Gov. Jack Stanton (John Travolta) in Primary Colors

photo-48

I try to not post on holidays but this Presidents’ Day I thought a nice way to break up the series of posts I’ve been doing on writer/director turned film professor Alexander Mackendrick is to show a photo that’s—in a round about way—related to this Holiday. (And you know, I’m all about unlikely things in unlikely places.)

On Saturday I had a meeting in the Ocala, Florida area and between touring a home owned by a former drug dealer and grabbing lunch at the Blue Wagyu (had the Yasufuku Jr. burger) I drove by John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s Florida house. Yeah, the one with the 707 jumbo jet in front of it. I first learn about the home in when it was featured years ago in Architectural Digest. 

Some of John Travolta’s most well-known films include Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Urban Cowboy, Get Shorty and Pulp Fiction—but it was in Primary Colors were he plays a Governor on the road to the Presidency. In real life Travolta is also an experienced pilot, but if he ever became President of the United States he’d be the first President who could not only fly Air Force One, but would be the first President where the White House might be considered a step down in living quarters.

Just took the above photo with by iPhone, but if you want to see better shots (and the Gulfstream parked in front) check out stunning photos Duston Saylor did for Architectural Digest.

Happy Presidents’ Day—

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Ocala

I had a meeting in Ocala, Florida today and couldn’t help but take this picture of the Marion Theatre that’s been in the historic downtown area for more than 70 years. The movie theatre has had a few bumps in the road since it was built in 1941, including one 15 year stretch where it went dark, but it’s a working movie theater these days in all its neon glory.

In 2007, John Travolta and Kelly Preston (whose main residence is not far from the theatre) helped raise funds to re-open it as a theater.

Scott W. Smith 

Read Full Post »

“In just a moment we’ll see how thin a line separates that which we assume to be real, with that manufactured inside of a mind.”
Rod Serling
Introduction to The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 23
A World of Difference
GraytonBeach

Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend and many people are watching football games, shopping, or working (at football stadiums and malls), I thought I’d expose you to another part of the United States you may not be familiar with—as well as give you a little trivia about The Truman Show that I think screenwriters will find interesting. (This post is also a good example of what happens when you poke around in unlikely places.)

A short drive—or bike ride—from beautiful Seaside, Florida (where they shot much of The Truman Show) is Grayton Beach State Park that back in 1994 was named the number 1 beach in the US by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (known as Dr. Beach).

I took the photo at Grayton Beach State Park by a lagoon near the beach.  If you’re looking for a classic white sandy beach complete with sand dunes and not spoiled by condos and hotels, yet has nearby hotels and restaurants for cast and crew then Grayton in  Santa Rosa Beach, Florida fits the bill. As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Seaside, if you’re interested in shooting a film in that area contact  The Emerald Coast Film Commission.

I also found a link at The Wall Street Journal where Don Steinberg pointing out how two Twilight Zone episodes are similar (perhaps story influences or story echoes) to The Truman Show. In Special Service from the 1989 season, “A man and his wife discover that their lives are secretly being videotaped and is a huge hit on a network television show.” Here’s the entire episode written by J. Michael Straczynski.

The other is from the 1960 Twilight Zone episode A World of Difference where, “A businessman sitting in his office inexplicably finds that he is on a production set and in a world where he is a movie star. Uninterested in the newfound fame, he fights to get back to his home and family.” Here’s the entire episode written by Richard Matheson. (Note the great inciting incident at the 2:04 mark.)

Remember the saying, “Producers want similar, only different.” Here a a couple qualified creative sources that I found over at Brain Pickings to help explain why there is nothing new under the sun:

“All ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources.”
Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s Letters, Vol. 2 of 2

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”
Salvador Dalí
Letters of Note

Shakespeare was not only a master dramatist, but a master of sampling stories by other dramatists.

Related posts:
Screenwriting Quote #24 (J. Michael Straczynski) ““It doesn’t matter if you didn’t go to the best schools, if you’re a kid or in your 50s….”
Starting Your Screenplay (Tip #6)
Where Do Ideas Come From (A+B=C)
Movie Cloning (Part 2) “I think it’s fine for young (filmmakers) to out and out rip off people who come before them because you always make it your own.”Francis Ford Coppola

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“Meet Seaside, the idyllic town on the Florida Panhandle known for its perfect beaches, pastel cottages, and the kind of laid-back vacations we Southerners adore.”
Jennifer Mckenzie Frazier
Southern Living

“As the Bard says, ‘all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’ The only difference between Truman and ourselves is that his life is more throughly documented.”
Christof (Ed Harris)
The Truman Show

SeasideFence

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…even in Seaside, Florida. I took the photos on this post earlier this month when driving through the panhandle of Florida. I’m a long-time fan of the Seaside community, and since it’s the day after Thanksgiving I am thankful that I’ve been able to visit the area a handful of times since it was established in 1981.

But even if you’d never even heard of Seaside, you may be familiar with the Jim Carrey movie that was shot there—The Truman Show (1998). If you’re college age or younger it may be hard to realize what made the Andrew Niccol script for The Truman Show so prophetic. But once upon a time there wasn’t Facebook, You Tube, and reality TV programing to give us a close up on the lives of everyday people.

The Truman Show—and its perfect town of Seahaven—was a look of where we might be headed as a culture. I’ll leave it up to scholars, sociologists, and you to decide if the future is here or not.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of buildings in Seaside that at least give you a hint of the fruit of developer Robert S. Davis and his wife Cathy, and the architectural firm Duany Plater—and Zyberk & Company have had in shaping a unique spot in the United States. The goal was to make a seaside community (the unincorporated community sits on the Gulf of Mexico west of Panama City Beach) that was beautiful in design, regionally centered, as well as being pedestrian and eco-friendly. Seaside was on the ground floor of what is now known as New Urbanism.

SeasideHouseSeasideBookstore 

If there’s one downside to Seaside it’s that it worked. Idealism has its price. Most of the homes I saw listed for sale in Seaside fell in the range of 1 million to 6 million dollars.  If you ever happen to be looking for an idyllic place for a destination wedding check out the tallest building in Seaside—the nondenominational Seaside Interfaith Chapel.

SeasideChapel

P.S. In The Newmaket Shooting Script Series of The Truman Show, Peter Weir (Dead Poet’s Society, Witness) talked  about writing a backstory of how The Truman Show can into existence to prepare him for directing the film. I think Peter Weir is brilliant and it’s worth your time to read or watch anything he’s touched.

Related post: Postcard #70 (Greyton Beach) With two complete episodes said to be similar in essence to The Truman Show.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

”Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Ben Franklin

Fall in Franklin2

After traveling around the county over the years for various productions there are a few cities and towns that I find special—Franklin, Tennessee is one of those places. Located just south of Nashville the town was founded in 1799 and named after Ben Franklin. I took the photo of the late fall leaves yesterday when I had the opportunity to walk around the shops in the historic downtown area.

If you’ve never heard of Franklin you may be surprised to learn of some the people who have (or had) homes in and around the Franklin area; Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman and her Grammy-winning country star husband Keith Urban, five-time CMA Male Vocalist of the Year Brad Paisley (who had two songs on the Cars soundtrack) and his actress wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Father of the Bride, Nashville), actress Ashely Judd (Heat) and her champion race car driving husband Dario Franchitti, and Carrie Underwood and her pro hockey husband Mike Fisher have 400 acres there with plans to build.

If that sounds like neighbors you’d like to have (and there are 60,000 or so regular folks living there as well), the uber talented couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are selling their 753 acres (complete with four houses and once owed by Hank Williams Sr.) in Franklin for $20 million.  (They bulit a new house betwen Franklin and downtown Nashville.)

McGraw has not only had more than 30 number one songs, but has popped up as an actor in Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side.  Earlier this month McGraw’s latest single Southern Girl (written by Jaren Johnston, Rodney Clawson, and Lee Thomas Miller) became a #1 hit. Even if you don’t like county music, perhaps you can appreciate the geography covered in the song.

Related Posts:
Muscle Shoals Music & Movie
The Advantage of Being from ______ (“I know one writer, believe it or not, who launders his scripts through a phony address he has in Murfreesboro, Tennessee,  outside of Nashville, because it’s just more exciting than one more writer from the San Fernando Valley.”–UCLA’s Richard Walter)

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

There’s been a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinning on me
Rhinestone Cowboy
Written by  Larry Weiss and performed by Glen Campbell

“All the stuff all your writing teachers and all the books say about ‘it’s the journey that matters’ is totally true. Disregard that bon mot at your peril. Writing is so painful and so heartbreaking and takes so long, that if you aren’t having a wonderful time while you’re a failure, you won’t have any fun when you’re a success.”
Will Akers
Your Screenplay Sucks! 
DSC_4939

While Nashville is known as being the county music capital, it’s also long been quite a production hub. Granted like the tv show Nashville (created by Oscar winning screenwriter Callie Khouri) and the Robert Altman film Nashville much of the production there centers around the music industry.

I took the above photo while passing through Nashville is a little pedestrian but it does show the layers of clubs you find in the Music Row area on any given night. The clip below is a great example of music and film blending together brilliantly. Keith Carradine won an Oscar for Best Original Song for I’m Easy which he wrote and performed in the 1975 Altman film.

But there are other stories to tell in Nashville and the surrounding areas of Tennessee and screenwriter & professor Will Akers is staring a new venture in Nashville to help train up and coming filmmakers. Akers wrote the book Your Screenplay Sucks! which I’ve pulled a few quotes from over the years, and for 19 years taught screenwriting a Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He is now the dean of the new film program at Belmont University.

I had lunch will Akers yesterday across the street from the Nashville campus and had a fun conversation talking about film and screenwriting. In a short time we cover the gamma from Peter Bogdanovich and John Ford to Pieces of April and Winter’s Bone. I had read Aker’s book and his blog, but had never met him before. But we have a shared loved for movies and screenwriting so it was a fast paced conversation that personally felt like talking to an long time friend. Found out we even had a connection in that we both studied under Bruce Block.

It also turns out that Tennessee native Akers’ has a connection to Tennessee Williams. When I mentioned to Akers about visiting The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee earlier in the week he told me that once received a Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fellowship which is part of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. In my post Postcard #66 (Sewanee) I mentioned that the literary Tennessee Williams willed his literary rights to The University of the South in memory of his grandfather who attended the school of seminary at Sewanee. His grandfather’s name was Walter E. Dakin.

Akers has high hopes for the program at Belmont and it will be exciting to watch it develop. Nashville may not qualify as an “unlikely place” to be making films because of its production history, but it’s another example of the pulse of what’s going on outside of Los Angeles.

P.S. As you wander the streets of Nashville and watch the many young (and some not so young) people carrying around their guitars it’s not hard to realize that Nashville and Los Angeles are cousins. They’re hotspots of the world where creative people take their talent and dreams in hopes that they will flourish.

Related posts:
“Your Screenplay Sucks!”
Screenwriting Quote #158 (William M. Akers)
John Ford’s Advice to Spielberg Touches on a helpful book by Bruce Block.
Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik)
“Goal. Stakes. Urgency.” (Tip #60) A post that touches on both Winter’s Bone and Pieces of April.
No Emotions? “Your Screenplay Sucks!”

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“How weak is man? How often do we stray from the straight and narrow?”
Rev. Dr. T. Lawrence Shannon (Richard Burton in the movie version)
The Night of the Iguana written by Tennessee Williams

suwanne“Have you seen the cross?” I had no idea what the lady was talking about. On Monday I made a quick stop off I-24 in Sewanee, Tennessee to take a couple of photos at The University of the South campus.  I read recently that the school was willed the literary rights to the works of Tennessee Williams and I was intrigued.

I was trying to get a photo of the large Gothic chapel on campus but the setting sun was too low for me a shot I liked. That’s when the lady asked me if I had seen the cross. She seemed to think it was something I should see, so I followed her instructions and five minutes later I pulled up to the cross which is 60 feet tall.  Now the setting sun was working in my favor and I got the above shot. (The Sewanee War Memorial Cross was constructed in 1922.)

So why did Tennessee Williams leave has literary rights to a school which sits atop the Cumberland Plateau between Nashville and Chattanooga, and that was founded in 1860 by Episcopal priests?

It’s because that’s where his grandfather, an Episcopal priest, graduated from the School of Theology. I’ve read that Tennessee Williams is only second to Shakespeare in frequency of plays produced today so that literary estate must be doing quite well. Check out the link The Tennessee Williams Legacy on the school’s website.

“I was born a Catholic, really. I’m a Catholic by nature. My grandfather was an English Catholic (Anglican), very, very high church. He was higher church than the Pope. However, my ‘conversion’ to the Catholic church was rather a joke because it occurred while I was taking Dr. Jacobson’s miracle shots. I couldn’t learn anything about the tenets of the Roman Catholic church, which are ridiculous anyway. I just loved the beauty of the ritual in the Mass. But [my brother] Dakin found a Jesuit father who was very lovely and all, and he said, ‘Mr. Williams is not in a condition to learn anything. I’ll give him extreme unction and just pronounce him a Catholic.’

I was held up in the Roman Catholic church, with people supporting me on both sides, and I was declared a Catholic. What do you think of that? Does that make me a Catholic? No, I was whatever I was before.

And yet my work is full of Christian symbols. Deeply, deeply Christian. But it’s the image of Christ, His beauty and purity, and His teachings, yes . . . but I’ve never subscribed to the idea that life as we know it, what we’re living now, is resumed after our death. No. I think we’re absorbed back into, what do they call it? The eternal flux? The eternal shit, that’s what I was thinking.”
Tennessee Williams
Interviewed by Dotson Rader for the Paris Review

Williams’ play (and the movie that followed) The Night of the Iguana is about a defrocked Episcopal priest.

P.S. A little Night of the Iguana trivia; The cross that Richard Burton wore in the movie belonged to Williams’ grandfather and is on now on display at the former house that Williams lived in in Columbus, Mississippi where his grandfather used to minister. It was donated by Williams’ nieces.

P.P.S.
At the base of the Sewanee cross it reads:

WWI
To the sons of Sewanee who answered their country’s call to service win the World War 1917-1918
.

WWII
To those from the University, the Military Academy, Sewanee, and all Franklin County in World War II. 1941-1945.

Related post: Postcard #64 (Columbus, MS)

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: