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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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

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Here’s the micro documentary personal project I’ve been working on this month about the Tinker Field baseball park where the Minnesota Twins held spring training until 1990. It may not be the Polo Grounds or Ebbets Field—but for many people this place holds a lot of memories.

This is my memory…

Scott W. Smith

 

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“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

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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 

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Merry Christmas—50 weeks early. When I was driving through Nashville last November after a production I had lunch with William Akers (Your Screenplay Sucks!) and he told me about a video of Orson Welles doing a Q&A with students at USC back in 1981. I’d never seen or even heard of the video, so I figured it would be a great way to start 2014 by pulling a few quotes this week. (Below is the complete hour and a half video.)

“I never sit down and plan with a cinematographer. I had storyboards in [Citzen] Kane only because I was made to. I believe I’m the only director—that I know of—who does this particular thing, which is probably the worst way to go about it. I didn’t begin this way but I’ve developed this way. I light a set with a cameraman before I decide where anybody will go. And then when the set looks right to me I put the actors where I think they ought to be. I don’t put the actors in and then light the set—it’s the exact opposite. Because the set is all we have besides the actors and it ought to have a chance. The only way to give it a chance is to begin with it. That’s my theory anyway.”
Producer/director/writer/actor Orson Welles
At the 44:38 mark when asked about working with planning the look of The Trial (1962) with cinematographer Edmond Richard.

Welles wrote The Trial screenplay based on the 1925 uncompleted novel by Franz Kafka and the movie starred Anthony Perkins as a 30-year-old man arrested without knowing why. (A little Orwell, Orson, Obama mix with the novel 1984, a touch of the 2002 film Minority Report where you’re arrested before you commit a crime, and some 2013 news of NSA spying. Nothing new under the sun.

Now that Screenwriting from Iowa…and Other Unlikely Places enters this month into its seventh year I will be writing more filmmaking posts. Toying with a few other ideas to take things up a notch but welcome any ideas and suggestions readers have to make this a more helpful site for screenwriters and filmmakers. You can email me at info@scottwsmith.com. Best wishes on your screenwriting and filmmaking this year.

P.S. A little Anthony Perkins trivia; Like Fred Rogers, Perkins attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. (Where I just happen to live.) If you’re looking for a quirky creative challenge today, write a scene where the star of the thriller Psycho and the star of children’s TV program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood are college roommates. Bonus points if you can do a mash-up video of the Hitchcock classic and the PBS show. Working title: It’s a Beautiful Day at the Bates Motel.

Related posts:
10 Cinematography Tips (Roger Deakins)
Screenwriting Quote #38
Stagecoach Revisited (2.0) Welles watched the John Ford classic 40 times while making Citizen Kane.

Scott W. Smith

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“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

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“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

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“The toughest athlete in the world is a 62 year-old woman.”
D.L. Stewart, Dayton Daily News

“It was an old dream. It was lingering for so long—three decades ago . The only world-class swim that I had sort of tried and failed at in my early 20s was going from Cuba to Florida. It was deep in my imagination. No one has ever done it without a shark cage. It’s daunting. It’s more than a hundred miles across a difficult passage of ocean. It’s probably at my speed and my age—for anybody’s speed at anybody’s age—is goning to take 60 maybe 70 hours of continuous swimming. Never getting out on the boat. And I started to train. I hadn’t swum for 31 years—not a stroke.”
Diana Nyad
TED talk 2012

After 41 hours and being stung by box jellyfish Nyad’s “dream was crushed” when she aborted the swim from Cuba to Florida in 2011. She had actually failed to swim from Cuba to Key West back in 1978 when she was 28-years-old. She failed again in a  2010 attempt. And in 2012—she failed again. So on August 31, 2013—at the age of 64—when she stepped into the water in Havana, Cuba it was her fifth attempt at dream more than three decades old. A dream to do something no one had ever done before.

Today at 1:55 pm SDT she successful completed the marathone swim and walked to shore at Key West after 53 hours of continual swimming and had just enough energy left to give three messages:
1) We should never, ever give up
2) You’re never too old to chase your dreams
3) It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team

Congrats to Nyad and her team.  And thanks for the inspirational story.

Scott W. Smith

 

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Ain’t that America
Something to see, baby
Ain’t that America
Home of the free, yeah
Pink Houses/ John Mellencamp

Proving once again that at this point in my life I’m a better photographer than screenwriter, I took this photo at sunrise today as this sea turtle was making its way back to the ocean after a failed attempt to lay eggs. And keeping with this patriotic Fourth of July here in the States, this photo was taken about 100 yards from Patrick Air Force Base located between Satellite Beach and Cooca Beach, Florida.

scottwsmith_0247

South Patrick Sea Turtle
©2013 Scott W. Smith


P.S. Usually these turtles come out at night to lay their eggs. If you’re ever in the Satellite Beach/Melbourne area between May and October you can schedule a turtle walk through the SeaTurtle Preservation Society.

Related post: Postcard #15 (Seymour, Indiana)—Mellencamp’s hometown which I drove through last year.

BTW—If anyone has connections to Mellencamp I’d love to get rights to use about a minute and a half of his song Pink House for my demo reel of video footage I’ve shot around the county. And if anyone has conenctions at Patrick Air Force Base  I’d love some opportunites to shoot footage there. My father used to fly C-130 in the Air Force and everytime I see them on the Tarmac off A1A I think of him.

It’s a holiday today, but if you need a movie turtle tie-in…

Scott W. Smith

 

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photo

The last couple of days I’ve been shooting a TV Travel project at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida.  Here’s a screen grab one of the lifestyle sunrise shots yesterday of Orlando talent Alison Skipper (@ProPretty) from the penthouse balcony overlooking the Atlantic. (And yes, I’m still holding on to editing with FCP7—but I have upgraded to the MacBook Pro Retina. Still looking to make the jump to FCP X, Premiere, or back to AVID. Any suggestions?)

Scott W. Smith

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