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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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I started this postcard thing on the blog years ago to give myself a break from writing and researching posts when I was on the road working on various productions. Hard to believe today is the 80th postcard. I’m posting this on the tail end of a long video production day and drive home. One of the perks of a 14+ hour day on the road was the crew was able to eat breakfast at the Over Easy Cafe on Sanibel Island, Florida and dinner at Pinchers Crab Shack in Ft. Myers where I took the above picture overlooking the Caloosahatchee River.

The restaurant is next door to the historic winter estates of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, but that’s not the only history tied to the area.

According to Kimberly Ripley’s blog, “Caloosahatchee means ‘River of the Calusa.’ It searved as the main highway inland to the Calusa Indians…Also known as ‘Shell People’ the later Calusas, from approximately the 1500’s to their demise in the early 1800’s, used seashells as foundations. They built their cities on them.”

P.S. My first postcard (Downtown Kansas City)  was August 11, 201. And for what it’s worth, my 28th postcard (Prime Time) was on a shoot I did with Deion Sanders at his Dallas-area home . The great Pro Football Hall-of-Fame football player was born and raised in Ft. Myers, Florida. To read an interesting article about Sanders’ ties to the area read the Sam Cook article about where “Prime Time” developed his personality. And to come full circle Cook was the sports editor who hired me as a 19-year-old photojournalist when he was the sports editor with the Sanford Herald Evening Herald.  

Scott W. Smith

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Yesterday I visited DeLand, Florida not knowing that it was just listed by Parade Magazine as one of 16 cities in their Best’s American Main Street competition. I took the above photo of the restore Athens Theatre just a block off the main drag in DeLand.  The historic theatre first opened on January 6, 1922. (Anyone know what movie played when it first opened?) The theatre’s name came from the town’s founder Henry DeLand who envisioned DeLand as the Athens of Florida.

DeLand is home to Stetson University which was named after the Philadelphia hat maker John B. Stetson who died in DeLand in 1906. The stadium where Stetson University plays its football games is the same stadium featured in the Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy (1999).  Both Ghost Story (1981) with Fred Astaire and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and the HBO program From the Earth to the Moon filmed on the  Stetson campus.

DeLand is also a major area for skydiving. If I recall correctly, when Tom Cruise was shooting Days of Thunder in nearby Daytona Beach (and I think even a few scenes in DeLand) he went skydiving with Skydive DeLand. (Remember reading that the producers weren’t too happen to hear about that.)

Singer/songwriter Terence Trent D’Arby who won a Grammy in 1988 for Best R&B Vocal Performance Male was raised in DeLand. In 1995 D’Arby adopted the name Sananda Maitreya and legally changed it in 2001. His song Sign Your Name was featured in the movies Up in the Air and Knocked Up.

P.S. A couple of fun connections here; I played high school against DeLand High School on the football field that was used in The Waterboy. That film was directed by Frank Coraci who directed Blended (2014) which was co-written by screenwriter friend Clare Sara. And, of course, there’s always that nice shout-out this blog received a few years ago from the official blog of TomCruise.com.

Related Posts:

Roadkill Ghost Choir (Also from DeLand.)
Clare Sera & ‘Blended‘ (She probably at least drove through DeLand on her way to Hollywood.)

 

Scott W. Smith

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“When I look out and I see people, who most likely have no idea who we are, responding to our music, it’s pretty damn rewarding.”
Roadkill Ghost Choir frontman Andrew Shepard
Band on the Rise article by Donovan Farley

For the past year or so I’ve been using Saturday’s to repost some of the screenwriting posts going back as far as 2008—the start date of this blog. But because music is such a major part of films, I think from time to time I’ll mention more musicians, bands and composers—so for the first time in a long time I’m starting a new category simply called music.

And today’s band is the Roadkill Ghost Choir (@RoadkillGhosts). They’re from Central Florida and made their national TV debut earlier this year on the Late Show with David Letterman. I don’t think their music has been featured in any movies yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

Having a banjo and a trumpet mixed in with guitars, keyboards, and drums puts a little extra independence into this indie band.

The band formed in 2011 in DeLand, Florida and profiled this month in the Orlando Weekly and interviewed on WPRK.

P.S. Roadkill Ghost Choir’s folk-rock music has been called neo-Americana, and for whatever reason their song Beggars’ Guild reminds me of the Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash duet of Girl from the North County from The Johnny Cash Show in 1969. (A  TV show, by the way that U2’s Bono watched as a kid. Bono later helped Cash have a musical resurgence in his later years.)

P.P.S . A nice tie-in to a blog called Screenwriting from Iowa is Roadkill Ghost Choir played last year in Iowa City. Screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) —an inspiration for starting this blog went to college at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Americana-related posts:
The Civil Wars
Off Screen Quote #22 (Bob Dylan)
Postcard # #38 (Lincoln Highway)
The Tennessee Williams Project
Creativity & Milking Cows “All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.” Grant Wood (Iowa painter, American Gothic)
Postcard #61 (Hannibal, MO)
Postcard #62 (Beale Street)
Postcard #63 (Graceland)
Postcard #52 (Pascagoula)

Scott W. Smith

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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

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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

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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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