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Joe’s Stone Crab first opened in 1913 and is the go to place for stone crabs. I always wanted to go there way back when I was a student at the University of Miami but it was too expensive. Over the years on trips to South Florida for whatever reason (long wait times, didn’t have time in schedule ) I never got the chance to go there.

Finally on Friday, after three decades of it first being on my radar, I got to eat at Joe’s Stone Crab. Got there even before they opened so walked around South Beach a little bit which is always a joy because of the Art Deco buildings. Visually Miami Beach is one of the best in the country.

For film buffs, part of The Mean Season (1985) was filmed at Joe’s Stone Crab.

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And via Wikipedia, “according Restaurant Business Magazine reported in October 2014 that Joe’s Stone Crab ranked second in the nation in terms of revenue for 2013. The industry trade publication of record said the restaurant had $35.3 million in revenues in 2013.”

Apparently the stone crab business is a lucrative one.

Scott W. Smith

Here’s what the Port of Miami looked liked early this morning looking toward downtown Miami. It’s been a long day so this is all I’ve got for this post.

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Scott W. Smith

I didn’t have the opportunity to the visit great diving reefs of Cozumel or see any of its historic spots on my half-day stop there yesterday, but I did find this group performing by the port visually interesting.

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I went down to Captain Tony’s to get out of the heat
When I heard a voice call out to me, “Son, come have a seat”
Jimmy Buffet/Last Mango in Paris

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Though today’s postcard comes from Key West (where I was yesterday) this is the first international post in the nine years of writing this blog. So greetings from Cozumel.

Despite having higher end Panasonic and Nikon cameras with me on the production I’m on, the clear winner after two days is the Apple iPhone 7plus. Speed is the issue. Yesterday I only had four hours to capture an overall essence of Key West in the daytime.

The versatility of which you can shoot stills and videos is a strength of iPhones, but the iPhone 7 Plus cell phone/camera is a significant jump up from the iPhone 4s I just upgraded from. I’m shooting a lot of footage in 120 (and some in 240) frames per second which is serious slow motion. Today I’ll also shoot in 4K.

I’m also using the FiLMiC Pro camera app (which only costs $9.99) a lot which allows you to shoot in 24p and also disable the in camera stabilizer. It’s also easy to lock focus and exposure. Because I knew I’d be on the move a lot shooting in Key West gave me a chance to test the DJI Osmo Mobile.

While it’s always best to test out equipment well before a shoot, sometimes you just have to roll the dice. In this case, I just booked this shoot a week ago. Did some research and then finally pulled the trigger on buying the DJI Osmo less than 24 hours before my cruise ship departed.

After purchasing it in Orlando and driving to Miami, at around midnight I finally got to open the box set-up the battery to charge. At 2:3o AM it didn’t appear to be charging. I went to sleep thinking it was a bust and I’d just return it after the cruise.

But in the morning it all fired up so it gave me hope. We left that day out of the Port of Miami and the next day while on Old Town Trolly Tours I finally had a chance to start shooting with it and my first impression is it’s great. Very user friendly is getting Stedicam-like shots from an iPhone. (Note: I once owned a Stedicam Merlin and I never really could balance the dang thing. The DJI Osmo took less than five minute to balance.)

One sad note on my quick trip to Key West is that it’s changed a lot since I first visited there in 1981 or ’82. Back then it still had a bohemian/artistic/drop out of society feel to it. Today it feels like Orlando.  I have nothing against Starbucks or CVS Pharmacy, but places like that take away from the other-worldness that Key West once had. But you’re still closer to Havana, Cuba than a Walmart… and there’s still Captain Tony’s, and Sloppy Joe’s, and Hemingway’s house, etc. etc.  Just don’t go there expecting to see a quaint   seaside hippy village unless you can go in 1971. Aside from that go for at least 4 days, not four hours. That gives you time to decompress and find the secret gems of Key West.

And especially for content creators, Key West is still a visual feast.

P.S. For what it’s worth, two of my most memorable dining experiences came from a trip to the Keys years ago. Louie’s Backyard in Key West and Little Palm Island (just a boat ride away from Key West).

Related posts:
Jimmy Buffett in Iowa (Part 1)
Jimmy Buffett in Iowa (Part 4)
Sing Along with Mitch in Margaritaville

Scott W. Smith

 

The video project I’m working on today for a client took me to Key West and as I was capturing footage and photos around town, I stopped to take picture of a huge kiss statue that was just lifted into place a few hours ago.

This couple asked me to take there photo with there phone and I was a little annoyed because I was juggling multiple cameras at the moment. But I took a photo with their phone and then realized it was a perfect opportunity to capture the moment. A producer I used to work with used to say one thing he said he was looking for in b-roll footage was  “life.”

For all I know we could have been making history today since this may be the first real kiss in front of the art work. This reenactment kiss will soon become a cliche. But chances are good, you saw it it first.

The composition isn’t perfect, but I only had a few seconds to “capture the magic.” A phrase I first heard Jimmy Buffet say in regard to his not being the best musician, but he knew how to capture the magic better than most musicians.

And this post is at least historic (with a little “h”) in that it’s the first post I’ve ever written while on a ship at sea.

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©2017 Scott W. Smith

P.S. Jimmy Buffett has a recording studio in Key West called Shrimpboat Sound that I drove by this morning. It’s where he recorded his short part of the song It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.

Scott W. Smith

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I started this postcard section years ago when I traveled for various productions. I don’t travel as much as I used to but a shoot popped up last week so here’s a shot of the sunrise this morning from my room at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami. (Actually a shot of a shot of a sunrise.)

Should be an interesting week and I’m not sure how many posts I’ll get in, but later I’ll fill you in on how this client got national press for doing something a little different.

This morning I wish I could go back to Coral Gables in the early ’80s and visit my 20-year-old self when I was a film school student at the University of Miami. I’d tell him that things won’t work out exactly like he hopes they will, but there’s a pretty good adventure ahead. (I like Mike Rowe’s advice to “don’t follow your dreams, follow your opportunities.” Because in those opportunities are where dreams come true. More on that later.)

One thing I know that my 20-year-old self wouldn’t believe is that I could fit four HD cameras in one small backpack. Of course, my 20-year-old self wouldn’t even know what HD was. And since when I when I was 20 VHS was just growing in popularity (and I was still two years away from owning one), there’s no way I could process that someday people would not only be walking around talking and texting on cell phones, but that they’d be shooting high quality photos and and video as well.

Oh yeah, I’d try to explain to him about this thing called blogging…

P.S. If you’re a student or professor at the University of Miami—or any school actually—I’ve love to come in a share some of my production experiences in hopes of passing on some of what I’ve learned from over three decades working in production.

Scott W. Smith

“For me, it was a matter of years of trying to develop my writing in the same way that some people spend years learning to play the violin.”
Writer/director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption)

Note: I pulled this quote from my 2008 post Screenwriter’s Work Ethic. I think it might have originally been from the book Zen and the Art of Screenwriting (Vol. 2) by William Froug. In my nine years of writing this blog that the team of consistently developing their talents is one of the most common traits for screenwriters that produce the best work.

Related posts:
The Secret to Being a Successful Screenwriter (Seriously) — John Logan
How to Be a Successful Screenwriter —Michael Arndt

 

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