Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2017

“Producers and directors buy a property because they like the story. Actors buy it because they see them­selves in a part. ”
Jerry Lewis in The Total Film-Maker
From the post Writing Actor Bait

Mark Twain’s one of my favorite writers from the South. [My character in American Made is a] kind of southern rascal, Huckleberry Finn kind of character in modern day. And also the fact that, the kind of flying that you could have in the 80s, that kind of adventure, those kind of escapades – that was it. You’ll never have that time period again, so these kind of cowboys were very unique. And also one of my favorite films, which was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, is based on a true story but had also that kind of you know – it’s a very layered film. It’s very humorous, but it’s also about American history.”
Actor Tom Cruise on what attracted him to the Gary Spinelli screenplay
ScreenRant interview with Alex Leadbeater  @ADLeadbeater

P.S. I grew up in Florida in the 70s, went to college in Miami in the early 80s and especially enjoy the Scarface to Cocaine Cowboys retelling of stories from that era. American Made puts its own topspin on the “same thing, only different” school of Hollywood filmmaking and I enjoyed the ride. Nice touch by director Doug Liman and editing crew for adding Linda Ronstadt’s 1977 version of Blue Bayou to the American Made soundtrack.

P.P.S. Speaking of American made, in this 2010 post I mentioned that Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and George Cooney all lived in Kentucky at one point in the late 60s or early 70s. You can add Harry Dean Stanton, Jennifer Lawrence, and The Father of Film to the list from the Bluegrass State. Oh, and actress Sarah Wright, who plays Tom Cruise’s wife in American Made—she’s from Kentucky, too.

Related Posts:
Mark Twain’s Florida
Cocaine Cowboys and the Future of Film
Complex Stories/Simple Characters
Writing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Thanks for the Plug TomCruise.com

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

The thing I try to instill in students is like the only thing you have to offer is you. Your individual stories, your individual perception, your individual humanity, and figuring out a way to communicate that humanity to humanity at large—that’s the beauty of cinema once again, that you can have a six-year-old Iranian girl, or a 90-year-old British gentleman, and you can have an equal emotional experience if the filmmaker does their job right to it.

For me it would be a ballerina [Black Swan] and a wrestler [The Wrestler]—can I make you feel in their blood and their pain. That’s the goal. Because that’s one of the great things cinema does—is to bring us into other human experiences.”
Screenwriter/Director Darren Aronofsky  (mother!
Podcast interview with Tim Ferriss (At 53 minute mark when Ferriss asked Aronofsky about advice for filmmakers who don’t fit in the widget factory )

Related posts:
The Greatest [Cinematic] Invention of the 2oth Century (According to Darren Aronofsky)
40 Days of Emotions

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

JenniferL-mother.png

Jennifer Lawrence in mother!

The following excerpt was pulled from a two hour podcast interview with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky as he talked about his film mother! (and the creative process and more) with Tim Ferriss.

Tim: What do you want the experience of your audience to be, or what do you want them to take away from any one of your films?

Darren: I guess I start off with the first rule of filmmaking is to never bore an audience. That is the worst feeling and experience when I’m watching a movie and my mind is wandering and looking at the colors splatter across the screen. I think you always want to engage an audience, not just visually, not just through sound, but emotionally. So I think that’s number one, to just give people an engaging emotional experience for two hours—whatever your running time is. And on top of that hopefully this you can layer in some ideas so that when people leave the theater people it’s not like 15 minutes later “What did we watch?” I don’t want to be the McDonald’s of movies where it’s just the wrapper all that’s left over. I want me to be thinking a bit and talking about it….You want to have an impact. In today’s landscape a lot of things are disposable. 

Tim: You mentioned emotional engagement— what are some of the ingredients that help create that?

Darren: It starts with the greatest invention of the 20th century that’s overlooked—which is the close-up. That’s the great thing about cinema —that you can stick a camera right in the face of Paul Newman—on those beautiful blue eyes. And you can go right into his soul, and when you you project it months later to an audience, or years later—potentially centuries later— you are anonymous in that audience, yet you can feel the empathy….In a movie, via the close-up,  you can be unconscious and fully be  in Paul Newman’s head. Even though you don’t know  exactly what he’s thinking, you can sort of study him and steal that thought. And that to me that’s the greatness of cinema.”

TheSting

Paul Newman in The Sting

P.S. Looking forward to seeing mother! tonight.

Related posts:
“Don’t Bore the Audience!” (Richard Walter)
Stop Making Soul-less Movies 
Hollywood Hacks & Shipwrecks
“Winter’s Bone” (Debra Granik)

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Postcard #148 (Gone Surfing)

Gone Surfing.jpg

Took this shot today in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

One thing we know is that failure is generally funnier than success. Every once in a while, we get to the point in the story where the guys in the show have a big win, and then we sit down and say: ‘Let’s write three episodes where things are going great for them.’ And we just can’t do it. It is too boring for the audience. The audience is invested in the characters and wants them to succeed, but if they do succeed, it is not interesting.”
Silicon Valley showrunner  Alec Berg (And former Seinfeld writer)
Tim Adams/The Guardian

Related posts:
Running from Failure
Normal is Not Funny
Jerry Seinfeld on What Drives Comedy

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Actor Harry Dean Stanton grew up on a farm in Kentucky, served in the Navy and was stationed in the Pacific during WWII, studied at the Pasadena Playhouse, once recorded a song with Bob Dylan, was a roommate of Jack Nicholson before they both became name actors, and acted along side Paul Newman and Marlon Brando.

Stanton started in theater and his first IMDB credit is for Inner Sanctum in 1954. He’d go on to become one of the great character actors working on Cool Hand Luke, The Godfather II, Escape from New York, Repo Man, Paris, Texas and when he died ten days ago at age 91 his film Lucky was playing in theaters.

He had a film and TV career that spanned  over 60 year and over that time worked with the a who’s who of great directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Sam PeckinpahJohn Milius, Wim Wenders, Arthur Penn, Norman Jewison, and David Lynch.

On a podcast interview with Marc Maron Stanton was a man of few words, but I did think there were a few nuggest in there including this brief exchange:

Marc Maron: What makes a guy a good director?
Harry Dean Stanton: Leave the actors alone. 

P.S. Two films I’d recommend of Stanton’s if you haven’t seen them are Paris, Texas written by Sam Shepard and The Straight Story (which mostly takes place in Iowa). I haven’t seen Sophia Huber’s documentary Harry Dean Stanton: Partly, but it’s on my short list.

Related posts:
Sam Shepard (1943-2017)
David Lynch in Iowa

Scott W. Smith

 

 

Read Full Post »

Postcard #147 (Universal Orlando)

Universal Orlando

I made a quick stop at Universal Orlando today and walked around the City Walk on a lunch break. Tried to take an interesting photo of Universal’s iconic (and well photographed) logo at the park’s entrance.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: