Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

”How to tell a good story? I don’t think anybody has that answer. Like when I sat down to write Dear Basketball I was like what do I want to say? You have certain acts and how you can structure things, ebbs and flow of story, certain formulas that have been there since the beginning of time, but it’s such an inexact science. And so that one question is really interesting. I think stories [are] what moves the world. Whether it’s an inspirational story, or it’s an informational one. Nothing in this world moves without story.”
NBA legend Kobe Bryant 
The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes: Interview with Kobe Bryant

Related post:
Tell Me a Story—Pat Conroy

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“That’s the part that keeps people back the most—it’s like, ‘Well I don’t have an idea, so I can’t start.’ No, it’s like you only get the idea once you start. It’s this totally reverse thing. You have to act first before inspiration will hit. You don’t wait for inspiration and then act or you’re never going to act. Because you’re never going to have the inspiration—not consistently.”
—Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez
The Tim Ferriss Show #98

That quote reminds me of another well-traveled quote on inspiration:
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Jack London

Though I’ve read the original word for word quote from London’s 1903 essay Getting Into Print is “Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.” But “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club” rolls off the tongue so much easier and is easier to remember.

Related post:
Stephen King’s Doublewide Trailer
“There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station.”
Stephen King
On Writing 

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Thursday January 23 will be the 12th anniversary of my blog Screenwriting from Iowa … and Other Unlikely Places. I’ve written all of the more than 3,000 post since its inception. So today, Martin Luther Ling Jr Day seems like a fitting day to break that streak.

Jack Trice was a football player at Iowa State in 1922-23. He was one of the early African-American football players to play at a major college. To put that in perspective he died six years before Martin Luther King Jr. was born, and the University of Alabama—one of the greatest programs in college football— didn’t have a black football player until 1971.

So here is the first guest post of sorts. I saw it today on Facebook written by Brendan Dunphy, who is a smart and multitalented guy from Iowa—who could pass for Tom Cruise’s younger brother—who was an actor on a short film I shot a few years ago.  Here’s his post in bold (I have added the links):

On MLKj day, I’ll share with you one of my proudest moments of 2019.

For the past 7-1/2 years, I have been investigating the life and legacy of famed fallen athlete, Jack Trice, often in painstaking and novel detail. “Jack” was Iowa State University’s first black athlete and remains the only athlete in school history to have ever died as a result of athletic competition. The stadium that bears his name is the only one in the U.S. named after a black person.

This research has been carried out not only for an upcoming documentary film on Jack (along with my film partners Scott, Paul David, and Christopher) but also for a probable podcast series that shares the investigative process that has been, at times, a hard-to-believe series of events that is wrought with strokes of serendipity. The Trice story is so much deeper than has ever been chronicled.

As a result, I was asked by “Cleveland” to give a ten-minute tribute to Jack Trice in October during a first-ever benefit gala for a new organization that aims, in part, to resuscitate northern Ohio’s Senate Athletic Conference, which is supposedly the oldest in the nation; that’s where Jack played. This organization also honors the sports legends of Cleveland, and Jack has deservedly been inducted as one.

To share a sliver of his story with a Cleveland audience full of Olympic athletes, NFL players, Cleveland Indians, and many college stars that have never even heard of Jack Trice was a true honor.

When Cleveland asks you to commemorate Jack Trice at such an event, you just say “yes.”
When Olympic gold medalists seek you out to thank you for the work that you do in revealing his story to the world, you say nothing because you are speechless.

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 9.38.03 PM

Jack Trice (1902-1923)

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 9.37.41 PM

Brendan Dunphy

Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 9.38.35 PM

2019 Sports Legends of Cleveland Public Schools Senate League Benefit Gala

Related videos:

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

The good news is there are free college classes online from top intuitions like Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. Here are a couple of screen grabs from my phone of some of the courses available at iTunesU. (Though the future doesn’t look bright for iTunesU, free online education appears to be flourishing in other places.)

The bad news is the student debt crisis is real. And I’m a firm believer in students having a crystal clear understanding what their loan payments and responsibilities will be after they finish school. (Especially for those seeking work in creative fields.)  But it’s clear from article after article that even future doctors and lawyers (and parents) don’t fully understand students loans and how those debts you acquire while in school can haunt you for decades. How your making minimum payments for a decade can actually leave you owning tens of thousands of more money than you originally took out because of compounded interest.

Don’t took it as free money, because it’s not. Nothing new there—but that drum has to be pounded over and over again.

What is free are many classes at the following schools. (And I will add this list as I find them or people tell me about them.) Some of these you have to provide your email to sign-up for classes, and others will try to up-sell you in one way or another, but if you’re creative you can find hundreds—probably thousands— of classes that are totally free.

Carnegie Mellon University / Open Learning Initiative

Harvard University

MIT OPEN COURSEWARE

Stanford online

Yale University / Open Yale Courses
You can also view many videos on their YouTube channel

UC Berkeley

And there are many others you can find via iTunes U, as well as the following places that offer free class.

co//ab-Sundance
Code Academy 
CreativeLive
iTunes U (an incredible resource)
Ted-Ed

Scott W. Smith

 

 

Read Full Post »

“On January 1, 2020, works from 1924 will enter the US public domain, where they will be free for all to use and build upon, without permission or fee.”
Jennifer Jenkins
Public Domain Day 2020 from Duke University Center for the Study of Public Domain

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 12.38.58 PM.png

Thanks to a Facebook post by Ted Hope of the above link from Duke University I became aware of a wide range of films, books, and music that are now in the public domain. Of course, what that means is you are free use those stories without paying any royalties.

This includes the movies by Buster Keaton (The Navigator) and Harold Loyd’s (Girl Shy), books by E.M. Forster (A Passage to India) and Edith Wharton (Old New York), Eugene O’Neil play Desire Under the Elms, and music by George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue) and Irving Berlin (Lazy).

In music what is copyright free is the arrangements, not performances from 1924 until now. And the 1984 movie (and the script by David Lean, nor the play Santha Rama Rau) are copyright free, but you are able to go the 1924 source material and use freely.

The topics of copyright law and derivative works have long been the center of many conversations among content creators. As original as everyone seeks to be it’s impossible  to shake connections to past work. Just look at some Oscar nominated films this year: You watch 1917 and you think of Saving Private Ryan and Russian Ark (and Birdmam, and Rope), Marriage Story has traces of Kramer vs. Kramer, The Irishman is a brother to both Goodfellas and The Godfather and a cousin to Hoffa, Joaquin Phoenix is favored to win Best Actor for his Joker that Heath Ledger won an Oscar for in a supporting role as the same character in The Dark Knight.

Inspiration is one thing, copyright infringment is another thing. One of the nice things about adapting stories from 1924 and before is you are building on work that has proven worth. The test will be can you update it for a modern audience? But at least you can do it without the threat of being sued. No shame in following the steps of proven writers. And I think you find—as Francis Ford Coppola has said—at the end of the day, you will make it your own.

“Someone is going to invent a new art form, a new medium—it’s probably not going to be you. So follow in someone’s footsteps. Because if there is someone before you that has made an impact with the acoustic guitar, then we know it is possible. . . . If you would have said to me when I met you, my goal is to change the culture with an outdoor repertory theater that’s only going to be in Iowa, I would say ‘Has anyone ever come close to doing that?’, because your expectations might be mismatched. You said you wanted to change the culture. If on the other hand you say we have typewriters and we know how to deal with people in Hollywood and New York who have carriage and spectrum, I’d say yeah, there’s been a thousand people before you—in their own way—who have done that. Yes, go do that.”
Author/speaker Seth Godin (The Dip)
Interview on The Moment with Brian Koppelman (9/17/19)

P.S. Speaking of Seth Godin and Iowa, Godin’s book Purple Cow was one of the inspirations behind starting the blog Screenwriting from Iowa … and Other Unlikely Places way back in 2008. On the 12th anniversary of this blog (January 23, 2020) I’ll give an update on the progress on my book based on the blog.

Related post:
Where Do Ideas Come From? (A+B=C)

Scott W. Smith

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

As a music engineer and record producer Jimmy Iovine has worked with a Who’s Who in the music industry— John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, and Tom Petty. He also co-produced the movie 8 Mile, co-founded the company Beats with Dr. Dre., and was hired by Steve Jobs to help create Apple Music.

Here’s a snippet from the New York Times article “Jimmy Iovine Knows Music and Tech. Here’s Why He’s Worried”:

Ben Sisario: What’s the secret for an artist to have a long career today?
Jimmy Iovine: Quality —of everything you do. Make quality the priority, not speed. Speed is marketing, but you have to have something great to market.

Which reminds me of this quote I posted back in 2017:

“I think if you put energy into how do I break into the industry, how do I get an agent, how do I – it’s putting the cart before the horse. I think that ultimately first and foremost practicing. Shooting it. And then reshooting it. And reshooting it. And rewriting. And just getting, working on yourself and getting better. But just doing it.

Like getting a camera. Getting whatever camera you can get your hands on. And making stuff. And then getting out there however you can. I actually think practically that’s the industry – you can’t say the industry will be the path to your door, but I think the best way to find your career is just to do what you do and get it out there however you can…. Double down on substance. And that ultimately is what everybody is looking for so hard out there. Everybody wants something that’s interesting and good.”
Writer/director Rian Johnson (Knives Out)
Scriptnotes Q&A with Craig Mazin (Episode 299)

And here’s a music related clip from the movie Walk the Line that seems to belong here.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“Spending too much energy romanticizing the past or dreaming about the future can come at the expense of appreciating today.”
Casey Neistat
What Just Happened? 

Bill-IMG_8723.jpg

Many years ago I crossed paths with Orlando-based photographer Bill Bachmann who had one of those jobs that creative people dream about—get paid to travel around the world taking photos. He was a tall guy with a dynamic personality, and incredibly talented.

He invited me to his home studio to talk about a project and I was instantly impressed with his photos that were from everywhere on your bucket list (and a few that aren’t). He gave me a signed copy of one of his travel books before I left that day and our paths unfortunately never crossed again.

Last year, I wondered what he was up to and I found out he died from cancer in 2017. (His obituary said that he’d traveled to 200 countries, authored 15 books, and photographed five U.S. presidents.)

On the last day of 2019 I found myself driving by a cemetery where I knew he was buried and I decided to pull into the cemetery to see if I could find his mausoleum. Because mausoleums have a way of standing out it only took me about a two minutes to find it.

I’m one of those people who finds peace in cemeteries. They remind us of the people who’ve gone before us, and of our own mortality. It puts things in perspective.

This puts things in perspective, too . . . a few days ago I was working out when a old movie started on TCM and I realized as I watched the opening credits that I did not recognize a single name of anyone who worked on the movie.

Let’s all get back to work this new year, not forgetting to work on building lasting relationships with the ones we love.

Scott W. Smith

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: