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So I called up the Captain
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969”
Hotel California/Eagles

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Yesterday I went to see Once Upon a Time …. in Hollywood at the Sun-Ray Cinema in Jacksonville, Florida. I drove to this theater two hours from my house because it was the only place in Florida showing Quinten Tarantino’s movie in 35mm. (Yes, if you drive two hours to see a movie in 35mm—and one you’ve already seen twice—you may be a cinephile.)

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I’ve heard this movie called “nostalgia porn” which is a phrase I’ve never heard before. But the movie does resonate in me in ways I can’t explain. But it no doubt has something to do with the mesmerizing sound track, the cinematography, the Cinerama Dome insert shot, the Camero, the old TV shows referenced—even the Marantz stereo receiver (I still have my from the 70s.)

I’ve decided I don’t want to see this movie again—I want to crawl into the movie and hang out with Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and have him drive me around old Hollywood in his Karmann Ghia. Maybe grab a drink with Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie at The Musso and Frank Grill.

I’m not ready to write this movie off as wishful “Once upon a time…” thinking mixed with nostalgia. There may have been more of an emphasis on art direction than plot, but this is my favorite Tarantino film. I didn’t say it was his best, just that it’s my favorite.  It’s a meditation of sorts that’s hard to define. (Which makes sense since he said this was his Roma. ) This is his $90 million memory film. After seeing it the first time I had to recalibrate my expectations to truly enjoy the accomplishment

And I can’t even articulate what Tarantino accomplished, but it’s one of those hang-out movies that he loves. And one that I think movie lovers will hang-out discussing long after it picks up a few Oscars nominations.

The Sun-Ray originally opened in 1927 as the Riverside Theatre. It was the first in Jacksonville to screen movies with sound. So it was nice to tap into that history. Unfortunately the 35mm film brought back some memories of the down side of film verses digital. There was a problem with one of the projectors yesterday causing a chunk of the film focus appear soft (including the climax of the film).

Not the end of the world for me since I’d seen it twice, but less than ideal. It made me think of all the problems I’d seen back in the day when films would be scratched and dirty, or would break during a screening, or a film hair would dance on the screen, or a bulb or projector would burn out.  Factor in that few films are shown these days in 35mm and you have older projectors that are going to need more nurturing to stay alive and operating.

And when you factor in the many problems that can occur while loading film cameras, or shooting, or in the developing stage it’s no surprise that many ASC cinematographers are less romantic for film than Tarantino. (Tarantino also has plenty of disposable income to keep his film projectors in top shape at his New Beverly Cinema in ways that’s not as economically viable for others.)

But I’m glad there’s a Tarantino in the world to keep that heartbeat alive. It made for a nice weekend for me to kick around Jacksonville and pull back a few more layers of his movie and the history of cinema.

Once upon a time Jacksonville, Florida was known as the winter home of the movie industry. This was back in the silent era when Fort Lee, New Jersey was the movie capital of the world.

Estimates are that more than 30 film companies in Jacksonville produced 300 films between 1906 and 1916. After World War I, production shifted to Los Angeles. Like Rick Dalton in Once Upon a Time … Hollywood, Jacksonville became a has been. Replaced by the young attractive glamour of a newcomer named Hollywood. (The first film in Jacksonville was made three years before the first film made in Hollywood.)

Over the years Jacksonville has been a bit player in the movie industry getting in some close-ups in a few films; Cool Hand Luke, Sunshine State.Lonely Hearts, Forces of Nature, G.I Jane).

The Norman Studios was a production company in Jacksonville that took over the old Eagle Film Manufacturing Company and between 1920-1928 produced films with an all black cast. One of those films, The Flying Ace (1926), will be shown today at the Cade Museum in Gainesville Florida with the grandson of the director Richard Norman in attendance.

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While in Jacksonville I also drove past another historic movie theater, the San Marco (built in 1938), to take a photo and complete my journey.

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P.S. Did you know Jacksonville, Florida was named after Andrew Jackson? I didn’t until this weekend when I drove past a statue of Andrew Jackson in downtown Jacksonville.

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Scott W. Smith

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Though Photoshop World 2019 in Orlando ended a few days ago I’m just getting to my final post on the conference because I had a Photoshop hangover. After the last session I attended I was walking in the large hallway to leave and happened to run into Scott Kelby and meet him for the first time.

He and his company Kelby One have been putting on Photoshop World conferences for 20 years now and I’ve had read many of Kelby’s books over the years. As well as learned a lot from his online videos.

But one of Kelby’s great legacies is raising up other photographers turned educators. Three people that he’s brought to my attention that I’ve learned greatly from are Joe McNally, Zack Arias, and Jeremy Cowart.  If you need a creative jolt check out anything you can find on these guys.

Here’s a Zack Arias classic from 2009:

And if you’re a content creator who has focused on the video side—and would like to get more involved in still photography and Lightroom and Photography then check out Scott Kelby’s educational material.

P.S. On a similar note, I’m listening to the audio version of Like Brothers by filmmakers  Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass and they’ve also done a super job of raising up other filmmakers to follow in their path.

Related Posts:
Back to School—with Scott Kelby

Scott W. Smith

 

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One of the classes I attended today at Photoshop World Orlando was given by New York model turned photographer Peter Hurley who specializes in headshots.

Here are a couple of his YouTube videos with over six millions of views just on two basic techniques that will help with your headshots—no matter what side of the camera you’re on.

Hurley wrote the book on headshots—literally. It’s called The Headshot: The Secret to Creating Amazing headshot Portraits. 

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Hurley has also been featured on a TED talk.

Related post:
Back to School—with Scott Kelby 

Scott W. Smith

 

 

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“Train your mind to see ordinary things is a unique way.”
Lindsay Adler

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Gone with the Wind

I went to several workshops today at Photoshop World Orlando 2019 including an inspirational talk by New York fashion photographer Lindsay Adler. Here are two online videos she mentioned that show how some of her work was influenced by Hollywood. One being the movie Gone with the Wind, and the other being the TV show Westworld. (And why not toss nod to the classic old Hollywood glamour photographer George Hurrell.)

And if you’re interested in pursing a career in photographer her’s a talk Adler gave last year that unpacks the road she took in developing her style and building her career.

Scott W. Smith

 

 

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Today was my first day attending Photoshop World Orlando 2019 and I took a four hour workshop with Adobe Evangelist Terry White. If you’re a content creator looking for some free tutorials on Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, etc.  check out Terry’s YouTube channel (and join his 464,000+ subscribers).

 

Scott W. Smith

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Dust to Dust

“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust”
From the funeral service in the Book of Common Prayer

The memorial service for my mother was held Saturday in the historic chapel part of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Maitland, Florida.  It was led by The Rev. Cameron MacMillian and was a beautiful and sacred time. I’ll just leave a few photos I took after the service to tell part of the story.

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Scott W. Smith

 

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