Archive for the ‘Off Screen Quotes’ Category

Last night Apolo Ohno won his eighth Olympic medal making him “the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time.” It’s important to note that he’s racked up plenty of other victories and titles as a speed skater, and of course, in 2007 he won the Dancing with the Stars competition. It’s safe to say that the 27-year-old Ohno is talented, driven and focused. And he’s handled the spotlight remarkably well.

“I was going to after-Oscar parties. I was mingling with the Hollywood crowd. It’s really easy to become distracted when you have opportunities to do that kind of stuff. There’s no way I would ever turn that stuff down, but it’s important for me to realize why I’m here, what I’m trying to do and the goals I’m trying to accomplish.”
Apolo Ohno

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“Clear away the insurance commercials, billboards, dolls, apparel, stickers, soap dishes and the rest, and we’re left with the real thing: the Peanuts comic strip itself, Charles Schulz’s brilliant, angst-ridden, truly funny, 50-year-long masterpiece of joy and heartbreak.”
Matt Groening
The Simpson creator

This little off-screen section is for giving quotes that aren’t on screenwriting or filmmaking. Today’s quote is a little encouragement that was written many years ago and more recently has been kicking around Facebook as a testament to its enduring popularity and timelessness. Technically, the quote wasn’t written by Charlie Brown but by the great Minneapolis/St. Paul cartoonist Charles Schulz.

“Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.”
Charlie Brown to Snoopy

I’m not sure where that first appeared or the context, but I know that’s what we all long to hear. That despite all our problems—the sun will come up tomorrow. That’s the theme of many a great movie.

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening wrote an introduction (Oh Boy, Charlie Brown) to The Complete Peanuts 1955 To 1956 and mentioned the influence the Peanuts gang had on his life and work. He closed the piece writing:

“I got to meet Schulz once, in May 1998. I was holed up on the Fox lot in Century City, working on some Simpsons nonsense, when I received word that the great man was eating lunch nearby. I dropped everything and raced across town, stumbling into the restaurant where the affable Schulz held court before a group of fans and friends. I told him of my all-time favourite Peanuts comic strip, which I hadn’t seen in 40 years. The strip shows Lucy methodically making a series of tiny snowmen, then stomping on them, as Charlie Brown looks on. Lucy explains matter-of-factly: “I’m torn between the desire to create and the desire to destroy.”

“Thank you for that strip,” I said. “In one sentence you summed up my life.”

Schulz smiled politely. Do you hear me? He smiled politely! I made Charles Schulz smile politely! I just now realise I’m more like Charlie Brown than I’ve ever admitted to myself.”

Who knows how many writers Schulz influenced?

Scott W. Smith

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Yesterday, I was over at illustrator Gary Kelley’s studio doing some pre-production for a multi-media production we’re producing that will premeire at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony next month. I noticed he had a quote taped to his easel that I thought translated to writing as well:

“If painting weren’t so difficult, it wouldn’t be fun.”
Edgar Degas

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The great classical musican and conductor Itzhak Perlman was in Cedar Falls, Iowa last night to perform a fundraising concert for polio research. (He himself contracted polio as a child and uses crutches or a scooter to get around.) The violinist has played around the world and on many film scores including his work as a soloist on Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, for which John Williams won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Score . Perlman has won numerous Grammys and Primetime Emmys.

“I’m now doing three things: concerts, conducting, and teaching, and they each support each other. I learn to see things from different perspectives and listen with different ears. The most important thing that you need to do is really listen. “
Itzhak Perlman

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I don’t know much about Jeremy Rifkin other than Time Magazine called him “the most hated man in science,” but I found this quote interesting;

“The modern age has been characterized by a Promethean spirit, a restless energy that preys on speed records and shortcuts, unmindful of the past, uncaring of the future, existing only for the moment of the quick fix…Lost in a sea of perpetual technological transition, modern man and woman find themselves in increasingly alienated from the ecological choreography of the planet.”
Economist Jeremy Rifkin
via The Surfers Journal
article Gone Bamboo by Gavin Ehringer
Volume 18, Number 4

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Since I wasn’t able to go to the Aplington-Parkersburg game last night I thought I’d drive out this morning and see the what remnants were left behind from the first ever high school football game from Iowa to be broadcast on ESPN. The only activity was a couple joggers running around the track.

The only hint production-wise was a large Musco lighting truck. Musco is an Iowa-based company whose large lighting set-ups provide temporary and permanent  lighting for everything from the last presidential inauguration, features films such as Pearl Harbor, the Daytona Speedway , and currently the 2009 Little League World Series.

But there was the Ed Thomas field. Named after the long time coach of the Aplington-Parkersburg team who died a few months ago. The nickname of the field is “The Sacred Acre” and I think ESPN broadcasting the game last night as a tribute to Coach Thomas will cement in the minds of the American public that town as a symbol of what’s good about this country.

Thomas was already a well-respected icon in Iowa before his death. He was the eighth winningest coach in the the history of Iowa football and currently has four players in the NFL. That’s an impressive number since there are schools around this county who have never had in their school’s history a total of four players in the NFL. What’s more amazing is the school has less than 280 students and the population of the town of Parkersburg is smaller than some high school’s in this county.

So what sets this program apart? Books will be written about that in the future. Aplington-Parkersburg is not really a football factory. It never was intended to be one. But here are a few quotes from Coach Thomas taken from an interview I found at Momentum Media that give a hint of what made him a special person.

“I’ve always said my job is not to prepare our kids to be college athletes. My job is to make football a learning experience, and there are so many things they can learn from being a part of our team that will help them be successful later in life as a father, member of a church, or member of the community. There are so many intangibles we can teach that they can take with them.”

On a leadership class he taught to senior players:

“I talk about leaders setting an example, the responsibility of being a leader, and the idea of being a servant and a giver. I talk about standing up to do what is right when nobody else will, and letting other players know when they’re doing something wrong. I also explain the importance of being a role model—that leaders have to set the tone for other players to follow. I talk about the respect that they have to gain with other young people. I tell them that everyone might not always like you, but you should act in such a way that they respect you.”

When asked about how he defined ethics as it related to coaching:

“Ethics is doing what’s right. It’s following the rules, and teaching football the way it ought to be played. Ethics is teaching young people about sportsmanship and how to conduct themselves in a first-class fashion regardless of whether they win or lose. I tell our kids that we’re going to go out and play hard, and we want to win as much as anybody. But when the game is over, we’re going to line up, shake hands, and be gentlemen, knowing that we did the very best we could. To me, that’s all part of ethics.”

Scott W. Smith

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It seems like there’s been quite a few movies in the last couple years that deal with the changing of the guard from older to younger. And as the boomers start to retire I’m sure that theme will become more popular. One of the great lessons I learned playing sports into college is how every year (every game sometimes) someone is gaining ground on you in hopes of taking your position.

And professionally in media production I’ve watched the transition cycle a few times. I watched the old adage of “You don’t want to be a jack-of-all trades” that I learned in school be turned upside down today. I remember what it was like being 25-years old doing a 16mm shoot in Aspen, Colorado where everyone else in production seemed 100 years old and I’ve been on shoots more recently where all of the sudden I’m the old guy.  (At the 48 Hour Film Project/Des Moines a couple weeks back the winner for Best Special Effects was 15-years-old. I have light meters that are more than 15 years old!)

One way to look at these transitions is to look at the ebb and flow of the surf. There is a cycle of change there that is healthy to embrace. Since I mentioned nine time surfing champion Kelly Slater yesterday I thought it would be good to find a quote from him to see how he, at age 37, handles the pressure of being the old guy on the tour with plenty of young talent from around the world gunning for him.

“When there’s a generational change, there’s a change in the way things are done. And people who are stuck in their ways and don’t want to see change are the first ones to be vocal about it. And I feel totally supportive because I’m still trying to take my surfing to different levels and that’s exciting for me. Because, honestly, there were times when I first got on tour that I was bored with the level of surfing. And I’d much rather be getting my ass kicked than being bored.”
Kelly Slater
Surfing Magazine
Interview by Matt Walker

What a great mindset to have. Slater is not focused on trying to stay young, or to hold on to the past, but to continue to raise his skill level. And one of the things that pushes him is seeing the 22-year-olds doing radical moves just like he did when he joined the tour more than fifteen years ago.

I’ll keep that in mind next week when I have a shoot in New York City with a talented young crew that’s probably going to be at least a decade younger than me. Another chance to grow.

Scott W. Smith

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“Fame is like cigarettes with no surgeon general warning. It destroys most people as it did to the true and only King of Pop. We exploit ourselves and eat our own egos ‘Till there is nothing left.”
                                                                   Kanye West

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Yesterday I quoted Natalie Goldberg who in her first book wrote about the bliss of writing, but  a few years later she added this:

“I have not seen writing lead to happiness in my friends’ lives. I’m sorry to say this, I, who fifteen years ago published a book telling everyone to grab their notebooks and write their asses off. No high like it, I said. I meant it–it was true. Now I’m past fifty, and I have given everything to writing, the way a Zen master watches her breath and burns through distraction. Was I a fool to do this? Did I choose the wrong path?…I know no one wants to hear me say how hard writing is—quit while you can.”
                                             Natalie Goldberg
                                            Thunder and Lighting

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I sometimes write on the inside cover of books where and when I bought the book. Inside Natalie Goldberg‘s Writing Down the Bones I have written, “Georgetown, CO, 9/2000.” Once upon a time there was this wonderful little bookstore in Georgetown, Colorado that was the perfect stop between Denver and the Vail/Breckenridge area. The bookstore is gone now, but it’s eteched in my mind. 

And I still have Goldberg’s book. One of over a million copies since it was first published in 1986. The subtitle is “Freeing the Writer Within.” She wrote the book while living in Minneapolis.

Goldberg now lives in northern New Mexico and does writing workshops around the country. Her most recent book is Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir.  She also recently worked on the documentary Tangled Up in Bob about Bob Dylan and his childhood roots in Hibbing, Minnesota.

If you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance.  You just do it. And in the middle of the run, you love it. When you come to the end, you never want to stop. And you stop, hungry for the next time. That’s how writing is, too.”
                                          Natalie Goldberg
                                          Writing Down the Bones
                                          page 11 


Scott W. Smith

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