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Posts Tagged ‘Fred Rogers’

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me. ”
Fred Rogers

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If you time it right next Tuesday you can catch the unusual double feature of Mr. Rogers  (Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and Full Metal Jacket at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Florida.  Catch the documentary on Fred Rogers at 6:30, grab a food and a drink at Eden Bar, and then catch the Stanley Kubrick war classic at 9:30. (Therapy afterward optional.)

How many times will you get to do that in your life?

I had the opportunity to cross paths with Fred Rogers twice in my life. The first time was in 1997 when my wife was playing a piano duet in the music building at Rollins College.  As my wife and I were talking after the recital Mr. Rogers came up and said to my wide in his super nice and friendly manner, “I really enjoyed your music.”

Mr. Rogers also played the piano and went to Rollins College where he met his musician wife. She later received a book from him with a nice note.

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My second Mr. Rogers encounter was when I was taking photos at the Rollins Chapel carrying equipment and he opened the door for me. It was like having Forrest Gump open the door for you. (Speaking of…Tom Hanks will be playing Mr. Rogers in the movie You Are My Friend coming out next year from a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and  Noah Harpster. )

Fred Rogers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998 and may have taken one of the more unusual routes to Hollywood Blvd. He born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania (where golfing legend Arnold Palmer was also born) and after Rollins attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and became an ordained Presbyterian minister before launching his TV class show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. 

Here’s a little Mr. Rogers inspiration for you today.

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P.S. In the early 60s (1961/1962) author and theologian R.C. Sproul was starting his training at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary just as Fred Rogers was finishing his education there. In 1971 Sproul started the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Stahlstown, PA. (Stahstown, Ligonier, and Latrobe are all neighboring towns within a ten-mile radius of each other.)

Sproul later moved to Orlando and in the 90s when I was just a few years out of film school and looking for “Hollywood East” I produced many videos and a radio program with Sproul and he told me he’d gone to seminary with Fred Rogers.

Proving once again that it’s a small, small world with many surprising twists and turns.

P.P.S.

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Won’t you be my neighbor? (“Full Metal Jacket” version.)

Related post:
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hollywood East (written after R.C. Sproul died last year)

Scott W. Smith

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Merry Christmas—50 weeks early. When I was driving through Nashville last November after a production I had lunch with William Akers (Your Screenplay Sucks!) and he told me about a video of Orson Welles doing a Q&A with students at USC back in 1981. I’d never seen or even heard of the video, so I figured it would be a great way to start 2014 by pulling a few quotes this week. (Below is the complete hour and a half video.)

“I never sit down and plan with a cinematographer. I had storyboards in [Citizen] Kane only because I was made to. I believe I’m the only director—that I know of—who does this particular thing, which is probably the worst way to go about it. I didn’t begin this way but I’ve developed this way. I light a set with a cameraman before I decide where anybody will go. And then when the set looks right to me I put the actors where I think they ought to be. I don’t put the actors in and then light the set—it’s the exact opposite. Because the set is all we have besides the actors and it ought to have a chance. The only way to give it a chance is to begin with it. That’s my theory anyway.”
Producer/director/writer/actor Orson Welles
At the 44:38 mark when asked about working with planning the look of The Trial (1962) with cinematographer Edmond Richard.

Welles wrote The Trial screenplay based on the 1925 uncompleted novel by Franz Kafka and the movie starred Anthony Perkins as a 30-year-old man arrested without knowing why. (A little Orwell, Orson, Obama mix with the novel 1984, a touch of the 2002 film Minority Report where you’re arrested before you commit a crime, and some 2013 news of NSA spying. Nothing new under the sun.

Now that Screenwriting from Iowa…and Other Unlikely Places enters this month into its seventh year I will be writing more filmmaking posts. Toying with a few other ideas to take things up a notch but welcome any ideas and suggestions readers have to make this a more helpful site for screenwriters and filmmakers. You can email me at info@scottwsmith.com. Best wishes on your screenwriting and filmmaking this year.

P.S. A little Anthony Perkins trivia; Like Fred Rogers, Perkins attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. (Where I just happen to live.) If you’re looking for a quirky creative challenge today, write a scene where the star of the thriller Psycho and the star of children’s TV program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood are college roommates. Bonus points if you can do a mash-up video of the Hitchcock classic and the PBS show. Working title: It’s a Beautiful Day at the Bates Motel.

Related posts:
10 Cinematography Tips (Roger Deakins)
Screenwriting Quote #38
Stagecoach Revisited (2.0) Welles watched the John Ford classic 40 times while making Citizen Kane.

Scott W. Smith

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“Vernon, Florida”

“After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven’t found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.”
Roger Ebert

You know what’s most quirky about The Black List (2013)? Yes, screenwriter Elijah Bynum is the only writer with two scripts on the list, but that’s more phenomenal than quirky. Certainly the fact that there are two scripts on the list about making the movie JAWS and two scripts about Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) is quite odd. But as far as most quirky, I’m going to go with the Andrew Sodroski’s thriller script Holland, Michigan having Errol Morris attached to direct.

Morris is an Academy Award-winner who’s been making films for 35 years. Mostly documentaries (The Fog of War, Gates of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line) but the only narrative feature he directed,  The Dark Wind (1991), was an experience he called “remarkably distasteful.”

“I’ve ‘undervalued’ The Dark Wind for a number of reasons, because it could have been a very different kind of movie, a good movie. I hate to go on about it, but, for me, it was devastating and, for a while, I even thought about giving up filmmaking altogether…I wasn’t allowed to shoot what I wanted to shoot. And not only wasn’t I allowed to edit the film, I wasn’t involved in any way with the editing. So I feel so disconnected from the end result, so divorced from it, that it’s hard for me to really think of it as one of my films.”
Errol Morris
2001 Errol Morris Interview with Tom Ryan 

So I find it interesting that he’s set to direct a narrative film that was the most highly ranked script on this year’s Black List. It’ll be interesting to see how that deal all worked out. And isn’t it quirky that he’s making a film titled Holland, Michigan when was the title of one of his early documentaries is  Is there any other filmmaker in the history of cinema who’s made two films named after a city and a state? If you’ve never see it— and want to see something really quirky—check out the doc Vernon, Florida.

P.S. Back in the ’90s  I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Rodgers at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Long before he recorded his first of 895 episodes of the Emmy-winning Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he earned a BA in Musical Composition from Rollins. He and his wife occasionally returned to the campus for various reasons and he actually came to a piano recital my wife gave. I’ll never forget after the recital he told my wife in that perfect Mr. Rodgers voice, “I really enjoyed your music.” Mr. Rogers was one of the good guys. And now that I think about it, having just one Mr. Rogers script on The Black List would have been quirky, I don’t even know what you call two Mr. Rogers scripts being hot properties in Hollywood. (In fact, if you told me Errol Morris was directing one of the Mr. Rogers scripts I would have thought that made perfect sense.)

Related Post: What’s in Your Backyard? Touches on Errrol Morris doc Gates of Heaven after he read headline, ‘450 Dead Pets To Go To Napa.’

Scott W. Smith

 

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