Posts Tagged ‘Gary Kelley’


For the last few days I’ve been working on condensing a massive amount of digital files. And when you do something like that you stumble across a few gems. Here’s a photo I took while photographing Gary Kelley’s artwork for a multimedia project we were working on a few years ago.

Gives you a little glance into Gary’s process. If I recall correctly, he had The Silent Clowns by the late film critic Walter Kerr on hand for the title cards he was designing that captured a WWI silent film era.

Here’s a 2013 promo by the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony for that production.

Related posts:
Mr. Silent Movies
Silent Screenwriter Dies
Harold Loyd v. Buster Keaton
Writing the Artist
You Tube Film School (Early Film History)
Artist Gary Kelley Paints the Cloud in Iowa

Scott W. Smith

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One of the great joys of my decade living in Iowa was getting to know and work with artist Gary Kelley. Here he is explaining his football sized artwork at the Google data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  

And these large murals are painted in other Google data centers (the cloud) around the world.

P.S. Gary’s daughter Cydney Kelley is a writer on Days of Our Lives. She also wrote an episode of The Game

Related post:
Kelley’s Blues Concert
Post #1,500
Postcard #32 (The Planets)
The First Black Feature Filmmaker  (Oscar Micheaux stamp by Gary Kelley)

Scott W. Smith

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Since today marks the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech given in Washington D.C. I thought I’d pull together many of the links related to Martin Luther King and black writers and filmmakers I’ve written about since I started this blog in 2008. The roots of this blog go back to a creative writing teacher I had in high school named Dr. Annye Refoe—who just happens to be black. She opened to me and other students a new world of creativity, literature & storytelling, and an understanding of the black experience in the United States.

Martin Luther King Jr. & Screenwriting (Tip #7)
Martin Luther King Jr. Special
Blacks in Black & White
Shrimp, Giants & Tyler Perry
Postcard # 18 (NYC Synagogue)
The First Black Feature Filmmaker
Writing & House Cleaning “Whatever your life’s work do it well.” MLK
The Father of Film (Part 2) A look at Birth of a Nation.
The Father of Film (Part 3)
Jackie, Spike & Sanford, Florida
Soul of the Game
President Obama, The Man & Iowa Seeds
First screenplay, Oscar—Precious
40 Days of Emotions (Famous scene of Denzel Washington in Glory)

And I’ll close with this the video below of the multi-media performance of Three Black Kings I edited a couple of years ago with artist Gary Kelley. It was performed live by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony under the direction of conductor Jason Weinberger.

Scott W. Smith

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A few mountaintop experiences in my life include seeing one full solar eclipse in Salzburg, winning two Regional Emmy’s in Minneapolis, and scoring three touchdowns in a high school football game in Florida. That’s an eclectic mix, and there have been others of course, but those came to my mind Saturday night as I was brought up on stage after the debut of The Planets: Re-Imagined featuring the artwork of Gary Kelley, the music of Holst performed by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and a choral group from the University of Northern Iowa. All brought together under the direction of conductor Jason Weinberger.

My role was to create the video along with Kelley which was projected in high-definition on the 30 foot wide-screen just above the orchestra at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Standing on stage and looking up at more than 1,200 people applauding something you worked on is an amazing experience by itself.

The concert was a great experience and I hope in the coming years The Planets: Re-Imagined finds its way into concert halls throughout the United States and even around the world. Jason Weinberger is not only the conductor of the WCFSO but the its artistic director and CEO as well. Raised in Santa Monica and educated at Yale and Peabody, Weinberger has quite a vision and hope for the future of symphony music and education.

It was a special night and I was thrilled to be connected with so many talented people.

Below are some photos of the concert (and a rehearsal and pre-concert talk) taken by Noah Henscheid a photographer from St. Paul, Minnesota.


planetsreimagined-1 planetsreimagined-2 planetsreimagined-3

P.S. If you’re unfamiliar with Gary Kelley’s work, there’s a good chance you’ve  at least seen his art—if you’ve ever been to a Barnes & Noble book store.  Since there’s about to be a revival of author F. Scott Fitzgerald due to the release of the movie The Great Gatsby next month, here’s a photo I took at a Barnes & Noble/Starbucks of Fitzgerald that is part of the mural of writers that Kelley painted. (Actually taken in the Twin Cities not far from where Fitzgerald was born and raised.) Kelley is repped by Richard Solomon in NYC.


Scott W. Smith

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Here’s a promotional video for a project I finished editing this week with artist Gary Kelley called The Planets—Reimagined.  The video I worked on will be part the  multi-media concert featuring the music of  Gustav Holst performed by the  Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony led by conductor Jason Weinberger. The debut is tomorrow night (April 27, 2013) and the hope is that the project will be licensed by other symphonies around the county.

It’s been a privilege to be connected with so many talented people.

Scott W. Smith

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I showed my wife the two pictures below and asked her if I looked like Tom Cruise and after studying the pictures she said, “Well, you’re both wearing a hoodie.” I think that means yes.

Check out the movie poster from Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (which features Cruise as Ethan Hunt and opens today in the United States), and then check out the book cover for Blood Brothers which I posed for this summer. Eerie, huh? (Okay, maybe not, but enough of a coincidence to give me something to blog about today.)

Blood Brothers: A Heartland Cain and Abel was written by Scott Cawelti, and he and I completed the screenplay Shadows in the Dark this year based on the true story of a family of four that was murdered here in Iowa. As his book was being prepared for printing a couple of months ago the artist Gary Kelley asked me to pose for the cover and I was glad to do so. (The book was released just a couple of months ago and is already in it’s fourth printing.)

By the way, if you’re new to this blog check out this link to the official Tom Cruise website and blog where Screenwriting from Iowa got a nice unsolicited shout-out last year.

P.S. Back in the eighties my wife was working at the Disney Studios in Burbank when word got out that Tom Cruise was on the lot and she left her desk quick enough to get a glimpse of him as he got on his motorcycle and ride off. Judging from the video below he still causes a stir with the ladies 25 years later. 

Scott W. Smith

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Today is my last day of spending a week in my old Florida stomping grounds. It’s been a mixture of business and pleasure. So between Disney World one day, the beach another day, I was rounding up equipment for a little video shoot. Somewhere along the way I realized that if I lived in Orlando it would be hard to write and blog on a daily basis. There are just a lot more distractions here than back home in Iowa.

Not to mention the hours I spent this week driving to and from various activities and duties. Last night I got a kick out of going to dinner at a Central Florida Romao’s Macaroni Grill and walking in and seeing several pieces of artwork on the walls by my friend and Cedar Falls-based artist Gary Kelley.

Several years ago I asked Kelley why he didn’t at some point in his career move to a big city. He joked that he was from Algona, Iowa (pop. 5,741) and Cedar Falls was the big city. Then he went on to tell me that he didn’t need to move to a big city because he had an agent in New York and it didn’t mater where he lived. It was the work that mattered.

Kelley further said that he liked living in an area which had a low cost of living and where he could drive to his studio in five minutes (unless he decided to walk). He said that the problem that artists often have in big cities is that just living is a full time job on top of being an artist.

Of course, living in smaller areas has a different set of problems. What’s that saying—”Every problem has a solution, every solution has a problem.” My point is the only way to create everyday is to limit your distractions. I’m sure most creatives in Orlando and L.A. aren’t going to both the beach and Disney World/Disneyland every week. You simply must find a way to limit your distractions and focus on the work at hand.

That all brings me back to the book Your Screenplay Sucks!

“Really, really good writers will write even if they are not paid for it. It’s a compulsion for them. And it feeds something in them that goes beyond the financial. You must be writing because if you don’t write, you’ll die.

…All artistic pursuits are about discipline. Margot Fonteyn. Julian Schnabel. Mick Jagger. Saul Bass. Ron Bass. Picasso. Donatella Versace.  Milton Cantiff. Worker bees every one. It’s about waking up earlier than the other guy and working harder than the other guy and caring enough to be professional about this craft you say you love.”
William M. Akers
Your Screenplay Sucks!
pages 244-245

(Of course, I should say that some artists can get quite a lot done working at the beach. Here’s a iPhone shot I took yesterday at Cape Canaveral of a sand sculpture.)

Related post: Screenwriter’s Work Ethic

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