Last night I just caught a few minutes of the Primetime Emmy awards and glad to see Jessica Lange and Ken Howard win Emmys for their roles in Grey Gardens. The HBO movie also picked up the Emmy for Made-for-TV Movie. (The movie won a total of six Emmys.) It’s always great to see someone like Howard who has been nominated for 10 Emmys finally pick up an Emmy after a long career.
Someone who hasn’t had a long career is the writer/director of Grey Gardens, Michael Sucsy. I didn’t really know much about him so I poked around and here is what I found. I think it’s important to see the path that talented people take to see what it takes to succeed at the highest level. Sucsy was born in 1973 and received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and an MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
He worked various below the line jobs on some features and made an award-winning short film after school. But he really made a name for himself directing commercials and in 2002 according to IMDB he was “nominated for the Young Director of the Year Award in conjunction with the 2002 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.”
He began to work on the script for Grey Gardens in 2003 after seeing the documentary by the same name. So we’re talking six years from idea to award. He was working as an assistant to a entertainment lawyer while doing research and writing for Grey Gardens meaning he had to get much of his writing in in the early morning hours before going to work. (The Breakfast Club for Writers.)
Eventually his script found its way to HBO where Sucsy directed Lange, Drew Barrymore and others in that would go on tie for the most Emmy nominations ever for a TV movie.
Dream big dreams, but keep plugging away on smaller projects.
(I’m preaching to myself here and look forward to going up to Minneapolis Saturday for the Midwest Regional Emmy Awards where I’m nominated for two Emmys—one for editing and one for lighting.)
Dec. 6, 2009 Update. I did pick up a Regional Emmy for location lighting for a spot I shot film noir style. But much more impressive is Grey Gardens which I finally saw a couple weeks ago. Just an extraordinary, moving and insightful film.
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