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Posts Tagged ‘Orlando’

Today is the first day of school at Valencia College and the film production, sound technology, and digital arts students will be walking into the newly opened School of Arts & Entertainment for the first time for classes.

I took a tour of the impressive facilities on Thursday and thought I post a few photos so give you a glimpse of what’s going on in the world outside of Los Angeles. The Valencia film program traditionally trains below the line talent and the various students over the past 20+ years have worked on 47 feature films as part of their education.

(And read my 2015 post The Perfect Ending that shows the connection between Valencia College, The Blair Witch Project, and Game of Thrones.)

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One of only three Dolby Atmos theaters in Orlando

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Scott W. Smith

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Postcard #138 (Pulse)

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6/12/17 I drove by Pulse this morning, one year after the terrorist attack in Orlando

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Today I’m going to the premiere of the doc This Cold Life at the Florida Film Festival. It will be anything but cold today in Maitland/Orlando, Florida as the mid-90 degree temps are some of the hottest in the United States.

Much of This Cold Life was shot in Longyeabyen, Norway, “the world’s northernmost town.” Darren Mann directed the doc and is someone I did camera work for years ago for TV programs he shot in Minnesota and Iowa. I look forward to seeing him at the premiere and seeing a part of the world I don’t recall ever seeing before.

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“Break on through to the other side…”
Jim Morrison

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You can file this post under “Old dog, New Tricks.”

Recently we welcomed a 9-year-old Golden-Lab rescue dog named Ginger into our home. It was just about a year after our 15-year-old Golden Retriever Lucy died, and we still had all of her tug toys and were looking forward to our new dog playing with them.

But we found out that Ginger did care to play with any of Lucy’s toys. We were told that Ginger’s original owners were elderly and could no longer care for her which is why they gave her up. We realized that maybe she’d never chased a tennis ball or played with a stuffed dog toy.

But slowly we’ve introduced an old dog to new tricks. Albeit she’s a bit awkward because she is not a puppy, but she seems to be enjoying her latent retriever skill set.

Then it was my turn.

Yesterday, I completed three days of training on the Adobe Creative Cloud at Genius DV here in Orlando. I made the switch from Final Cut Pro to Premiere two years ago, but this filled in some gaps as well as gave me a better working knowledge of After Effects, Photoshop and Audition. (Way back in 2002, I also went to Genius DV when I was making the transition from AVID to Final Cut Pro.)

While I’ve learned greatly from various online tutorials over the years (paid and free), there is something special about stepping away from your regular work environment for a few days (or a week if you can afford it) and doing a hands-on workshop or class. (Some of my greatest leaps in learning have come from going to workshops/seminars in various places throughout the county.)

And here’s the secret that an older TV/video producer taught me when I was younger. I was complaining about a two-day seminar that I attended and how I didn’t learn that much. That can be a problem with any seminar, and there are usually many people there with varying degrees of knowledge and experience. So you can’t just skip a few pages forward, you have to stay on pace with the group.

Anyway, my friend told me, “Scott, you don’t go to workshops to learn everything, you go to learn a few things that make you better at what you do.” Amen. It may only be 10-20% of what’s taught, but that 10-20% can be huge in helping you create better work.

And I’ll add to that that your learning is not always what was actually meant to be a part of the training. Sometimes it’s the rabbit trail discussions, the passing conversations at lunch or break time with others taking the workshop, that are meaningful.

In my Adobe class led by Juan Carlos Santizo he taught this old dog, many new tricks. Some had to do with the nuts and bolts of Premiere (virtual reality in the next upgrade), much in After Effects, and a healthy dose of shop talk including showing the following behind the scene video of three of the then remaining members of The Doors (Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore) recording with Grammy-winning Skrillex back in 2012.  The official song on You Tube has 19 million views. Old dogs—new tricks. Keeps life interesting.

P.S. And I haven’t given up on Final Cut Pro. I just finished a project using FCP7 and started dipping into FCP-X earlier this year. I think it’s wise to be platformagnostic—to borrow Morgan Spurlock’s phrase. I started my production career as a Arri & Eclair 16mm  cinematographer and Steenbeck flatbed editor, so I’ve learned to actually enjoy the continual changes in technology.  And I’ve long cherished the sentiment of photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) who said his one regret was that he wouldn’t be around to take part in the digital world.

Scott W. Smith

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“I believe as long as you have a compelling story and talent, you could be on a farm in Iowa and start your screenwriting career. Although I now live and work in New York City, I originally got my start in Orlando, Florida.”
Amanda Caswell
How I Started My Screenwriting Career From Outside LA

Related Posts:

Outsider Paul Haggis & Your Voice I think it’s good for a writer to always be an outsider of some sort.”—Canadian-born screenwriter Paul Haggis
The Outsider Advantage
The World Outside of Hollywood Fine quote by The Graduate screenwriter Buck Henry
One Benefit of Being Outside Hollywood “(In Texas) you’re so removed you get to examine (how films are made) and say, ‘That doesn’t really make sense for us out here. Let’s do what makes sense.’ Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez
Why You Shouldn’t Move to L.A.
Screenwriting Outside L.A. 101 “I think that the Internet is going to effect the most profound change on the entertainment industries combined. And we’re all gonna be tuning into the most popular Internet show in the world, which will be coming from some place in Des Moines.” Steven Spielberg in 1991

Scott W. Smith

 

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Here’s the micro documentary personal project I’ve been working on this month about the Tinker Field baseball park where the Minnesota Twins held spring training until 1990. It may not be the Polo Grounds or Ebbets Field—but for many people this place holds a lot of memories.

This is my memory…

Scott W. Smith

 

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OrlandoBW-web

I started this postcard thing a couple of years ago to help keep the blog going when I was on the road or busy on productions and couldn’t devote time to a new post. But this blog also celebrates a sense of place so it’s an opportunity to do that at the same time.

Yesterday after a shoot at Disney World I took the above photo of an old train depot. I haven’t seen it in over a decade but decided to check it out because traffic was bad on I-4. A few hours later I went to see the movie Rush and when I reflected on the day I realized it stirred a lot of memories. A lot of odd connections.  Yesterday just happened to be the exact day Disney World opened in 1971. Keeping with the 70s theme the movie Rush is set in the 1970s. Two of my biggest teenage influences in the 70s were the Eagles’ album Hotel California and the photographer Ansel Adams. If you know both of them you know how that formed my taking the above photo.

Ron Howard who I watched faithfully in the 70s when he was an actor on Happy Days, directed Rush. I went to see Rush with my wife who happened to do extra work on another Ron Howard film, Parenthood, that was shot in Orlando. And finally in the movie Rush one of the Formula One race drivers featured is the great Mario Andretti. One of the first jobs I had in the Orlando area when I was a teenager was a place called Mario Andretti’s Gran Prix International which was glorified go karts dressed up to look like mini-formula one cars. It was a fun job.

Sorry for the detour, but hope you like the photo.

BTW— I thought Rush was terrific.

Scott W. Smith

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