Creating posters for my films is something I've enjoyed doing over the
years. I've long been fascinated by film posters and I began collecting
them before they could be purchased in film memorabilia shops or online.
In those days when I saw a poster I wanted to add to my collection, I
would have to go to the theater on a Wednesday night when they would be
taking down the old one-sheets and putting up the new ones for the
incoming film. My timing had to be good or I would miss my opportunity.
Sometimes I could make an arrangement with the theater manager to set
one aside for me but this was unreliable because a separate company was
in charge of delivering and installing the new posters and removing and
returning the old ones.
My first poster find was from the film
The Last Run starring George C. Scott. It was a clean, elegant
presentation with a photograph of Scott sitting at a table in front of
an open window in a hotel room in Portugal. He is seen cleaning his .45
automatic and on the table is a bottle of whiskey and a pack of
Marlboros. So much in this photo conveyed masculine adventure and
danger and my first thought was this film would be the sort of story
Hemingway might have written. Only then did I notice the log line "In
the tradition of Hemingway and Bogart"--but the photograph spoke first.
a book cover is much like designing a movie poster. The idea is to make
a visual statement that conveys the essence and, perhaps the theme, of
the offering. When it came time for me to create the design for
Action/ReAction, I was at a loss for I didn't have a clue as to how the
book should look. I considered the classic theatrical masks of comedy and
tragedy but quickly rejected the idea as I felt they referred to
theater more than cinema and my technique addresses both. My next
thought was to use a selection of Venetian masquerade masks but after
looking through quite a few of them, I realized they all suggested
masquerade balls rather than performance.
I was discussing
this with writer, actor, photographer Tom Gurnee who began showing me
photos he had taken in Basel, Switzerland during the Fasnacht festival.
They were very colorful and expressive. Each mask seemed to have a
distinct emotion and one could even intuit the unspoken thoughts the
masks conveyed. They were a perfect expression of the Action/ReAction
technique. Then we stumbled upon a photo Tom had taken of several masks
lined up on a counter. It was a great arrangement and I began to
visualize how the cover would be presented.
I needed a context
that would be a visual presentation of the technique and since the
technique relies heavily on the dictates and discipline of music, I had
the idea of positioning the masks on a musical stanza as though they
were the notes of a song. Tom played with the spacing and arrangement of
the masks we had selected through a process of trial and elimination
and came up with the presentation that became the cover art.
then turned to my friend Kevin Courtright who wrote the book Back to Schoolin': What Led Zeppelin Taught Me About Music for a discussion of
music. Action/ReAction is a complex technique with many layers of nuance
applicable to both male and female registers and so we decided on a
treble clef. We turned our attention to the time signature that would be
indicated on the stanza. I wanted it to convey that the technique was
sophisticated and felt a 4/4 notation would send the wrong signal to
those who understood music. We decided on 7/8 time signature. The sharps will remain an unexplained inside joke.
now had what I felt was an adequate visual statement of the technique
even if some of the 'code' could only be understood by those with
musical training. The final element was a one sentence quote from me
that summarized the technique and put into words the illustration we had
created for the cover art. This was the result: "Think of yourself as a
singer/dancer and know that the rules of those two disciplines also
apply to acting."
This was an interesting exercise in visual,
nonverbal communication and coded, subliminal expression--like my seeing
'Hemingway' in the photo of George C. Scott before seeing it in the log
line on the poster. My thanks go to Tom Gurnee and Kevin Courtright
without whose help and expertise, this cover would not have been.
is available on Amazon and I was notified today that it will be carried
by Book Soup on the Sunset Strip, a short distance from where we have
our Elysée Wednesday gatherings.
Apart from the fact that The stuntman is one of my favorite films, I
have a number of personal connections to the film. A friend and mentor
of mine was Robert Lecky who worked with Mel Simon whose company
financed the film. Robert helped Mel segue from being the largest
builder of shopping malls in the United States into becoming a force in
the film industry. The cinematographer on The Stuntman was Mario Tosi
who was a friend and fellow Ferrari GTO owner in the late sixties. If you have
seen the footage I narrated that was shot by Peter Helm of our group and
our Ferraris at Willow Springs, you will have noticed Mario driving one
of the three GTOs in the film.
I didn't know Chuck Bail well. Chuck
played the stunt coordinator in The Stuntman and actually coordinated
stunts in the film, but I met with him about an unrelated project
at his home and at the airport hanger where he kept the Stearman
bi-plane gifted to him by Steve McQueen on his passing. Chuck and Robert
Lecky were friends and Chuck directed The Gumball Rally where if you
saw a Ferrari Daytona on the screen, you heard a Ferrari Daytona on the
soundtrack. I met and talked with Steve Railsback about The Stuntman in
Du-pars one day when I was with a mutual friend who had worked with
Steve in Yugoslavia on Veliki Transport. Allen Garfield (sometimes
credited as Allen Goorwitz), who played the screenwriter in The
Stuntman, called to comment on a Discussions episode I had written for
Kathi Carey after he had seen it on cable and he later attended the premiere
screening of my film Bleeder & Bates at the Hollywood Roosevelt
Hotel paying me the ultimate compliment by saying that Bleeder reminded
him of the work he had done with Wim Wenders. Tony Rush, son of The
Stuntman's director Richard Rush, acted in my film Terminal Velocity (1984).
Richard Rush sat in on a table-read I had organized for an
investor/distributor for one of my projects kindly reading one the
The Stuntman's poster attracted my attention picturing,
as it did, the devil sitting on a camera crane. When I stopped at the
theater box office in Westwood one afternoon to ask the ticket-seller
what the film was about, the answer she gave me was, "It's hard to say."
Immediately, I knew I had to see the film and more conversant figures
in the film business than that ticket-seller had difficulty answering
the question as to the film's subject matter. It is a film about filming
that deals with the illusion of perception and reality at every
level--a journey into the realm of questioning what is--with first-class
acting and dialogue that is sharp, witty and thought provoking;
everything I could ask for in a film and seldom get.
In making a
film about filmmaking, The Stuntman delivered filmmaking excellence in
the bargain. Notice Peter O'Toole's entrance into the film as his
helicopter flies in and lands hitting the camera mark perfectly with
perfect framing on Peter as Eli Cross, the director of the
film-within-the-film. One of my favorite line's from the film is the
rhetorical question "How tall is King Kong?" making reference to the
fact the the 3'6" gorilla was transformed by movie magic into a monster
in our perception. Another line of dialogue influenced my
development of the Action/ReAction technique and was spoken by O'Toole
commenting on an actor's performance by saying "It's not what he's
eating but what's eating him that makes it kind of interesting." Richard
Rush broke a number of filmmaking conventions and you can see that, on
more than one occasion, he broke the so-called 180 degree rule in
setting up his shots. I didn't mind at all.
The music score by
Dominic Frontiere is memorable, one of my friends commenting that the
main theme sounded like an hommage to Nino Rota. Dusty Springfield sang
the love theme "Bits & Pieces" (Dominic Frontiere/Norman Gimbel)
with lyrics that remind us that once there were real singers without
Auto-Tune and with well-crafted and coherent lyrics that could provide
perspective on one's life--even change it via the insights provided by
If you haven't seen the film, let me recommend it to you without reserve. It is 131 minutes of rousing fun.
A conversation during a recent meeting with a fellow car enthusiast made
reference to hot link sandwiches, sweet potato pies and L.A. jazz clubs
in the 60s. What better intro to another untold Sidney story!
father had been a jazz man before the war and his passion for music and
jazz in particular stayed with him throughout his life. When I was a
teenager, and well before I was of legal age to be going into such
places, my father would take me along with him to various jazz clubs in
the Los Angeles area. There was an active club scene in certain areas of
L.A. where streets like Crenshaw, Slausen and W. Wahshington defined
the region and the greats and near-greats could be heard live playing to
a crowd that knew and understood jazz.
Jazz drummer Johnny
Kirkwood was a friend of my father and played with organist Charles
Kynard in those days. Johnny can be heard on Professor Soul playing with
Charles along with Cal Green on guitar. The clubs offered me a new
world of of musical sophistication and I loved the atmosphere. As we
entered any of these clubs, I would hear the call of "Hello, Sidney"
coming from the audience as well as the stage. He was at home there as I
came to be. We were the only white faces in the crowd.
Robinson was another drummer my father enjoyed going to see. Wayne
played the Parisian Room on La Brea Avenue which, sadly, is long gone
having been replaced by a U.S. Post Office. My father and I became
regulars in the audience but especially whenever Wayne appeared. I had a set of Ludwigs
at the time and was taking drum lessons from a German gentleman who
knew nothing about jazz--or so it seemed. Wayne would sit at the table
with us between sets and we would talk technique and discuss the greats
who inspired us. What exceptional times these were.
of the Parisian Room, we have our lead-in to my untold Sidney story.
Late one afternoon, my father found himself in the vicinity and stopped
to use the phone booth in the parking lot of the Parisian Room. After
completing a few calls, Sidney gathered his things and walked back to
his car where he sat for several minutes preparing his notes and files for that
evening's appointments (he was still involved with life insurance in
those days and was training general agents for his company). As he was
about to drive away, he heard a voice calling out, "Sidney!"
around, my father saw no one and thought he might have imagined the
voice but as he backed out of his parking space, he heard the voice
again. This time it called out, "Victor!"
This not only confirmed
that he was the object of someone's attention but indicated the nature
of their interest as well. You see, my father was in the habit of
carrying more than one driver's license in those days. It was a
practical solution to the consequences of being an incorrigible driver
with habits that today would be labelled with 'Don't try this at home!'
"Victor Russo!" called the voice again and this time
Sidney saw two uniformed L.A.P.D. officers walking towards his car. They
seemed like nice enough fellows. He had left his wallet in the phone
booth and the nice officers were coming to return it to him--and to
A brief conversation ensued wherein Sidney
explained to the officers his theories on driving as well the purpose
served by the fictional Victor Russo. In his uniquely charming way,
Sidney convinced the two officers that his was a reasonable approach to
the challenges of driving in Los Angeles. They liked his story and I am
only surprised he didn't try to sell them each an insurance policy while
he had their attention.
The officers did not cite my father for
possession of the supernumerary driver's license though they kept the
Victor Russo license (for their scrap book, no doubt). They parted as gentlemen on
the best of terms.
My father was still sitting in the parking lot
as the police car drove past. They honked and one of the officers
called out, "Good bye, Sidney, alias Victor Russo!"
Here is a taste of Charles Kynard playing Where's It At:
I was talking to a Ferrari friend coordinating a visit to the Ferrari
factory in Maranello for another Ferrari friend and it looks as though
my friend will get to enjoy his Ferrari tour but what became clear is
how different things are today than they were in Enzo Ferrari's time. My
visits to the factory weren't planned, choreographed, orchestrated or
stage managed; I just showed up.
The first time I darkened the
door of the factory in Maranello was in 1970. I had flown from Los
Angeles to London where I stayed a few weeks looking for Bentleys to buy
and ship back to California for resale. I scoured the landscape
purchasing cars among them a pristine James Young R-type discovered in
Surrey and a beautiful S1 I found (after enjoying a first class lunch
aboard the train) in Southampton. It was a wonderful life and I
experienced meals at Claridge's, cricket at Lord's,
pub lunches in the countryside and plays in London's West End--on that
trip I saw Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap and Sleuth starring Anthony
Quayle at theSt Martin's Theatre. I was wined and dined by my
very good friend W.J.D. Clarke and his family in their homes and
ventured into some very interesting antique shops. I had been making
these trips to London since I was 16 and knew where to go and what to
do. On this trip, however, I did not return home after
consigning my cars to the shippers and instead took an Alitalia flight
to Milano where I would attend the Italian Grand Prix at Monza (and meet Enzo Ferrari in the process) and absorb some Italian atmosphere and culture.
The Grand Prix was exciting and Clay Reggazoni won in his Ferrari though
the weekend was was spoiled by the death of Jochen Rindt
who suffered a fatal accident during practice. Jochen became the first
and only posthumous World Champion.
On the Monday after the Grand
Prix, I took the express train to Bologna and then doubled back to
Modena. After walking around the town and finding that the Ferrari
customer service department in Modena to be closed for lunch, I found a restaurant
and enjoyed a wonderful and leisurely-paced luncheon along with some
pleasant conversation with the proprietor. I was especially interested
in his thoughts on the famous neighbors, Ferrari and Maserati, and his
appreciation of their legendary efforts in racing. I told him I was
visiting the Ferrari factory after lunch and he asked if I had an
appointment. Without seeing beyond his question, I told him that I did
not. He called a taxi for me and I took my leave.
told the taxi driver and with a smile he steered the familiar course
and about twenty minutes later he was dropping me at the factory gate.
Approaching a door near the archway over which the familiar
Ferrari logo confirms your arrival at a place of legend, I rang a bell that was answered after several minutes by a man
in a suit. "Hello. I would like to take a tour of the factory, please," I
told him in Italian. He asked if I had an appointment. I felt like
Monty Python's John Cleese when he would answer an awkward question with
"Not as such" but confined myself to a simple "No". I added that I had
come from Los Angeles and that I owned a Ferrari GTO. Though I had, in
the course of the previous two days at Monza, met Enzo Ferrari and the Formula 1
team manager Franco Lini (whom I had originally encountered some months earlier at a
Ferrari Owners Club meeting in Los Angeles), it did not occur
to me to mention this to him. He asked me to wait.
conversation (or series of conversations) had taken place, the result
was that I was beckoned to enter and was taken on a full tour of the
factory by a nice gentleman whose name was Pietro de Franchi. I saw the
production line that included an example of a new model that had not yet
been revealed to the public (it would debut later as the 365 GTC/4),
witnessed an engine undergoing a dynamometer test (what a glorious
sound!), paid a visit to the foundry and--Holy of Holies--the racing
Did I ask to see Il Commendatore or Franco Lini? No.
I'd met them two days earlier and had nothing new to say or ask of them,
but I have to confess that it was impossible to walk around the factory
without feeling Ferrari's presence. Whether he was observing us or I
was feeling his proximity via the cars that were his life's work, I
don't know. It was, however, hallowed ground and, as my friend Paolo
Migliorini Brizzolari said to me, "...it was a very special day
impressed in your memory."
Napoleon said that an army marches on its stomach. He was Emperor of
France and knew a thing or two about armies. A film crew of any size can
be likened to an army serving long hours under difficult circumstances
doing a job that is result-oriented rather than just putting in the
hours of a shift. The food provided and the conditions under which meals
are served take on greater importance relative to the difficulty of the
job at hand.
My first experiences with movie locations were
with The Wrecking Crew (Palm Springs), Winning (Riverside Raceway) and
Sole Survivor (Victorville). It was typical that we would be served
lunch on the set by movie caterers and dinner was at a restaurant of our
choosing paid for by the per diem provided by the company. For the most
part, we would all eat in the hotel restaurant because the remote
location meant a limited number of available restaurants in the area.
One exception to this was on The Wrecking Crew when I took a co-worker to a
Chinese restaurant in my Ferrari...
Any shoot tends to be economical with time but this is especially true
of a production on location. Breakfast and lunch tend to be hurried and
to the point. Dinner is a more relaxed occasion unless after dinner
shooting is planned. The imperative is to keep the camera rolling.
in France, I found that food took on a completely different
significance. Not only did its preparation become elevated to an art
form, a meal was the social convention that formed meaningful
friendships. As I acclimatised to living in Paris, dinners starting at
eight in the evening and lasting until well past midnight were quite
common. Fine food and interesting conversation bonded people who had
previously been strangers. I decided to carry this ritual into my
On my first film, Montmartre, we ate in various
restaurants around Paris where we were shooting. Couscous Merguez and
steak-frites were favorites. Vin rouge was the beverage of choice.
Preparing to shoot The French Chef, my partner and I dined out in some
of the best restaurants in Paris where the proprietors (in France, the
chef is also the owner of the restaurant) would 'audition' for the shoot
by inviting us to a dinner that they would present on the show.
shoots found us in isolated areas that offered limited choices of
places to eat. Desert Center, Success, Terminal Velocity, Dead Right and
Double Cross were all shot in part on El Mirage lake bed and in and
around Victorville and Las Vegas. When we were in Victorville breakfast
was always at a truck stop where the biscuits and gravy were
intoxicating. Lunch was where we could find it but dinner was open to
crew input and we would have prime rib one evening and pasta the next.
Las Vegas offered even more exotic possibilities as did Mexico when we
were there shooting Fait Accompli. In Ensenada, dinner one evening was hosted in the restaurant
of a former New York gangster who took a liking to us.
of where we took our meals, they were unhurried affairs and I could
generally get a feeling from the group when they were ready to return to
work. This approach made for some very pleasant shoots and, no doubt,
the thought of doing things this way would drive any respectable unit
manager crazy but I've found there's more to making films than making
My special thanks goes to France and my Parisian friends who informed my approach to filmmaking and, yes, to life as well.
After a year or so of Jaguar E-Type ownership ('There's nothing like
Jaguar motoring!" D.S. Jenkinson was fond of writing in Motor Sport
magazine), I had grown weary of breaking down at the side of the road
albeit in some very picturesque locations--the California desert, the
Malibu coastline, along Route 66 in Arizona--not to mention my own
driveway when starting off on a much anticipated trip. The Jaguar was
like being married to the most beautiful and most temperamental woman in
the world. I was the envy of everyone but few knew of the frustrations.
If only I had a dollar for every time someone approached me as I sat in
the car waiting for a tow truck to have them tell me how lucky I was to
own such a beautiful car! Well, of course, they were right, and yet...
beautiful as the Jaguar was (and still is, by any standard), I had
always had a special reaction to Ferraris. Recuperating in the hospital
after my head-on collision on the Ventura Freeway, I discovered Road
& Track magazine and started familiarizing myself with the Italian
brand and its history not to mention the legendary drivers who raced the
cars from Maranello. I wanted a Ferari but I wasn't yet old enough to
drive much less own one.
At Riverside Raceway, I saw the most
amazing car being driven by Jill St. John. It was obviously a Ferrari
and later I learned that it was a Berlinetta Lusso. It was breathtaking
and I wanted one. It did not occur to me that owning one might be
difficult given that it was a limited production item with only 351
Lussos being manufactured during its production run from 1963 through
1964. I had staked my claim.
One of the first Lussos I looked at
when my time came to buy one was a dark blue example owned by Haskell
Wexler. Haskell had directed the film Medium Cool and would be the
cinematographer on films like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, the
original Thomas Crown Affair and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest among
others. As much as I was eager to acquire a Lusso, I didn't buy
Haskell's car. When I visited his home in the Hollywood Hills to see the
car, I didn't even ask to test drive it. I wanted one that was in
I looked at a couple more Lussos which weren't that
easy to find and I wanted one that was in 'like new' condition if
possible. Finally, I found one that met my requirements. It was silver
blue with French racing blue leather and carpets. The owner, who lived
in Las Vegas, Nevada, agreed to drive the car to Los Angeles so that I
could drive it and have it inspected by my mechanic.
Lusso cleared the mechanic's inspection, I agreed to buy the car. It was
arranged for me to drive to Las Vegas with the seller that same day to
get accustomed to the car and fly back to Los Angeles leaving the car
with him until I had arranged for a transfer of funds into his account. I
would bring the car back to Los Angeles in the coming days.
left Los Angeles just before rush hour traffic got underway and this
would be my first long distance drive in a Ferrari. The weather was cool
and the engine sounded magnificent with the windows down. We by-passed a
long section of the San Bernardino Freeway in favor of a tree-lined
road that seemed to go on forever towards the I-15 and the sounds of the
V12 engine echoed off those trees as I imagined they would along the
Mulsanne straight at Le Mans. Compared to the E-Type, the Lusso seemed
like a wild animal that had slipped its leash--it revved to seven
thousand and the fenders stretched forward hunting every nuance of the
pavement in a predatory manner very different from what I had been used
As we passed Victorville, it began to rain and by the time we
reached Barstow, a heavy fog had moved in. It made not the slightest
difference and the Lusso maintained a cruising speed at or near 100
m.p.h. the whole time. All I did was to turn on the fog lamps that are
designed into either side of the Lusso's front grill. I felt as though a
new world had opened for me.
At Baker, we stopped for gasoline
and I let the seller take the wheel. As we climbed the incline leaving
Baker, I saw 120 m.p.h. on the speedometer, which is so extraneous on a
Ferrari that the designer Pininfarina
saw fit to put it on the passenger side of the instrument array. It
wasn't to dip blow that speed until we slowed to exit the freeway going
towards McCarran Field and my flight home.
It was another two
days before I took possession of the Lusso. I was still in high school
(having missed a semester because of the accident) and it was not
'opportune' for me to miss any school time. Realizing that I was
impatient to have the car and that I was not happy about waiting for the
weekend to get it, my father offered to fly to Las Vegas and drive the
car back home to me. I countered by suggesting that we fly up together
but that didn't solve the problem of school.
The following day, I
was hoping to find the Lusso waiting for me as I came out of school. It
was not to be. Not wanting to waste a trip to Las Vegas, my father
spent some casino time at the Sands (as he and I would do on our
subsequent trips) and it was almost midnight before I heard the Lusso
coming down the street and turning into our driveway. At that point, the
Lusso was mine!
I've heard people refer to Ferraris (and other
special automobiles) by saying, "It's just a car". Nothing could be
further from the truth. The Lusso formed a way of life for me that
opened the door to special people and adventures I never would have
otherwise known. It was never a toy that was taken for granted and I
don't think I ever parked the Lusso without turning back to admire it
before walking away.
In retrospect, I would say that the Lusso became a lifestyle; one that I was very grateful to experience.
A few years ago, I was becoming interested in the works of playwright
David Mamet. I had recently seen and enjoyed the movie State and Main
with, among others, Philip Seymour Hoffman. It reminded me that I had
earlier enjoyed House of Games which was also written and directed by
At the time, I was working with Michael Chanslor on post
production and music for one of my projects and it was during one of our
discussions that covered everything from Amos 'n' Andy to Derek and
Clive that the subject of David Mamet came up. Michael asked if I'd ever
read David's play Oleanna. When I told him that I had not, he offered
me his copy of the play to read.
In the following weeks, I made
time to read the play and found it very engrossing. I enjoyed it so much
that I re-read it a few times knowing that, at some point, I would need
to give it back to Michael. If you haven't had the pleasure of this
compelling story of a professor and his female student, I highly
recommend that you read it.
One afternoon, I was going to visit a
friend who was in the hospital in Santa Monica and I stopped at a
florist shop on Wilshire Blvd. to buy some flowers. Since the shop was
in the vicinity of a few hospitals, it was not surprising that they were
busy and their small parking lot was full. As I was idling in the alley
behind the shop thinking about where to look next for a place to park, a
man waved to me and indicated that he would be leaving momentarily and I
could take his space. During the few minutes it took for him to leave, I
realized it was none other than David Mamet who had offered me his
As I waited for David to load his car, I thought
how nice it would have been if I had the copy of Oleanna with me
relishing Michael's reaction to having his copy returned with an
inscription and signature from the author. It was one of those 'Oh,
well' moments that could have and should have happened but didn't.
waved a thanks to David as he drove away and pulled into the vacated
space. Getting out of my car, something on the back seat caught my eye.
It was Michael's copy of Oleanna.
I have been making independent films and TV shows since my arrival in
Paris a lifetime ago and all these projects have had something in
common. Without realizing it, I was following a fundamental dictate of
the legendary Bruce Lee. Though I was never a fan or follower of Bruce,
his films or his martial arts career, I've always appreciated the
extraordinary charisma and grace of this unique man who was talented in
so many ways. It was only recently that I came to know and understand
the films Bruce made and the philosophy that was his guide in all of his
pursuits thanks to the efforts of Kevin Courtright who has written a
screenplay inspired by these same things. Readers will remember that
Kevin was a member of my repertory company for 15 years and authored the
book Back to Schoolin': What Led Zeppelin Taught Me About Music.
fundamental tenet of Bruce's outlook was that one should be 'like
water', adaptable to circumstance in the way that water literally becomes the
shape of whatever tries to contain it. To some this may sound a bit too
ethereal for practical application in life or, in this instance
filmmaking, but upon reflection I can see that has been exactly my
approach to making films since the beginning. Allow me to explain.
of my films were shot on location away from Los Angeles in the
California desert, Palm Springs, Las Vegas and Ensenada, Mexico (to say
nothing of my shoots in Paris, Cannes, Milan, Venice and Monaco). I
would chose a cast from members of my repertory company and off we'd go
to whatever location felt appropriate. There was no script--which is not
to say that I didn't know the story I wanted to shoot--and we were not
going out with any fixed idea of what the film would become except for
tone and message. Once on location, we would travel to what looked like
an interesting location from a visual standpoint and begin filming. If
the location was a business establishment, we would ask for permission
which was almost always granted.
One could argue that I was going
out unprepared to shoot a movie and most reasonable minds would accept
that as true. However, I think Bruce Lee would have understood that my
crew and I were exceptionally prepared to meet whatever circumstances
confronted us and to adapt them to our needs in order to complete the film we had
in mind. With this approach, I would end up in Las Vegas asking to
shoot inside The Mint Casino and receiving permission to do so. A poker
palace in Adelanto not only allowed us access to their card room but supplied
poker players as 'day players' for the film and in Ensenada we received permission to
board a cruise ship to film scenes amongst its passengers. It
isn't much of a stretch to think of us as water becoming the vessels
that we found along the way on our journey to a finished film.
1980, I founded an entertainment industry think tank labeled
The New Hollywood Studio System which operated as a repertory company
film and television. One of the properties to emerge from this fertile
environment was the Action/ReAction technique that I created for our
actors. The group was active until 2001 and the technique developed
continuously during those years. It is still expanding now that I am
presenting webinars and Skype lessons on the subject.
first half of the book presents the fundamentals of
Action/ReAction designed to help an actor develop very quickly. Those
who have participated in my webinars will have seen how a novice can
take on the look of a seasoned actor within five to ten minutes using
just two facets of the technique.
second half of the book describes a part of my history in Hollywood
encountering some very extraordinary people in the film business, including Marlon
Brando and Steve McQueen, and producing independent
movies and TV shows that led to the creation and development of the Action/ReAction technique.
In 2001, Kathi Carey and I decided it would be a good idea to have a dissemination piece for the repertory company--the New Hollywood Studio System--that
would get actors who did not already live in Los Angeles to start
thinking about their brand as an actor and begin the development and
marketing process that goes into starting an acting career before
actually arriving in Hollywood.
Most actors, I had realized, came from other parts of the country (or
from other countries) and it was a significant disruption of their lives
and livelihoods to make the trip to fight the already long odds against
succeeding in the glamor career that is Hollywood acting. I saw no
reason that they couldn't get started whilst still in the comfort of
their home environment where they were surrounded by family, friends and
a supportive infrastructure before making the journey to Hollywood
where support could be scarce.
As I am currently writing a book on the Action/ReAction technique I
developed for actors, a conversation with a colleague reminded me of the
earlier How to Start a Hollywood Career Without Having to Go There: An Instruction Manual For Actors
which presented basic elements of the technique and some preliminary
marketing strategies for actors. I went to Amazon to see if it was still
listed. We had long-since gone through two printings; the first being a
spiral bound edition and the second a traditional paperback. We didn't
entertain the idea of further printings because the rep company was
winding down and we saw no purpose in having the book on the market. I
was surprised to find that the listing was still there. A bigger surprise
came from seeing that one used paperback copy is currently available
from Grandma's Goodies for the modest sum of $357.98!
I had forgotten that reviews had been posted and was heartened by
reading them again and to see how well the book was received. I can only
hope that the new book will have a similar impact.
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!, Episode 1
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
Kindle or Paperback versions
Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
Click on poster to buy the poster and DVD
Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday TV
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
Simone Kussatz interviews Stephen Mitchell
(Click on photo)
(Interview) version française
Natasha Loizeau (Interview) version française
Stevie Williams (Interview)
David Gritten reviews (Interview)
At Cannes with Priscilla Lingenheim who taped a segment of (Interview) version française
Rebel, Rebel by Marc Sonnery
Ferrari 'Breadvan' trivia
Stephen interviews Marc Sonnery
Ferrari 250GTO by Stephen Mitchell
Ferraris on Mulholland
Ferrari GTOs at Willow Springs &...
Ferrari GTO in Paris
Kenny Lombino's 16M Scuderia
Stephen Mitchell talks with General Richard Wilmot (part 1)
In 1980, Stephen founded an entertainment industry think tank in the guise of a repertory company for film and
television labeled The New Hollywood Studio System. In 1985, Stephen pioneered a unique application of product integration in branded entertainment with his cable TV series (Interview). In 2006, Stephen authored a protocol for the management and marketing of business executives. He is currently producing a documentary on the Ferrari GTO, one of which he owned for several years.