Beginning my filmmaking career in Paris as I did was something of an adventure. Most people wanting a career in film leave home to come to Hollywood--not that such a place actually exists, if you take my meaning. For my part, I left 'Hollywood' to go to France because I had been seduced by all the French films I'd seen beginning with Claude Lelouch's Un homme et une femme (A Man and a Woman). I didn't know anyone there but I did have the phone number of a friend's sister. I went through some very uncertain times during this period but France--Paris--was very rewarding as well.
During one of my frequent returns to Paris, I was having drinks with a friend in the bar of the Hôtel Georges V. As we sat at the bar, a gentleman whom the French would refer to as a tête de noble-- someone with physical characteristics indicating royal lineage--sat next to us and proclaimed, "This has been the best day of my life." The man knew how to open a conversation with a couple of complete strangers.
It turns out, the gentleman had concluded a financial arrangement with an artist in whom he was quite interested. He was a connoisseur of fine things and was ravi to have become associated with the artist's work. "Do you like art?" he asked us. We answered in the affirmative whereupon he made a discreet and cryptic gesture to the barman who understood what was meant for he immediately moved to a corner of the bar where he opened a closet door hidden in the construction of the wood panelling. He returned with a very large 'coffee table' book documenting the work of the Iraqi-born calligrapher now living in France Hassan Massoudy. The gentleman paged through the book with us explaining various aspects of the work and exhibiting an enthusiastic appreciation for the artist's talent. His interest was contagious and I was delighted by what I was seeing. This was not lost on the gentleman who asked, "Do you really like these?" I replied that I did.
No sooner had I done so than he made another discreet gesture to the barman who, once again, visited the placard in the corner. This time he returned with a large artist's portfolio which he handed to the gentleman who opened it to reveal a large quantity of hand signed and numbered Massoudy prints. He allowed us to leaf through these taking delight in our pleasure. When we had finally seen them all, he asked if we had a favorite. We did. I indicated one that bore the hand-written phrase "Si vous venez vers moi en marchant, c'est en courant que je viendrai vers vous." (If you come walking towards me, I will come running towards you). My friend indicated his own favorite. "Then, they are yours," he told us.
We continued to talk about a variety of things and finally it was time to take our leave. I handed the print back to the gentleman just in case I had mis-heard his gracious and generous offer. He looked surprised and reaffirmed the gift. We parted company in the best of spirits. Coincidentally, my friend and I returned to the Georges V bar the next night and again encountered our new friend. He was pleased to see us and, gratifyingly, did not ask for his prints to be returned to him.
Recently, I gifted the Massoudy print to my daughter who speculated on its value. I told her to take the current retail value and multiply it by about a hundred. She was perplexed so I explained, "This came into our hands only because of me being me and, to date, that has cost a fortune!"
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
Click photo to see clips from Stephen's movies
Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
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."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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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)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“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.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...