There was a time when I was transitioning from a life of "adventure" to a life of filmmaking. I had a girlfriend during that period who worked for Tony Ford, the vice president of television packaging at the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills. Tony would occasionally throw parties for friends and clients that we would attend. Guests included show business stars like Neil Simon, Marsha Mason, Red Buttons and Vince Edwards. These gatherings were always interesting and it was usual for the evening to turn into something of a vaudeville show with Red leading the way with a soft-shoe performance and a song or two in which others would join him. These exhibitions were always spontaneous and unrehearsed and all the more enjoyable for it.
Once in conversation with Tony, the subject of Venice came up and I asked if he knew of Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata. Count Volpi had commissioned the famous Ferrari Breadvan that was owned by my good friend Matthew Ettinger at the same time I had my GTO. He not only knew of him but apparently knew him. "They hold the Venice Film Festival in his house," was Tony's reply. At the time, I didn't know if he was speaking literally or figuratively but I got the point. A half a lifetime later, I came to understand to what degree Venice is Volpi's house when I read The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt during an overnight train ride from the south of France to Venice.
Over the years, I have visited Venice often. Sometimes I went with someone I loved; sometimes with someone who loved me. I took my father there once for dinner. On another occasion, I was there to shoot scenes for my movie Point of Departure. Another time, I had the pleasure of speaking with Gregor von Bismarck who directed a film based on the novel Vaporetto 13 by Robert Girardi parts of which were shot in the house of--Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata.
It is strange how certain people hover on the periphery of your life exerting an influence sometimes greater than those you've met. I became aware of Gianni Volpi at the age of 19 and felt his influence in a number of ways throughout the course of my life. He has taken on mythic proportion and it is likely I will never meet him, more's the pity. I suspect we could spend an entire evening over dinner and never get around to the subject of Ferraris. Perhaps to have met Venice is to have met Volpi.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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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...