I made my first film in Paris, France after spending years immersed in the academic and practical study of filmmaking. I studied cinematography with Peter Gibbons who was head of the camera department at CBS Cinema Center in Studio City and editing and sound recording/mixing with Elliott Bliss who was head of the sound department at the same studio. Elliott later took over the camera department when Peter retired. All the while, I was practically living on film and television sets and locations. I watched episodic director Paul Stanley's every move on shows like Mission: Impossible, Medical Center, The Road West, Then Came Bronson and T.H.E. Cat, among others.
I also worked on a number of films and shows that provided me with some real-world experience and close up glimpses of major Hollywood icons at work--Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Josh Logan, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Robert Wagner, Gene Kelly, Barbra Streisand, Dean Martin, Sharon Tate, Richard Basehart, William Shatner, Vince Evans, Lou Antonio, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins and Mia Farrow. The one time I worked on Mission: Impossible (as opposed to observing Paul Stanley), was in an episode directed by Bob Gist who directed so many episodes of Peter Gunn. That's a story for another time of significance only to me and (actor/composer/musician) Michael Chanslor possibly.
A week wouldn't go by that I didn't see three or four films that were outstanding in some respect, usually at one of the Laemmle Theaters or at the Nuart or Fox theaters but sometimes as re-runs on television. These outlets were the forerunner of home video in that the films they presented had earned cult or classic status and the people who one saw in attendance were devoted cinephiles. The movies we saw there are now staples on DVD and Netflix--Lawrence of Arabia, Sunset Boulevard, A Touch of Larceny, Dr. Strangelove, All About Eve, The Flight of the Phoenix, Casablanca, L'Avventura, À bout de souffle, Run Silent Run Deep, My Fair Lady, Persona, La nuit américaine, Soldier in the Rain, The Hustler.
I went to Paris to reconnoiter for two weeks and stayed two years filming Montmartre and my television pilot The French Chef with Philippe Léotard during that time. I wanted a name for the activity and Cine Paris came immediately to mind; it described the activity and the location. Some years later back in Los Angeles, my brother-in-law at the time, Scott Mednick, graciously offered to design a logo for me. Scott was one of the foremost logo designers and his work would be familiar to anyone paying attention in those days. When it became customary for film companies to show their logos in the opening credits, I wanted to add sound to the graphic image that would appear.
There was no question about the sound I wanted--it had to be a symphony orchestra playing the A above middle C, which I am pleased to say has been the French tuning standard since the 1860s (if Wikipedia is to be believed). I wanted to take all that had inspired me to make films--the French Nouvelle Vague, the Italian Neorealism movement, film noir--and have it be reflected in the film or project I was presenting, however experimental it might be, and alert the audience that what follows might include unexpected influences and references. I thought it would be consistent with my style of filmmaking wherein what is implied is of greater importance than what is said.
My thanks go to Kevin Courtright who was an actor/ writer/director member of my repertory company for fifteen years and who suggested I write this post and to my son Sean who recreated the clip as the only version I had was third generation lacking resolution and sporting time code. Thanks also to Louella Ladybug for recreating the graphic used in the clip. It will be featured in the opening credits of A Series of ONE episodes.
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...