The Job I Wanted

You have read here about my experiences of growing up in a town that was a crossroads for the movie industry and how I had brushes against celebrity for various reasons.  Some people want to grow up to be movie stars.  There was one job I always wanted in the field.  I wanted to grow up to be a Script Supervisor.  While you have heard about producers, directors, cinematographers, set designers etc.  - all of the people eligible for Oscars, very few people in the audience have a clue about this job.  They do get credit at the end of the movie if you stay for the credits, but that is about it.  What you don't know is that whether or not you liked a movie was often on a subliminal level the result of whether or not this person did their job well.

What is even more remarkable about this job is that even from the earliest days of film, it was a woman's job.  The earliest incarnation was "Script Girl".  This was the exercise of male dominance who knew they needed a "girl" to make sure everything looked good when it hit the screen.  Just as secretaries have now become Administrative Assistants, Script girls have now moved up to become supervisors because rarely are they men.  What you don't hear is that most directors have "girls" they always ask to be their assistants.  They now get paid very, very well to save the director's ass ... daily.

Definititon:  Maintains an accurate shooting script and recording in detail all information related to each take, including length of shot, scene and take number, camera placement, and printable takes, as well as any notations on dialogue, action, props, set dressing, wardrobe, make-up, and hair in order to provide continuity during shooting and to facilitate editing.

What You See On The Screen

How it looked to the actor

How it looked to the director

How it looked to the Script Supervisor

How important is this job?  Every commercial movie made has an IMDb page giving all sorts of data about the cast, crew, plot, quotes, financials etc.  One page is always devoted to mistakes of all kinds and there are huge numbers of people who avidly follow and contribute to these pages just for the fun of it all.  It is pretty much the script supervisors job working with the director to keep these pages very, very, very short.  You have all read my rant about the errors of the movie Australia playing havoc with what should have been a much better motion picture.  Here is the IMDB page with the list of errors for that film.  (It is not a short list so either the director or the script supervisor was a major FAIL)

So life didn't quite work out according to plan, but that early urge for a job I knew I would love led to jobs as a researcher, editor, administrative assistant - the person in the background who makes sure everything is correct.  Still, even now, I would have loved being a script supervisor.

Thankful For The Simple Gifts

"May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize, and may your

Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs!"



This Bot Is One To Watch

We were fortunate to see an early premiere.  I'm the Merchant Ivory, art house, history buff in the house and I want a good script and actors who know what to do with one when they get it.  My son is the "long week at work Adventure and comedy don't make me think" aficionado, and my grandson is fine as long as it is loud, has crashes and someone speaks in Japanese.  We ALL loved Real Steel.  Look for your cynical film buff button and press “OFF!”.  Gather up everyone in the house whatever their age or gender and cart them all to the theater.  Real Steel is your family feel good about being together, movie of the year.  The rogue learns to be a good guy.  The dejected but sharp kid gets a dad.  The right robot comes out on top and while all of that is happening, you get to cheer, punch the air, and whoop or well up tears in all the appropriate places.

Hugh Jackman gets to act up a storm in a movie that for once he doesn’t have to haul up by its boot straps to make better just because he is in it.  Shawn Levy has given him a vehicle he can ride all the way to the end showing what the actor you knew was there can do with a decent script and cast.  Dakota Goyo is that young talent you keep hoping sticks around for the long haul who is now at the beginning of his career, and the supporting cast (special nod to Anthony Mackie) does what it is supposed to do:  Provide the tension and get out of the way.  
Real Steel may not be a movie for the ages, but in an era of too much over the top noise, empty characters saddled with poor writing, worse acting, and explosions instead of emotions, it is definitely the one movie you want to see this year, the one you will want to add to video collection, and the one that will make you stop for a few pleasurable moments to remember when flicking through the channels in years to come.

Tony Highlight Hosting Numbers

Opening with Neil Patrick Harris

NPH and Hugh Jackman - Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better / You're The Top

About That Tonys Rap

Neil Patrick Harris, the host of this year’s 65th annual Tony Awards, closed the ceremony with a rap composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. In case you missed it, here is the video and transcript.

Tomorrow, if anyone asks you what happened at the Tonys, you can say this:

We straightened things out in the opening number, Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey took home awards for their hilarious performances in “The Normal Heart.”

Daniel Radcliffe kicked some butt, and we were so elated

Even Voldemort was sad he wasn’t nominated

Norbert Leo Butz sang and danced and tried to catch ya, comin’ atcha,

Chasing Trey and Casey ‘cause they nabbed a Tony statue

Commencing in the Chattanooga station

From the grand imagination of the Kander-Ebb collaboration

It takes a lot for a recipient to humble me

But everybody cried for gorgeous Nikki James, the bumblebee

Andrew Rannells sang “I Believe” and he landed it

So well now he’s Mitt Romney’s V.P. candidate

All across the country, from the north and to the south

They’re saying Brooke’s a hottie with a crazy potty mouth

John Larroquette brought an eloquent mood to the room

I’m still imagining him at home in his Fruit-of-the-Looms

Spider-Man and Mary-Jane gave us perspective here

They sang a ballad, we didn’t need protective gear

Patina Miller’s nun sang “Raise Your Voice” with cheer

And “Memphis” is relentless, they’re performing every year

“The Normal Heart” won, Larry Kramer made us weep

And “War Horse” dazzled us with a theatrical sweep

Sutton Foster never lost her knack

For talking smack

And tapping a full-on assault attack

I’m awesome, Hugh Jackman, take that

Go ahead and roll the credits if you need to

I’m out of control, I’m on a roll, this is my Tonys speed-through

“Anything Goes” took the best revival prize in stride

We didn’t see it, we were singing “Side By Side By Side.”

McDormand loves her job, Sutton Foster won again

Paul Shaffer sang and suddenly it started raining men

Mark Rylance runs at fences, he’s won the Tony twice

That guy can do it all, his follow-up is “Fanny Bryce.”

Norbert Butz and “Mormon” swept the floor,

Won even more awards than “War Horse”

Par for the course,

Someone get a car for the horse

And in the final analysis, what survives tonight?

Theater, because it’s what we live, we’re changing some lives tonight

And theater thrives because we live to give it, so to speak

This ain’t reality TV, this is eight shows a week

Every chorus member that you saw tonight tappin’

Had to make miracles happen

For a chance to see you clappin’

And applauding in the audience. What’s next? Who knows?

Anything goes. Now go see a ____________ Broadway show.

Thank you, good night.


The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Dorothy Parker, (attributed)

Well here we go again.  Grab your oar, we are on the stream of consciousness. It's all because there was a movie that I had heard about but never seen until Saturday:  Walkabout is an Australian film from an era in the 1970s when several of the films were rather mystical.  Ones you may have heard of would include The Last Wave or Picnic at Hanging Rock.   This all led into a massive Google fest.  You can read all the links at your leisure or just enjoy the movie review.

Walkabout stars two actors that are iconic in Australian and British films for vastly different reasons and this was the first or one of the first for both of them.    If you have seen an image of an Aboriginal actor or dancer in the last 40 years, the chances are it was David Gulipil and despite a distinguished acting career of several decades, the young images of Jenny Agutter mark a standard of teen aged perfection for this time period in the beautifully done nude swimming scenes.

Walkabout starts in a modern city and a father driving his children out to the wilderness for a picnic.  Then it takes a very strange twist as he attempts to kill his children and after they run away, sets fire to the car and commits suicide.  This leaves the children stranded and completely separated from civilization in a totally foreign and dangerous world.  The contrast between the modern world they have left and the natural world they have entered are the center of this film.  This is a movie with little dialog at first  because energy is just consumed by the need to survive and after meeting up with an Aboriginal boy on walkabout because of the language differences.  These silences are filled with amazing cinematography of the land and it's plants and animals in all stages of life.  You have no trouble understanding the relationships within the movie because of these creative images as the director moves between the human beings and their surroundings.

Even if you find fault with the obvious message of the exploitation of the natural world and cultures by an invading civilization, the dichotomy between the images of the city and the truly stunning Australian landscapes provide the best reason to watch this movie.   I won't spoil the denouement that brings a somewhat unsettling end other than it will leave you thinking.  The movie closes with a small bit of poetry that I again had to Google to be sure of the source.  As it turns out the whole 63 poem work is available online and I've provided a link should you wish to read this masterpiece by A. E. Houseman.

INTO my heart on air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Writer's Block: Dynamite with a laser beam

What's your favorite line from a song, and why?

This one couldn't be easier:  "Cross the river, 'round the bend.  Howdy stranger so long friend".

If you spend anytime at all around musicians, at some point you are going to acquire a "theme song".  You walk into where they are playing and at some point someone is going to say hello by playing at least a few bars of your song.  Having lived a gypsy like existence, it didn't take long before I acquired "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home".  While I love the whole song and its very interesting lyrics, it is the single line about being in a strange place for the first time among people you don't know, but making the effort so that when you do leave the farewells are genuine with the hope that someday you might return.

So here is the Judy Garland version though the song has been recorded by virtually every really good pop singer who has ever picked up a microphone.  

Twenty One Years

1986 portrait by Allan Warren

On May 16, 1990 I cried for someone I had never met.  It was the one and only time I ever cried over a celebrity.  You've had stories about growing up on the fringes of entertainment and how there are rarely stars in my eyes over stars other than being grateful for the joy they bring.  There was one exception.  He had been part of my consciousness from before the dawn of rock and roll with variety shows featuring "My Daddy, My Uncle and Me"; the earliest hit songs such as "Hey There"; as a member of the Rat Pack and the ring a ding ding of the Vegas years.  Most of all he was my birthday present.  Every year at least once a year, come hell or high water, sometime in the Spring my seat was planted in an Orchestra Seat to see Sammy Davis, Jr. live.  With my unending admiration for the very few geniuses of unbelievable gifts that we get to see in life, I adored this man I never knew or met except under an "up in one" spotlight and whose talent I still miss more than two decades later.

He appeared in more than 35 movies:  dramas, comedies, and musicals between 1933 and 1990.  He was nominated for three Grammy's and posthumously was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2001 with induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.  He was nominated for five Emmy's and won once for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy for Sammy Davis, Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration.  He was nominated for a Tony for "Golden Boy" and also starred on Broadway and toured in the revival of "Stop The World I Want to Get Off."  He has stars on The Hollywood Walk of Fame, and on Las Vegas Boulevard.  Then there was the little trinket hung around his neck in 1987 as an Honoree of the Kennedy Center Honors.  The other awards as both performer and humanitarian consume pages but most of all he just entertained all the time, every time.  You could hear all the jokes and impressions over and over and every time you laughed because he laughed and made you believe it was the first time you had heard the same ol' story.  It was a love affair between a man and his audience best seen in this recently remastered HD version of what became his signature song:   Mr. Bojangles.  And now I'm tearing up a bit again.

Thank goodness for the videos that make it possible for Sammy to come back and dance.