The finest actors in Hollywood…

How to know why they are?

The films.

In six days I will be back at the SB Writers Conference with my screenwriting teacher Walter Halsey Davis.  I wrote my book Heart of Clouds for him?  I did.  Because of this film he showed us, called “Do You Remember Love.”

All my life I have grown up with the best actors.

Both my uncle and my father made films.

All my life I have grown up watching the BEST that Hollywood had to offer, and as I look at my favorite actors now, they still are.

It’s the hearts in them?

That I can see.

So, because I value myself, and my writing I only want the finest for Heart of Clouds.  Maybe that makes me like Kubrick or Welles but you know what?  I don’t care.  I am.  My uncle and my father were too.  They did it their way.  On every film.

I only want the finest screenwriter and the finest actors and the finest film because I want to win an Oscar and a Humanitas prize.  Plus one more thing.  Two of these actors that I love (well three) do things to help kids out.  This movie can be shot on location here in SB for almost nothing.  Its a character study.  I am so nervous about hearing back from Walter right now.  The conference is in six days.

So I went higher.

I went to the actors themselves.

Oh well.

I did.

As I was writing the parts, they were for the actors.

The way I see it, acting is a craft, passed actor to actor.

This is my uncle Spence:

Spencer Crilly, later Zoltan Spencer (FILM)
Spencer Crilly, later Zoltan Spencer (FILM)

So, I mean it.

There is only one person who can play Mr. Honeygarten.  Only one.  It’s this guy, who is beloved by American audiences.  Ever since he was Boo Radley.

For Mr. Honeygarten

His is the biggest part, and the most important part in the book, because of the wonderful benevolence of his character.  He is a good man.  What he does is explain to my little teen girl character what a first crush is on a boy.  He is an example of the finest males who ever walked the earth, and as I was writing him, all the best parts of my own grandfather who was born in 1900 went into him.  The charm in his character is what is going to make every American weep.  Because it is the charm of our grandparents, no matter who we are.

This was my grandfather, George Spencer Crilly…

My grandfather, G.S. Crilly
My grandfather, G.S. Crilly

I don’t know how my grandfather survived when my uncle Spence passed away at 51.  He was only 77 years old.  But he did.

That was his son above.

So, the character of Honeygarten holds all the goodness of American men.  Like my grandfather.

Of course, the actor will have to be “aged” — because in real life he is so dynamic and not old at all.  Honeygarten is very old, and he tells my character Teenie of the love of his life.  Her name was Claire, and she looks much like the ringleted version of Mary Pickford.

When Honeygarten was little it’s a very long time ago in America.  Maybe 1916 or so.  He loses Claire, very young.  And lives on for years and years afterward.  Then along comes a little girl who really needs a father figure to help her.  That’s what happens.  And it is beautiful.

The next two?  Represent what California has been like in the 1970’s.  This one wants to feed kids, and kids all over America are hungry right now.   Because of his presence in this film?  It will be a blockbuster because he is beloved.  And it is going to make a lot of money at the box office.

He plays Grandpa Jess.  He is my teen boy’s Grandfather.  I have been following his career since “The Last Picture Show” that I saw at something like age 13.  I consider that one of the finest films ever made.

So this is him back then:

He has so much kindness in him.  He can see the problems going on all over our country and he is one of the ones doing something about it.  His character could not be more important because he is another strong male, married to a beautiful wife.  Now, my teen boy character has just lost his mother, and so he has been dropped off at his grandparent’s because his father is an architect.  The boy finds himself dropped off in a little beach town.  It could be Cambria?  Or it could be Summerland.  So this is a local film we are talking about.  Written by a local.  He is so worried about Devlin… and he does everything he can to help the boy.  There are wonderful scenes of a place I called “Big Rock Mountain” — but that is Figueroa Mountain, actually.  I know he knows all the canyons around because he is a local around here.  What comes from him is the pure warmth and heart everyone knows he has within.

I saw these two actors together in Crazy Heart.  I loved that film.  I loved the two of them together too.

So, Grandpa Jess, with the harmonica and the garden and the ukelele — well, he is laid back California the way we are along this coast.

I know he is a giant star.  They all are.

So, here he is back at 14.  With that first guitar.

So because he has surfed here… he will understand the driftwood hut in my picture, and the boy, because at 14, my guess is he was just like my character Devlin on the shore?  Yep.  I know he was.

So, he gets to write songs?  And that part will be very fun for him… with the teen boy character.  There are wonderful scenes with he and the boy and a puppy — a little chocolate lab named Brownie.  Plus there is an old red truck from the 50’s that he teaches Devlin to drive… it’s just like the Disney films we saw as kids — that is what Heart of Clouds is.

So, what Jeff Bridges doesn’t know?

This was my dad, in his childhood.


Dad’s film Surf’s Up

I mean?

He could have been surfing Malibu at the time.

So I figure if I can get Grandpa Jess and I can get his wife?  Because she is one of the sweetest funniest earthiest California SUNLIGHT characters around?

I can get the top guy.  Yep.

So, the thing is?  The pottery I wrote into the tale?  Well — one time I saw Jeff’s big old hand out at Dane’s studio by UCSB.  So that part is easy!

and to prove I am who I say I am?

a few beach shots from here, plus my log line… but first — the beautiful Goldie because, nobody but nobody could be Devlin’s grandmother except her.  The whole time I was writing the scene with Brownie the pup?  I saw her standing there.  Because that is who she would be, with a kid like Devlin.  Pure sun.

Here she is!

ps: I have watched her since Laugh In — when my own mom was still alive and we lived up on Dover Hill Road here.

She is a beloved actress, to Americans.  Beloved.

California SUN! Pure Goldie.

So let me get the pup!

This is Brownie!

So to prove I am just up the coast?

I am!

This is Hendry’s


and this is the harbor


and this is — the best old breakfast around, in Summerland.

Beach Cafe

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