Monday, June 27, 2016

Can the Theatrical Film be Resurrected?

Theatrical movies look bigger, bolder, and in many ways, more beautiful than at any time during its one hundred year-plus history as an art form. 
And yet, what we often now see up on the big screen is... less. 
Less variety in subject matter/genre. 
Less substance in the storyline/themes that are worthy of discussing with friends/family/online. 
For at least the last ten years, the theatrical movie has fallen out of favor as the number-one place to stir the passion of the entertainment public. 
When we now talk about what we’ve seen, or solicit advice from others about what we should watch, the conversation is inevitably about TV, not theatrical movies. 

If you’re too young to remember, you’ll just have to trust me when I write that there was a time when a hit movie could dictate fashion changes; unleash brand new trends, and often times lead the way in the public discussion of controversial subjects. 
The Film world’s influence in modern society began with the European New Wave filmmakers in the 6O’s led by Lester, Godard, and Truffaut. That movement inspired the 70s filmmaking reformation in this country where the major studios had been producing big-budget disasters that were no different than the same kind of movies they had been producing for the last three or four decades. Young filmmakers like Spielberg, Coppola, and Scorcese ended up shooting movies that were produced and distributed by the major studios. Their films appealed to younger audiences that became excited about movie making as an art form. “Taxi Driver,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Apocalypse Now” became movies not only tackling new subject matter, but doing it in a way that was driving the public debate as well. 
Somehow, all of that influence has largely vanished and feels now like ancient history. 
Today, when the discussion about theatrical movies occurs at all, its mostly along the lines of die hard comic book enthusiasts exchanging their views on such topics like whether actor Ben Affleck is worthy enough as an actor to play “Batman.” 

This is not the first time that theatrical movies have lost their connection to the cultural zeitgeist. And there are experts who believe what has happened is just part of an “historical cycle,” a common and predictable event, which often ends up repeating itself over and over again. Those who believe this theory (I was once one of these true believers) caution that there is nothing to worry about. The natural forces will balance everything out eventually. What was once up will come down. What goes down will often rise up again. All the creative power we now see on TV will eventually migrate back to the production of studio films. We just need to wait until the cycle plays itself out. 
But I'm afraid. Not everything in history ends up repeating itself. What was once thriving can actually go extinct. 
Specifically, I fear that the Theatrical movie as an art form has lost its way. At one time Theatrical Movies were the perfect blending of art and business in delivering entertainment to the mass audiences. And the combination inspired the best and brightest minds for the last fifty years to seek a career in Hollywood.  
Not so much anymore. 

My next post will outline three of the major reasons behind the state of entertainment... 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Really? The Media got it wrong? I don't think so....


The horrible event that occured over night can lead to thoughtful reflection. But in the case of a Variety article Media Coverage of Orlando Tragedy Follows Familiar Scripts - written by TV critic her review of the live media coverage of the mass murders comes off as a knee jerk response rather than exhibiting any signs of deep thoughts. My major problem with the article is crystallized in a single paragraph written by Ms. Saraiya — 

It’s hard not to feel cynical about our national ability to process such tragedy, given our polarized and politically entrenched populace, when you’re watching news coverage scramble to find a convenient narrative that fits — and then some networks abruptly drop that coverage mid-stream (though, of course, more coverage and news specials will be forthcoming in the next few days and weeks).

Every writer who decides to do a snapshot view of TV news should keep in mind –

1 – If you believe something is wrong, then be specific about your criticism. And offer the reader your thoughts on what you would have done differently under similar circumstances.

The writer of this piece writes, “you’re watching news coverage scramble to find a convenient narrative that fits.” 
How does Ms. Saraiya define her phrase “convenient narrative”? I’d like to know because I’m honestly not understanding what she means. 
But more to my point – exactly what, Ms Saraiya, would you have done differently if you were out in the field as a reporter... on the anchor desk... or running one of the networks providing the coverage? I’m asking for specific thoughts on how your coverage of this horrific live event would have been different if you were actually driving the car rather than writing about it from the backseat of said automobile. 
And exactly what would you have changed in your "narrative" that would be different than the “convenient narrative” you acuse all the media outlets of somehow authoring together? 

2 You’re damn if you do... and damn if you don’t when it comes to your job as a journalist. At least that is how it can feel when reading something like Ms. Saraiya’s article and you're one of the participants in the media coverage.

Weirdly, Ms. Saraiya was not able to point to one specific wrong action by any journalist, or any particular network covering this tragic event. And yet her entire article is written within the context that the media screwed up again. 
I believe there is a responsibility by a journalist covering live news events to gather the facts, not sensationlize what is known, and not jump to any conclusions about what is not known. 
In the context outlined above, coverage of today’s tragic event was actually solid, without any glaring ethical mistakes. 

Apparently that was not enough for Ms. Saraiya. She needed to write her article for Variety and find something… something wrong. So she writes, “some networks abruptly drop… coverage mid-stream.” Again, never mind that she doesn’t actually call out any specific network to task (which is a big reveal of a larger agenda she has in mind in writing her article). In an age where news is covered 60/24/7 on the Internet to anyone seeking more, deeper, latest; it's a mystery that Ms. Saraiya, a professional TV critic, would expect any of the TV networks not to move on.

For the record, I’m politically moderate in my general views, but hardcore liberal on moral issues such as gay rights.
So I feel like a member of the choir calling out someone singing off tune.
But I’m also an ex-TV journalist who has had plenty of experience covering live events for broadcast news. 

It’s great when people/audience/professional TV critics offer thoughtful responses to how news coverage can be better.
With that said, TV critics have an ethical responsibility as well – to offer unbiased insight… sans any hidden political agenda.
Ms. Saraiya shouldn take out her frustrations and pain about the moral state of the country and how the news media can better service her political/moral agenda. And she shouldn't expect readers to swallow her words believing they have originated from an objective journalistic space. 
Her unsupported article today actually gives people, like Sarah Palin, justification for claiming there is a liberal media bias. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Vampires have taken Over the World. 
Of those who survived the holocaust...

Most have become prisoners in concentration camps. 
The captured are kept Alive to Tap their Blood
For the Undead.
If the Living are to reclaim the planet... 
The rebellion begins with an Escape from Captivity. 
All the Prisoners of CCC187 must be willing...
To Bleed for the Living... 
Or Die Donating Blood to the Undead. 

EXCERPT from the Next Book in the RELICT VAMPIRE SERIES--


She pushed the front door open and was surprised that there was no odious smell to welcome her return. 
Beth had not been back to her home since the vampire takeover. Walking into the living room, she immediately saw the reason the place was tolerable to her nose — the glass pane that took up most of the wall facing the street had been shattered, allowing for clear ventilation that swept away the stench of death. 
During the first days after the vampire takeover, Beth opted to stay put, hiding her house while everyone else living on her street made a different choice. Every one of her neighbors packed their belongings in their cars and left. Each one she spoke with had a different reason to explain their flight from their homes, but none made any sense to her. 
Later, when the vampires began their first sweeps of the neighborhood, Beth was the only one left on her block. She hid in the house’s underground cellar to avoid being taken prisoner by the blood patrols. After being there for more than a week, she took a chance, during the daylight, and responded to a voice that sounded like it was still part of the Living. 
“If there’s anyone down there, you need to shout out now… or be left behind for the blood suckers…” 
That’s how she met Ryan, and the other members of the resistance group she eventually joined. Every time there was a reason to go back to her house – to retrieve supplies, tools, even weapons that would help in the resistance – Ryan would volunteer to go instead of her. 
As Beth moved through her living room, what she saw took some time to process. Clearly, there was some kind of confrontation, one involving a wounded vampire. Blood was splattered all over the walls. The furniture lay scattered across the floor. The stain in the
carpet revealed that someone had fallen and bled, but did not stay down. Beth’s flashlight then revealed gummy bears laying on the carpet. Inches away were more gummy bears next to her open jewelry box. 
Matt had definitely been in the house. Her ex-husband probably thought he could take down the vampire with bullets. The entire world had changed overnight, but Matt was still stuck in the only world he felt comfortable living in; one where bullets stopped any immediate threat, but didn't necessarily address the larger problem. 
Beth shut off her flashlight, but she was not able to shut off all the thoughts that rushed across her brain begging to be recognized. 
He had come back.  
For her.  
Or so he said.  
It was the same Matt that had made her life a living hell even before the vampires took over the world.  
Coming back to the house had been a huge mistake. What was she thinking?  
There was nothing here.  
Now or... then.  
She needed to leave immediately.  
But after taking just a few steps toward the front door, Beth stopped. 
The garden room. 
Beth thought to herself, that if she did not check it out now, there would probably never be another chance. 

In the dark, Beth made her way to the middle of the garden room with only one thought — all around me is death.  
She couldn’t smell it. Even when a flower dies, the smell of its' death eventually disappears into the surrounding air. 
Beth turned on her flashlight and panned it across the garden. Her eyes saw the devastation she felt the moment she entered the room. When she could stand the sight no longer, Beth switched off her flashlight. 
Standing in the darkness she began to tear up. 
A long time ago Beth had taken over the tending of a garden, because she wanted to show her husband how much he meant to her. She assumed a responsibility she had never asked for, but accepted as the price for love. 
Beth began to cry. 
What she once sincerely believed to be true, Beth knew now was all bullshit, nothing different than the manure she had habitually spread all over the room to make everything grow. How in the hell could she not know what she was stepping into years ago? 
A cold breeze hitting her face finally caused Beth to stop crying. She wiped away her tears and switched on her flashlight. The garden room door leading to the back yard was wide open. Beth moved across the room to shut the door, but then discovered the door's glass had been shattered. Before she could form a theory about what had happened, Beth’s eyes caught sight of movement in the backyard. 
She switched off her flashlight and quickly ducked down. 
There she held still long enough to rearrange her emotional state.     Then she ignited the torch in her flamethrower.  

Saturday, June 4, 2016


The fun in seeing old photographs of family and friends is taking in the images of people that have the same hair, eyes... impish grin of the people you care about today. For cinema fans, the fun in seeing older films is similar – the classic movies have the creative DNA of pretty much all the forms of entertainment we enjoy today. Indeed, the celluloid past has often been the most influential art form for many of our great filmmakers such as Martin Scorcese, Steven Spielberg, and Quentin Tarantino. 

This month’s excerpt from THE DVD-LASER DISC NEWSLETTER, movie critic Doug Pratt examines three genre movies he calls Forgotten Film Noir Gems. When I watched one of the films he writes about - THE CHASE – I was struck by the notion that the film, rather than being forgotten, actually influenced a couple of filmmakers before shooting the 1983 gangster movie, SCARFACE, (screenplay by Oliver Stone; directed by Brian DePalma), now acknowledged as one of the finest (and most popular) film noir/genre pictures ever made. Take a look at my comparison chart of the two films —   

The Lead Character, Chuck Scott, is a penniless drifter in Miami tormented by bizarre dreams.  

The Lead Character, Tony Montana is a penniless Cuban Exile in Miami tormented by the American Dream. 

After finding a wallet and showing his honesty by returning it to a vicious gangster, Eddie Roman, Chuck is hired to work for Roman’s gang. 

After a tragic drug deal gone bad, Tony insists on delivering the recovered drugs and money to kingpin, Frank Lopez. Frank ends up appreciating Tony’s honesty and makes him part of his gang. 

Roman's Home has a lot of statues.

Tony's Home ends up having a lot of statues.

Chuck does not get along with Roman’s right-hand man, Gino.

Tony does not get along with Frank’s right-hand man, Omar.

Roman has a wife, Lorna, who he attempts to keep locked up all night. Chuck ends up falling in love with Lorna.

Frank has a girlfriend, Elvira, who he tries to keep locked up from the Miami night life. Tony ends up falling in love with Elvira.

Lorna tells Chuck she wants to get away from Roman and go to Cuba for a better life. As it turns out, this sequence is all in Chuck’s head… a DreamThe reality is that Chuck ends up eating in a Miami night club… just a few feet from Roman and Gino.

Frank and Omar take Tony to a Miami night club where Tony dreams of being in the same league with Elvira as they dance. 

In the middle of the night, Chuck and Lorna attempt to begin a new life by escaping to Cuba. When Roman and Gino try to stop them, the two gangsters are killed.

In the middle of the night, Tony ends up killing Frank, then takes Elvira with him to begin a new life.

Chuck and Lorna make it to Cuba... where they live happily ever after.

Tony and Elvira stay in Miami... where their future together is not as joyful.  

Whether there was an actual creative connection between the two films is not the point. I'm only trying to show with this comparison that the Legacy Filmmakers inspired and influenced great filmmakers of today - directly or indirectly - with their work.  

If you're a professional filmmaker (or an aspiring one), Doug Pratt's examination of these three film noir classics should almost be required reading...  

A remarkable, dreamlike 1946 crime thriller, THE CHASE , has been released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber Incorporated as a Kino Classics title (UPC#738329202101, $30).  Directed by Arthur D. Ripley, the film could almost be said to suggest the roots of David Lynch’s crime features, and a film personage no less than Guy
Maddin stepped up to do a commentary.  You might not even believe that the film was made in 1946, were not for the presence of Bob Cummings and Peter Lorre. Cummings is an aimless vet in Miami who lands a job as a chauffeur for a very nasty gangster played by Steve Cochran (he’s about as close as you could get in the mainstream movies in those days to a drug kingpin), and soon concocts a plan to sail away to Havana with the gangster’s wife, played by Michele Morgan.  The gangster lives in a mansion over populated with statues, and has a device in his car that allows him to control the gas pedal and the brakes from the
backseat if he wishes.  The film’s imagery verges on the abstract, and the narrative advances with logic not uncommon to the stories one sees in one’s slumber.  Lorre, for example, plays the gangster’s quasi-buddy, quasi-partner, but basically, he’s just there, being Peter Lorre, and adding to the film’s dark atmosphere.  Running 86 minutes, not much more can really be said about the film without spoiling
things, but the experience that kept needling us as we watched the movie for the first time was a recollection of the first time we saw Val Lewton’s The Seventh Victim, not because of any particular similarity in the plot, but because of the way the film played with our own imagination of what it was and what it might be.  In any case, THE CHASE  leaves a vivid impression, and it is surprising how little known the film is, since it is so resolutely unforgettable. 
Having undergone a restoration in 2012, the full screen, black-and-white picture looks fine, with enough detail to bring out the sometimes eccentric decor.  Once in a while the very edges of the image hint at a greater amount of wear in the past, and the picture is a touch soft in other spots, but for the most part, the presentation is quite effective.  The monophonic sound is also reasonably strong, and age-related static is manageable.  Some of the music sounds quite nice, in fact. 
Maddin’s commentary is that of an enthusiastic fan.  He often does little more than describe what is happening on the screen, and surprisingly, he barely mentions the film’s rampant surrealism.  He does talk extensively about Ripley, sharing stories that a friend who knew the director had shared with him, and he also talks about the backgrounds and careers of the main stars.  Curiously, he talks about wishing he could see the episodes of The Twilight Zone that some of them appeared in, apparently unaware that such episodes are readily available on DVD (YouTube appears to be his primary film delivery source).  On the whole, the commentary is worthwhile, but only because of Maddin’s stature and because it provides an excuse to watch the movie again. 
Speaking of watching the movie again, the Blu-ray also contains two additional adaptations of the Cornell Wolrich story the film was based upon, The Black Path of Fear.  The first is a radio adaptation for the CBS program, Suspense, starring Brian Donlevy and running 29 minutes, from 1944.  The program is essentially a replication of the film’s center section, and is 
reasonably entertaining.  Although no other performer is credited, the gangster sounds an awful lot like Everett Sloane.  Interestingly, considering that the show was being broadcast into homes across America, there is also a brief sequence involving prostitutes.  The second presentation is another Suspense performance of the same radio script, broadcast in 1946, with Cary Grant.  The presentation has no commercials and runs 27 minutes, but the last couple of minutes feature only the show’s theme music, as it seems that Grant is a bit of a fast talker.  He doesn’t really seem into it at first, either, and on the whole, we preferred the Donlevy version, but he perks up some after the show’s opening act and the basic rarity of his presence and famous voice is enough to make the program worthwhile.

If not the ultimate ‘found money’ thriller, then certainly one of the best ones ever, the 1949 Republic Pictures production, TOO LATE FOR TEARS, has been released as a Blu-ray & DVD by Flicker Alley 
as a Return of the Lost Noir Classic title (UPC#617311679698, $60).  Lizabeth Scott, who made a name for herself playing girls gone wrong, is at her most depraved when a passing car tosses a bag of money into the convertible she is riding in with her husband, played by Arthur Kennedy, because they accidentally toggled the headlights.  The bag is filled with cash and Kennedy’s character wants to turn it over to the police.  Scott’s character will have none of that, and even though they agree to sit on it a while, she starts shopping as soon as he goes off to work the next day.  She just can’t resist, and then the guy who wanted the money in the first place, played by the equally
and wonderfully depraved Dan Duryea, shows up, and she can’t resist him, either. Directed by Byron Haskin, the screenplay was adapted by author Roy Huggins from his own novel, and has some great dialog (“What do I call you, besides ‘stupid?’” Scott asks Duryea as they are getting to know one another), and several really terrific twists and turns, so that at a point where you’d think the story was about to wrap itself up, it is actually just getting started.  Running 102 minutes, the film has your full attention and carries you along with an iron grip even before the cash gets tossed into the car, and it is as stuffed with sex and greed and betrayal as the bag is stuffed with money. 
Kristine Miller, who has a compelling, Rita Hayworth-type vibe, co-stars, with Don De Fore.  Having undergone a complex restoration that is detailed in a 4-minute featurette, the full screen black-and-white picture is fine.  The image looks great, despite a slight grain in some places and a tiny speckle now and then.  Contrasts are finely detailed, with rich blacks.  The monophonic sound is quite strong and reasonably stable for its age.  There are optional English subtitles.  The transfer is so good that you really can’t tell the difference between the BD platter and the DVD platter.  There is a 16-minute featurette about the film that actually spends quite a bit of time providing a nice profile of Duryea.  There is also a commentary track, by film historian Alan K. Rode, who shares a complete history of the production and the backgrounds of almost every member of the cast and crew.  He also provides a cogent analysis of the story’s dynamics and charts the film’s disappointing financial history.

A man is out late at night walking his dog when he witnesses a mob killing and clearly sees the murderer.  He tells the police, but when they start talking about protective custody and the deaths of other witnesses, he panics and runs.  The police go to his wife, played by Ann Sheridan, and the first time you see her you almost think she’s a guy—the 1950 film, WOMAN ON THE RUN, another Flicker Alley Return of the Lost Noir Classic Blu-ray & DVD
(UPC#618311679797, $60), was shot and is set in San Francisco, so hey, it might be possible.  Cynical and bitter, she has no idea where he might have gone, but whatever is left of her feelings for him begin to tug at her when she learns that he needs heart medicine, and so, with the help of an earnest reporter played by Dennis O’Keefe, she ducks the police and starts to look for him.  The police chase after her, and the killer is also shadowing her.  The thing is, as she traces her husband’s steps and meets other people who know him, she begins to realize that she had shut herself off too much from his personality and spirit, and she starts to fall in love with him again.
 So in addition to being a terrific suspense thriller—there is a marvelous, make-you-shout plot twist along the way—the film is also an outstanding romance.  Sheridan, whose performance is excellent, softens palatably as the 79-minute feature progresses.  We won’t say she becomes more of
a woman, but she does become his wife again.  Directed by Norman Foster, best known for his ambiguous director’s credit on Journey into Fear (the quality of WOMAN ON THE RUN seems to underscore the argument that he was no Christian Nyby), the dialog has a snappy, elbowing-its-way-through-the-crowd rhythm that keeps the film’s tension pulsing.
 The climax is set at an amusement park with a rollercoaster, and doesn’t quite match the inventiveness or the wit that the rest of the film delivers, but by then the show can really do no wrong.
The full screen picture has a few more small speckles than TOO LATE FOR TEARS, but considering the film’s independent production history, it’s in terrific shape, with no distracting flaws.  Once again, contrasts are sharply defined and blacks are solid.  The monophonic sound is clear and stable.  The DVD is okay, although subliminally, the crisper BD image is more compelling.  There are optional English subtitles, a good 17-minute retrospective featurette, a 5-minute piece about the source material’s restoration, a fun 7-minute then-and-now itemization of the film’s locations, some of it cleverly edited to blend the past and the present, and a 10-minute celebration of a San Francisco film festival dedicated to Film Noir that includes some very nice montages. 
“How did WOMAN ON THE RUN, a work superior to many more heralded noir films of its era, end up relegated to obscurity?  The reasons reveal some dirty secrets about the commercial and critical factors that conspire to forge a film’s reputation.  First, the film was independently produced by an upstart company, Fidelity Pictures, which enjoyed none of the long-term protections afforded studio-financed films.  It didn’t make much money, essentially becoming 
an orphan once Fidelity’s distribution deal with Universal ended.  It was directed by a man with no critical cache, Norman Foster, a former actor who holds zero credibility within the auteur school of cinema scholarship.  If WOMAN ON THE RUN had been directed by Raoul Walsh or Joseph H. Lewis or Don Siegel, it would have been discovered decades ago, and heralded as a minor masterpiece.  Then again, maybe not, because it is, at heart, a ‘Woman’s Picture,’ with aging pinup girl, Ann Sheridan, dominating the
advertisements, some of which touted the film as, ‘A probing study of modern marriage,’ which didn’t help sell tickets.”  So begins Eddie Muller’s excellent commentary track (although even he runs out of things to say during the extended amusement park sequence), going into great detail over everything he broaches at the film’s beginning, including some of the less appreciated artists who worked on the feature—Alan Campbell, aka Dorothy Parker’s husband, collaborated with Foster on the script—the liveliness that Sheridan brought to her part, and how the film’s cinematography and other technical attributes, including some highly adept process shots, reinforce the film’s themes and artistry.  He also savors the movie’s San Francisco-ness, speaks extensively about Foster’s unusual and significant filmography (an American, he made several noteworthy Mexican films, and got Ricardo Montalban his start in the business, before connecting with Orson Welles), and pointing out the brilliance of the casting in every last bit part, reinforcing again and again the claim that the film is a true masterpiece that is only going to become more famous and respected now that it is finally preserved and readily available on Blu-ray. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

UPDATE on our Post 

Variety announces --‘The Americans’ Renewed for Last Two Seasons, FX Show to End in 2018.

A good spy should always have an Exit Strategy...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Do you fit the Profile of a Creative Artist who will Succeed?

What is the DNA of a Successful Creative Artist?* 

One of the areas I’m working on with the next Professional Screenwriting book is helping artists achieve self-awareness while they pursue their craft. 
To that end, I believe much can be learned from studying creative artists, past and present. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time looking for patterns that might reveal the answers to key and relevant (meaning 2016) questions concerning creativity. 
I’ve come up with more than 20 compelling elements worth considering if you are wondering whether you have... the right stuff.  
With this post I want to share 10 of those 20+ attributes I believe many successful artists have in common. With the exception of the first attribute, none of the other 9 are ranked in any special order of importance: 

1 Most successful creative artists have a history of being able to demonstrate their innate creative/artistic talent to third parties able to judge such attributes.Even "late bloomers" (those who end up successful late in life) will almost always have a history of showing innate talent early in their life. Natual talent for a particular art or craft is always a huge factor in profiling successful artists. 

2 The successful artist usually has a lifelong passion for the creative arts. 

3 Even though there may be a lifelong passion for the creative arts, the successful artist has a history of progression from being a fan of Movies/TV/Books/Media to being part of the creative process.  

4 Many successful Creative Artists have spent a lot of time, (sometimes years), thinking critically about the art and craft of movies/TV/books/media. Their thoughts are intended for public consumption and often times are paid for by a third party. 

5 Successful artists often create without any guarantee of financial compensation. Sure every artist will dream at times of a huge payday for their creative efforts, but such fantasies are often not what fuels their effort. 

6 The successful creative artist usually has an extensive early history of creativity. It doesn't have to be a prodigy situation, but we are most likely talking about an early childhood passion — shooting home movies… charcoal sketches of friends… acting in Junior high school plays… learning a musical instrument, etc. 

7 The successful creative artist is self-driven. This often times leads to becoming the originator of a movie/TV/books/media project (which involves other Creative Artists the artist may not know before the project ;and is not a vanity project meant to be seen only by family /close friends). This is all about the successful creative artist at one time refusing to wait for others to grant him/her entry into the creative club, but instead acting independantly to control their own creative fate. 

8 We’ll call this the Malcom Gladwell 10k Rule - Creative Success is achieved by spending 10,000 hours of learning a specific craft - screenwriting... directing... acting... writing.. or performing music in Hamburg, Germany until you've learned your trade. 

9 There is a distinct pattern shared by many Successful Creative Artists that demonstrate the ability to learn their craft (as an apprentice/ with the help of a mentor/ by real time experience), usually over a long educational process. The successful creative artist then has the character trait to expertly apply what has been learned to enhance their talent and creative skills. 
The ability to learn/grow/evolve as a creative artist is a key factor if an one is to eventually succeed. 

10 Strong social skills are often a very important component to achieving creative success. This is more an existential reality in the modern world of entertainment and the arts than ever before.  What do I mean by “Social Skills?” Here's one key example — the ability to express a creative vision to the other artists who will be able to help a specific project become a production reality... and a success.  

* It's fair to ask the question, what is my definition of “a Successful Creative Artist?" For this list only, I define a successful creative artist as one who has achieved positive financial and/or positive critical and/or positive audience reaction to at least one creative work, specifically created for a commercial/mass audience.