In this marvelous high-tech era of ours, a lot of us are prone to what I think of as “tool envy.” Your neighbor, your office mate, and maybe even your kids have fancier, more powerful phones or computers or game consoles than you have. Poor you! Poor me! How will we endure? How can we show our faces in public with our pathetic, antiquated little cell phones?
Well, folks, I bring you a powerful morale booster from none other than Woody Allen. Here he is, one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, a true comedic genius, and guess what? Woody types his scripts on the same old beat-up portable typewriter he has used since he started writing jokes and scripts more than half a century ago. A profile of Woody on PBS’s American Masters series showed Woody “in the raw,” typing away on his old portable. Yes, Woody wasn’t using some fancy Mac or PC, he wasn’t dictating into a recorder for some secretary to transcribe. Instead, Woody was creating, fixing, and polishing with that same trusty, reliable tool that has always served him so well. And if he didn’t like the way a page of script was evolving, he would salvage the passages he did like by cutting them out with a scissors and stapling them onto a fresh piece of paper. It got the job done.
For me, this was delicious to see: The Master at Work, reminding us that for the most gifted writers and artists, the only tools that really matter are their vision, their intelligence, their heart, their persistence, and the creative richness they carry inside. That, my friends, is a lesson to cherish, and I offer The Maestro a grateful bow.