PPallotta

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What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« on: September 28, 2013, 08:15:33 pm »
A few days ago, Luciano Vincenzoni passed away at 87. From the NY Times: He was an urbane Italian screenwriter who worked with the likes of Billy Wilder, Dino De Laurentiis and other giants of film, but to his dismay was best known for helping to write two spaghetti westerns starring a young Clint Eastwood.  During his career, Vincenzoni contributed to about 70 films, chiefly as a screenwriter or script doctor, but to the general public was most associated with “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” the two hugely successful Italian-made westerns directed by Sergio Leone that are now recognized as classics. (In both cases, he was one of 3 or 4 credited co-writers.) It was a reality that annoyed him until the end of his days. Here's a quote that sums up his feelings: “I have written movies that won prizes at Cannes and Venice. These were screenplays for which we suffered on paper for months. Do you know how long it took me to write ‘For a Few Dollars More’? Nine days.”

So - I've always been a fan of the singular vision (in gca and elsewhere), the notion of the pure artistic expression unfettered by compromise or too many hands in the pot, of the artist-craftsman who manifests in his work his deepest talents and beliefs; but I have to admit that Mr. Vincenzoni's experience/story is not unique -- there are countless examples of writers and film-makers and playwrights etc who poured their hearts and souls and highest aspirations into work they considered great, only to discover later that the collaborative knock-offs they churned out in a couple of weeks and mostly just for the money turned out to be not only their most popular but arguably their best work.  Maybe the speed and collaboration helped take the edge of the 'individuality' of their approach, and so made it more universal and seemingly less 'dictated'/proscribed. I don't know. But I wonder:

Though we talk about great architects past and present as individual talents, does collaborative work actually end up producing better and/or more popular course?

Examples, pro or con?

Peter
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 08:17:13 pm by PPallotta »

John Kavanaugh

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 08:51:09 pm »
Is Coore & Crenshaw a collaboration or an individual?  How about the Coen brothers?
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Tom_Doak

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 09:05:23 pm »
Peter:

Great post.

The "singular vision" you describe is the great myth of golf course architecture [and also movie-making].  It takes dozens of talented people to build a golf course or make a movie, and they all have important parts to play.  It is 100% bullshit that any great work is the result of a singular vision.  

The guy who does the routing for the golf course may well be analogous to the screenwriter or songwriter ... he is doing a very specialized task that in theory almost anyone could do, but few people really understand.  There are very few collaborations where the routing is really a collaborative effort.  Sometimes, if you include others in the process, someone else will suggest a couple of holes that fit in with the rest of what you're doing, but the backbone of it is generally done by one person.

I feel certain that most of the great architects of the past worked collaboratively, too; sometimes because there were other guys behind the scenes, and sometimes because they just left the plan to someone else to build and revise as necessary.  It's just that in reconstructing history, in most cases, we can't really say with clarity who did what for them.  [Dr. MacKenzie is an exception, it's clear what he did and when he left the site and to whom he left things, if you want to follow it.]  

That doesn't surprise me a bit, since the only one who really knows how my associates collaborate with me, is me.  Even with the credit I've given them, 50 years from now, someone who tries to rewrite history is just going to be making it up according to what they want to prove.  And even within our company, there are as many different stories about who was responsible for what, as there are associates.

I can tell you this, though:  the few times I've taken a job "mostly to support the company," they have not turned out to be my most popular or best work.

Someone asked me the other day [on that other thread] what I made of the fact that four of my best courses were collaborations.  The truth is that all of them were collaborations, but for some, politics are dictating who gets credit for it.  And the fact that the politics are dictating credit should cast some doubt on whether that credit is being properly assigned.

RJ_Daley

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 09:08:24 pm »
In golf course design and architecture, I don't think it is undesirable to have collaboration between similarly motivated individuals to produce a golf course that appeals to a wide audience.  The collaborative idea certainly goes back to the craddle of the GCA endeavors.  Colt and Allison, Cold and MacKenzie, MacKenzie and Maxwell, Ross and Maples, Langford and Morreau, McDonald Raynor Banks.... on and on.  

In the modern era we have collaborations, even under singular names.  Doak has a team, and if I understand their process, team members collaborate on ideas with Tom, and the reach agreement on various approaches to questions on the ground and what strategy to employ based on how they will take down or build up a piece of ground.  Coore AND Crenshaw AND 'The Boys'.  Routing, shaping, and even grassing schemes are to that extent collaborative discussion with give and take, with the person whose name(s) are at the top of the firm's letterhead, making ultimate decisions.

Writing an opus of literature seems more naturally in the realm of singular effort, dispite the many examples like Peter offers of collaboration.  But, the question of the popular embrace of a collaborative effort in things like pop culture might be explained that the collaboration might be mostly of a commercial nature and designed to appeal to the widest audience using more conventional or pop trendy literary devices or employing pop ethos or philosphy in a story line to the extent it is written to the lowest common denominator, or dumbed down, if you will.  Thus the phrases and lines in the Good, Bad, Ugly and other pop culture iconic movies and such.  

Dumbing down yet gussying up a golf course with purdy stuff might be motivated by the commercial interest and collaboration to find the lowest common denominatior.  Then again, there can be the vanguard of GCA, or the 31 flavors, and confidential guides of the connoisseur who doesn't seek the common or banal to trip his trigger in pursuit of the passion for inspired and challenging  golf architecture and design.
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RJ_Daley

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2013, 09:10:20 pm »
Sorry for a bit of cross posting of similar thoughts, since "College Game Day" is on, and I didn't see TDs post...  ::) ;D 8)
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Tom_Doak

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 09:28:24 pm »
In golf course design and architecture, I don't think it is undesirable to have collaboration between similarly motivated individuals to produce a golf course that appeals to a wide audience.  The collaborative idea certainly goes back to the craddle of the GCA endeavors.  Colt and Allison, Cold and MacKenzie, MacKenzie and Maxwell, Ross and Maples, Langford and Morreau, McDonald Raynor Banks.... on and on.  

In the modern era we have collaborations, even under singular names.  Doak has a team, and if I understand their process, team members collaborate on ideas with Tom, and the reach agreement on various approaches to questions on the ground and what strategy to employ based on how they will take down or build up a piece of ground.  Coore AND Crenshaw AND 'The Boys'.  Routing, shaping, and even grassing schemes are to that extent collaborative discussion with give and take, with the person whose name(s) are at the top of the firm's letterhead, making ultimate decisions.

Writing an opus of literature seems more naturally in the realm of singular effort, dispite the many examples like Peter offers of collaboration.  But, the question of the popular embrace of a collaborative effort in things like pop culture might be explained that the collaboration might be mostly of a commercial nature and designed to appeal to the widest audience using more conventional or pop trendy literary devices or employing pop ethos or philosphy in a story line to the extent it is written to the lowest common denominator, or dumbed down, if you will.  Thus the phrases and lines in the Good, Bad, Ugly and other pop culture iconic movies and such.  

Dumbing down yet gussying up a golf course with purdy stuff might be motivated by the commercial interest and collaboration to find the lowest common denominatior.  Then again, there can be the vanguard of GCA, or the 31 flavors, and confidential guides of the connoisseur who doesn't seek the common or banal to trip his trigger in pursuit of the passion for inspired and challenging  golf architecture and design.

RJ:

The one thing I'd disagree with you on is that some of the early partnerships, such as Colt, MacKenzie and Alison, were business arrangements designed to capture as much work as possible instead of competing for it with the other guys.  The three men may have discussed concepts of architecture amongst themselves quite a lot in their formative years [indeed, before they were a firm], but they were all too busy with work to collaborate much when they were partners.

PPallotta

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2013, 09:44:53 pm »
Thanks, gents.

I'm going to wait for any more replies/posts -- for now, I have to say that, despite my stated reservations and examples, I'd assumed that my beloved singular vision theory (which, even though I've been here a long time, I think/thought much more a fact than a myth) would in the end win the day.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 09:47:47 pm by PPallotta »

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2013, 09:57:05 pm »
This kind of post always gets the same answer from me.

Collaboration is a great thing. As long as there is one single voice that has final veto.

cary lichtenstein

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2013, 11:58:35 pm »
Collaberaton only works when minds are of a similar vision and there is a leader who everyone looks up to.

A minimalist and an eye candy dirt mover would clash and burn.
Lived Chicago, now Fl, was a 4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 2 back, wrist, shoulder surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler w/o it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, I don't miss nasty weather, icing,back spasms and da jerks.

Thomas Dai

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2013, 12:05:14 am »
A minimalist and an eye candy dirt mover would clash and hopefully the eye-candy earth mover would burn!
All the best.

Patrick_Mucci

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2013, 04:33:56 am »
Making the  "creative process" a collaborative effort would seem to introduce compromise as an integral and critical element of the design process.

Does compromise inhibit creativity ?

I would think that there has to be a "senior"  or "managing" partner with ultimate control or decision making authority.

It would seem that the ODG's served each other more as consultants than collaborators.

Bill_McBride

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Re: What we might learn from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2013, 08:41:11 am »
Collaberaton only works when minds are of a similar vision and there is a leader who everyone looks up to.

A minimalist and an eye candy dirt mover would clash and burn.

Sebonack?

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