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Tony Roman – Lessons of a Life Lived in the Arts: the road to creativity and artistic freedom

Matt Smiley and Tony Roman
Matt Smiley and Tony Roman

Every so often a memory of my late good friend and mentor Tony Roman pops into my head. I met Tony as a kid in Montreal, then lost track of him for several years when he moved to Los Angeles. Our paths crossed again when I was 17 and getting into my artistic groove of acting and writing. Tony had a long resume of successes in the Quebec French music scene. He produced Les Baronets, a famous band in the mid-60s with a then singer, René Angélil (Céline Dion’s Husband) and won the hearts of many women with his hit songs as a singer himself. He was a musical icon in Quebec, then moved on to make films, like “Ladies Room” with John Malkovich and “Camping Sauvage” a Quebec box-office hit in 2004.

As 2012 comes to a close in the next few of days, I have a million reasons to be thankful for the support Tony gave me in the early steps of my career. He was a big dreamer and taught me never to give up. The world was an endless supply of possibilities. Whenever an obstacle came his way, he’d do just about anything to tackle it.

Tony and I worked on three scripts together. One day I’ll gather enough courage to dig them out of my computer archives and make something out of them. Tony provided the artistic insanity to our collaborations. I worked structure and did my best to blend in a youthful point of view… no idea was ever discarded. Tony viewed scriptwriting the same way a musician would look at a recording session. There was always a sense of experimentation with scenes, dialogues and far-fetched stories.

I learned that great art takes dedication and hard work. Talent will make you fly high above the clouds and bring it all together in one cohesive manner, but without those countless hours locked away in an office writing, painting, playing music, or doing whatever creative endeavor you choose to do… you won’t get there… it takes patience to succeed.

Tony passed away of cancer in June of 2007 at the age of 64. I’ve since met many artists who have filled the void of a creative mentor, but his belief in my potential early on will never be forgotten.

FUCK CANCER.

I’m excited to get started on helping one of my favorite charities organize a big Hollywood bash in April (hopefully) to raise some funds to battle the demons that have managed to break countless hearts around the globe as our family members, friends, loved ones, mentors, acquaintances, neighbors and idols leave our earth prematurely. Hopefully one day we’ll find a cure.

In the meantime… Play it again Tony…

Tony Roman Singing: Crier Crier Crier

Tony Roman (et ses dauphins) singing: Sha la la