The Scott Shaw Blog

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Promised Money and the People You Put in Your Movies

As a filmmaker, I have never taken money to make my Zen Films. I have always financed the projects out of my own pocket. It’s just so much easier that way. Back in my days working with Donald G. Jackson, sometimes we had very big budgets, but they always came with a caveat. There was always a price to pay. But, that was then, this is now.

Every now and then, someone contacts me wishing to discuss financing one of my Zen Films. Mostly, I just sidestep these inquires. But, every now and then, I take the meeting. These inquires have increased over the years since I have stopped doing narrative-driven films. Though I never really planned to turn them off altogether, that has just seemed to have become the case.

I label these meetings, “Buttering the muffin.” There is always a lot of talk and a lot of promises but rarely do these meets ever prove anything. Mostly, they are just instigated by someone hoping to raise money on a promise of my making a film. But, if you a’int got the money in the first place why do you hope to get it based on a crazy Zen Film made by someone like me?

Sometime people contact me and suggest that I should crowd fund one of my films. But, I truly doubt that people would be willing to donate the money for me to make another Roller Blade Seven, Max Hell Frog Warrior, or Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell. Most, simply prefer to criticize what I’ve already created. But, like I always say, “Let see what you can do.” And, let’s see you do it for the budgets I have had. SV had a budget of zero. And, all of my other films have come in way under $300.00.

This is the thing—this is especially the thing here in Hollywood: people want to live the dream; people want to promise the promise. But, the promises are all lies.

I look to the people I have cast in my films. I always see how people say this thing or that about the person who had developed some kind of a name in the Indie Marketplace. These, “Talker,” always discus how that person was doing me and/or Donald G. Jackson some kind of favor by being in my/our films. Aside from the fact that some of them became friends, which makes it a whole other issue, but these people were always the ones contacting us/contacting me to be in a film. It was never me/us contacting them. They wanted/they needed to make some money. I get it! We all need to make money. And, as DGJ and I were the filmmakers, we were the sourcepoint for them making some dough. But, did they increase our sales? No. It was all about the experience and the experience they brought to the project. Did they do me/us any favors? Nope, not at all.

Sadly, several of my close Zen Filmmaking brothers and sisters have now passed away. In each of these cases, lost is a true talent with a true gift to give the world.

DGJ has also been gone for a long time now. For better or for worse, my filmmaking career will always be tied to his. And, that’s okay. He was one of the few people I could/can consider a true friend in this life. I continued making narrative films before and for some time post his death. And, I would love to do it again. The problem is, the world has changed/the mind’s of people have changed. I have maintained my, “Likers,” and I have encountered my detractors. But, good or bad, love or hate, none of these people know me. It is just like when I am contacted by a financier, they see what they see in me and my films but more than likely they want me to create something they want me to create, they do not want me to create what I want to create.

So, for all the people out there who think I should make another narrative films: another RB7 or Chup or Max Hell or SV or… Sure, I can do it. But, I can’t do it for $300.00 anymore. I can’t do it defined by your stipulation or your desires. If you want me to put your girlfriend, wife, son, or daughter in the film; no problem. But, if you want to control the filmmaker that I am, thanks but no thanks. I would rather just embrace the Zen freedom of making my non-narrative Zen Film.