The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

The Haves and the Have Nots

I had a meeting with a young filmmaker last night. He is planning to do a scripted short that he hopes to enter into film festivals in order to get his name out there. He asked me to come onboard as a producer/consultant. Though he is a fan my work, I, of course, declined the offer, feeling that the formalized structure that he hopes to employee is really not my forte. But, more than the meeting itself, going to this guy’s house was truly the experience.

This guy lived in his parent’s palatial mansion in the Bel Aire section of Los Angeles. It was a really nice house. There, he had a room set up that he called his Production Suite. In that suite he keeps some really high-end filmmaking equipment. The best cameras, tripods, sound and lighting equipment, you name it… The kind of equipment that most new filmmakers would only dream about possessing. But, there he was, he hadn’t even made a film yet, didn’t known how to use most of it, but he owned all of that equipment.

What will eventually come of his film and/or his filmmaking career, I cannot tell you. But, I will say, that when you come from a background such as that your chances of breaking through, in any arena in life, greatly increases.

All of this sent me to thinking back to my youth, my first girlfriend, and how I first encountered massive wealth. I am sure I have mentioned this in some piece of literature before but I was in the 7th grade. I lived in a rather junky one-bedroom apartment with my mother on 6th Street in the section of L.A. that later became known as Koreatown. Just a few blocks down the street from us began the Hancock Park District where there were and are a lot of opulent mansions. This is where my girlfriend lived. Her house was massive. It had a pool, a tennis and a basketball court. Though by my nature I have never been an envious person, I certainly did see the difference in our lifestyles. My mother and I didn’t even own a car. She would get up every morning and take the bus downtown to work and I would either walk, hitchhike, or take the bus to school. Though I liked the girl a lot, and she seemed to like me, I could never expose my humble background to her or where I lived as I believed that would not only be very embarrassing but it would be the deal breaker.

It was really very similar when I went to high school. There were those of us who lived in apartments in the flatlands of Hollywood and there were those who were raised in their mansions in the hills. They always drove the best cars, if they were would-be musicians they had the best equipment, if they were would-be actors they had the best clothing, and so on… Then, there was the rest of us…

Again, this is simply a definition of life and how it was very clearly illustrated to me in my youth. It is not a judgment call.

But, the one thing that is clear is that when you come up in an environment of financial opulence your chances of achieving your dream greatly increases. This is the same when you grow up in an emotionally supportive family and so on. There is the have and then there is the people like me, the have nots.

I believe due to my upbringing, I have always gravitated towards the downtrodden and the less than savory. It has became my signature. I mean, I obviously didn’t come from money. I never made very much money—though I have tried. Though where you come from does not have to be your ultimate definition in life, it certainly influences who you can and most probably will become.

If you come from money, you expect a certain lifestyle. If you come from money, you are breed into a world where there are other people with money. Thus, that is your peer group. Thus, those are the people you interact with and the people you take your inspiration and influences from. Just as those who come in on the lower levels of society associate with their own.

All this being said, there is really no perfect formula to move from being a have not to a have though many/most people attempt to do just that. Sure, a lot of people lie about who they are, what they have done, and what they have. Sure, a lot of people aspire to become more. Some even make it. But, who you are, who you were as a child, how you lived as a child will always be with you. It will always shape your vision, your emotions, your choices, and your decisions.

Hopefully you are a have. Then you live in a mansion, have a great car, and have all of this great brand new filmmaking equipment. If not, just give life your best shot. That’s all I have done. I still never made it to a mansion with a pool and a tennis court but that’s okay, I guess, I never really played tennis anyway and the chlorine in a pool always seems to give my blonde hair a tint of green. Happy