The Scott Shaw Blog

Be Positive

In Review of Life

I was cruising over to PetSmart today because I needed a new filter for my aquarium. The streets have become like Mr. Toads Wild Ride. It’s crazy out there. Ever since the pandemic shut downs opened up, everybody only thinks of themselves—like they are the only one on the road and they drive like shit. It’s really nuts.

Me, ever since I got my car totaled a week or two ago, by some guy jamming down the wrong side of the street to get to an open median where he could pass some of the traffic jam, I have become hyper-aware.

Interesting, the guy apparently didn’t have any insurance, which is illegal, at least here in California. So, when my insurance company contacted him he said he was going to sue me. Sue me, for him hitting my car. Awl life… I’m glad I took the photos I did on the scene to prove the culprit in this manner. But, all of the any of this kind of life stuff does is to add to the unhappy-making. Get insurance people! Then, the powers-that-be can resolve it/anything among themselves.

Anyway, as I was driving I was listening to this rather long-winded interview on the NPR affiliate KCRW with this female author who had written a book about her life and her affair with this well-known crime novelist. She discussed that she left her husband for this guy and did all kind of the whatever due to her bad childhood where she developed abandonment issues. All I could think was, “Oh, boo hoo.” She grew up in a rich, famous family. She got caught shoplift in L.A. so they sent her to London where she got caught shoplifting again so then they sent her to one of the best boarding schools in the country where she had sex with a teacher and was kicked out.

Just a side note here… She sounds like she is around my age and the fact of the fact is, students having sex with teachers was not that uncommon when I was coming up. Anyway…

It made me think about how people react to the reaction. It made me think about how the only thing I ever stole in my life was a small meat cleaver from a super market, when I was about twelve years old, that I used to carry in my back pocket because where I grew up was so violent that I felt I needed it to aid in my protection. Again, we all have our reasons for doing what we do but when people do things that not only hurts the life and the livelihood of others but themselves for some bullshit, self-described psychological reasonings, all I can say is, “Get a clue.”

You know, we all have our lives. We live them as best as we can. But, when people who come from wealth and circumstance complain it really brings out the critic in me. Believe me, if you look at my life and the lives of a number of my contemporaries who I grew up with, you would know what abandonment actually is. But, I don’t let it define me. I don’t blame it.

Listening to her speaking of the novelist got me to thinking about how many great movies were created via that man’s writings. It got me to pondering how one of the movies that was based on a novel by this author got panned by some critics. Which led me to thinking, (once again), “Who are these critics? Have they ever made a real film?” And, to my longstanding statement, “What is a film critics? With very few exceptions, it is someone who doesn’t have the talent or the dedication to actually make a movie.”

Of course, I always need to state, that is except for Peter Bogdanovich. I mean, Bogdanovich is a GREAT filmmaker! He made some incredible films! Even some of his lesser known works like Saint Jack and They All Laughed are hidden gems of cinema. For some reason he fell from grace from the industry. I don’t know why? But, at least when he writes a review about a film he truly understands the entire process. This is a knowledge that most film critics do not possess.

All this started me to thinking about the fact of, if I were to critique a film, how would I go about it? I mean, I have been on all sides of the film industry both in the no and the high budget arenas. When I see a film I look for the lights; how it was lighted and where are the lights. I study the placement of the characters in association with background, the camera angles, the pans, the tilts, the zooms, the lenses used, the placement of focus, etc., etc., etc… And this is not coming from a place of ego on any level. It is just based on my experience.

When I see the reviews that most reviewers create, all they are doing is going over the most superficial and obvious elements of a film; they are just spouting out their ideas or opinions about what they like or don't like in a movie. But, what they are saying is not based in any true experiential knowledge of actual FILM MAKING. Sure, video is all the craze and has taken the filmmaking game by storm. And sure, I use it too. But, let's see you make a movie actually on film!

Just because you are a Video Maker does not make you a Film Maker.

That’s why I and most other filmmakers state to the reviewers, “Let’s see what you can do.” But, they don’t. All they can do is talk about someone else’s work. That seems fairly indolent, don't you think?

The problem is, at best, most filmmakers are simply mimics. They do what they’ve seen done before. They write scripts that have already been written a hundred times before. There is no inspiration. There is nothing NEW, unique, artistic, or revolutionary.

To sidebar here: I was having lunch today at a little boutique pizzeria. There’s this crazy guy who lives in my neighborhood. I believe he is of Korean decent. When you look at him you would swear he’s homeless because his skin is dirty and his clothing are so old and so dirty. But, I believe he is just insane because if he were homeless I am certain the local constables would guide him out of the neighborhood. (There’s medicine for that people!) Sometimes you’ll see him on the street with his dick in his hand. No joke. Sometimes he pulls his dick out on the street. Why? Who knows?

Anyway, we had just begun to eat our pizzas on the patio of this restaurant. Up walks this guy and he plants himself right behind me. I mean, right behind my chair.

Now, I’ve talked about this in the past… Animals, children, and crazy people all seem to love me. Why? I don’t know. But, we are still in a pandemic and this guys was standing just behind me. I blurt out, “Are you fucking kidding me! Are you fucking kidding me!” Then, I go into how this is the guy who pulls his dick out in public… I could just imagine him pulling his dick out while we were eating.

I’m told I can be a very intense person. Mostly, I don’t mean to be but in this case I did. Finally, the guy took the hint and walked away and found a seat at a table several feet away from us where he pulls out a cell phone and lighted up a cigarette. Which is totally forboden in California—smoking in restaurants. Again, I get agitated. I was thinking of just getting up and leaving. Fuck the pizza.

Amazingly, this young, maybe sixteen year old, restaurant worker comes out and told the guy if he, “Did that,” he would have to leave. That was a ballsy move, I thought. I imagine they have had problems with this guy before.

The guy put out the cigarette and sat there playing with his cell phone, which may or may not actually be working, while I ate my lunch, with my lady, vowing to her to never go to that restaurant again. It was her idea…

You know, they have these new RayBan glasses that were just released this week that have a camera in them. I imagine you could get some great POV and natural footage if you had a pair of those. They’re not even that expensive, like three hundred bucks. …You could get footage of a homeless looking/crazy guy, dressed in rags, playing with his cell phone, with trendy people sitting around, staring at him and wondering what the fuck he is doing sitting at an outdoor table at this restaurant without ordering anything. That would make a great scene, I think. I wonder what the critics would say about that movie? They would probably critique the acting of the star player, (the crazy homeless looking guy), believe that his character was too contrived and that he did not dig deep enough into his character’s development.

Welcome to Life…