The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

The Gift of Giving but Who Gives What and Why?

As a fan of films, filmmaking, and filmmakers I am constantly on the lookout for that next great piece of cinema. Whether it cost millions upon millions of dollars or fifty cents to create when I see that piece of cinema that really moves me, it is a great experience. Even while viewing the films that aren’t, what I consider to be that great, it is always an experience to watch them and contemplate what went into their creation.

As a filmmaker myself, I am always trying to explore new realms of possibilities in cinema. As I stopped producing character-driven movies a decade or so ago, for me it has become all about the visuals. Whether a film is character based or not, isn’t that the case for all of us? When we view a film we want to see that special something that touches us in that certain kind of way.

As we all know, Netflix is a cinema powerhouse. The one thing that I notice whenever I am watching a Netflix film is that they are so elaborate. In fact, it looks like they give their filmmakers carte blanche to do whatever they want. As a film viewer, sometimes I see that a particular piece of cinema should really be cut down to a more refined product. But, that’s just me. Netflix let’s ‘em run…

Having been involved in a Netflix production, when Adam Sadler and his team asked me to do a small bit in his film, Sandy Wexler a few years back, I personally saw the power that Netflix money commanded. At one point when I was on the set, they shut down Sunset Blvd., right in the middle of the Sunset Strip midday to get their shots. That is the power of money.

I think all filmmakers, myself included, would love to get a Netflix deal. I would love to make a film of the caliber they show on Netflix. While watching their films sometimes I say, “Just give me a small portion of that budget and I could give you something great.” I say that as most of my films (my character driven pieces) cost like $300.00 to make.

But, the thing is, I have no way into Netflix. I have no way to pitch them a film. Though, with all of my years of no-budget filmmaking experience, I could give them a product at least as good as most of their films for a fraction of what they are paying to create their movies. But, that’s the game. The game no one outside of the film industry understands. There is no way in unless someone invites you in. I can go out and make a million films on my own dime. I could, like some people do, ask for investors, and make small movies on someone else’s dime. But, that’s just not who I am as indie films rarely make their money back. But, to have a powerhouse company behind you, where money is no object, that is the pinnacle of the dream.

But, why does Netflix give that much money to filmmakers? Why does anyone give anyone money? Because there is a return. Whether that return is making money or getting something that they want from that someone they gave money to, there is always a deal in place—an expected return. In the case of Netflix, they have developed the vehicle to pay money to make money—all they need is someone to do it for them. But, when you have no way in, there is no way in. Then what?

So, here is the question(s) for the day… What do you want from someone? Why do they have a reason to give it to you? How will you/how can you pay them back? How can you make it worth their while?

Everyone wants something. Usually that wanting involves someone else giving you something. The thing is, most people are not worthy of receiving what they want, that’s why they don’t get it. So again, what do you want from something? How have you made yourself worthy of receiving it?