The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

Thanks for the Publicity. Thanks for the Misinformation.

There is a certain subset of my friends who are filmmakers. Just like with any group of friends that follow a specific religion, they are going to talk about the god that they worship. Me… Filmmaking is kind of like the martial arts… It is something that I do but it is not something that I am. Other people, however, they are devout; filmmaking is all that they think about. I appreciate people like that; whatever god they worship… They are the true believers. It is all they think about equaling all that they do.

I was hanging out with one such friend the other day. A true filmmaker. As filmmaking is virtually all that they think about, filmmaking, and its general vast expansiveness, is all that they search out online.

We’re hanging out and they want to show me a couple of reviews/discussions about me and my Zen Films they have found online. Me… I just never seek that kind of stuff out. I don’t want to know! Good or bad, positive or negative; whatever… It’s all somebody else’s ideas about what they think went on but it’s all in their head. They weren’t there, they don’t know anything as fact—they never spoke to me, they don’t know my motivations or my parameters, so how can they know anything about anything? Yet, they write or they speak.

I was shown the stuff my friend had discovered. I thought the things said were funny. Mostly wrong, but funny.

I have seen it written that some people claim that I don’t like negative reviews. Again, how do they know? They don’t know me. They’ve never spoken to me. They’ve never contacted and asked me anything about anything. Yet, they make claims.

Do you ever contemplate that? Why people make claims about somebody/anybody else without knowing them personally? Anyway, before I get off subject…

True, I don’t like it when people break copyright law and use my stuff without permission, but reviews: good or bad, I could care less… I care more about the case, (and I have said this a lot of times before), that people put their ideas out there as fact when they are far-far from the truth. Come on, we all know it… There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet. Why believe anything you hear or read?

Anyway… With that part of our adventure behind us, we sat down to watch a couple of films. As my friend is a true, “Filmmaker,” all they think about is film and all that, we then watched the documentary: Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. It’s a great doc about Coppola and the making of Apocalypse Now. I hadn’t seen that film in many-many years. It was a good watch. Then, we watched the comedy, Living in Oblivion, about an indie filmmaker who runs into a lot of problems. It features Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener, and Dermot Mulroney among others. Good movie. That one initially got past me back in ‘95. Never saw it before. It documents a lot of the nonsense that may take place on the set of an indie film. Something that few of these reviewers of Scott Shaw and other indie filmmakers and films have any true idea about as they have never actually made a film or tried to play the Hollywood game. Again, leading to my understanding, if you don’t know how can you know?

The doc, but more intensively the film, made be laugh because it all just goes to the reality of the reality of filmmaking and how the true creator of any film must deal with so much; so many unexpected variables to get ‘er done. …Something that the reviewer will never understand.

It made me think back to a time when I was teaching a course on independent filmmaking at U.C.L.A. The movie, Bowfinger, (also about the crazy world of independent filmmaking, from a very comedic perspective), had just come out and some of my students kept referring to my declarations about filmmaking and my proclaimed methods of filmmaking were mirroring much of what was in the film. I hadn’t yet seen the film yet but once I did I totally understood what they were saying.

That’s the thing about indie filmmaking, you got to get out there and do it—do it by whatever means possible. You’re not necessarily intending it to be some great high budget epic like Apocalypse Now, (which was also an indie film, just a very high budgeted indie film), but you are attempting to get your vision onto whatever medium you are shooting on. As Francis Ford Coppola proclaims, in essence, at the end of, Hearts of Darkness, “Some fat girl with her fathers camcorder will be the one to make the next great film.” And, that’s the reality that has come to pass. Though he didn’t foresee it then, none of us did, but now you can make a great movie on your phone. You just have to get out there and do it. No, it may not be what the critics like or expect, but that it is not to say that it will not push the boundaries of art. And, that is what independent filmmaking, (or any other creation of art), is all about: doing it, creating it, making it happen, and seeing it through to its completion. That is true art.

To the critics… Thanks for the publicity, thanks for the misinformation. But, you know, instead of thinking that you know—instead of interpreting what you see, why don’t you have the integrity to go to the source and discus any film or filmmaker you are planning to do a piece about with the person at the source of that film directly? If nothing else, you will be getting closer to the truth and will not become just another person trying to get your own name and your own face out there while spreading misinformation to an internet world that is already overwhelmed with it.

To everyone else, get out there and make art. Create art, whatever art you envision. For that is truly giving something to the world.