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Just Another Review About The Roller Blade Seven

Of all the films I have made, and I’ve made quite a few, Roller Blade Seven seems to be the film that has been reviewed the most. First, back in the day, it was reviewed in magazines and newspapers. Then, on the internet. Later, when people figured out they could make money on sites like YouTube, people begin stealing footage from the film and doing their presentations about the movie. Some of these reviews are good and well done, others are just boring and their proclamations and their conclusions are simply wrong.

…It’s important to note, I was never one of those people who gets upset about a bad review. I know what kind of movies I make and from that knowledge I understand that some people are going to like them, while others will not. That’s all fine with me.

Now, RB7 isn’t my only film that has found its way to being reviewed over and over and over again. Certainly, Max Hell Frog Warrior (Toad Warrior) has been, as well, as have films like Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell, Guns of El Chupacabra, etc., etc., etc… In each case, I witnessed as someone put their take on these Zen Films. And, I get it. That’s what a review is… People putting their own take on what they see. But, what no reviewer has ever seen is what I have seen. None of them were ever there in the making of. None of them were ever inside of my mind, seeing my motivations for the film(s) or the obstacles I had to overcome to get that film made.

This is the same with the many-many books I have written. I write them to make a contribution to the greater good of the greater whole. I write them to give people knowledge, hope, understanding, and perhaps provide them with a pathway to a better something. As with my films, there have been those who have attempted to use my written words as a weapon of attack. They used what I have created as a means to provide themselves with a platform to be heard. But, why? What did they create? How does their words and appraisal about what I wrote make anything any better? How does casting their judgment contribute to the betterment of the greater all?

Now, it’s essential to note, this piece is not a criticism of reviewers. The issue is bigger than that. What I will say, however, this is where all of the reviews I have encountered have fallen short. …And, this is not just with my Zen Films but with all film reviews. This is not simply about the people who have reviewed my book but about the people who have reviewed all books. The reviewers are simply casting their opinion: be it right, wrong, true, false, or otherwise but virtually none of them have ever done their research. They are just talking about what they believe. For example, there has never been one reviewer, in all of the decades I have been a filmmaker and an author that has asked me anything before they did a review of one of my works. So sure, they can spit out their opinion but what does an opinion actually mean if what they are saying is not based in some bastion of research and truth?

Of course, I come from an academic background. I was a researcher long before I was a filmmaker. And, I continue to do that. So, from my point of view, though ideas and opinions can come into play, that is only after the fact of the fact. You’ve got to do your research or what you are saying means nothing.

I’ve spoken about this sometime in the past, but when I was in Grad School I was assigned to do a lengthy paper on this one author and his works. His method was that he kind of mixed and matched Eastern Philosophy and put it all into one pot. Previous to my doing the paper, I never liked his style. And, I brought that opinion to my paper. In fact, I believe I based the essence of my entire paper on that ideology; attempting to discredit his approach. My instructor received the paper but she sent it back. She refused to accept it as she felt it was not academically sound, though I presented all of the appropriate footnotes, quotes, citations, and stuff. I was told I had to rewrite it. That’s a lot of work! But, I did it and what I learned from reevaluating my process is that if you can remove your own preconceived notions about a person, their creation(s), or about anything for that matter, you can come to an entirely new level of understanding. I came to learn a lot from re-reviewing his methods and writing style and I came to actually appreciate it.

In reviews, I have witnessed some people quote what I have said or written. Some have used it as a basis of a joke while others have used it as a means to make me and/or my films or books look bad. But, what each of these people, who have used this method have done, was to take their preconceived notions about my films or myself and simply find words, unusually bastardized or taken out of the context they were intended, to support their preconceived ideas. But, what does that equal? Does one person telling another person what they think about someone or something change the true reality of anything? What does taking the time to view and then critique any creative project actually do to add to the greater whole of reality? This is especially the case if a person is presenting their opinion as the fact instead of allowing a person’s own facts to speak for themselves?

In closing… Sure, I get it; people want to make a name for themselves by talking about the creative works of someone else. It somehow makes them appear to be an authority. It’s far easier than being a creative force in your own right. But, the fact of the fact is, is talking about someone else’s creative project actually creating anything uniquely your own?

If you hope to leave a true legacy, then your own creations are what you must create. Talking about anybody else’s anything is only attempting to imply that you know more than what they know—that you know what they were thinking and that what you think about what they have created is more important than the creation itself. But, ask yourself, do you know? Do you actually know anything about anyone else but yourself—especially some Creator out there that you have never met? The answer is obvious. And, if you don’t know then you don’t know. By attempting to pretend that you do, only exemplifies this fact.

You want to be an artist? Be an artist. Being your own artist is always better than discussing the art created by others.