Zen Filmmaking Be Positive

I’m An Artist, Goddamn It!

Originally from the Scott Shaw Blog


By Scott Shaw

“I’m an artist, goddamn it! I don’t have to rationalize, justify, explain, or defend anything that I do!” This is a bold statement that my Zen Filmmaking brother,
Donald G. Jackson and I used to voice whenever we ran into some negativity or controversy about what we were doing. The main thing to know, however, is that this statement was made in fun. We always said it with a smile on our face. I suppose if you read it, this statement comes off as kind of harsh. But, it was not meant to be that way.
It was actually Don who first coined it. But, it became our mutual motto. So, we said it quite often.
Don, more than I, (at least in the early days), received much more criticism for his films and his filmmaking practices. Once he passed away, it became me who was awarded the crown and I became the focus. It is essential to note, however, as has always been the case, there are more people who liked what he and I did than those who did not. But, as also always seems to be the case in life, those who embrace negativity as their primary means of communication, those who look for faults rather than merit, are the most vocal. Wrong, I believe. But, such is life…
Anyway, I believe I put this statement in my book, Zen Filmmaking, and I have been told it was quoted a few times, in various places, by people trying to cast shade on me for writing it. I mean come on… Those people who want to base their lives upon criticism always look for something to criticize. This is true in the film game, in the film watcher game, and everywhere else.
Me, I always question, “Why?” Why do you, why does anyone, wish to focus their life in seeking out the flaws instead of looking to the perfection of the process? Why??? The world is beautiful, people are beautiful, artistic creations are beautiful, if you just let them be.
Anyway, this statement really goes to the greater whole of anyone who is following the path of creation and/or art; because, as stated, there will be those people out there seeking out your flaws. If you are an artist, you need to be an artist. You need to create your art as you envision your art. That is what true creativity is all about. And, to anyone who wants to criticize it, screw ‘em. Let’s see what they have created. And then, let’s throw some criticism their direction, see how they respond.
In other words, be strong in your art. Do what you do and not care about what others think. If they are so vocal to have the time to waste, simply talking about other people and other things that has nothing to do with them, that means they are not doing anything worthwhile with their own life in the first place.