By Scott Shaw
Like I always say, You know you’re famous when people you’ve never met say things about you that aren’t true…
It’s funny, I am sitting here at my studio this afternoon, waiting to run a class with a few of my advanced students/friends and a couple of people have contacted me about the fact that Allison Pregler AKA Obscurus Lupa has put her so-called reedited documentary about me up on YouTube. This makes me smile, kinda. I remember when she first released that documentary and all of a sudden I was getting tons and tons of hate email. Hate email for a guy like me… That was a first… Believe me when I tell you, I’m a nice guy. Just ask anyone who knows me.
As I have a little bit of time before my class, I just took a moment to glance at YouTube and to read some of the comments regarding this supposed Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary and, as the internet promises, her documentary is once again provoking a lot of negativity sent my direction. In fact, my web guy, who handles all my emails, told me I have already received a couple of very negative comments and one death threat over the past week since the piece has been up. Not cool… But, I am trying to stay positive. I am smiling…
Regarding the negative YouTube comments… Most everything, everyone is saying is not true! Just like in Allison’s piece, the interpretation of me, who I am, how I feel, and what I think is totally wrong. And, this is the problem when somebody creates a documentary like this. It invokes negativity. And, negativity is never, under any circumstance, a good thing.
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way for those of you who may not know… In a very short period of time, about five or six years ago, Allison did a couple of things, regarding me, without ever even contacting me or speaking with me. In fact, to this day, she has never met or spoken with me. So, how can she know anything about me? But, to the point…
1. She stole ASCAP Registered, Copyrighted music I had created and used it to soundtrack a film her boyfriend, (I think his name is Phelous), and she created. Had she just asked if she could use it, I probably would have said, “Yes,” But, she did not. I didn’t even know who she was. I had worked long and hard to create that music. Have you ever created something and had someone steal it from you? If you have, you will know what I’m speaking about and why it was a problem for me.
2. She made the aforementioned FU documentary about me and used footage from my films, that were under U.S. Copyright Protection, to illustrate it. If you are going to create an FU documentary at least have the decency to film your own footage like Joe DeMott and Jeff Kreines did when they created the documentary about Donald G. Jackson, Demon Lover Diary. Here’s the thing, and the truth about her so-called Scott Shaw documentary, she takes a word here or a passage there from what I have written and makes it all sound very negative, like I’m a total asshole. I am not. If you read the books she took those words from, Zen Filmmaking and Independent Filmmaking: Secrets of the Craft or anything else I have written about filmmaking, they are all designed to help the indie filmmaker. But, by using limited passages and putting her own spin on it, all she does is invoke a big misunderstanding about my philosophy; how I think and what I do. That is just not cool! How many independent filmmakers has she hurt by turning them off to what I have to teach?
3. I never had a problem with her review of Max Hell Frog Warrior, (which she has also uploaded the reedited version of to YouTube). Though as my lawyer documented, her review did damage the sales of the movie and its ability to be further marketed. But personally, I thought it was marginally amusing, even though, like in her documentary, she does get several facts wrong. In fact, as I am not a big fan of that movie, when she added her created images to her presentation I thought it was actually more interesting than when she was using the film’s footage that was protected under U.S. Copyright Law. The fact is, it was the combination of the two previously detailed elements; namely: her stealing my music and the FU Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary, that I had a problem with. Plus, keep in mind, believing that she was simply a young woman who did not understand the ramifications of her actions, I personally stopped my attorney, who was also the CEO of my Production Company, from suing her in Federal and Civil Court (he had the papers all drawn up). This action caused us to have a major falling out which ultimately ended our business partnership and cost me a lot of money. But, did Allison thank me for that? Nope… In fact, one of her minions posted a highly distorted discourse on what took place between her and I, with Max Hell Frog Warrior, on a website that does not allow rebuttals. Did she do anything about that? Not a thing. It is still up there to this day. Yet, here she is again, re-releasing the documentary and creating all this negative energy being sent my direction.
What is the point? So she can make a little bit of money off of her YouTube Channel and develop a few more fans? This, while she hurts the career and reputation of another person. Again, not cool!
Loving or hating my films is fine, that’s personal opinion. Not understating what I’m doing or why I’m doing it is not a problem, that’s just the human condition. But, making money and a name for yourself off of misrepresenting who and what I am and what Zen Filmmaking is all about is just wrong.
From a personal perspective, I find her misplaced interpretation of my life and my philosophy and her altered dissemination of my writings almost amusing but being on the receiving end of what she is saying I also understand the negative ramifications of what she has invoked. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you began receiving hate mail and even death threats because of a highly bias so-called documentary somebody made about you? I thought with the demise of Blip.tv a few years ago, where her presentations were originally posted, all this melodrama was over, but now it has begun again.
Here’s a fact that you may find interesting in regard to this matter. As stated, in the documentary Allison quoted from two of my books on filmmaking. I guess at some point she got pissed off at me and took those books and some of my films and sold them to a local used bookshop. A university student who was into what I do noticed the transaction, alerted me to it, and I own the aforementioned books. Looking at them it was very enlightening in that I could see what passages Allison had highlighted in yellow. Again, those books were designed to help the independent filmmaker but what she had done was to remove passages from the greater text, which not only made me look bad but completely distorted Zen Filmmaking and what I was hoping to present in those writings. Looking at her highlights, I could totally see what she was doing. She was not reading the book(s) as a method to learn new knowledge or to be helped in the practice of filmmaking but as a means to find a method to use my own words to make her preconceived notions about me a reality and to make me look bad. Not cool! But, it was/is truly interesting to witness how her mind works.
I imagine Allison may post a slanted rebuttal to this piece somewhere as that is what she has done in the past, justifying her actions. But, I didn’t ask to be dragged into any of this. Allison, you should really choose to be more than someone who creates and inflames negative situations.
As I always discuss in this blog and elsewhere, if you are doing anything that creates negativity in the life of anybody, what do you think the ultimate result of that chosen action will be on your life and the lives of others? As I always say, put your personal judgments in check and only say and do positive things! That is the key to living a good life!
And, to all you naysayers out there, at least find out who I truly am and what I am actually about before you cast your judgment.
That’s the story… It is so stupid to be put through this again. But, what can I do? I just hope those of you who read this will add a little truth and positivity to a negative situation that I had nothing to do with creating.
Anyway, I have to go teach a class.
Be Positive and Smile!
PS: Somebody asked me an interesting question this morning. They asked, why did I mention Allison’s name and her Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary in this blog, as didn’t that just give her and it more publicity?
The answer: Because one of the things that I do in this blog is detail my life experiences, how they affect me, how I feel about them, and how I react to them. From this, I hope it provides the reader with a deeper insight into life and human behavior—perhaps even giving them some new insight into how they should interact with other people as they pass through their life. Certainly, I would have preferred to never be made part and parcel to any of this. And though I rarely mention names in this blog, but if she or anyone else gets some publicity from what I write; great—good for them!
Ultimately, do I care what Allison or anybody else thinks about me? Absolutely not. My life accomplishments speak for themselves. If they didn’t, people like Allison would not be making documentaries about me in the first place.
At the end of the day I am just a very simple person. I hope to keep my family and friends safe and happy and hopefully make this world just a little bit better place with everything that I do. Hope that answers the question and gives everyone else a bit more insight into Scott Shaw, Zen Filmmaking, and the Scott Shaw Zen Blog.
PSS: Over the past few months, since I first wrote this piece, I have been contacted by several people bringing up the fact that Zen Filmmaking is a Registered Trademark and, as such, Allison can’t use that as her title. In fact, I was recently contacted by an attorney who practices Trademark law and he asked me if I wanted him to have the piece taken down using the Trademark infringement statute. As I explained to him, I have always known that I could have her piece taken down using Trademark infringement, but I forever believe in the goodness of people. I forever believe that they will do the right thing. This, even though I am so often proven wrong. So yes, I could report Trademark infringement to YouTube and the piece would be taken down. I could even sue her and we would win as Trademark infringement is pretty cut and dry, but what would that prove? I have long believed that one of the key elements to living a good life is to not hurt someone even though they hurt you. So, thanks for all of your continued words of support. But hopefully, the positivity and the path of least resistance will win out. Be positive (don’t do anything that hurts anybody) and smile.
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