Friday, September 1, 2023

Studying the Filmmaking of Scott Shaw

By Scott Shaw


When I first got into the film game, at the ripe old age of thirty-two, I never thought too much about becoming an auteur. Yeah, I was an artist on canvas. So, I certainly understood what art was. Or, at least, what it was supposed to be. Yeah, I was a poet and a novelist, so I understood the construction of words in an art-filled way to tell a story. Yeah, I was a musician, so I understood how you had to play nice with other musical artists if you wanted to be in a band. But, for me, in the early days, I was just doing what I did.

I came into the game at a transitional time in filmmaking. Though film still reigned supreme. And, if you wanted to be considered a, “Real,” filmmaker you could only shoot on film. But, video was starting to make its inroads. With video, though still not cheap to make a movie, it was far cheaper than shooting on film. Thus, the flood gates opened. And, I believe I played a small part in that process.

But, whether it was shot on film or on video, a movie still had to be, “Made.” Someone, “The Filmmaker,” had to get out of bed and make it happen. They had to go through all of the stuff filmmakers have to go through if they hope to get it done. And, this is never easy. It takes a lot of focus and a lot of work.

For some reason, I was either blessed or cursed to have met and worked with Donald G. Jackson early in my emersion into the film game. Though crazed and mentally unstable by most standards, it cannot be denied he was a true artist; a film artist. The combination of him and I, though coming from very different states of minds and seeking very different life outcomes, we did find a balance which ultimately came to focus the direction of my filmmaking and lead to the creation of Zen Filmmaking.

Certainly, the first Zen Film, The Roller Blade Seven came to be a calling card for both of us and especially for me as an emerging filmmaker. It was/is a crazy film. Then, like now, few people get it. But, that’s okay. As far as I can tell, with all of the proceeding movies I have made, it is a work of art; true film art.

When I started out on that film did I plan for it to become what it became? Nope. I thought we would do an action-adventure piece. But, I’ve spoken about all of that elsewhere.

A few years after the creation of RB7, I am told that the film, and the foundational technique and philosophy used to create the film, became the discussion of a few classes on filmmaking, taught at respected university film schools. Nobody ever asked me (or Don) to come and speak about its creation, however. So, I can’t really tell you what was said. But, combine that with the next segment of Zen Films that I created and Zen Filmmaking began to become an expanded topic for discussion. That was all fine with me. 

With the birth of the internet, I used to receive questions all the time about how I did what I did. I also witnessed how some people were actually attempting to make their own Zen Films or redesign my techniques somewhat; shape and adapt them to their own methods. There were even a few people out there proclaiming the technique and did their own “Zen Films.” Great!  “Make it your own,” I would always say. I was even told about a few colleges where the instructor was actually leading a Zen Filmmaking class, having their students create Zen Films. Excellent!

Somewhere along the way, however, it seemed the focus of attention begin to shift. I kind of saw this with the advent of, “Influencer,” or, “Content Creator,” culture. Some people begin to reach out and use the films that other people had created as a sounding board for their own voice, telling their audience what they thought about what. With this, there seemed to arise a focus on the negative. Why? I believe it is because there are a lot of people out there who feel no real sense of self-purpose, so it is far easier to take the drug of hate than positivity, as it provides much more of a rush. With this, I witnessed the films I created shift and become targets instead of studied works of art.

I must intercede here and state, this is not and has not always been the case. I continue to receive a lot of well thought out questions and comments. But, as the focus has been taken off of me, (and Donald G. Jackson who passed away twenty years ago), the voice for Zen Filmmaking, and what it truly represents, has seemingly been taken over by the Content Creators who spout off incorrect facts, focusing on specific segments of the Zen Films simply has a means to draw fault, and create a negative-based appraisal based upon their own specific state of mind. Though they, more often than not, are wrong in their assumptions, many listeners simply choose to believe what they hear with no further research. Thus, they completely overlook the art of the Zen Films.

What I am saying here is, the focus on what Zen Filmmaking truly is has shifted from the realms of academia or true artistic questioning and has become lost to the minds of those who care more about making a name for themselves than in presenting the truth about Zen Filmmaking and the films of Donald G. Jackson and Scott Shaw.

I have spoken and written a lot about Zen Filmmaking over the years. It’s all out there if you wish to seek it out. But, the point that everyone seems to miss is that Zen Filmmaking is a spiritual process. It is about consciously embrace the Zen, permitting the moment to be the only guide, allowing the magic, that can never be planned for, to occur, and accepting the film art that is created for what it is, not what your mind hoped it would be. All of that seems to be lost in the recent discourses. All that seems to be portrayed is attack ads, voiced by someone who wishes to grow their following, not someone with a true vision for the arts and/or analyzing the purity of the process.

So, how does this affect you? What this tells us is that, for those of us who are artists, (whatever that art form may be), or for those of us who love and embrace the arts, we must step beyond the false reality disseminated by those who are not themselves artist or those who do not or cannot truly understand the art in all things creative. We must not allow our minds to be shaped by those with a negative, condescending, or hurtful mindset on any level. If we love art, by whatever name or form, we must understand that art is the creation of the artist. If, like me, that artists has a defined process, we must view that art based upon the understanding of that process. Mostly, as an artist or an art lover, we must embrace the fact that judgment is never the cornerstone of any discussion on or about art, as art can ultimate not be judged. If it is art, if art was the intention in its creation, it must be observed by those standards and simply be allowed to be what it truly is, art.

Never allow the voice of those who base their life appraisal or their life work on negativity and criticism be your guide. Embrace the creative purity of art, by whatever form it takes.

Art is the ultimate art form. Let it be what it is.


Copyright © 2023—All Rights Reserved



Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking

Monday, August 7, 2023

No Rehearsals

By Scott Shaw


            I was in El Segundo a couple of days ago. My lady was enthralled with this bead store. So, I decided to go and take a walk around the old section of the city, as it had been a minute since I had been there. Just as I walked past this open front restaurant, I see a guy and he says to people sitting at all the tables, “Okay, we are going to do a full rehearsal.” Just as he said that, he notices me walking past. The funny thing is, he stops. Then, he and all of the people sitting at the tables follow my movements, stare at me as I walk past. I smile. Obviously, his mind was not locked into directing his actors and the actor’s minds were not locked into their characters.

            I continue on my path and went back to the bead shop. I tell my lady the story. She laughs and asks, “Was that the rehearsal, watching you walk past?”

            The guy, obviously the director, was a chubby, dark-haired guy, in his forties. The people at the tables were all young, blonde, in their early twenties. They obviously had a little bit of money for this production because I’m sure the rental of that restaurant wasn’t cheap. His mistake... He fell into the trap of tradition. He wanted to rehearse his actors. But, rehearsals do not work!

            I have long understood that you should never rehearse a scene with actors. Why? Because it makes their performance(s) stale. Whenever I’m doing a film, even if we are just testing the lights and sound for camera, and it is the first pass for the actors, I film the scene. The reason for this, oftentimes this first performance is the best—the most natural.

            It’s like life. Do you get to rehearse life? No, all you can do is live it.

            I believe all of us have played scenarios out in our mind, before they ever happen. We play them out the way we want them to occur. But, they are never lived like that. Life takes hold. Each person brings their own, unique personality into the equation, and the situation plays out different than we ever imagined.

            So, like true actors acting in a film, all we can do is live life and be in the moment. Though we may pretend to control it, though we may want to rehearse it, we cannot.

            Let life be what it is and react to it the way each scene uniquely presents itself. That equals a natural performance, natural freedom.

            No rehearsals. They don’t work.


Copyright 2011—All Rights Reserved


Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking  

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Zen Filmmaking: It’s a Spiritual Process


By Scott Shaw


I recently wrote a piece about one of those attack ads that a couple of content creators on YouTube did on a (kinda) Zen Film. Thankfully, after I contacted them, they pulled Zen Filmmaking out of their title, as they themselves had claimed it was used solely to get more followers. But, all this and all that brings us to the part and parcel of Zen Filmmaking and the essential essence of the craft that everybody either doesn’t understand or seems to forget. Zen Filmmaking is a spiritual process. It is not just some form of guerrilla filmmaking. Yes, Zen Filmmaking may, during some productions, exist in and on the level of microbudget filmmaking, but that is not its essence nor is it its core. It is all about the process of the creation of a film based in the purest sense of mysticism.

The entire reason Zen is referenced in the title of this style of filmmaking is that it evokes the essence of Zen. It is designed to emulate the space of Mushin, No Mind, the free-flowing nature of allowing all things to be as they are, following the path of least resistance, and the hope for anything to not be anything but what it is.

It’s easy to criticize. Anybody can look at Anything and easily find fault if that is what they are watching for. But, people who operate on that level of life are existing in a space defined by unenlightened negativity.  Sure, many people live their entire existence operating from this life-perspective. But, what does that give back to humanity? Does it make anything any better? No. All it does is to unleash hate. But, what is hate? It is one person casting their harsh judgment onto something else. Whether this is unleashed in a small or a large dose, the outcome is still the same: pain and suffering. The embracing of hurtful negativity, how does that make any level of life any better? It does not.

Whenever I see or hear Zen Filmmaking being discussed by people of this mindset, I always witness the same levels of criticism. But what these people never understand is the dome of magic that takes place for those of us on the set. The freedom of artistic spontaneity. The amazement at perfect situations presenting themselves to us. The cinematic art that is created simply by allowing ourselves to be free in our creative portrayals.

I’m not going to go into detail, spelling out the tenets of Zen Filmmaking, in this little ditty, for I have done that for decades in other places. It’s all out there if you feel like reading it. What I will reemphasis AGAIN is, Zen Filmmaking is a spiritual process. With Zen at its core, and art at its heart, it is a way of displaying an individual’s cinematic vision in the most spiritually-based, art-filled manner possible.

Sure, as a human being you may love or hate what has been produced. That’s human nature. Nobody likes all the art that they encounter. But, if the actual point of a Zen Film’s inception is missed or misrepresented, or simply placed in the realm of something to be judged, the spiritual essence of that Zen Film is lost. It is lost to the judgmental mind of one or more people and from this the cinematic enlightenment that could be found in that production is simply cast to the realms of the lower mind where Satori or Nirvana may never be embraced.

It’s like what Donald G. Jackson used to say in interviews and stuff, “I don’t think most people could do what Scott and I do. They need structure. We just get out there and create.” And, isn’t that what true art is based upon; instantaneous inspiration and creation? I mean, many people base their criticism of Zen Filmmaking on the fact that it does not use screenplays. But, think how many bad independent films you have seen that were based on a script.

So, next time you’re watching a Zen Film, (if you ever do), understand its foundation. In fact, next time you watch any film or look at any art, seek to step beyond your own lower mind of judgement, witness the piece for what it truly is, and experience the spirituality that goes into creating any piece of art.

Your mind, your judgement, should never be the definition of any piece of art. For that denies all that it truly is. It negates the artist’s vision.

Spiritually is everywhere if you simply open your eyes. I am sure in your deepest mind you too speak to God in your own way. Is the way of God based upon you judging all things that you see, all things that you like or don’t like? No. God is the pure light of the all-encompassing everything. A truly spiritual person never judges. Let that be your guide.

Remember, Zen Filmmaking, is a spiritual process. That is its essence. Never allow a Zen Film to be denigrated by the words of those who refused to understand its elemental foundations.


Copyright © 2022—All Rights Reserved


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Monday, July 10, 2023

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking on Flickr

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking on Flickr

Visit the Scott Shaw Page on Flickr.

There's a lot of Scott Shaw Photographs, Headshots, Production Stills, and Zen Film Posters.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Casting the Script of Life By Scott Shaw

By Scott Shaw

For anyone who has ever thrown their hat into the Hollywood ring of acting they can quickly detail that when someone is casting for a film they provide a fairly detailed view of what they are looking for. For anyone who has ever been on the other side of the camera, creating a movie, they know that when they are casting a character in a film they have an image in their mind of how that character will look and how that character will behave. Look on any of the Breakdown Services that come out from the industry and each character has a name and a description. Filmmakers are looking for what they want that character to look like and actors are trying to become that character.

In traditional industry casting session you will find an untold number of similar looking people vying for the same role. Casting offices are full of them. And, this goes on everyday.

To be cast in a film the generally process is a hopeful actor is given what are known as, “Sides.” This is a limited amount of dialogue taken from the script. The actor then practices those lines, gets into a self-created costume, shows up at the casting office, waits with all of the other actors that look and sound just like them, and finally goes in to, “Read.”

That’s the game. People try to become the character in hopes of getting the role. But, most people do not get the role. In fact, some people go to an untold number of auditions and never get a role. They do this, spending all that time and all that money, until they finally give up. What did it all prove?

In some cases, once an actor has developed a name for himself or herself they are allow to play a role completely off-script. Think about it; think about some of the films you have seen where one of the known Name actors has not looked at all right for the role. Maybe it was their hair. Maybe it was their beard. Maybe it was their size. But, because of the fact that they had a, “Name,” they were asked to portray the role simply to bring buzz to the film. And, that’s all part of the game. The game of casting for life. People try to become while some people have already become. Some people will never become while others have become and do not even realize or care about what they have become.

Think about your life. Think about who you are attempting to become. Think about what you are attempting to portray. Is what you are projecting to the world actually you or is it simply and image of a person created by someone else—a person you are pretending to be?

In life, we all do all kinds of things to be seen the way we wish to be seen. This is what leads to lies, this is what leads to overspreading on clothing, this is what leads to anorexia, this is what leads to bad haircuts.

The thing that most people never take the time to realize—never have the capacity to realize is that what anyone projects is not necessarily a true representation of themselves. It is simply a game they are playing that is then projected to the world. How about you? What do you do to solidify your projection to the world? How does that projection contrast to who you really are? And, who really knows the truth about who you really are? Do you?

We are each two things. We are who and what we are in our minds. And, we are who and what we are that we project to the world. Some people are very true to themselves. But, these people are very few. Most simply lie about the truth that they project. They lie to themselves and they lie to others.

So, here’s the test. Who are you? Who are you really? What are you? What are you really? Who and what do you project to the world? Who knows who and what you truly are? Are you simply an actor attempting to get cast in a film and pretending to be something you are not or are you truly you? If you do not have a clear and honest definition of this you do not have a clear definition of your life.

Copyright 2019 -- All Rights Reserved

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking

Zen Filmmaking Frogtown News A Scott Shaw Zen Film Documentary Featuring Julie Strain and Donald G. Jackson

Frogtown News

Step behind the scenes at the 1997 and 1998 American Film Market and watch discussions and interviews with the Zen Filmmaking team of Scott Shaw, Donald G. Jackson, Julie Strain, Kevin Eastman, and others. Click on the title to view the documentary.

Zen Filmmaking - Scott Shaw and Donald G. Jackson Discuss the Cinema Art Form.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Zen Filmmaking From the Mind of ai

With the rise of ai developed research, I have become enthralled with the congregation of ideas that it puts out there. As Zen Filmmaking is obviously one of the primary elements of my life, I have questioned Bard and ChatGPT about Zen Filmmkaing a  couple of times. For the most part, great definitions. Here are a couple of them:


Zen Filmmaking is a creative approach to filmmaking that emphasizes the present moment and the intuitive, spontaneous nature of the filmmaking process. It is influenced by Zen philosophy and meditation practices, and emphasizes a focus on the present moment and a sense of flow in the creative process.

The basic idea behind Zen Filmmaking is to let go of preconceived ideas and expectations about what a film should be and instead focus on the process of making it. This can involve techniques such as improvisation, working with a small crew or no crew at all, using available resources, and embracing mistakes and accidents as opportunities for creativity.

One of the key principles of Zen Filmmaking is the idea of "one-pointed attention," which means being fully present and focused on the task at hand. This can involve techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and other mindfulness practices to help filmmakers stay present and in the moment.

Another important aspect of Zen Filmmaking is the idea of non-attachment, which means letting go of attachment to specific outcomes and allowing the creative process to unfold naturally. This can involve taking risks, trying new things, and embracing uncertainty and unpredictability in the creative process.

Overall, Zen Filmmaking is a unique approach to filmmaking that values the process of creation as much as the final product. It emphasizes the importance of being present, letting go of expectations, and embracing spontaneity and creativity in the filmmaking process.


Zen Filmmaking is a creative approach to filmmaking that emphasizes simplicity, intuition, and spontaneity. It is a filmmaking philosophy that was popularized by the American filmmaker Scott Shaw in the 1990s.

The philosophy of Zen Filmmaking is based on the Zen principle of "living in the moment," and emphasizes a focus on the present rather than on the past or future. The idea is to let go of preconceptions and allow the creative process to unfold naturally, without interference from the ego.

Zen Filmmaking encourages filmmakers to work with minimal equipment and crew, and to rely on their instincts and intuition to guide the creative process. It also emphasizes the importance of the present moment, with a focus on capturing the essence of the moment rather than striving for perfection.

One of the key principles of Zen Filmmaking is the concept of "One-Take." This means that the entire scene is filmed in a single take, without any editing or retakes. This technique requires a great deal of preparation and rehearsal, but can result in a more natural, spontaneous performance from the actors.

Overall, Zen Filmmaking is a way of approaching filmmaking that emphasizes simplicity, intuition, and the present moment. It is an alternative to the more traditional, structured approach to filmmaking, and is meant to encourage filmmakers to experiment with new techniques and approaches to the creative process.


Zen Filmmaking is a term used to describe a style of filmmaking that emphasizes simplicity, minimalism, and a focus on the present moment. It is inspired by the principles and philosophy of Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes mindfulness, self-awareness, and an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.


Zen Filmmaking is characterized by a focus on the present moment, with minimal use of special effects and a preference for natural lighting. Filmmakers who embrace this style often use long takes and static shots, and favor natural sound over added music. They also often take a hands-off approach to directing, allowing the actors to develop their performances in a natural and organic way.


In Zen Filmmaking, the emphasis is on capturing the essence of a moment rather than trying to control or manipulate it. It is about capturing the natural beauty of the world, rather than trying to impose an artificial vision on it. The goal is to create a film that is true to the present moment and reflects the interconnectedness of all things, rather than trying to impose a preconceived idea or message on the audience.


Zen Filmmaking can be seen as a form of mindfulness in cinema, it's a way to capture the essence of a moment and share it with the audience. It creates a sense of intimacy and connection with the audience, as they are able to experience the present moment in a way that feels authentic.


Zen filmmaking refers to a philosophy or approach to making films that emphasizes simplicity, minimalism, and mindfulness. It is inspired by Zen Buddhism and aims to create a sense of calm and stillness in the audience by removing unnecessary elements and focusing on the essentials. This can manifest in various ways, such as through the use of minimal dialogue, long takes, and natural lighting. The goal of Zen filmmaking is to create a meditative and immersive experience for the viewer, rather than simply telling a story.


Originally from the Scott Shaw Blog

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking

Monday, January 16, 2023

Vampire Noir - A Scott Shaw Zen Film - Zen Filmmaking



Vampire Noir is now on YouTube. 

Click on the title.


Zen Filmmaking: The Definition

Zen Filmmaking is a term used to describe a style of filmmaking that emphasizes simplicity, minimalism, and a focus on the present moment. It is inspired by the principles and philosophy of Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes mindfulness, self-awareness, and an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.
Zen Filmmaking is characterized by a focus on the present moment, with minimal use of special effects and a preference for natural lighting. Filmmakers who embrace this style often use long takes and static shots, and favor natural sound over added music. They also often take a hands-off approach to directing, allowing the actors to develop their performances in a natural and organic way.
In Zen Filmmaking, the emphasis is on capturing the essence of a moment rather than trying to control or manipulate it. It is about capturing the natural beauty of the world, rather than trying to impose an artificial vision on it. The goal is to create a film that is true to the present moment and reflects the interconnectedness of all things, rather than trying to impose a preconceived idea or message on the audience.
Zen Filmmaking can be seen as a form of mindfulness in cinema, it's a way to capture the essence of a moment and share it with the audience. It creates a sense of intimacy and connection with the audience, as they are able to experience the present moment in a way that feels authentic.


Source: ChatGPT 

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Scott Shaw Radio on Spotify



Spotify has just put up the Scott Shaw Radio page featuring some of my music and music from other like-minded composers.

Check out more Scott Shaw Music.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Max Hell Frog Warrior - The Zen First Cut - Shaw Zen - Zen Filmmaking


The never before seen first cut of the Zen Film that became Toad Warrior and evolved into Max Hell Frog Warrior is now on YouTube.

For more information about Max Hell Fog Warrior @ Scott click on the title.


Monday, November 8, 2021

Rollergator on YouTube


Just wanted to let all you people out there know that we uploaded Rollergator to YouTube. You can watch it in it's entirety. Click on the title.

For more information bout Rollergator @ Scott click on the title. 

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

William Smith: Another Great Loss By Scott Shaw


By Scott Shaw


            Sadly, the great actor, William Smith has passed away. For those of us who are old enough or for those of us who have watched the evolution of independent cinema, we know that Bill has appeared in so many films and TV shows that it is almost impossible to believe.  In the 1960s and into the 1970s he was ultimate badass. He was in so many biker films; it’s not even funny. But, before that he was in westerns. From there he went on to co-star with Clint Eastwood, he fought Kwai Chang Caine in the original TV series Kung Fu, he even took over for Dano on the final season of Hawaii 5-O. The man had a great career!

            I was lucky enough to have worked with him a few times. The first time was on, The Roller Blade Seven. I so remember the night Don Jackson and I went to meet him to talk to him about being in the film. He was homeless then; couch surfing at the home of one actor or another. When we asked him to be in the film, he actually cried, as he was so happy to be offered work.

            When we took him to the set, several days later, his constant mantra was, “Can I go home now, daddy?   Back then, he drank a lot. He had brought an entire gallon jug of vodka with him to the set and continued to drink from it throughout the day. None of this changed his performance, however. He was great.

            We shot with him for a few days on the Roller Blade Seven. Each time he as on the set he brought that great William Smith presence.

            I also got to act with Bill and direct him in my film, The Rock n’ Roll Cops. This story is told elsewhere, but the night we were to work with him, Don was in one of his major fuck with everyone sort of moods.  Don produced the film and shot it for me. Anyway, we had rented a suite at the Bonaventura Hotel in DTLA as a filming location. Don invited everyone to show up. And, I mean everybody. …Telling them they all would be in the film.

            Don and I had been messing around all day and well into the night, when we finally got there, and saw an insane number of people in the suite. Don immediately screamed and yelled and threw and general fit; throwing everyone out. He then fired the guy who was managing the talent, blaming him for allowing so many people to show up. Bill just sat there in disbelief while all this was going on. Don then decided that he didn’t like the fact that Bill had brought along his then girlfriend, later wife, Joanne along.  But, he didn’t have the balls to tell Bill he didn’t want her there. So, without me knowing, he told Bill I didn’t want her there. But, I was fine with it. I liked her! I noticed she was gone and I asked Bill what happened to her? He said, “Don told me you don’t want her here so she went down to the bar.”  When I told him that wasn’t the case, he got up and stormed into bedroom where Don was preparing the camera, jumped on him, and put his hands around his neck in a chokehold. It was just a joke, as he liked Don, but it was a funny sight to see, as he did all that with that pure William Smith intensity. After that, Bill gave a great performance!

            Another funny experience I had with Bill was when he invited Don and I to a private screening of a film he was in. Don also invited another of his friends, who I also knew. Anyway, the film was so bad, and Don’s friend kept making jokes and cracking up throughout it, which caused me to also laugh through most of the film. Believe me when I tell you, the movie was bad. After the film, we are talking to Bill outside, he stated, “Who were those assholes who were laughing, I’d like to kick their ass.”  Of course, this just caused us to smile. 

            With the amount of work Bill did, his legacy is set in stone, or should I say on celluloid. …This, even though much of his later work was shot on video.

            Overall, he was a great guy, a true badass, a great actor, and a very nice person. As I sadly said not so long ago, in regard to the passing of Julie Strain, the Zen Filmmaking family keeps getting smaller. The original team is almost all gone.

            As for Bill, it’s sad. He was a true talent!

            Rest in Peace my Zen Filmmaking brother.


Copyright © 2021—All Rights Reserved


Originally from the Scott Shaw Blog

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Zen Film DVDs - Zen Filmmaking

As of 4 June 2021 will no longer be distributing films on DVD from Independent Film Production Companies like Light Source Films. We are now offering our DVD's via a new distribution company. Here's the link: The Zen Film DVD Shop

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Julie Strain: The Zen Filmmaking Tribe Just Got Smaller By Scott Shaw

 By Scott Shaw

            Sadly, Julie Strain passed away a couple of days ago. She died from complication from dementia that she had been suffering from for the past several years. She believed she got dementia from a traumatic brain injury she incurred when she was in her early twenties after being thrown from a horse. Scary… Julie was four years younger than me and I too suffered a traumatic brain injury when I was in my early twenties when a car hit me while I was riding my motorcycle fracturing my skull in numerous places.

            I always liked Julie. She was one of those very nice, very fun people. We spent a lot of time filming Zen Films at her home in Bel Air when she was married to Kevin Eastman. It was a great place. We used to call it the, “Turtle Mansion,” as Kevin is the co-creator to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There was this gigantic painting of Julie that hung on the wall of the living room. I think that painting and its placement truly depicted who she truly was.

            Julie was a talented person full of all kinds of fun and even crazy creative ideas. She was pretty much high all day long. She would get up, wake and bake, then smoke dope periodically all day long. I never smoked with her. I don’t like the high, though she always offered. But, some of our cast and crew did partake from time to time. Then, come eight o’clock, she was off to bed. Had to get her beauty sleep.

            Her house was always filled with the famous and the beautiful. The list of friends she had was astonishing. When I was there we would be sitting around with some of the A-list of Hollywood royalty or prominent porn stars.

            During the time I was working with Julie she had a very high-end publicist. Via this pathway she invited Don and I to be on a couple of big TV shows she did. I remember this one time she was at an event called, “Dragonfest,” back in the late 90s. This was a martial arts meet and greet thing. I was invited, as obviously I’ve written a lot of stuff on the martial arts and have been involved forever but Julie and Kevin also had a signing table there that year. It was crazy, sure people knew about the Ninja Turtles and were waiting to get a signed photo of Kevin with the Turtles but most did not even know what Julie had or had not done but there was a mile long line to get her autographed photo. She was quite a presence. This, when just the year before, Kevin and I walked around the event and I had to tell people who he was. Kevin is also a great human being!!! I was always so thankful for what they both brought to our productions.

            Julie was truly a one of a kind individual. With her passing, gone is one more piece of the puzzle to the original Zen Filmmaking troupe. First was Don, (Donald G. Jackson), then Karen (Black), Z’Dar, Conrad (Brooks), and now Julie. There is almost none of the original team left. Very sad! Julie was a great, beautiful (inside and out), talented individual and will truly be missed.


Copyright © 2021—All Rights Reserved

Originally from the Scott Shaw Blog

Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking