Monday, May 13, 2024

Zen Filmmaking and the Two-Day Movie By Scott Shaw

Here is a chapter from my book, Independent Filmmaking: Secrets of the Craft that I thought some of you filmmakers out there may find interesting.

By Scott Shaw

When I tell people that they should film their independent movies in two days, they most often respond, “That’s impossible!” But, I can tell you from personal experience, that, “Yes, it is.” In fact, I have made an art out of shooting entire feature films in just two days.


This process began when I made Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell. Making a film this quickly was in direct response to the months-upon-months Don Jackson and I took to make The Roller Blade Seven.


While making RB7 I came to the realization that though all of the time we had spent during production had, for the most part, been a fun experience, it truly did not make the movie any better.


Now, RB7 was filmed in numerous locations—many of which were a long distance from our offices on Hollywood Boulevard. The truth being told, if you are going to shoot at that many locations, with that much of a distance to travel, then, “No,” you probably cannot make your movie in two days. But, if you keep your locations central to your homebase, then this style of filmmaking is very doable.



The question is often posed to me, “Why make a film in only two days?” The logic is simple.  First of all it’s cheaper. If you are paying or feeding anyone on your set, then keeping the shooting schedule limited to only two days cuts way down on your production costs. Secondarily, and perhaps most importantly, people have lives, people have jobs, people have families, people have egos that can be damaged, people have the belief that your production is not that great and they will soon be offered a bigger position in a larger production. In short, your crew and particularly your cast are going to move on. But, if you shoot your film in a minimal period of time, their interest will remain high and they will stay onboard until the completion of your production.


In addition, the two-day film really works great for the working masses, because you can make an entire film over the weekend. As most people work Monday thru Friday, their weekends are open. With this, they do not feel that they are being cheated out of their daily wage for taking part in your production.


Also, if you need to rent equipment, film rental houses have a policy that renting equipment for the weekend is billed as a single day rental.  So, if you need to rent equipment, you can save some money.



The successful two-day film is all about scheduling. Whereas many novice indie filmmakers go into their project with their script in hand and the idea of what they hope to film on a particular day, their schedule quickly becomes lost due to the fact that they are messing around with the lights, talking and joking with the cast, rehearsing their actors, and generally not getting anything done. If you are going to make a two-day movie, you need to know how to get things done!


On every film, there are things that are going to come up that you cannot anticipate and these situations will lead to your planned schedule being altered to some degree. So, what you want to do is to alleviate as many of those potential problems as possible. For example, you will want to KNOW your locations.


With the two-day movie you cannot just show up to a place you have never been to before and expect everything to go fine. Maybe everything will go fine, but that cannot be guaranteed.


So, when planning for the two-day movie, prior to shooting, you will want to visit, dress the sets, and setup your lights, if possible, at each location to fit the needs of your film. Then, on the day of shooting, when you travel to the location, it will be ready to go.


Scheduling the Actor

One of the primary things that you will want to do, particularly in regard to actor scheduling, is to only bring them onto the set when it is near the time for them to shoot their scenes. So many filmmakers bring actors onto the set and then have them sit around for hours, if not all day. Sometimes these actors are not even used if a filmmaker encounters any problems. This is just the wrong way to make the independent film.


What this style of filmmaking does is to alienate your actors from you and the production and cause them to be discontent.  By the time you are ready to shoot their scenes—if, in fact, you ever get around to them, their emotions are displaced and they are not happy—which may be projected into your film. So, the main thing you have to do is to decide the order of the scenes you are shooting on a specific day, in a specific location, and then bring the actors onto the set near the time you plan to begin shooting the scenes that involve their character.


There will certainly be lead or co-star actors and actresses that will need to travel with you to the various locations you are shooting at on a given day. What I find works best is to meet them at the first location, if this location is some distance from your primary set.  Shoot their scenes at this location and then move onto the next set or location.  You can either have them leave their car at this location or have them follow you.


The other thing to do is to meet at your primary set and then drive in one car with them.  With this style of transportation, not only can you discuss any questions they have about their character or the scenes you are going to shoot, but you can also learn about their personality.  From this, you, as a director, will better know how to guide them through their performances.


The main thing you do not want to do is to lose you actors in the process of the two-day movie.  Because, with no cast, there is no character development, and your movie can never be completed—at least not as scheduled. So, you want to keep your lead actors close.


The Look

The two-day film does not have to look low-budget. With a schedule of ten to twelve hours a day, you can shoot a lot of character development at a lot of locations and give your film the look of a production that took much longer to create and cost much more. Achieving this is easy. Chart out your locations, film your scenes at them and then move on to the next location. Don’t mess around. You can do that later. Get out there and get your movie filmed.


Those Who Get It

Let’s face facts, some people, “Get it,” and some do not. Some understand that an indie film is a low-budget collaborative process that is designed to be a stepping-stone pathway to make inroads in the film industry and some do not.  What you want to do when making the two-day film and, in fact, when making any indie film, is surround yourself with a cast and crew that “Get it.”  From this, you will alleviate many of the problems that may occur, particularly with your cast.


The Reality

The reality of the two-day movie is that you can create a very nice product while interfering with the lives of your cast and crew in the most minimal manner possible. With this, they come away with a new credit on their resume while having had a positive experience.


If, while editing you find that you need another scene or two to fix any holes in the story, as the production was so trouble free your cast and crew will be happy to come back and give you another hour or two.


The problem with long independent productions is obvious.  The cast and the crew become too involved in the lives of each other, and from this, the flaws in the production and individual personalities are revealed. This abrasive reality drives many people away. From this, the film can never be completed in the manner in which it was hoped. The solution; the two-day movie.  You get in there, you get it done, and everyone moves on with his or her life.


Copyright © 2009—All Rights Reserved


You can also read this article on, Zen

@ The Two-Day Movie

Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Maverick of Mindfulness: Scott Shaw and the Art of Zen Filmmaking


Few figures in contemporary cinema embrace the unorthodox as vehemently as Scott Shaw. An author, martial artist, and filmmaker, Shaw has carved his own path, rejecting convention in favor of a practice he terms "Zen Filmmaking." This essay delves into Shaw's life, philosophy, and cinematic techniques, exploring his unique contribution to the world of film and its impact on both audiences and the industry itself.


From Martial Arts to Mindfulness:

Shaw's journey began far from the silver screen. An accomplished martial artist, he found himself drawn to Eastern philosophy, particularly the tenets of Zen Buddhism. The emphasis on mindfulness, improvisation, and living in the present resonated deeply, influencing both his martial arts practice and his burgeoning interest in filmmaking.


Breaking the Script: The Core of Zen Filmmaking:

Shaw's films defy traditional filmmaking norms. Gone are the rigid scripts and pre-defined narratives. Instead, Zen Filmmaking embraces spontaneity, improvisation, and an intuitive approach. Actors receive minimal direction, encouraged to respond organically to their environment and each other. The camera lingers on seemingly mundane details, inviting viewers to slow down and appreciate the present moment.


Shaw's Signature Style:

Several techniques mark Shaw's films as distinctively Zen:

  • Minimalism: Simple sets, natural lighting, and subdued color palettes create a stripped-down aesthetic, eliminating distractions and emphasizing the essence of the scene.
  • Improvisation: Actors improvise dialogue and actions, mirroring the Zen emphasis on letting go of preconceived notions and embracing the unknown.
  • Long Takes: Uninterrupted shots immerse viewers in the present moment, fostering a sense of timelessness and contemplation.
  • Silence: Dialogue is sparse, emphasizing the power of nonverbal communication and leaving space for introspection.


Impact and Influence:

Zen Filmmaking isn't for everyone. Its slow pace and lack of clear narratives can be challenging for audiences accustomed to Hollywood fare. Yet, for those willing to surrender to its rhythm, the rewards are profound. Shaw's films offer a meditative experience, inviting viewers to be present in the moment, appreciate the beauty of the ordinary, and contemplate the deeper questions of life.


Beyond Entertainment: A Path to Awakening:

Shaw's work transcends mere entertainment. He views filmmaking as a form of personal and spiritual exploration, an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness and connect with one's authentic self. This is reflected in his workshops and teachings, where he guides aspiring filmmakers to access their inner creativity and embrace the Zen principles that define his unique style.


Criticisms and Controversies:

Zen Filmmaking isn't without its detractors. Some find its approach self-indulgent and criticize its lack of clear narratives. Shaw's unconventional methods and independent spirit have also clashed with the commercial constraints of the film industry.


A Legacy of Innovation:

Despite the challenges, Scott Shaw remains a force of innovation in the cinematic landscape. His dedication to Zen principles and his unwavering commitment to artistic freedom have challenged preconceived notions of filmmaking and offered a unique perspective on storytelling. He continues to inspire aspiring filmmakers and push the boundaries of cinematic expression, leaving a lasting legacy as a true maverick of the art form.



Scott Shaw's Zen Filmmaking stands as a testament to the power of embracing the unorthodox. By blending Eastern philosophy with cinematic techniques, he has created a space for contemplation, introspection, and a unique experience of the present moment. While not for everyone, his films offer a valuable alternative to mainstream cinema, reminding us of the potential art holds to elevate and awaken. As Shaw himself declares, "Zen Filmmaking is not about making movies, it's about making life." With this philosophy, he continues to guide both filmmakers and audiences on a journey beyond the screen, towards a deeper understanding of self and a profound appreciation for the fleeting beauty of the present moment.


 This article can also be found on Zen

The Maverick of Mindfulness: Scott Shaw and the Art of Zen Filmmaking

Scott Shaw and Zen Filmmaking: A World of Unconventional Creativity

Scott Shaw is a multifaceted figure in the world of independent filmmaking, particularly known for his unique approach called "Zen Filmmaking." Here's a breakdown of his style and its impact:

The Zen Filmmaking Philosophy:

  • No Script, No Rules: At its core, Zen Filmmaking rejects traditional filmmaking practices like pre-written scripts and rigid structures. It emphasizes spontaneity, improvisation, and trusting the creative instincts of the director and actors.
  • Collaborative Flow: Emphasis lies on collaboration and improvisation between actors and director. Dialogue is often created on the spot, allowing for organic reactions and genuine emotions.
  • Focus on Experience: The goal isn't necessarily a polished, plot-driven narrative, but rather capturing an authentic experience and conveying genuine emotions through the filmmaking process.

Scott Shaw's Journey:

  • Martial Arts and Eastern Philosophy: Shaw holds a black belt in several martial arts disciplines and draws inspiration from Eastern philosophies, incorporating their spontaneity and flow into his filmmaking.
  • Diverse Films: He has directed various films showcasing his eclectic taste, ranging from sci-fi action like "The Roller Blade Seven" to martial arts dramas like " Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell."
  • Zen Filmmaking in Practice: Many of Shaw's films, particularly independent low-budget features, utilize the Zen Filmmaking approach.

Reception and Impact:

  • Cult Following: While not universally acclaimed, Shaw's films have garnered a loyal cult following who appreciate their unconventional style, raw energy, and unique humor.
  • Challenges: The lack of structure and reliance on improvisation can create uneven results, sometimes criticized for pacing and plot coherence.
  • Independent Spirit: However, Zen Filmmaking embodies the spirit of independent filmmaking, offering a creative alternative to mainstream studio productions.

Further Exploration:

  • Learn more about Scott Shaw's films and Zen Filmmaking on his website:
  • Watch documentaries like "Scott Shaw: Zen Master of B-Movies" to gain deeper insights into his filmmaking process.
  • Explore other filmmakers like Donald G. Jackson, who have collaborated with Shaw and adopted similar approaches.


If you're looking for unconventional cinema that prioritizes creative freedom and spontaneity over traditional narratives, Scott Shaw and Zen Filmmaking offer a unique and fascinating journey worth exploring.


This article can also be found on Zen

Scott Shaw and Zen Filmmaking: A World of Unconventional Creativity

Monday, December 25, 2023

Zen Filmmaking: Truth Verses Lies By Scott Shaw

By Scott Shaw

I am so often perplexed by people that go after other people, via whatever method is at their disposal, as a means of attack. Sure, we all like what we like and don’t like what we don’t like, that’s life. But, what I find profoundly troubling is when people state completely wrong ideas, that are complete erroneous about that someone/anyone else. I mean, if you don’t possess a fact-based knowledge about a person or a subject then all you are spilling is conjecture. And, if what you are saying is wrong or flat-out untrue, shouldn’t that make the speaking individual feel bad and shouldn’t they do all that they can to right their wrong? Yet, who does?

As someone who has been in the public eye, (in my small little way), via my writings, my films, my music, and the like for many-many years, I have encountered a lot of falsehoods being stated about my works and myself. So, I guess that has provided me with a bit of insight into the all of this. Personally, I really don’t care what someone is saying, especially if what they are saying is false. This being stated, I have witnessed the impact of how some of these false words have negatively affected my life’s landscape.

I threw Zen Filmmaking into the title of the piece as I was just having an interesting discussion with this one guy, who’s a fan of my films. Thanks! He mentioned that he had read that someone on some site was going on about my movies, stating that all I do is turn on the camera and let people speak. And, that’s why they are all so bad and he hates them. That’s not true. That’s not true at all.

Zen Filmmaking is not about improv. Zen Filmmaking is not about letting people say whatever it is they want to say. Zen Filmmaking is about embracing the perfection of the moment and allowing the magic to happen. In terms of dialogue, I set up the scene and then allow the actors to put the situation into their own words. Thus, allowing them to be natural in their words and their responses. It’s as simple as that.

Every scene, in all of my Zen Films, I know what we’re going to shoot. I simply allow the actors to decipher the dialogue and their actions by their own unique methods of interpretation. I allow for the freedom of the spontaneousness and the natural to guide us through the scene and in new directions if that becomes the inspiration.

The reason I spell this out, (and for those of you who know anything about Zen Filmmaking, you already know about all this chatter), is that here is somebody making a statement, proclaiming it to be true, but what they are saying is just blatantly wrong. He (or she) hasn’t studied the craft of Zen Filmmaking, yet they proclaim all this supposed knowledge about the art form, but they are wrong. What does that say about them?

I haven’t even made a Narrative Zen Film in well over ten years. I’ve been focused on creating the Non-Narrative Zen Film. So, everything that person is speaking about is ancient history.

Over the years, I’ve read some of the reviews of my films, or even watched a few of the video presentations people have done about my movies, but what is so often the case is what they are saying is wrong. What they claim is not true about the inspiration, about the story, about the method, about the technique, about me, and about the everything else—particularly when they are basing their appraisal upon a negative point of view. Yet, they present it as fact, nonetheless.

Do they ever communicate with me to check their facts? Do they ever go back and correct their mistakes? Do they ever say, “Sorry, I was wrong?” Nope. They just leave all of their falsehoods out there for the world to see. What does that say about them as a human being?

You don’t like my Zen Films, that’s fine. Here’s an idea, don’t like ‘em, don’t watch ‘em. But, don’t proclaim factual falsehoods and pretend you know anything about the craft, or about me, when what you are saying is blatantly false.

We each encounter this style of life-dialogue all the time. Look around you: view, listen, read; people talk all the time about all of the things they claim that they know, but how often is what they are saying simply based in their own personal, unrefined, prejudices and not based in truth or fact?

What can we do about all of this? Nothing. It’s just the name of the game. What we can do, however, is not be that person who states false facts. We can choose to only speak the truth. I mean, why talk about anybody else anyway? Don’t you have enough going on in your own life to keep you busy?

Moreover, if you see, hear, or read the falsehoods, call these people out. Because if no one stops their speaking of un-truths, just think about how many lives they will hurt.

Like I state in my number one motto, “Be Positive.” Say good things. Do good things. Help everyone you can and never hurt anyone. Just think how much better the world would become if we all practiced that philosophy.


Copyright © 2023—All Rights Reserved


Originally from the Scott Shaw Blog @ Scott 


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 © 2033—All Rights Reserved

Originally from the Scott Shaw Blog @ Scott 

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