by Shaun Scott
"Try as we might to lose ourselves in the temporary winds of sensory experience, in groupthink’s sedative waves, or in the seductive flame of romantic attraction, artists can know no real respite from the first person imperative; from ongoing dialogue with that old internal daemon who moves us to create competitively, and to present our crafts as objects to be consumed on the cultural marketplace. While some have—through their inactivity—ceded the title of “artist” to cynics who suggest the occupation is simply a matter of sitting and waiting for inspiration to strike, those of us who make it a daily duty to live up to the title know that projecting our innermost visions is arduous, and fraught with anxiety at every step of the way.
“Shaun’s Daydream” is a short-film featuring the filmmakers’ imagination, a simulation of introspection in which the subject 1) observes, 2) signifies, and 3) recalls, expresses, and judges. In the film, the moves are expressed in 3 corresponding movements, where the stuff of my imagination—historical images of black life in the 1960s and 1970s—is represented as a working-class drama with slogans that eventually form the backbone of the last and most crucial step in the process:--when we move ourselves to externalize, in words and in creative deeds, what was previously only internal. Not everyone may be as infatuated with the same content as I once was—to say the least, archival documentary footage is the most benign retrospective b-roll that plays in the movie house of my mind’s eye, and I’ve since explored similar themes with more contemporary imagery in my forthcoming “100% OFF: A Recession-Era Romance”—but I do think the form is transcendent.
“Shaun’s Daydream” is the very last short I made before embarking on a career as a director of narratives and documentaries in 2008, at age 24. Looking at it again—3 years and 3 feature length films later—this short is still a creative vow that, come what may, I absolutely cannot allow myself to betray. Just as the many creative collaborations it takes to make a film are infinitely nourishing and without a doubt necessary, a director has to constantly answer to the same self that dreamed and willed the creation into being in the first place. Lovers leave each other if love changes, friends grow or force each other apart, families may give with one hand but take with the other; budgets evaporate, key collaborators flake, technical challenges, inevitable trials-by-error, and learning curves loom; through it all—and at all costs—the vision must come into being."
- Shaun Scott
- Shaun Scott