VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

My name is Scot

My name is Scott
Canadian videomaker




Interview: 10 questions

Tell me something about your life and the educational background

I grew up on a farm, in a fairly rural area in Canada and there has always been something about the solitude and self-sufficiency of that kind of lifestyle, which has carried over onto my art practice. You learn to do a lot of watching and you tend to have to figure out things for yourself. I was making art for a long time before I finally went to art school ( Emily Carr Institute) and while there, I maintained a studio outside of the school environment. It seemed like a good way to make sure that I was always making the kind of art I wanted to make. In that sense, my education has always been pretty self- directed.

When, how and why started you filming?

I played around with video in school, mostly as a way to figure out how my performance actions looked. For a number of years, figuring out how things looked and then rebuilding or re-presenting them in ways that implicated other people became central to my practice, usually through my site-specific installation work, which was fairly cinematic in it’s scope and scale. A few years ago, I did a series of interventionist performance pieces, recorded them with video, then tried extending the effects and intentions of the actions through the editing of the footage and became interested in creating new scenarios or situations from existing footage.

What kind of subjects have your films?

My subjects are often marginal; people and animals that exist on the fringes of mainstream culture or places hidden deep within our public infrastructures or private psyches.

How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

I work a lot with language as a starting point. A piece of text or a title will suggest an image and from there I try and accumulate images or sounds, in a fairly spontaneous manner. I usually develop a number of possibilities and then edit away everything that seems inessential to the core idea.

Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I work pretty small, using a handheld Sony Video Camera and editing with iMovie on my home Mac setup. It’s partly to keep costs down, so that I never get too dependant on technology that I can’t afford or access, but mostly to keep myself very close to the work, in a sense, treating the technology almost as a prop or an extension of my performance work.

What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?

It’s kind of exciting how accessible new media has become and how much easier it is to engage a viewing audience with difficult ideas or issues. But the sheer volume of information out there makes it more difficult to hold a viewer’s attention in a meaningful way. For me, the challenge is to stay true to my voice while still keeping abreast of technology and without pandering to a media saturated public.

How do you finance your films?

Up until recently, most of my video has been self –financed. As my projects grow in scale, I have started to look at funding through Arts Council grants and have had some success in securing partial funding this way.

Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

I have tended to work alone or with just one other person for most of my projects. Since I tend to work fairly spontaneously or collect images over a long time in short, daily shoots, it has been difficult to arrange for other people’s involvement. I have worked collaboratively on a few projects switching off as cameraperson and performer, which has allowed me to develop ideas from both sides of the camera. When I have worked with a small team it has been quite productive and unexpectedly, has provided me with opportunities to try things
I might not have done alone. I’m hoping to try and work more on this scale.

Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

The poetry of Wang Wei, Du Fu, Su Shih, Gosta Agren and the texts of William S. Burroughs, Paul Bowles continue to influence both the structure and substance of my video work. Also the film work of Akira Kurosawa, Kihachi Okamoto and Jacques Tati.

What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

I am looking forward to starting work on a large scale project called –
No Frills, that involves adapting a number of experimental narratives by the writer Leannej into a series of linked video stories. It’ll be a new way of working for me and I’m excited to see where it will lead me.