The local filmmaker Shaun Scott wrote in a note for the short Stepping into Tomorrow: "I've often had to justify to family, friends, and collaborators why my approach to filmmaking is as unrelenting as it is—why I consider anything less than a feature a year a failure at this stage of my career; after spending my early 20s honing and developing trust in my creative voice, turning my back on distractions and toxic relationships, and seeking out worthy collaborators and sustaining friendships, I'm finally in a position to actualize the inner visions that tempted me to become a filmmaker." One of the reasons I and other editor/writers at this paper nominated Scott for a Stranger Genius Award for film was the passion expressed in this note—it felt real and immediate.
Scott's first film, Seat of Empire, was messy but filled to the brim with brilliant moments; his second film, Waste of Time, displayed his command of the critical tools of the Frankfurt School. Without his relentless creative passion, neither of these films would have been made. You can't make a no-budget film without being relentless. However, relentlessness has its limits, and these limits appear in his new feature film, 100% Off: A Recession-Era Romance. The main problem is this: It's almost impossible to lose one's self in this film because, scene by scene, you are constantly made aware of and cannot escape from its need for a bigger budget and a larger cast and crew and more equipment—particularly lights. Scott's earlier films did not suffer from this problem because they worked within a narrower and far less expensive range.
Interestingly enough, 100% Off: A Recession-Era Romance is not ignorant of its poverty and limitations. In one scene, the main characters (Laurie Roberts and Matt Giampietro) angrily complain to the character played by the director, Scott, that they are not actors. Nor does the film completely lack magical moments—for example, the scene involving Stephanie Kim's bus ride through Seattle is quite beautiful and moving. But the film Scott wanted to make didn't reach the screen. For that to happen, he needed more than relentlessness; he needed a lot more money and time. Through July 10, Grand Illusion Cinema.