We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamin Scotti and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jamin, what role has risk played in your life or career?
We all know I could go type into Google, “Amazing Quotes About Taking Risks” and begin this paragraph with something epic — but the truth is that if you don’t take risks in your art, then (in my opinion) you’re not an artist. Straight-up: that word “risk” really sums up everything I hope to do within my film career, maybe to a fault? I have no desire to create anything that: A) Looks like everything else. B) Doesn’t challenge an audience. C) Doesn’t have a deeper message. Sounds cliche; but, if you really follow those guidelines, that leaves a relatively strange, largely unpopular niche to express myself — at least, in such a way that I find fulfilling as a filmmaker. This is why I’m expecting my debut feature film, “Artificial Flowers” (coming Christmas 2021) to really raise some eyebrows in my direction. The darker area of the human condition I like to explore in my work is — in a word, “RISKY” to explore. It has the potential to turn people off entirely; walk-out of the theatre even. But, it also may posses the power to open eyes and start conversations. I dream of supporting myself creating art I actually believe in, while staying true to Jamin. Unfortunately, that’s a risk nowadays too; as getting people to show interest in emotionally-driven avant garde storyelling is just not as popular as eating Tide pods on Tik-Tok.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m so excited to continue to create film. 2020 really did a number on all of us, and I’m so excited (underlined) to see what Los Angeles has been working on during this quarantine. And, not only film, but the theatre wave we’re about to get hit with is bound to be fantastic — especially immersive theatre! I know I myself have been lucky enough to find the time to write more, and develop a few more screenplays/concepts that I plan to bring into existence, before the end of the year! Naturally, I’m in love with filmmaking — and the “experience” of “going to the movies”. However, the pandemic has also introduced me to another love I didn’t know I had; creating digital art installations. My creative partner Shayne Eastin and I’s first short film, “Trouble For Miles” incorporated a large number of TV screens, projections, and special effects which all needed to happen on a timed schedule. When screening at film festivals, audience-goers indicated they would have loved to have walked through the “Trouble For Miles” set as an art installation; and thus, our new artistic endeavors were born! Shayne and I thought it would be an excellent way to attract much-needed attention to local businesses utilizing this form of digital art, via storefront window. So, we created “What Is Halloween?” — a 10-minute looping digital art installation which premiered in October at (stores) The Holding Company and Slone Vintage, in Burbank. Set to an original poem by Shayne, “What Is Halloween?” contained multiple animations, special effects, and over 100+ unique sound designs. The installation made welikeLA’s list of “30+ Things To Do For Halloween”. I hope to continue these installations in the new year. Once social-distancing measures are relaxed, I really hope to create a digital art installation which audience-goers can physically walk through, rather than just view from behind glass.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
With the pandemic currently happening, it is so hard to suggest places to visit at the moment. Right now, I’d say stay home and stay safe! However, once these restrictions are relaxed, Los Angeles is such an awesome place to explore — and I really mean “explore”. I lived here for 3 years before discovering some of my favorite places. But, I’m lucky enough to call my favorite neighborhood of Los Angeles County, North Hollywood, my home! After North Hollywood — the only city in the United States with more live theatre happening on every corner, on a Friday night, is New York City. If it was a Friday night, and the pandemic was over, you’d catch me seeing whatever horror-show was happening live at Zombie Joe’s Underground. Then afterwards, getting an Old Fashioned at Idle Hour across the street. I love the art scene in Los Angeles — especially the Immersive Theatre scene. Immersive theatre companies like Delusion and JustFixIt Productions have created some of the best living art I’m convinced this country (maybe planet) has to offer; and I keep checking their websites (throughout the year) for any new opportunities to be inspired. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Well, first and foremost: being a gay kid from the Midwest who was raised Catholic; I would be an utter wreck of a human being (if not dead by now) without my mom and dad. I’ve had so many great mentors in filmmaking and producing; but none of them even come close to the literal DNA makeup that has provided me with such a love for creativity. I was very troubled when I was younger, and without my creativity being acknowledged and celebrated by my parents, it’s crazy for me to think of who I could have been now at 31 — had they not been so, so incredibly good to me. I was very fortunate. However, I’d also like to give a shoutout to my creative partner: Shayne Eastin. (Writer, Director) Working with Shayne has really been transformative for me as an artist; we share similar tastes for aesthetic and style — and we always know what the other is thinking, during every phase of the production process. Our short film “Trouble For Miles” has provided my first tangible success as a filmmaker. “Trouble For Miles” tells the story of young girl recounting her traumatic death, while navigating a purgatory fashioned for the Digital Age. The short film has been accepted to multiple film festivals as an Official Selection, while also being awarded “Best Experimental Short” for Indie Short Fest, Independent Shorts Awards, IndieX Film Fest, and New York City IO Film Festival. Lastly, I need to give a huge shoutout to my dear friend and Producer: Emily Charouhas (Actress, Writer, Producer). In 2017, I went to a theatre in North Hollywood to watch a play titled “Artificial Flowers” — I was so moved by this production that I went back multiple times before reaching out to the writer and star of the show (Emily), and asking her if she’d like to embark on a LONG journey to making her play into a feature film. Since then, Emily has proven to be one of the most generous and competent Producers I’ve ever worked with. Our film, “Artificial Flowers” tells the story of 2 Los Angeles-based authors who meet in the middle of the night, and use each other to explore the darkest parts of their personalities. I am continually inspired by Emily’s performance in this film; I think she is tremendously brave in her portrayal of Maeve.