We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephen Scott Day and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephen, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve had a hard time answering questions about “my business” because it’s been hard finding out what my business even has been, so many freelancers know this feeling– but there’s been a way of looking at things that have helped me and others discover what their business really is. It’s that any project you embark on that has the potential of bringing income is essentially a business. So in that way, I’ve been able to see that every film project I’ve started has been exactly like starting a business, every YouTube channel I run, when I started a film magazine and website, and now lately when I’ve begun development on a game. I don’t go in thinking “How will this make me money?”. I start projects because of a feeling, like literally an emotion that I would like to share with the world. Sometimes that emotion is a complicated one that I know people would find relieving to know they’re not alone when they feel it– as in the films I’ve made. Sometimes the feeling is simple, like excitement– as in the games I’ve made. Just about everything has also come from a frustration with how the world is run, with socio-political problems, injustices that need correcting. And then making all these things that I wanted to see have gotten the attention of others who then pay me to collaborate with them, or who pay for the thing itself whether it’s been films or music or games. As my business grows there have been more intentional decisions concerning income, which are usually about how to make sure more people see the stuff I’m already doing. Otherwise, starting this “business” itself has been an accident of sorts. Spend all your time doing something you love and try NOT making money off of it, that’s much more difficult than making money doing things you don’t enjoy doing. The pie in the sky is real.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think my heritage and upbringing as a lower-middle-class Mexican-American in a half-Latino-half-Asian city has influenced my work a ton. It’s something I don’t really see very often in the arts, this cultural blend. I’m most proud of my oeuvre (c’mon how am I not gonna take this opportunity to say that). All of my idols explore a lot of very different things and can be surprising to find out that the same author was responsible for these very different things. I’ve always admired that in them because the variety has made my world bigger, has made me more open to other cultures and ideas. So I am proud to see that I’ve been able to carry that torch in ways. I create my own things obsessively and try making friends with everyone I’m a fan of. I read a bunch of books and watch a ton of YouTube videos about how to market yourself in a world where everyone is competing for attention. But more specifically I reached out for help and guidance a few years ago and was really given some great opportunities by some really great people. Not easy at all. The real challenge in someone trying to make a living in the arts, especially when your tastes lean more toward eccentric or niche, is finding your audience. Doubly difficult if you’re multidisciplinary. Persistence is seriously the only answer, everything else is case-specific. Energy to work on projects is often tied to how much you’ve been exercising, how well you’ve been eating, and whether you’ve been spending too little or too much time with friends. If you dig any of the stuff I’ve made, reach out to me. Whether you think it would be cool to work on something together, or you think I could help guide you if you’re feeling a little lost, or if you wanna pay me to make something dope af for you.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to some local spots that I eat at all the time, like Half and Half Good Old Time or Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House in San Gabriel. I would go for walks around South Pas with them. Take a bike ride around the SGV. The Arboretum is always beautiful. Take a walk around Boyle Heights. The things I dig most are really off-limits right now because of Mr. Covid. I would normally say hit up a revival screening or see what Cinespia is playing, all movie stuff.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Max Joseph and Gabe Reilich, My therapist on Betterhelp. Sonny Wong, Cameron Combe, Skarlett Redd, and David Huynh. My mom and dad. Among others, they know who they are.
Other: Film related YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaew59jQsiANKh8digia-Bw Some of the games I make: https://stephenscottday.itch.io/
BTS by Mike Beltran