By Scott Shaw
It’s interesting… Every now and then people hit me up on Facebook or Instagram or somewhere and tell me about the what’s what of the what’s going on.
Today, some guy contacted me, letting me know that an apparent Screener Copy of Toad Warrior was up for auction on eBay and he was wondering if he should bid on it.
I found all of this karmically serendipitous as I had, just the other day, written a blog mentioning Max Hell Frog Warrior AKA Toad Warrior.
Anyway, I took a look at the auction and I don’t where the seller got that video tape but it was not an actual Screening Copy, at least not from the source: namely Don or I, even though it did have my name on it: Scott Shaw, Toad Warrior, Screener Copy, and a phone number. It must have been some sort of bootleg or something???
Here’s a secret that you may not know and a way to tell if a VHS tape is an original or a fake for those of you who weren’t in the film game back in the days of video tape. If there is video picture separation and a light glitching along one of the sides of the tape, normally the left side, it was a VHS-to-VHS transfer and not a transfer from a Beta Master. FYI.
More interesting than even that was/is the fact and the question, “Why do these video tapes sell for so much money?” I mean, I should sell the ones I have. They would equal a big chunk of change. Plus, they aren’t a bootleg. They are a Valid Original. Even more than that, I could print more copies—make more money. I’m the one with the Masters collecting dust in my Film Vault. But, I was never about the money… I was just about the art… Stupid me… :-)
Anyway, back to the question, what makes these video tapes so valuable? The quality of the picture and the sound are not that great. I mean, sure they take you back to a place in time but was a bad picture with not great sound actually a better viewing experience? I mean, the DVD is still available and you can watch Toad Warrior on Amazon Prime Video. So???
And remember, Don and I never wanted that version of the film to be released in the U.S. We didn’t like the cut. I was forced to release it on DVD because someone/somehow, probably stolen from one of the screening houses, got a Beta copy of the film and then sold it to a distribution company who released it without our permission. Just a bit of history for you… Plus, if you truly care about the legacy of Donald G. Jackson, Zen Filmmaking, and myself you wouldn’t try to make a buck by selling a bootleg copy of Toad Warrior on eBay.
In closing, this is just a note to all you people out there… Be warned… There’s a lot of fakes. Maybe you don’t care? I don’t know? But, to whomever paid all that money for that video tape, just know that it is not a True Source Copy.
As for the guy who contacted me, I’m going to sent him one of the original video tapes of Toad Warrior; signed. A real Screening Copy. No charge.
Like I used to sign my letters back in the days of Max Hell:
This is Life.
This is Zen.
This is Scott Shaw Signing Out.
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