ESIO - Producer Feature: Adam Scorgie
Summer months can be a busy time in the filmmaking business as we balance a number of grant applications and funding deadlines with production shoots.
While we've been grinding away in the office and out on set (more on that next post!) the Edmonton Screen Industries Office was kind enough to highlight Score G Productions' founder, Adam Scorgie, in a feature article that gives a good look into his backstory, as well as provides a bit of insight into how the team approaches filmmaking.
Introducing Adam Scorgie, the visionary behind Score G Productions, an acclaimed production company rooted in Edmonton.
With a remarkable talent for storytelling, Adam has mastered the art of captivating audiences through his lens. We had the privilege of sitting down with him to delve into his journey as a filmmaker, get insights into his upcoming projects, and gather valuable tips for aspiring filmmakers.
Stay tuned for an inspiring conversation with this creative force, as he shares his passion, experiences, and wisdom that have shaped him into a prominent figure in the world of documentary filmmaking.
The beginning, middle, and the current
My journey into the world of documentaries is an conventual one and began with a different aspiration – I wanted to be in front of the camera as an actor. In pursuit of this dream, I studied at the prestigious William Esper Studio in Manhattan and dabbled in bit parts on soap operas and music videos, honing my acting skills.
However, life had other plans for me when my biological father passed away suddenly, and I inherited his strip club, Cheetahs, back in Kelowna, BC. Though it may sound glamorous, the reality was far from it. Dealing with the complexities and politics surrounding the club was not my calling.
Interestingly, I grew up around the nightclub and cannabis industry in Canada, and whenever I shared this fact, people often found it hard to believe or labeled my life as crazy. The experience inspired me to shed light on these aspects, leading me to embark on my very first film, “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High.”
Unexpectedly, “The Union” became a cult classic, resonating deeply with audiences around the world. Released at the right time when video stores thrived, and social media was unregulated, the film connected with people worldwide. Witnessing its global impact, I felt an indescribable connection with documentaries, and I was hooked.
Since then, my dedication to the power of documentary filmmaking has been unwavering, driven by a desire to capture stories that touch hearts, challenge perspectives, and leave a lasting impact on audiences. It has been a transformative journey, and the fulfillment I find in this special art form is immeasurable.
At this stage, my team and I are fortunate enough to be in a position where we can be selective. We no longer take on projects solely for a paycheck. In the creative space, many hardworking individuals, aside from the top directors, writers, and actors, are often undervalued and paid minimally for their efforts.
Our approach has evolved, and we now prioritize genuine interest in the subject matter. We look for stories that truly resonate with us and align with our passion. With a solid track record of successful documentaries, we can confidently reach out to potential subjects and offer them an opportunity to be part of our projects.
Now, we invest our time and effort wisely. If the subject matter doesn’t ignite that spark of curiosity and genuine interest, we would decline the project, unless an extraordinary opportunity were presented to make a significant impact. Thankfully, I haven’t encountered such a situation where I had to compromise my principles. The journey continues, driven by passion and the desire to create meaningful films that connect with audiences worldwide.
From hobby to a business
If money is your sole focus in a job, don’t go into the film industry.
If money is also your measurement of success, don’t get into the film industry. But if you want to have an exciting life where it’s never the same, where it’s not mundane, and where you want to meet fascinating people while traveling the world, the film industry could be something for you.
Treating your hobby like a business rather than just a hobby can make all the difference in achieving success. Once I shifted my mindset and began approaching my passion with a business-oriented perspective, everything started falling into place.
The biggest way we measure (success)… I mean financially, some of our films like Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo, was one of the most successful financial documentary acquisitions because it was picked up by Universal. But with Hollywood accounting, you receive royalty reports, but the expenses always seem to outgross the earnings, which can make it hard to measure.
If you’ve honored the story correctly and the family and the people, you’re telling the story to are very happy with the product, and if that project secures a distribution deal, that’s the biggest measurement of success for me.
Raising funds and entering production is a daunting challenge. The key lies in creating the film, delivering on its promise, and securing distribution. Yet, the true test comes with the commercial release, ensuring that audiences get to experience it. Achieving this alignment is no small feat, and once accomplished, awards and reviews become an incredible bonus.
I am proud of all my team’s work, but I think your first couple films always hold a special place in your heart. The Union achieved remarkable success and is hailed by many as one of the most successful Canadian cult classic documentaries ever made. Equally noteworthy is “Ice Guardians,” delving into the history of fighting in hockey and the evolution of enforcer roles over the years. It has earned its place among the top 5 hockey documentaries of all time, a true source of pride. We recently released “Bisping” about former UFC champion Michael Bisping.
We’re kind of now getting into sports and bio docs since that’s what the market wants. Our last two films of both had studio releases with Universal Pictures.
When embarking on a documentary with a sensitive subject, open communication with the client is our priority. We strive to address the story with creativity and fairness, avoiding any portrayal that may come across as malicious. Honesty is key, acknowledging that nobody is flawless, and being transparent helps people relate and forgive. We handle these delicate matters by ensuring the client feels comfortable sharing their truth. During editing, we carefully determine how much of the issue to address, maintaining respect for their perspective. Remember, as soon as the camera starts rolling, a perspective is captured.
Favourite film and recommendations for others
My favorite documentary other than my own… There’s lots. I watched one recently called Don’t F**k with Cats, which was fantastic.
Many regard “Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo” as the most inspiring film, as it showcases Danny Trejo’s incredible journey from a troubled past to becoming a renowned Latino actor, all while staying sober for 50 years and overcoming adversity, including facing execution.
Our other films, “The Union” and “The Culture High,” have also left a lasting impact. They played a pivotal role in inspiring Canada to reconsider its cannabis laws. In fact, after the release of these films, we were honored to be invited to Parliament Hill by the Liberal Party. They actively utilized the materials and source materials from our documentaries to contribute to the legalization of cannabis in 2018. The films had a tangible and positive influence on real-world policy change.
Currently, we’re excitedly working on “Bif Naked,” a film dedicated to the incredible Canadian rock icon. It’s a new venture into the music space, and we feel truly blessed to have an individual like Bif, who has achieved so much and owned her music journey the hard way.
Our portfolio also includes “Dolph Lundgren,” a film celebrating the original Ivan Drago and Rocky, and “Dane Cook,” an incredible dark comedy narrating his rise to fame as a comedian while dealing with his brother’s embezzlement of $13 million.
Another remarkable project is “Tootoo,” a film exploring the inspiring life of Jordin Tootoo, the NHL’s first Inuk player. Jordin overcame immense challenges in Rankin Inlet, where paved roads are scarce, and the community faces alarming rates of suicide, alcoholism, abuse, and domestic violence. Despite the odds, he achieved his dreams of playing for Team Canada and the NHL. Jordin’s journey, from battling alcoholism to becoming 11 years sober and advocating for suicide awareness and mental health, is profoundly moving. We believe this film has the potential to win prestigious awards, including a Canadian Screen Award.
Recently, we released “Thunder: The Life & Death of Arturo Gatti,” a project that delves into the captivating life story of the late Arturo Gatti.
These films have been a labor of love, and we’re proud to be part of such impactful projects. They have allowed us to connect with incredible individuals like Jordin Tootoo, with whom we’ve formed a lasting friendship. Each film is a testament to the power of storytelling and the resilience of the human spirit.
Originally by: Edmonton Screen Industries Office