Monday, June 29, 2015

I Hate Scott Christian Sava: An Appreciation

     I don’t know about you, but it seems to me as though God has singled out certain people for some kind of cosmic Hall Pass that excuses them from the trials, tribulations, and banana-peels that ordinary mortals such as you and I slip on every day. Scott Sava is one such person.
     When I first met him, a few days after moving into a house down the street from his, Scottie was hip deep in computer animation, doing cinematics and promos for videogames like “Aliens Vs. Predators” and pilots for networks like Nickelodeon. But there were no phalanxes of workstations in his studio, no mainframes, no sleep-deprived, Red Bull-guzzling programmers -- nothing but Scottie, his PC, and a few dozen action figures strategically positioned around the room. The guy was running an entire animation studio out of his basement, commanding a small army of animators from Mumbai to Dusselldorf with nothing more than Yahoo Messenger, surrounded by his toys, never more than a few feet away from his gorgeous wife and insanely adorable twins. How lucky can you get?
      I hated him at once.
      Mind you, it wasn’t easy. Scottie is one of the most likable people I’ve ever met. I don’t think he actually knows how to frown. When things get really bad he may stop smiling for a few seconds, but that’s about it. Otherwise he’s in a perpetually sunny mood . You would be too, if God was personally looking after you.
      Seriously -- nothing short of divine intervention can explain how Scott could suddenly pull up roots, move to Tennessee, and devote himself full-time to his lifelong dream of creating his own comic-books and children’s stories and actually make it work, emerging only to sell the rights to one of his creations to Disney or some other Hollywood studio.
      And what else can explain a guy who, in our weekly poker games, would make bets just for the fun of it, without even looking at his cards – and walk home with all of our quarters stuffed into his Speed Racer lunchbox?
      Or take the time he went to a comic book convention in Las Vegas. There’s Scottie, selling his little comics at his little dealer’s table, and suddenly he decides he’s bored. The convention is in a hotel, and this being Vegas, the hotel has a casino. So he makes a beeline for a video poker machine.
      Now, video poker is not like regular poker; the odds are much tougher and are thoroughly rigged in the house’s favor. But this is Scott Sava we’re talking about, so the house doesn’t have a chance. Just as he slides his money into the slot, God takes a moment off from running the entire infinity of the universe to point His finger in Scottie’s direction and arrange for $4,000 to come pouring out of the machine.
      So now that Scottie’s got a cool four grand in his pocket, he decides to take in the rest of the dealer’s room as he wanders back to his booth. And along the way he notices a Spider-Man #3 -- the issue that introduced Doctor Octopus to the world -- at a dealer’s table and, being Scottie, he just has to have it. Thus endeth the $4,000. (Most of it, anyway. I think he blew the rest of it on a lavish dinner with his family.)
     When Scottie told me about this, my immediate unspoken reaction was, “He blew all that money on a stupid comic book? What an idiot!” But then I visited Scottie in his basement, and there was the comic – still in its mylar bag, which he’d taped to the wall. And to my surprise my eyes went saucer-wide and I began shaking as if I were in the presence of a holy relic. Holy crap, my inner fanboy murmured, awe-stricken. An actual Spiderman #3!! And I realized Scottie had done the right thing.
     After all, God’s looking after him. I’m certain that some day some collector will offer Scottie five times what he paid for that comic book. And I’m just as certain Scottie will turn him down.
     Because that’s Scottie – living by his own rules, doing exactly what he wants, giving his dreams shape and form without any compromise, with a gorgeous wife, two insanely adorable kids, a fistful of movie deals and a Spider-Man #3. He’s God’s fool, with the Devil’s own luck.
      Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Scottie is incredibly talented, utterly devoted to his art, stubborn as a mule, and congenitally incapable of creating anything less than his absolute personal vision.
     But I still say it’s mainly luck. And, man, do I hate him for it.

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