Meet Scott P. Harris!!!

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After seeing the trailer for the documentary Being Ginger, I'll admit, I almost cried. It's hard enough being a ginger, but to have cameras documenting your love life must be unimaginable. Scott P. Harris shows everyone what its like to face cruel prejudice in his latest hard hitting film called Being Ginger, which hits selected US theaters later this fall. If you're like me and can't wait to see it in theaters, on August 23rd you can visit Being Ginger's official website and order the dvd or download the movie. In the meantime, you should get to know more about the famous filmmaker Scott P. Harris by following him on Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Facebook.


Facts About Scott
Favorite Musician: Led Zeppelin.
Favorite Movies: Casablanca, North by Northwest, The Big Lebowski.
Favorite Books: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Princess Bride, and Catch-22.
Favorite Color: Blue.

Favorite Holiday: Burns Night.
Mac or PC: PC.
Twitter or Facebook: Facebook.
Blackberry or iPhone: iPhone.
Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla.
Winter or Summer: Summer.
Pancakes or Waffles: Crepes.
Math or Science: Math is science.
Past, Present, or Future: Present.
Read Book or Go To The Movie: Movie.
Favorite Film You've Made: Being Ginger.



Q&A
What was it like making your film Being Ginger? 
Frankly, it was the most difficult thing I've ever done, but I loved every second. 

What's an important lesson you've learned from making Being Ginger? I've often been told that you have to find the thing that you're passionate about, and then give it everything that you have, but that was always fine in principle but actually doing it was another matter. Making the film required a huge leap of faith, and though I haven't released it yet (it comes out on August 23rd, worldwide, on my web site beingginger.co.uk) I already feel like it's paid off. The reaction I've had from so many people has really been profound, and I'm so grateful for that.

What is your favorite part of Being Ginger to watch? 
I love watching the film with an audience. I've only been able to test it a few times, but after spending two and half years on it, there is something so gratifying about hearing the different reactions to it. Most profound of all is the conversations that come up after a screening.



Are there any other gingers in your family? If not, did you feel special growing up because you were ginger, before you started getting bullied? I have an older brother and sister who both have red hair. My father did, but he's been bald my whole life. And my mother's mom did as well, but her's was grey my entire life. I never felt special because of my hair. I absolutely hated it from a very early age. It wasn't until I got to high school and all of my friends started doing "stupid" things to be different that I started to appreciate it, because I was already different.

If so many people hate gingers, why do you think so many people dye their hair red/orange? I don't think that so many people hate gingers. I think people think it's funny to tease us, there's a difference. And while I get good natured ribbing from my friends, that does have a tendency to breed more offensive comments from strangers because we do live in a world where it is acceptable to make fun of redheads. Ultimately, I think it's connected to a deep-seeded human need to form hierarchies. I've spent most of my life trying to better understand bullying, and I've come away with two conclusions for why people do it: First, anyone who has been bullied or abused feels a loss of power, and some people make themselves feel better about it by taking power from someone else. So a kid who has an abusive father feels powerless at home. His solution is to go to school and be a bully so he can feel power there. The second reason is that we, and I mean human beings, feel repulsed when we see someone who reminds of the things we don't like about ourselves. Someone has an insecurity about some aspect of their appearance or personality and when they come across someone who has that same aspect, they feel the need to destroy it, because they hate that they have it too. Ultimately, anyone who is different is likely to be bullied, it doesn't matter what that difference is. And most of the time other people join in because they don't want to be the victim. On an almost subconscious level they feel that if they make fun of that person, no one will make fun of them. So bullies are usually hiding their own low self-esteem. That doesn't make it easier to deal with when it's happening to you, but it does help me now to look back on it and understand it. The other thing is that it can become a self-perpetuating cycle. Once you've gone through something traumatic, enough that it had a profound impact on your self-esteem, you become marked in a way. Your low self-esteem becomes obvious and it only drives more people away. It's the reason that a bad experience when you are only 10 could have a profound impact on your life when you're 30. I don't have a solution for this, but I do know that I have very low self-esteem and I've had to learn to hide it at all costs. And slowly, over time, things have improved for me. Enough that I hope to one day not have to pretend that I'm self-confident, but to actually be self-confident. As for people dying their hair, that's really only a girl thing, no man would ever dye his hair red. And when women dye their hair red, they don't look like natural redheads because they can usually tan. It just means that you can't compare the experience of a fake redhead with a natural redhead.


What's the meanest story or thing you can tell about people who've bullied you? Well, I have a long history with bullies that goes back to when I was seven. I don't know that I could pick the single worst, and to some degree this is something that I talk about in the film, and I'd like to keep that for the film. I'll say that when I was 15 one of my bullies put a knife to my neck and told me he was going to kill me. The next day he swung at me with the knife and thankfully I saw him in time and ducked. The blade broke on the locker my head had been leaning against. I don't know that that happened because I was ginger. I had so many bullies at that age it felt like the whole school went after me. But I do think it was connected to what I said about being marked. And at the start the bullying was connected to my hair.



Do you ever wish you had another hair color? If so, what color and why?
I wished I had a different colour hair when I was little, but not now.

I heard that you went to the Redhead Day Festival in the Netherlands. What was it like to go to the festival? What did you do there? Do you recommend other gingers to go to it? I had a fantastic time at the Redhead Days, and I am happy to recommend it to all redheads. There were about 50 different events, and I took part in as much as I could, but the real highlight was just talking to a bunch of people from all over the world who had this one thing in common. Our stories were all different, but it was nice to feel part of a larger community.

Why do you think people judge gingers so much? Do you think people who aren't ginger are jealous of us? I think it's just because there aren't that many of us and we stand out of any crowd. This is slightly controversial to some people, but I don't think they are jealous of us at all, and I hated when my parents told me that they were just jealous of me. I think that's a total lie that some people say to feel better about themselves.


Of all of the places that you've been to promote Being Ginger, what country do you think gingers get treated the best in and why? I haven't actually been to that many different countries, but I have spoken to people from all over the world, and for every country someone has told me that they were never bullied because of their hair, I have met someone else from that same country who had terrible stories about what they went through. I'm looking forward to going to Asia to see what the response is there, where we'd be truly unique.

Besides making films, what do you like to do in your spare time? I'm actually really boring, I love film so much, I don't think of it as a job, so it totally dominates my life. The only spare time I've had in the last two years was when I went on vacation (either up into the highlands of Scotland or to Paris) and made sure to not take my camera along. But even then I was still thinking about films I want to make.

*All photos belong to Scott P. Harris and BeingGinger.co.uk.

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It may be easy to forget, but feelings matter. Life matters. You matter.

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