Let's just talk about how I'm not cut out to do this

The thing is- I know I'm the only person who reads this, in all likelihood. And I only read in the one time, hence me not feeling bad about starting a sentence with "and". 

This process, this project, this year....is hard. I didn't think it would be easy, but I thought the difficulty would come out of external circumstances. Little did I know the difficulties would all come from that lumpy grey mass between my ears. 

I can talk myself out of anything, including the fact that blogging about this process is a good idea. I, of course, wish I would have blogged every single day about how I feel about this process instead of keeping it all in and wishing this experience was perfect and hyper-instagrammable. What does it mean about a person when you just wish you were IG-famous so you could be done with fulfilling your dreams of celebrity and just go live alone in a beach house? 

I want this year to be honest, which may be the first time I've been honest with myself in a long time. I want to make movies, but I'm really pick about how I want to go abou tit. I don't want to do it anyone else's way. I don't want to sacrifice my creative control for money or others, hence me working at a grocery store. I've removed myself from the entire world of film, so annoyed with the industry as a whole. I'm so tired of hearing people talk about their own movies and tired of hearing about the "important films". I'm such a pessimist and a hater about it all, and I know it. I'm not happy about it, but it is how it is. I feel surrounded with the culture of "build yourself into a brand" and I just want to do the opposite of that, whatever that is. 

I've gone back and forth on this whole project the entire time it's been happening, thinking about how annoying and navel-gazing I've been throughout. There are so many important, scary, harsh and violent things going on all around and I feel like this project is a self-centered blip. I also feel like it's been massively important for my creative maturity, my fears of failure, letting go of my obsession with perfectionism, and processing through my failures as a son, friend, boyfriend, and human in general. I think I'm really starting to see that no matter how hard I try, I can't polish a turd. Sometimes I just have to stare at the turd, intently, and recognize that it exists - and that it's not such an awful shade of brown. I can live with the fact that it just came out of me. 

To catch you up: May is in the can. We're working on the edit, life got in the way and some unexpected and far more important things came up that took precedent. If all goes well, we'll have some headway here soon. 

June is in the mix as well. It will definitely be late, but who cares? This project is for me so it'll happen when it happens. 

July is also in the mix. I've been asked to be a part of a v v v v cool project that I've v v vv excited for, so you (who are you, who is she?) will just have to wait. 

I know that no one cares about this project, and that's okay. I'm doing it for myself and trying really hard to convince myself that's enough. 

I don't have the range. 

-Nick

Production & Post

I'm not sure why I thought blogging would be so easy for this project. It's really not. I'm doing SO much phone chatting, emailing, alone-time writing, and wandering-around-my-street-shoeless-thinking that the mental reminder to blog comes and goes too quickly. 

There are some definite things that I need to catch up on: 

1.) Our shoot day/ Audio day is complete. The process for this month (and the idea) was much more free form and simple than last month. It took a lot more work to get there, talking things out with Rachel VERY regularly. Like pretty much every night for the first two weeks of February. The shoot day was a blur, but so much fun overall. This month the stars of the show (quite literally) are my family; my two little cousins (Jade & Jordan), My Aunt and my Grandmother all contributed their faces, hands, and Tuesday afternoons to this project. I couldn't be more grateful. Besides the fact that I love them and it was great to be with them in this capacity for the day, it was also so special to have us all together being a part of something that really is about us. It's a very family-centric story and was inspired by them in so many ways. It's almost surreal to have them as a part of it. It's also special because I have very little material that I've made with my family in it. It's always pulling teeth to get them to be in front of the camera. This time was completely different. They were more than compliant, they were active and excited participants. It meant so much to me, and I think they all knew how important this project is to me. 

As for directing with one of my best friends, it was pretty amazing. Rachel is so different than I am, and was so calm under the stress of the day. She also has this way of understanding intimate, delicate moments in a way that I've yet to understand. She knew exactly how to get my family to understand the delicacy in a way I definitely struggle with. She said things like "gently roll the fabric in your hands" and was able to get across exactly what she wanted it to look like. I struggle with those soft, delicate, intangible moments. I feel so lucky to see how she handled that....and I took plenty of notes. 

All-in-all, the day was a huge success. My family is full of troopers and Rachel and Nathaniel were on it all day. I'm so happy it went as smoothly as it did (and I can't wait to share the images, they're pretty damn beautiful.)

Here are some photos from the day: 


Oopsies

FEBRUARY 9TH ALREADY.

I'm still adjusting to this whole blogging thing again. I can't believe it's been 9 days since I posted anything - yikes. After finishing January's film, I let myself feel relief for about 10 minutes, and then I started worrying about February. That's just how I roll. 

Let me just set the stage for this month: 

While January I did (mostly) by myself, this  month I'm collaborating with my dear friend Rachel McCord in creating the concept, script, and visuals. Rachel is not only an incredibly talented photographer, but is truly one of my favorite people I've ever met. We've worked together, created together, shared probably a million meals together, and until very recently, lived together. A conversation between us usually ends in a long string of word associations and giggles. She's the best. 

I love this old picture of us. It's old...like 5 years old now. But it's still valid. 

We're working hard to create something that's meaningful to both of us, and it's hard and rewarding. I think we're getting somewhere good. And with no time to spare, we're shooting next week. 

Here are some images inspiring to us for this month, just because it's fun. 

I really can't wait to be able to get this one off the ground, and it's such a huge relief to be making something with one of my best friends. This whole project feels lighter already. 

More to come! 

-nick

Counting Coup

The time has finally come. I realized that I'm the only person who would say "finally" after working on a short for a month, but it feels valid to me right now OK. The process felt long, but it made me appreciate each day for the opportunity it presented to be productive. And for that I'm grateful. 

While it's not perfect or polished (or color graded) I'm proud of this little piece. I think it sums up how I felt at a certain time in my life, when I was seeking closure on a lot of things that were a part of me but that I wanted to rid myself of. It was nice to transport myself back mentally (at least only for a month) to a time when the past seemed more complicated than the future. While I definitely can't say that fits me now, it's important to remember where you start so that you can see the growth in the long run--which I guess is sort of what this project is all about. 

I had to pick up many of the post-production pieces for this short which is absolutely not my strong suit, so my goal of "doing January on my own" sort of came true. I definitely had to put on hats I wasn't planning on, and my results are far from what I wanted. But the biggest lesson I've learned this month is to let go of original expectations are just accept things for what they are. And also just to shut up and keep working.

 I couldn't be more grateful for the people who helped me though, especially Nathaniel Kohfield (the DP), Kelsey and Ronny (The actors and my newly found muses), Nolan Goff (who saved my butt and was patient with me through rewrites), and Brittany Suzuki (crafter extraordinaire). I truly couldn't have done it without you guys, and i'm so thankful for your friendship and talent. 

Alright, I'm gonna stop qualifying this project and just leave it for what it is. Except one last little things to help understand the title: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counting_coup

Hope you enjoy! 

-nico



Where We're At

OKAY SO I FORGOT BLOGGING IS HARD. 

I told myself that I would try to stay more vigilant about relaying things as they come up, but who has time for that. (cue swt.brn). 

As of today, about 70% of the short has been filmed, and we're shooting the rest tomorrow night. We would have finished everything in one night but we got rained out and had to cut things a little short. Before I continue on about filming, though, let's talk about the Writing Process, a.k.a. MEET MY BRAND NEW FEARS. 

I've written some things before, okay, but don't get me wrong: They were always dumb. I do not think of myself as a writer by nature so this little short was a struggle. I wrote it right off the bat, as soon as it was January. I think I had the rough draft done by the 3rd. I pushed it around a little, tried to get some people on board, and next thing I know it's the 10th. I hadn't really gotten much feedback and we were shooting on the 15th. 

....then the feedback rolled in. 

It wasn't pretty. It was all valid, but it wasn't pretty. It was the first time (in a long time) I felt ripped apart like that. I listened to EVERY SINGLE bad voice in my head that told me I should just drop what I was doing and give up because I had no where good to go from here. While the feedback wasn't all negative, all the stuff that was negative where pretty big problems, and reminded me of where I'm really at. I'm back to being a novice again. I'm back where I began pre-film school. I mean, I know a few things, I've been through the ringer, but as a person I feel right back where I began. Maybe even farther back because of all the disillusionment I feel about the industry, being an adult, and what I want to do with my life. 

It was a rough couple days. 

Thankfully my good friend Nolan gave me good constructive feedback that helped me get back on my feet a little. I was able to quickly through together a new draft (3 new drafts actually) and not give up hope for at least making this month happen. The final draft wasn't anywhere near perfect, but it was much better than what it was originally. LESSON LEARNED: LISTEN TO CRITICISM/ DON'T GIVE UP HOPE SO EASILY YOU NUMBSKULL. 

While all this was happening I was also trying to get together all the props/wardrobe/etc., which was a nightmare in and of itself. Especially when you don't have an art department. My dear friend Brittany Suzuki made so much happen for me though, and I would have been around 1000x more stressed without her. THANKS BRID. Here are some photos from the pre-production time.

As for the filming, I won't complain. It was a looooooong night, but I had people come from out of the woodworks to help and I couldn't be more grateful. It was a whirlwind (I'm still a little tired) but overall it was a success, simply because it happened. My actors did a phenomenal job, and it was truly an honor to see young talent work. As mentioned earlier, we did get rained out and had to cut a bunch of stuff out, which is actually totally fine. It worked out, we still have more time, and the month isn't up. We're going through footage tomorrow (before we shoot the rest) so I'll have plenty more to say I'm sure. Here is some fun stuff from production night:

I probably should have taken a lot more, but I was a little in the zone. 

In short: this project is already harder than expected but I am so glad I'm doing it. It's challenging me, and it's humbling me. I needed this. I'm feeling afraid/ready for what's next. 

-Nick

BE MY YEAR

I AM SO GLAD ITS 2016.

 

2015 was a hard year guys, I really don't want to sugar coat it. 

I had a lot of change, I had things get thrown up in the air that I never thought would, I doubted myself, I was humbled immensely. 

On my birthday this year (which always seems to be a turning/breaking point for me) I decided that I wanted to do something to make 2016 special, I wanted to do something that would inspire me and hopefully do the same for others. I was plagued by the realization that I had made very, very little in 2015. I had focused on getting a job, getting myself back on my feet financially (and later emotionally) and had not made anything. And that freaked me the hell out. 

So for all of next year I decided to do a project that forces me to create. To expand my horizons and let go of my fear of failure and obsession with perfectionism. To make stuff that may be shitty and half-baked, but still exists. Which is better than stuff that doesn't exist. 

I'm embarking on a project which will (hopefully, God-willing) lead to 12 shorts at the end of the year, with 2 solo projects and 10 collaborations with people who inspire me, challenge me, love me, and encourage me, and that's what I want to BE MY YEAR. I'll be chronicling the ups and downs on here and I would love for you to participate in it with me. 

Or at least watch whatever crap comes out of this mess. 

see you on the other side. 

-n