Today we’d like to introduce you to Nick Paskhover.
Nick, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My filmmaking journey began due in part to a lack of patience. I was ten years old—I had just seen the first teaser trailer for “The Dark Knight”. I was so excited for the film to come out, I just couldn’t possibly wait several months for the release. By that point, I was already messing around with my parents’ camcorder, so I thought, “why wait for the film to come out when I have the tools to make my own version right now?”
So, I cast a friend and dressed him up as Batman, threw some Joker make-up on myself, and we made a 25 minute Batman movie (that I can never let myself watch again). At the time, I remember being so excited to share the movie with everyone. I really got into the distribution and marketing side of it, I was organizing screenings around school, designing posters etc. Eventually, the excitement wore off, and I started to see all the embarrassing amateur qualities of that first film. But from that point on, I just kept focusing on how I could get better and make movies more like the pros did.
Fortunately, my family was really supportive and encouraged me to keep going. I continued to create short projects throughout high school and eventually in film school at NYU and USC. The quality and scope of my work has changed drastically over the years, but the process I fell in love with remains the same: find an exciting idea, bring it to life, share it, and never stop finding ways to get better.
Lately, my focus has been on directing, producing, and editing short-form content ranging from music videos, corporate videos, commercials, and short films. Luckily, there is a high demand for content these days, and I have been doing my best to put my passion to work and utilize those opportunities to hone my craft and expand my portfolio. At the same time, I have been writing (the hardest part!) and developing a few feature-length scripts, with the goal of turning one (or all!) into a low-budget feature-length film.
Has it been a smooth road?
I think with any pursuit that’s worth it, it’s never going to feel like a smooth road. Luck and talent will always play a role, but the film industry in particular is extremely competitive. Diminishing barriers to entry have made it easier for anybody to try their hand at making a movie, but the flip side is that now it’s even harder to stand out and even easier to get stuck comparing yourself to others—especially with social media.
I got into filmmaking so early and took it more seriously than most people I grew up with. My parents, teachers, etc., made me feel like I was special. When I got to NYU, I was surrounded by countless students just like me, many who were already more skilled than I was. If I felt like my filmmaking skills stood out before, they suddenly seemed very average. At first, I got sucked up in the competitiveness and I temporarily let that take the joy out of what I loved doing most. I even considered giving up and pursuing something “safer” (as soon as I imagined myself doing anything else I realized the “safe” route was not for me). Eventually, I learned that if I shift my mindset, resist the urge to compare myself and see each day as an opportunity to learn and grow, I’ll be in a much better position to pursue my goals.
Since graduating, the biggest challenge has been about finding the right path for me. Most people who’ve made it will tell you that there is no one “right” path and they’re definitely “right”. However, us creatives are ultimately judged and granted opportunities based on the work we produce, so it’s important to find opportunities to keep creating. So, part of the challenge has been to put myself in those situations to keep writing, directing, etc. The other thing is that even when you are creating, you never really know how well you’re doing. Filmmaking, like any other art, is very subjective, so growth and success can be harder to track. So the other challenge has been finding that fine line of believing in myself while remaining open to the fact that I will inevitably make mistakes along the way.
All that said, I try to remind myself how lucky I am to even have the chance to chase this dream. Most people, regardless of talent, never get to do this. So again, while the journey may not always be easy, it definitely feels worth it.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
LA is so big and has so many unique neighborhoods, each with their own character. No matter how long you’ve lived here, I feel like there are always new parts of the city to explore.
I think transplants get a bad rap but it’s pretty cool that LA has been a destination for people from all over the world. I’m an LA native, but my parents immigrated from the USSR. The constant influx of new people adds new flavors and subcultures to the city. I think it’s more-so the people who come here with the intention of getting rich and famous overnight that contribute to that fake, superficial reputation that some Angelenos have.
The growing homelessness has been difficult to witness, and it makes you wonder how and when things are going to turn around. On a more superficial level, the traffic sucks but if you’ve lived here for a while you try and structure your day around it.
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