We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Cavalier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nick, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is a crucial part of being a filmmaker/director. Any good creative pioneer will take risks and break rules. But like Picasso had a blue period where he stuck with traditional anatomical proportions, you need to understand the technical and visual language of film to be able to create a new approach to that language. Be masterful first, then take your creative risk. There is a reason some things are done the way they are. Calculated risk is really what the entertainment field is built on, so I’m all for taking on a financial or a time investment that will benefit your growth as a creative. But proceed with caution; there are predators in the wild ready to exploit young talent. Have conviction in your own risk taking, as long as it benefits you and your team, and not just someone else looking for free labor from a person with a bright future.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a troubled kid in Cleveland in and out of mental hospitals and correctional facilities from my bipolar disorder and being a true juvenile delinquent, forced me to grow up young. With that sort of real life perspective before the age of 16, it gives you a unique approach to life, and I believe allows me to connect deeply to heavier subject matter and translate that into a meaningful experience for others to feel. I always turned to art of some kind to deal with my own struggles. It’s taken many forms over the years; Drumming, Metal Music, Drawing, Painting, Air guns, Paintball, Martial Arts, Cooking but all roads eventually leading to film. A medium I can collaborate with others and constantly challenge myself from project to project. Troubled kid turns to the arts to alleviate his depression and mania. Troubled kid gets a scholarship to art school. The kid grows and learns over four years, eventually marrying his love of music and movies with music videos in college. The kid graduates and moves to Chicago to work in advertising. He learns quickly this is not the place for him and dives into freelance life. He has not looked back since. Like sisyphus, I was cursed by the gods with this fate, but blessed with the rock to focus on pushing. I’ve been very lucky to encounter many talented people along my journey, that have for the most part been a constant in my career as collaborators, or clients and i’m very grateful for that. I try to now use the team of talented folks I’ve built over the years, to tell original stories that impact others in some profound way. I am lucky enough to have discovered a voice and cultivated a style of my own in a short period of time. Now, much like the music and art I was influenced by as a troubled kid, I hope to impart those cathartic feelings onto a new generation of folks looking for a release through my own creative endeavors. I try to tell meaningful underdog stories with deep mythical undertones. In all of my work, I aim to make it visually gorgeous and deeply substantive. After all, a good looking painting is just decoration. Real art makes you feel something.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a tough one to accurately answer during the post covid era. I hope so many of the places I enjoy in LA still exist in the coming year. That being said, in my fantasy, here is a perfect day: Start the day off by working up a sweat on the backside of Griffith park or behind the Hollywood sign. One of the best views of the city in my opinion and a brutal hike if you keep pace. Then, (since we earned it) we head to Osteria La Buca for a carb load of cacio e pepe and a few Negroni. I’d take this person to a museum, I’d let them pick because we have quite a few but my selection would be the Museum of death. Although it sounds morbid (and it is to a certain extent) I always leave there with a feeling of appreciation for life. I live in Korea town, so from there I’d hope to show the person the awesome taco trucks, BBQ, and the amazing nightlife in the area. Only, you know during the day because why not? After an early dinner at Dan Sung Sa, we would head to the rainbow room and grab a few cocktails and take in the heavy metal lore of Lemmy’s playground. After we feel sufficiently tipsy, we would smoke a joint and saunter over to the Comedy Store, to greet friends and catch part of a show. After that, we head back to Korea town to sing Karaoke at the Brass Monkey.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people to thank in my story. First and foremost all the collaborators on the crew and talent side. Some names that stand out over the years: Matthew Santos, Dustin & Noah Currier, Joel Coan, Marky Hladish, Chuck Bein, Andy Reale, DJ Cosgrove, Joe Lombardi, Clifton & Evelyn Stommel, Michael Seifert & Dave Shaw, Mikey Tell, Matias Peralta, Keith Nicoson, Jordan Pelligrini, Josh Quiros, Luke De Jeu, John Pope, Tyler Clark, Marty Geramita, Derek Hess, Monique Powell, Fabio Viviani, Jade Catta Preta, Greg Santos, Billy Bonnell and so many more. Without these folks contributing music, on screen talent, labor or creative input/collaboration none of what I have done over the years is possible. It takes a village to make a film and it’s remarkable when all of these talents come together towards a unified goal, and create something collectively we could never do separately. Also would like to thank the many festivals, companies and investors that believed in my talent over the years. The list would be too long to write but you all know who you are.