We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikhil Newse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikhil, how do you think about risk?
I have always believed taking risks is what makes people unique. I took a major risk when I left my nine-to-five job as an engineer and moved to Los Angeles to become a filmmaker. Ever since that day, I have never looked back and never regretted the decision I made. Coming from a middle class South Asian community, my parents have always encouraged me to get a degree in Science or Engineering and filmmaking was not even an option. The reason is that STEM degrees are considered as safe degrees with high paying jobs compared to Arts degrees. But being a rebellious child, I chose a career which genuinely makes me happy, so I chose to become a filmmaker. Choosing to be an artist or a filmmaker takes a lot of risks since there is not guaranteed success and it requires a lot of hard work, struggle, persistence and hustle. Luckily for me, I met amazing people throughout my career and my journey was made a lot easy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being an independent filmmaker and producer is a tough job, especially for someone who is not native to Los Angeles. I am very proud of my short film ‘The Upside to the End’ which was directed and produced by me. “The Upside to the End’ has been screened at multiple film festivals around the world, including ‘Hollywood screening film festival, ‘Miami Independent Film Festival’, ‘The Black Country Horror FIlm Festival’ and got nominated for multiple awards at ‘The Independent Horror Movie Awards’. My struggle to get where I am today was not an easy one. The biggest struggle for me was to move to a foreign country with a completely different culture with no assistance. Luckily when I moved here, I met really nice people and I was lucky enough to have good roommates.
When I was studying at UCLA, I was lucky enough to work with amazing people. Throughout my experience, I have realized that gaining experience is important in gaining success in the entertainment industry. In the beginning, it’s a huge struggle, but as we progress and gain experience, things become easier.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I know it’s a cliche, but one of my most favorite places to visit in LA is the Grove. The Grove is the best place to spend the evening, especially during the Christmas holidays. During Christmas, the whole Grove is decorated with lights, and its a beautiful scenery. The Grove has movie theatres, restaurants, book stores, open bars, and a water fountain which guarantees you to have a good time. Other places to visit are the beaches and the mountains. LA is one of the few cities in the world which has beautiful beaches and hiking places. I would take my friends to Santa Monica beach, Venice Beach, Laguna Beach to enjoy the ocean, and Runyon Canyon or Mulholland Drive to enjoy the scenic view of the whole city.
If my friends are into the nightlife or party, I would take them to visit nightclubs in West Hollywood and my favorite – The Bungalow in Santa Monica.
LA has an abundance of quality restaurants. Depending on what my friend’s favorite choice of food is, we can go to Korean BBQ restaurants in Koreatown or Sushi restaurants in Santa Monica or Mexican restaurants in Downtown LA. I’m pretty sure my best friends will have the time of their lives once they visit LA. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Every single person I’ve met in my life has contributed to my success and I’m grateful for them being in my life. First of all, I would like to thank my parents for understanding the supporting me throughout my life. There is a long list of people I would like to give a shoutout to. My school teachers who mentored me, my friends in Los Angeles, my professors at UCLA, my co-workers and friends at SDI Media, my co-workers and friends at NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, and my roommates in Downtown Los Angeles and last but not the least, my crew members who worked with me on my short films. Contradictory to conventional shoutout, I would like to thank people who have criticized my work which only made me learn my mistakes and gave a better pathway for my future work. Of course, I would also like to thank Voyage LA’s staff member Chris Miller for considering me for this story.
Dallas Hunter, Sirisha Mahesh, Andrew Acedo