- Posted November 29, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From hobby to job
Filmmaker's Journey: A Conversation with Dimi Nakov
1) Dimi, your love of film began when you first received a stills camera at a young age, do you feel that filmmakers today don't understand the value of film as much as they should?
Thank you Ric. It would be impossible for me to put everyone in the same box and speak for everyone else’s values when it come to this amazing craft.For me making movies is a way of life, not a job, It's who i am. I still remember it like it was yesterday how happy I was when my grandfather gave me a small manual stills camera. It was s Zenith, black and white, 24 frames of film. My grandfather was a teacher and as well as teaching mathematics, physics and chemistry he also ran photography workshops, which I attended. I remember how fascinating it was to develop photos on my own and see how the white paper transformed to the still I had taken a week earlier. It was like magic for me back then. This experience stayed with me and it's the core of my passion.
2) How would you compare documentary filmmaking to feature filmmaking?
I was talking to a friend the other day exactly about that. I studied and graduated with a documentary directing diploma from South Seas Film and TV School in Auckland, New Zealand in 2008. I have made a number of documentaries while at school and after that. My passion has always been sci-fi, thriller, action and dramatic genres but I wasn't confident I had the skills to do it back then so I did documentary directing, which was a bit more fluid and was more exciting at that time for me. I was searching for myself in terms of who I wold be as a filmmaker. I love making documentary stories. I feel very passionate about the documentary style and enjoy having to think on my feet and adapt to situations as they arise often in documentary making field. This was very helpful to me during principal photography on my first feature film sci-fi thriller ARA. I think that documentary and feature filmmaking compliment each other and it can be very useful to understand them both. They can be different and similar depending on the project and its purpose. For example, docu-dramas or pure doco's can be different in structure on how much is structured as drama and how much is docu-reality.
3) As a director, do you prefer to do live events, or do you prefer pre-taped and film?
I actually like to make a fusion of both. What I mean by that is when I am on a live event I like the structure and pre planned aspects of the event where I can maximize the impact of the event to the audience. I also like having those unpredictable moments where I am pushed to act fast and make it as I go, which gives me an incredible thrill and joy and vice versa when I am making pre-taped film projects. I love to leave enough room for myself and the cast and crew to have fun and encounter unpredictable moments.
4) Growing up, who were some of your biggest influences as far as directors go?
I love the work of Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Kubrick, John Carpenter, George Lucas, Guy Ritchie, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Peter Jackson, Stephen Spielberg. Their work inspired me and encouraged me to follow my dreams just like they did.
5) Is there any one film that stands out in your mind as an influential masterpiece?
It is very hard to set one apart. I would go back to Citizen Kane. Orson Welles did something amazing with Citizen Kane. I saw it as an epic, dramatic, cinematic story telling masterpiece.
6) How closely do you work with writers?
I work very closely with writers either as one of them, or as a contributor towards the script and the story. I want to put 100% of myself into every aspect of filmmaking and I enjoy working with all departments as closely as possible.
7) You've been to Cannes, what was that like for a young filmmaker like yourself?
I went to Cannes in 2012 with one of my short films BLINDSIDE, which was accepted into the Short Film Corner, out of competition. It was a very exciting and extremely valuable experience. I made many new connections and managed to sell all my short films on top of BLINDSIDE to two distributors. It really depends what is the purpose of the trip - mine was to absorb everything but yet stay focused on business and networking over all.
8) Do you ever become frustrated with some of the difficulties in the process, like talent issues or technical issues?
Absolutely. In some moments I wish that I had one thing or another in order to achieve better results. We can talk about budget - I wish I had a budget for all my projects. I wish I knew back then what I know now and so on. What I tell myself in moments like these is that I am very lucky to have even done what I have. All that has passed and with the lack of funds or technology or location taught me to be more creative and versatile and work and utilize what I have in the best possible way.
9) Did you think it necessary for directors to take acting lessons in order to better relate to the talent?
I was thinking that myself and I will do it as soon as I have the chance or at least jump in front of the camera and learn more about the craft so I can understand what cast goes through and asked to do on a daily basis. I also think that understanding the craft of acting will better help me write.
10) Now that you are working on your first feature, ARA, do you find you are better prepared given all of the experience you have racked up over the last several years?
I would say with absolute certainty that I am as ready as I can be at this point. A year from now I will wish I knew more at the time, just as I am thinking that I wish I knew more 6 months ago and yet I was as ready as I can be back then and there are no regrets what so ever. I enjoy every challenge, all good, bad, annoying or happy moments.
11) What's your favourite part of the filmmaking process?
That is a very difficult question. Overall my favorite part of making motion pictures is the moment during post production when I see it all coming together and it’s not only in my head anymore. It is the time when the film is coming alive, takes its first breath on its own and is ready to take on the world.
13) What's your least favorite part of the filmmaking process?
The waiting and the not knowing moments. Those moments are kill me.
14) Do you think crowd funding sites work less effectively now because of the influx of celebrities trying to fund their projects?
I think the crowdsourcing sites are great, but numerous factors are in play as to why less and less indie and unknown filmmakers will be able to achieve their funding goals. The crowd/audience/the average Joe has been swamped by funding projects for quite a few years and the amount of filmmakers sourcing funds is growing as well as celebs jumping on the opportunity. The amount of new funding platforms popping up everyday promising better deals creates a swamp from which the bottom line is that filmmakers will find it harder to get funding unless they offer more and are more unique.
15) What's your advice to young filmmakers looking to make their mark in the business?
I gave a guest lecture few months back at South Seas Film and TV School where I studied in 2008 and I was very honest with the students there. I believe that if any of us do not absolutely love, believe, sleep, eat, breathe and dream about what we do then we are setting ourselves up to basically give up and move on to something else. You have to love what you do. If you do then never ever give up and keep those dreams alive and remember to always keep moving forward while learning from the past.
16) Closing thoughts?
Be yourself, keep those dreams alive and whatever you do never give up!
Thank you for the time Dimi, and best of luck with ARA.