Directing Last Starfighter & Writing Escape from New York with Nick Castle
On the mic, today is 80s horror icon Michael Myers, also known as, Nick Castle who is also a director, writer, and actor – notable for directing The Last Starfighter (1984), Major Payne (1995), and Escape from New York (1981) among others.
Nick’s fictional character, Micheal Myers, in the Box Office $255 million-grossing Halloween film is possibly one of his most well-known roles that have been strongly supported by fans for years. He appears in the 1978 Halloween film as a young boy who murders his elder sister, Judith Myers. The same role is reprised fifteen years later in the sequel where he returns home to Haddonfield to murder more teenagers.
In 1986 he wrote and directed the heartwarming fantasy drama film, The Boy Who Could Fly which tells the story of an autistic boy who dreams of flying and touching everyone he meets, including a new family who has moved in after their father dies.
Filmmaking came naturally to Nick for a host of reasons. For one he grew up in a showbiz family. His father choreographed musical comedy films, while an uncle of his worked as a lighting designer on movie sets. At a tender age, his dad introduced him to entertainment through smaller roles in front of the camera and summer internships behind the scenes.
There he grew a fondness for directing which inspired him to pursue film school at USC.
Notoriety came quickly for Nick. Along with collegemates, Carpenter, Rokos, Longenecker, and Johnston, Nick worked cinematography and co-wrote The Resurrection of Broncho Billy – a short film they created while still in college that blew uo and entered the academy consideration and won the academy award for live-action short film in 1970.
Nick and Carpenter reunited and worked together again on Carpenter’s 1974 sci-fi comedy, Darkstar, which follows the crew of the deteriorating starship Dark Star, twenty years into their mission to destroy unstable planets that might threaten future colonization of other planets.
In 1984, Nick made his second directorial film which was quite groundbreaking. The Last Starfighter, became one of the earliest films to incorporate extensive CGI. The plot centers around video game expert Alex Rogan who, after achieving a high score on Starfighter, meets the game’s designer and is recruited to fight a war in space. He’s transported to another planet only to find out it was just a test. He was recruited to join the team of best starfighters to defend their world from the attack. Its popularity resulted in several non-film adaptations of the story in musicals, books, comics, games, etc
Nick was making innovative films long before most of the more popular guys came along. It is appropriate to consider his 80s sci-fi films as pioneering.
Please enjoy my fun conversation with Nick Castle.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- DONATE to Feed America to help people affected by the pandemic
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
WATCH MICRO-BUDGET CASE STUDIES
- IFH Academy – Exclusive Filmmaking & Screenwriting Training
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind® Podcast
Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome to the show Nick Castle. How you doing, Nick?
Nick Castle 0:18
Really good. Thank you.
Alex Ferrari 0:19
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I I'm a big I'm a big fan. I you know, there's a bunch of stuff that you've done in your career that I that have shaped my life, sir. So I appreciate you coming on the show?
Nick Castle 0:31
Well, that's very kind of you to say. I assume you have some questions for me.
Alex Ferrari 0:37
A couple.A couple. Just a couple. So how, before we I always like to ask all my guests, how did you get started in the business?
Nick Castle 0:47
Well, I grew up in a family that was in show business, my father was a choreographer, an uncle that live with me, who was a lighting designer, and before that a trumpet player in an orchestra, you know, kind of a swing orchestra. But mainly my dad, you know, he, he worked with some of the, you know, very important musical comedy entertainers of the 30s 40s 50s, Judy Garland, Jean Kelly, Fred Astaire, he put me in a couple of movies, as a matter of fact, when I was a little kid, so I kind of had it a little bit in my blood, you know, he would have party, he did a show in the 60s, you know, one of these variety shows the Andy Williams variety show, and you have the, the Nick castle dancers and I would go on my summer breaks and work with him work, meaning getting coffee for the dancers, and, but mainly meeting, you know, you hang around, and you meet all these movie stars coming in and out what, you know, week after week, you throw parties at the house, you know, so it's kind of like, you know, I was bound to do some, you know, and I always liked the idea of, of that what the director did. And I gravitated to that just by osmosis, kind of and then wound up going to University of Southern California film school. And, you know, kind of, you know, tripped into that, that knowing what I was going to get involved with, I had no ambition at that time. This is during the period of late late 60s, you know, so I was pretty much a hippie, you know, thank you.
Alex Ferrari 2:32
Peace and peace and love and flowerpower got it.
Nick Castle 2:34
That's it. That's peace, love. And hopefully meet a girl, you know, I
Alex Ferrari 2:40
want Well, obviously, I mean, obviously, if you're not, yeah. And that motivated me to be a big time film directors. You know, you're not the people. You're not the first time I've had a director Come on, like, I got to film because I wanted to get chicks. I mean, seriously, this is, this is the reason why, you know, obviously. Now I know that when you were at USC, you met another budding young filmmaker, by the name of Mr. JOHN carpenter. Is that is that correct?
Nick Castle 3:08
That's absolutely correct. JOHN, and I met at film school, y'all must have been 1967 68. We worked together on a short film. He was the editor. I was the camera man. And we both wrote, I wrote the song and saying at the song of a picture called the resurrection of Bronco Billy, which was a short that the producer wound up, blowing up to 35 entering it as an academy consideration and we won the Academy Award.
Alex Ferrari 3:41
I didnt know you guys want the Academy, really?
Nick Castle 3:44
The four person crew gym. Ronald Coase was the director. We all wrote it. And and in john Longnecker was the producer and he wound up on the stage getting the gold trophy from Sally Kellerman. It was pretty hilarious. You know, to start off your career, we weren't even starting a career. We were just in film school, and just out of film school by that time, and then we hadn't I mean, it was all down.
Alex Ferrari 4:14
And a slowly, slow, steady decline for the entire rest of my career. And then you you work as it was in the camera, the camera department in darkstar.
Nick Castle 4:25
Actually, I worked as kind of anything you need, you know, slash actors slash gophers slash Well, you know, again, it was like a film. This was turned out to be a feature film, but it started out as a 40 minute short out of USC.
Alex Ferrari 4:42
Nick Castle 4:42
Dan O'Bannon, who wrote alien was the CO creator of the project with john and yeah, they just needed some buddies to you know, really needed some hands in there they had a camera man a sound man them couple actors in me and maybe we Whoever they could drag off the street, you know, across the campus, they help them do something. So my claim to fame there though is is it was the introduction of me behind plastic being a character, which was there was a beach ball monsters least that's what we called it was painted to look like a giant tomato. And so I literally have it's subtle back then could get behind the thing and kind of do this to make it seem like it's breathing. So if you see that that's my first foray into acting as, as this turned out to be, you know, very limited part of my repertoire.
Alex Ferrari 5:35
Absolutely. Now, you, you also worked with john on another little, little independent film called Halloween. And that was at the time it and correct me if I'm wrong, one of the most successful independent films of all time, when it came out. I mean, it was an absolute, blockbuster runaway hit. And you also played a part in that, which I honestly did not know, until I researched this. I was like, Oh, my God, Nick played this shape. So can you talk about first of all, how did you become the shape? Or Michael Myers? And then how did and I've heard so many stories over the years about how that whole movie got put together? You were kind of there. So can you can you shine a little light about that?
Nick Castle 6:26
Sure. You know, john, I think did a after dark story, he is first independent motion picture after that was an assault on precinct 13. And he met some people after that movie that got a little bit of attention. It's a good movie. It didn't have a big release, but it it attracted some people in including erwinia blondes who had an idea for a babysitter murder movie, and, and brought it to John's attention. And john took it over and and off day when you know he I think he said he wrote it in like a week or a weekend with Deborah, who at that point Deborah Hill was, was a producer on the picture and also his love interest. Life. And so john was, you know, going to shoot it. Part of it. Yeah, at least pretty close to both where we both lived. We both live in Laurel Canyon, not very far away from each other actually. And one of the locations was down the flats in Hollywood. And I knew it was going to be close by so I said, I went over there. I said, john, I'm going to come by this set. They were setting up for the next week's shoot. And, and I said, you know, what? Would you mind if I just hung around? Because you know, I want to become a director. I'll see what you do. makes me look at all your mistakes and make sure I don't do it anyway. Okay, well, as long as you're going to be here, why don't you put on the mask later on?
Alex Ferrari 8:09
Oh, no, you're not stop it. I'm not going to put on the mask. Oh, but is that the is that the original mask?
Nick Castle 8:15
This is the original mask from the 2018 Halloween the original mask I actually kept for a while and then Deborah actually wanted it to so they could make the new copy for the Halloween too. But I never got it back. So that that is gone.
Alex Ferrari 8:37
But that is but that is a William Shatner mask painted white correct? Exactly.
Nick Castle 8:41
Yeah. The production designer who is also close friends with john. In fact, we're we're hometown buddies from from Kentucky. He he he literally went to find a man. Yeah, they had no money to sculpt something or no money at all. So I think they have about $300,000 to do the whole picture. So their, you know, production design, budget was minimal. So he went into a local Hollywood, you know, toy store and found looking for something that he could make into something and he found I think a clown mask that he thought was interesting. And he saw the Shatner minutes he saw Okay, I could do something with that. So he's really the genius when it comes to you know, because there's so many things that went right with that movie and had to go right to make itself successful and that's one of them I think is really the idea of the combat mask and the and the and the character of course, but it's spooky some of these very spooky he wound up getting.
Alex Ferrari 9:42
I mean, he was the he was the first Michael Myers was the first kind of as we kind of know it. The 80s Horror icons like Freddy and Jason Mike was the first one. And that that really kind of like kind face White gummy Shatner beater. This is like a star trek mask from the 60s basically. And it's a, it's a kind face. It's not like he doesn't have hard features. So that mix with the hair, and then just the, it's just weird. It was just, it hits you in a suit and almost like in a like, it's like a primal way when you see Michael Myers and then of course, the music.
Nick Castle 10:24
Oh, my God. Well, john really hit it out of the park there that, again, didn't take him very long. But he had an idea of, you know, the kind of timing, he wanted the simplicity. And he's a good musician, you know, self taught, even though his dad was a music teacher, you know, but he still is not someone that reads music, for instance. But he, he hears it, and he and he can play it, but and then also, you know, a couple of things that he kind of, you know, was in the forefront of which was that electronic music. And then using the, what was it the panda glide? That that spooky kind of airy? That was the first time that was ever used. I mean that the first time but one of the first times in, in most of the
Alex Ferrari 11:08
panic, it was kind of like the steadycam of its day, or like a little bit after it before our competitor of Steadicam?
Nick Castle 11:14
I think yeah, I think panic lag was just the one where a pan of visions version of it.
Alex Ferrari 11:20
Got it. Yeah. But it wasn't You're right. It was kind of like this souping, you know, because the first time you see that, even when you see it in the shining, you know, or you know, even when we think the first time they used it was on rocky wasn't in 76 went up the stairs.
Nick Castle 11:35
Yeah, it's one of the it's the the and but also using it as the point of view.
Alex Ferrari 11:41
That was the first time it was done. Right. And it was just very, like you're there. And I think that is what makes that film so damn spooky. behind the mask, you feel like you're the killer? Oh, it's very. Even today. It still works. It does it ages very well. Other than other than the clothes?
Nick Castle 12:03
Yeah, I think so too, is you know, john is a filmmaker, you know, he's just not a shooter. He understands the history of motion pictures. And and, you know, is a student of film. And so you know, that's brought to bear there. And you can see his raw, not just as raw talent, but as you know, educated talent, you know, there I think it's quite well done.
Alex Ferrari 12:25
And then you played Michael the entire time.
Nick Castle 12:29
Yeah, there were certain times when rindy Tommy Wallace, who I mentioned, put on the mask, because this is how cheap it was, you know, they had it there are a couple times when like he puts a Michael puts his fist through a door, or he puts his fist through a closet door. And and. and Tommy just said, Well, I better do that. Because I know where I scored the door. So if you miss it, and we put on the spot, there's no second door. I don't care about your hand. That's really just about the door, honestly, not the door. It's because the 120 bucks, they don't have 120 bucks. So that was the reason for that. Then there was a couple other things like they were snap men. And then there was a reveal at the end. It wasn't me they take off the mask. And it's a guy named Tony Moran. They just wanted a certain look for who Michael really look like. And they have little kids. So I didn't look anything like that little kid. So
Alex Ferrari 13:26
and you were so you were essentially just like hanging around the set and just like hey, put the mask on.
Nick Castle 13:31
Yeah, yeah, you'll see some behind the scene things. I'm just hanging around. I have the mask dangling out of my hand. No one knew. Of course, this would be what it became. At the time, no, no one had an inkling you know. And here I am like whatever it is 40 something years later. That's what I'm known for. I could do Last Starfighter tab. I can do all these other movies. Forget it has nothing to do.
Alex Ferrari 13:57
Here. Michael Myers, your Michael Myers
Nick Castle 14:01
And it's pretty bad. I mean, look, I have you know, I'm an action figure.
Alex Ferrari 14:09
And I do I look, I mean, you're exactly. It must be honest, it must be so trippy to be in an independent film. And then you're still talking about it. 40 odd years later, and I'm sure you're asked about it everywhere you go. And you see like that little action figure and you've I'm sure you've gone to conventions and events and all of those things. That must be so trippy. Like you were just like I was just hanging around the set. Like this means not like we were just chilling, we had no idea.
Nick Castle 14:37
And I mean, I've actually brought I mean we've had trips like going to Germany to go to London. And you know, it becomes a time when I can take my whole family my kids and their kids and have so much fun with and it's paid for you know, so it's it's pretty hilarious. You know, I don't deserve it in some level, be so lucky. But I take full advantage of it
Alex Ferrari 15:06
as you should, as you should, sir, as you should, because I'm sure the mask was very uncomfortable as high as it was, I'm sure you know, you have to get paid something.
Nick Castle 15:15
And of course, David Gordon green, who was the director on the new one, he called me, you know, before they started, he said, do you want to do it again? And I went, well, you know, I'm 70 years old. Now. You know, you don't want some old guy even though he's supposed to be old. Even though this means that.
Alex Ferrari 15:32
Michael Myers is technically Oh, yeah, this is supposedly
Nick Castle 15:34
40 years later, but they got someone that could really actually benefit from his physicality James, James, Jude Courtney, who wonderful guy, and, and brought a lot to the role and but I got to do these cameos. So it was fun. You know, I knew. And I was honored on at this on the set, you know, by the crew, they would, they would have to bow down to me because I am the original.
Alex Ferrari 16:01
That's amazing. So I mean, that's so trippy. That's, that's just so amazing. Now after Halloween, you jumped in with john again. And another classic film called Escape from New York. And you wrote that with him? How did you guys come up with Escape from New York?
Nick Castle 16:20
Well, I you know, john, first of all, john, right out of film school, wrote the first draft of escape in New York on his own Of course, at any rate, he wrote it and stuff like that. And then now what do I do with it? Well, you put it in the trunk, you know, was the drunk went off to do other movies? And then after he did, I think the Fogg the studio that did that they really wanted to get in business with him. They say, what else do you got? So he went to the truck pulled out this, kind of pitch them the general idea without, you know, saying that they have the script complete. And they loved it, you know? So then he called me said, Nick, I'm, you know, I really need another set of eyes and ears on this one, would you be willing to come up and you know, talk, you know, we'll just come up, have fun, sit around his pool. Again, he lived right next to me. And we'll talk about you know, you know, flesh this thing out, put some a little bit of humor in it. And, you know, I think he, he knew what I could bring to it, probably. So that's what we did, you know, we, we just had fun to do to friends lap laughing it up, trying to think of where snakes should go in New York, you know, well, you got to have a taxi ride, you have to go to Madison Square Garden, get to do this, you got to do that. And then, you know, forming it coming up with some nihilistic ending, which, which was pretty hilarious. And then, and then again, that was before I started directing again. So I said, Hey, I'm gonna hang out again. So I didn't get to play a cat. I did play a character in there. Actually, when the snake goes into the theater, there's a crazy show going on. I'm the piano player, playing the song that I wind up writing, I wrote for them for the movie. So a lot of fun. And you know, john was so gracious in the midst of all this stuff, because it was Yeah, it's nice to be able to hang out, you know, throw a few suggestions in. He's very collaborative that way. Great guy. And, and, you know, I learned quite a bit from from that kind of apprenticeship.
Alex Ferrari 18:26
And you shot on a you shot you guys shot because obviously you didn't take over Manhattan. So I think you shot and it was a Detroit or mission. Where was it? St. Louis? Oh, St. Louis. Yes.
Nick Castle 18:37
Those were the locations that I didn't go to I they were shooting. When they got back to LA I started looking at that. Then they went for a couple of days, which I went to, to to to Liberty Island, where they did this with the with the Statue of Liberty.
Alex Ferrari 18:54
Very cool. That must have been I mean, imagine that was that was a student with a studio project or independent project. They have studio aapko embassy, I think, yeah. Can you imagine a studio making Escape from New York? Yes, because they're always talking about making reviving Well, no, no, but like as an original IP? Yeah. No, I think it's an isn't isn't Robert Robert Rodriguez doing the the remake or someone else? I heard someone there is a remake in the works. Last time I heard I think was Robert Rodriguez. And he had John's blessing. And I think John's involved somehow. Well, John's involved like this. Where's my money? Do you have any like, let me think. Yes. Where's my Can I have a check? Sure. Sure. Go give me an executive producer credit. Let's rock and roll. Now, one of the one of the films you've directed, impacted me so much when I was growing up, which is the Last Starfighter and it is just one of those Classic 80s films I mean, in the pantheon of 80s. I mean, it's I think it's right smack in the middle is 8586 if I'm not mistaken 8484 I said it was around at 45 or six. So it was right smack in the middle of the 80s. It's full 80s everything, it's just wonderfully done. The story, the thing that was so wonderful about that story is that as as I was in fourth or fifth grade, at that time, I probably saw it a little bit later on VHS when it came out. But there you are the kid, cuz he's just playing a video game and like, wait a minute, I play video games. Wait a minute, this could possibly happen to me. And that was the brilliance of that story. Can you tell me how the Last Starfighter came to be how you became a part of it all that?
Nick Castle 20:48
Well, it was the The script was written by Jonathan badgal. remains very close friend of mine, great guy, again, talking about being in the trenches, you know, because when I read the script, the street I had done my first film tag, the assassination game was a little independent picture and lorimar saw it and like the way it looked, and, you know, young director getting involved with this would be a good match. probably cheaper to, obviously. But yeah, I'm getting an old veteran. And so I you know, I read the script, I thought it needed quite a bit of work. But the like you say, the brilliance of the storyline is just you can kind of like, it's so simple and so obvious, especially for that era, you know? Yeah. And john, I know, came up with the idea with it. And he's, he's a New Yorker, he went into a video game, parlor, whatever you call those things, and saw people doing this. And then he was reading I think, some version of sword and stone, King Arthur men, you know that there is something someone that's born for to be the leader and he thought, whoa, that's, you know, just crank him up. He's like that to play. We're talking about a guy with you know, where you, which is the most difficult thing is that coming up with the creative nugget, the idea that everything circles around that you build on that he's wonderful like that, and very funny, too. I think it brought a lot of humor to itself. That's only to say that we spent, I think, almost a year, maybe eight, nine months on the next draft of the screenplay, and, and the and so we were in a room together, you know, just making the thing work, waiting for them to decide to greenlight Finally, green lighted. And in the meantime, they had they had engaged a new kind of technology for this called digital technology. No one had ever heard of Yeah, they've someone said they did something in Tron but you know, that looked like it was.
Alex Ferrari 23:10
Yeah, cuz even even Star Wars wasn't digital. It was analog. Oh, no, no, no, no. Yeah. That was all. It was.
Nick Castle 23:17
Yeah, and those role models and stuff like that. So this was starting this had no physical element, you know, so we were we were in a way stuck, because of the the good price that digital productions gave for there to do all the visual effects with them. And kind of scarily, you know, they were doing research and development, as we were right around, doing the screenplay. So a lot of things a lot of, you know, balls in the air and a lot of, you know, a lot of things that were, you know, kind of difficult in and crazy. So, you know, again, another person in my life that I thought was what we'll always have Starfighter together. And then we had a good time. You know, the shoot was pretty easy. The post production took another year that was about this. I mean, for people listening, you guys have to understand that that the visual effects are in last, The Last Starfighter is
Alex Ferrari 24:20
so cut, it's a little bit ahead of its time. And you guys were basically in the bleeding edge of technology, emphasis on bleeding. Because I was looking at it, I was just like, I just recently went back and watch those. It's like, this is I mean, I'm a VFX guy. I mean, I do I've been VFX souping and I understand how things are done. I'm like, the computer power back then. I'm talking you're talking to 8384 and 8283. In that world, my God, like they were still using giant floppy. Like it's it wasn't like you could just get things off the shelf. So I yeah, it's amazing. How did you as a director even Did you use shot elements? Didn't you you shot like plates and things for people to comp in and stuff, right? Yeah.
Nick Castle 25:05
Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, you know, we had the the entire picture was storyboard and I storyboarded even, you know, all the just live action material that they didn't even have visual effects coming in. But we know we had some excellent people on the picture that two of which are still Well, one of which was is still a very close friend was the, the art director was Jim vessel. Jim Did he? He did. He just says everything
Alex Ferrari 25:38
he did, he's done. Okay. He's done. Okay.
Nick Castle 25:42
So you have that going for you. Then we had the master Ron Cobb, who's, who if you don't know, Ron, he, he was a production designer, he just passed away, unfortunately. But he was one of my best friends. And he, he just, he might as well have been a second director because he, he was such a good artist. He could, you know, he came up with all the character art, all the all the hardware, art, all the symbols, everything, you know, just he's a master at design. And, and he, and he was the one that could tell me what I could expect out of, you know, what, what, what, what digital productions would be able to do, and, you know, here's the upside, here's the downside, but here's what we should do. And it's why the interior for instance of the ship is so simple. I mean, I would have liked it to be on was cautioning going, you know what, I don't know if they're going to be able to get that kind of complexity into there. So let's go as simple as possible. So those kind of things were used. That information was important to kind of figure out what we were going to what we were up against. So great team, Gary Allison was a producer was, you know, just, you know, and ended and the son of the owner of the company, so that that helps
Alex Ferrari 27:04
to make sure you got made sure you had everything you needed.
Nick Castle 27:07
But not, but that wasn't only that. Gary's Gary's strength, he was also very, very good event. Very good at story too, and hence a lot of good ideas. And that's a good team, real good team. And like you say, it's, it's a it's a staple of the 80s. It's something that is always threatening to be either remade or made a sequel is in what what are the what's the efforts and rumors for years
Alex Ferrari 27:34
about it? So what do you have any updates on that? anything going on? Well, you know, yeah, I
Nick Castle 27:39
mean, back in the early 2000s, john, and I had a script with a studio, and it was really very close to getting started. But it just fell apart because of these complicated rights issues, because it turned out to be that two studios had Tommy has a plan to the rights. And none, neither of them would get into partnership with each other. And john had the rights to the characters. And then finally, within the last few years, Jonathan got the rights back because of the age of the project, I think. And now he has another way he thinks he wants to approach it. So there may be some tober all the Starfighter fans there may be in the not too distant future. Yeah, a new a new version. And what we what he has always wanted to do is no matter how long in between making a sequel, so it's not like a reimagining. It's not like Yeah, yeah, and and make, and this is something we wanted to do to you know, 20 almost 20 years ago now. When we wrote it, kind of prefiguring with Star Wars wound up doing doing the there 40 years later thing,
Alex Ferrari 28:52
right. I thought we were pretty clever. We came first even though we didn't get it. We had it wherever you are. Billions of dollars counting just just count. I I picture him in a Scrooge McDuck situation with with a gold gold nuggets. No, um, but yeah, I mean, they did it with Tron, which is very similar like they did that sequel. And I think that was you know, I loved about about the sequel about this, that they just, you know, brought in the old and brought in the new and, and I think that would be an amazing thing to be able to do with the Last Starfighter, like with today's video games. And, you know, virtual reality virtual reality. There's so many different angles you can go after with it. I wanted to ask you though, as a director, during that time, with bleeding, peeing on the bleeding edge of technology, I've had the experience of being on a project where I didn't know that if the visual effects were going to come through and the story depended on certain level like if the via if we can't make this VFX work. The movie doesn't work. And that is in in at the time that I was doing it, it was just like really at the beginnings of off the shelf visual effects, meaning like my team that I had, you know, we had that attack, but like, no one had really done it on this level on an indie short film. And it was like really high end stuff. And my guys were all kind of young, which, by the way, they all went off to do like Star Wars and Skyfall. And these guys all turned out to be amazing visual effects artists, but at the time, I was terrified. So I kind of had a backup plan, just just in case I could maybe cut that out or cut around it. But did you at some point? Did you just go, man, if this doesn't work, we don't have a movie?
Nick Castle 30:45
Well, yeah, no, that was always in the back of it wasn't just making imagine the studio that put the 13 or 14, whatever it was the million dollars into the thing that that up. You know, at one point, our visual effects coordinator, Jeff Oaken, who did a fantastic job to, by the way, saving Rs a number of times, he did the calculations, and he's you know, you know, at this rate, this will be done in five years. They can't sustain it, because every frame don't, you know, so long to render, you know, every frame. And, and, you know, even though they had what they called the Cray computer, which was a thing that looked like a giant sofa. It did have something you could sit on, and then all these kind of looks very, very, very 80s visual effects that live beautiful. And even though they have that it really did have the you know, the amount of power that's now in my
iPhone. Apple Watch. Yeah, it really and I'm serious. You know, I'm Joe. i'm john. Yeah,
I know. Yeah. And, and so your, your point is, yeah, yeah, everyone was nervous about it. And we just had to be creative, you know, things like, that's why I had to be there for a year. And then in post production, I'd be on the in post production at a terminal looking at the thing, and they would go, okay, that plane back there, it's never gonna, is it gonna get any closer than this? Because if it doesn't, we don't have to put all this other, you know, information onto it, we can just let it be kind of like a stick figure. And I said, No, you're good with the stick figures. But every shot every element, stuff like that, and we had to do in order to make it make it make sense. And then there were things that look are the worst, the worst of the effects were their inability to do terrain. Like there's a sequence where that where the ships are going to tunnels, forget and, and you know, they could not at that point, get the detail and then smooth out the edges and things like that needed to make it look and Jeff might have the he added whole plan of doing models for that. And in came to the production and said, Okay, let's look why the digital ship, but we'll do it in in models, and it'll look real, as opposed to this and, and the production set. How much is that going to cost? You told them if they said no, we have this much money, we're going to those guys said they could do it, they're going to do it. So I wound up in, in the final coloring, you know, just at some point I just kept going lower, lower bring down the the the lighting, so you literally you can see some of those shots, you can't even see where you're where you're looking at is for good reason. It looks so bad.
Alex Ferrari 33:47
That's amazing. So you just get darkening. So for everybody listening out there, visual effects are bad. Just Just darken it a little bit, just a little bit. Listen, I when I was in when I was in film school was 95. And I was working on a Video Toaster back in the day. And I remember a ship just doing a 3d model of a spaceship and moving it from point A to point B. That was five days. Yeah. And if it crashed, yes, start again. So I could only imagine what you guys
Nick Castle 34:24
it's, it's, you know, things weren't invented, for instance, motion blur, which for your audience, like right, you know, you know, car goes by and, and, you know, you you kind of see it in a swish of colors and stuff like that. Well, if, if, if, if a ship went like that against your camera, it would pixelate because you have to instruct it to have this blur. So they had to invent motion blur for the movie, and they didn't know how to do that, you know, things that are kind of simple physics in in models or not. simple physics in the digital world. So you know, there's a lot of very inventive people talk about people in that world that went on to do work, you know that they they all are, you know, Master technicians.
Alex Ferrari 35:13
It's remarkable. Yeah. Now, when you you also got involved with a friend of the show, Mr. James v. Hart, who's been on the show a few times. And you work on another one of my favorite films growing up, which is hook. And you work with Jim on hook. And I've heard the story from his point of view that his son said, Hey, what happened? If Peter Pan grew up and all that stuff, how did you get involved with him on that? Well, Jim,
Nick Castle 35:44
as I say, I had done a movie for TriStar and the, the people there were fond of the movie liked working with me. And then the, the same producer of Last Starfighter came to me with Jim's idea of exactly what what you do what you just said, I'm sure Jim does a wonderful job of giving the background with this son and like that, talking about another. This was very Starfighter in a way what a kernel of an idea that you can build.
Alex Ferrari 36:23
It's like, it's so great, that you can't believe that no one has ever thought of that. Like what happened to Peter Pan grew up.
Nick Castle 36:31
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It's just such a wonderful notion. So similarly to what I just explained in The Last Starfighter, first of all the, the, the, the company said, okay, Nick, you're gonna we like you, we like the idea deck, will you work with Jim on the on the screenplay, develop and develop it with him, I went, yeah, because this could be great. So again, this was another one, which I don't know how long we took, again, another at least a half a year, maybe more, just going over it coming up with you know, coming up with the structure. Some of the details, and, you know, Jim went off and wrote it, and we get back together and this and that. And we came up with I thought, a very good first draft, you know, solid first draft that went out to the movie, the stars that got interested in at that point, I was going to direct it. And, and then the studio got a little cold feet when they saw how big this could be. You know, and so without going into any of the gruesome details, the the the picture, then eventually got to Steven and Steven did a very nice job, I think on it, and brought in some brought in some other talent to help Jim with some of the, some of the net the next, you know, some of Stephens ideas. So it became what it became. So it's a it's a, it's a, it's a solid piece. And, you know, I was always really fond of that. And, and because again, back in the trenches with someone like Jim, we became very close from that. Now, did
Alex Ferrari 38:15
you get to hang out on the set?
Nick Castle 38:19
No, I went on to do some other work, you know, and and I had a couple of screenplays I wanted to write that never got made. I see. I use my time that I By that time, I didn't need the finish. No,
Alex Ferrari 38:30
I understand that. But it's still it's from what I heard, it was that one of the everybody took the visit of that set, because it was the most remarkable production set just like the people were just visiting it just like Jesus, look at this. They I mean, it was all the talk.
Nick Castle 38:44
And the other thing that I remembered, I did visit the set. And what was interesting about that is the camera man from Halloween, did hook Dean candy. So I knew that that gang and he had some of the old gang from Halloween. So I did get to say hi to those guys. Which was a lot of fun. Very small, small, small business, isn't it?
Alex Ferrari 39:10
Now, when you write, by the way, do you do you outline? How would you What is your writing process?
Nick Castle 39:17
Um, most of the time, I will. Whatever notion comes, I have a yellow pad, you know, here's a little version of it. This is the version but usually a big yellow pad and just start, you know, kind of idea, idea, idea idea. First kind of, you know, pages and pages of ideas that come to me, and then at the point where I go, Okay, I get it. I think I know where I'm going. I have a beginning, middle and end. Then Then the next page that goes is, you know, scene one and start again still longhand, you know, going through it coming up with ideas, maybe some dialogue notions, things like that. Before I get to the computer at the best originally typewriter,
Alex Ferrari 40:06
right? Now do you start with do you start with the character the plot? What comes first?
Nick Castle 40:12
It really depends on the project what what the what's driving the interest of the project. Sometimes it comes from not even made, like for instance, I did a movie called tab. Yeah, about pregnancy. Apparently that came from and back the same company lorimar, the same owner of the company, the same producer that I work with Atlanta Starfighter. Merv Adelson came back from New York once and I was talking to him, you know, walking down the halls of larmor. And he said, Nick, I know your dad was a dancer, and he was a tap dancer, right? And yeah, I said, I just came back from watching 42nd street or one of those, you know, silly, you know, yay, tap dance movies. And he said, Let's do one. Why don't we do one? Yeah, why don't you come up with something. So there's a situation where you have a subject, you know, no story, no character. But you're given this kind of on a gift, because I just thought, Oh, my God, what a gift I, I always wanted to do musicals coming out of film school. And that was a love that I had, you know, from my dad, but also, just from my own experience, looking at the history of film, I just love Vincent Minnelli, for instance, I just love the classic, classic work there, and that there's something thrilling about that work. So I spent the next six months or so investigating what was out there, you know, just in terms of talent. And I came very quickly to the idea that there's only one person there, Gregory Hines, that's, that really exemplifies you know, the spirit of the tap, tap it he and then I then that's when I started to come up with a story. It's a very weird way to do a movie. And usually it shows I think I'm you know, I'm happy with the movie, but it shows it's, the weakness is in. In starting with an idea and the setting, instead of a character, a lot of character a lot. Yeah, something like as, like we were talking about before, if you have the idea of what happens if Peter Pan grows up, you know, boom, you know where to go with that
Alex Ferrari 42:22
character. You just started with character. Yeah, please. Yeah,
Nick Castle 42:25
exactly. Or a situation like, you know, The Last Starfighter where it's like, you know, what, if you were, you know, so this one is, yeah, it's, it's, it's a little backwards. And it's a tough thing to pull off. I wouldn't suggest that necessarily starting with that. But sometimes you're told, like my first movie called tag the assassination game, same kind of thing. And not directed then. But my, my neighbor came up to me and said, Nick, I have some people that want to do this, this, that this crazy movie about this craziness going on college campuses called assassination, or I forget what it was called, it's like rubber tip dark guns, then you go around stuff, where you couldn't do that now, but so
Alex Ferrari 43:09
much, not so much. Not so much nowadays. But you can see how innocent we were, oh, my God, people don't understand how we're alive is beyond me. I talk to my wife all the time. Like, how did we survive our teens? Like in our college years, I mean, things you do to yourself at those at that age? Oh, my God, it's insane. But there was a situation where, you
Nick Castle 43:31
know, I agreed to put together a little draft of a treatment, you know, based on an idea in a newspaper, as opposed to, you know, so that one kind of helped itself because it seemed like once I thought, Okay, then the game goes for real. someone gets cross crazy and starts using a real gun. Okay, now I know what I want to do. Boom. So those are the kind of things that you know, there are different things like, the boy can fly, which I did. Well, came from my friend Ron Cobb, who I mentioned before as a production designer, he was going to do the original et he was directing at work. It was a horror film before it was what it turned out to be, when Steven saw that saw it when I'm going to change this, you know, and I think I'm going to direct it. So I'm sensing kind of,
but, but, but Ron was talking about how the character was going to be maybe autistic. This this kid. I didn't know much about that. But I really found that fascinating. And so I thought I'm going to I want to think about this second kid who's autistic that is, it almost seems like they're magical. And at the time, I was reading Dumbo to my kid, you know, so you You put the two Yeah, I know. I know shuffled around and then blink, the light goes on. And then you have a movie, you know,
Alex Ferrari 45:07
etc. I think someone has cut online somewhere a trailer as easy as a horror movie like they've edited a trailer, that's a horror movie. And you could easily cut from that movie, you could easily cut a horror movie. But that would have been an interesting, interesting approach to say the least. Right now you also worked with Jim on another one of my favorite films, which is August rush, loved August rush. And I've had Paul on the show, I've had Jim on the show, and now have you so I'm now that's the trifecta. So from from what from your point of view? How did you get involved with that project and mold it into what it was because it was kind of a meeting of minds, if you will, taking it to the different places?
Nick Castle 45:49
Well, this was another project that came to me through the producer, there was a screenplay by Paul and it, it what it had, was a great notion, a great character, that, that this kind of, again, a kind of kind of real, that surreal sense about it. But again, a way to a way to talk about the magic of music in a way that you know, that that we all kind of love it and, and it moves us we don't even understand what that is that moves us. I just love all that. And the fact of putting it in a character that has somehow embodied it, you know, and Paul had it going off to a certain certain, right, right field, you know, with the basketball, and the kid grows up and stuff like that. And when I ran it, I came up with an idea, I think that that solves what what would create the essence of the storyline, which is the kid lost his parents, and the, they're both musical people. And he's born without them, and he still needs them. And the way he finds them is through the music, he doesn't grow up, you know, like, it was in the original thing, but he goes on a journey to find them. And in the journey he finds it become it becomes a little bit of, you know, you know, a classic English character, you know, who, who meets various nefarious and friendly characters on his, on his journey. So it was a journey movie, but but based on this kind of instinct that this kid had for being able to, to hear music in anything. I also, it was a it was a notion I had in tap to that there's a scene in that movie, where I came up with the idea that the father had got his rhythms from the sounds of the city. So he would hear like a car going over a grading, and here did dump a tempo. So he would take that and go down to dub dub start, you know, but you know, so that idea that the mind creates a, you know, a connection with with me. And in that case with the city. So there was something about that I thought was was fantastic. That was in Paul's original idea to expand that. And, you know, so we went from there, and then I wanted to direct it, you know, and I Stephen
Alex Ferrari 48:39
didn't do this when Steven didn't do this. I know that he didn't get that one from your neck. He didn't do
Nick Castle 48:47
but but the producer wasn't sure he wanted to keep his, his his his idea his options open. And this before I did my draft, by the way, so I said, Well, I got a DIRECT address. I'm not going to do it. So I walked away. And about, I don't know, five months later, I kept thinking of it and thinking of it and going god damn, I know how to make this thing work and it's gonna be really cute. And so I went back to videos and said, okay, have you got it any further? And he said, not really. And I said, let me come on. I'll just I'll just write it and and we'll see how it goes. So that's what happened. I just wrote it and it got to that it got to a stage where you know, it looked like it could be you know, he could attract some money in a studio. And then Jim came on and just really did a nice job embellishing it bringing in characters that it needed to and you know, really kind of
Alex Ferrari 49:42
brought it home. Right and then the second Robin Williams said, Yes, it was a go picture.
Nick Castle 49:49
Robin Hood, and you know, the I never I didn't meet Robin on hook, and I didn't meet Robin. But I didn't meet Robin. Somewhere in between there at my friend's wedding. To his friend of his, but we never, we never, I've never, I never did. And of course, I never will know, I have had the chance to just kind of sit down and say, God, if only we almost I would love to have a relationship with him because he just seemed like such a great guy. Yeah. Jim Tim talks,
Alex Ferrari 50:17
just I mean, we have a long conversation about Robin and his some hilarious stories of stuff that they went through from being on hook and, and an August rush and stuff. But Robin was, I had a chance to meet him for 10 minutes one day. And I, you know, it's something that you don't forget. And he wasn't on that day, and he wasn't cracking jokes. He was just normal. And it was actually a few months before he passed, which was really, it was really rough. But I had the pleasure of meeting him was it was in Jim said, it wasn't he was on the show. He's like, you know, that the script was going around town and this and that, but then that Robin Williams said, Yes. And it was automatically a go picture, like instantly that like, okay, here's X amount of dollars, and let's rock and roll. And he was one of those guys that could just the second he said, Yes. Everybody said yes. with him. It's, it's nice. It's nice. It's nice if you have that kind of power. Now, when you when you directed that first film, the tag the assassination? What was the biggest lesson you pulled from that? as a as a first that was that was the first time you directed a feature?
Nick Castle 51:29
Yeah, yeah, that was the biggest lesson I learned. While I as I got his lesson going forward. You know, I think it was a lesson and I and, and, eventually, something I look back at and go, Oh, was the lesson, the correct lesson, I'll tell you what to be prepared. You got a million dollar picture, you have 25 days to shoot it. And, and you, you, for a young filmmaker, I wanted to know every angle every over, you know what, you know, making sure I had the right? eyeline for every shot, don't cross that
Alex Ferrari 52:20
line, don't cross that line,
Nick Castle 52:21
don't cross the damn line. have been at every location, have storyboarded everything, at least in my own little scribbles so that I could I could approach the the production from the standpoint of professional, you know, you want to go in your your, you are the leader of the game. And you you want to be able to impart a certain amount of, of, of stability to, to the to the crew, so that they do their best work, you know, so I think that was it. But why is saying that that that was also problematic is that you can get so stuck in that in the in the barriers that you put up for yourself or, you know, here's what I'm going to do here is that you lose a certain amount of spontaneity that you can get from the set. Not that I didn't do that. But I remember one time on the set, my favorite moment, and it's no one would ever notice it. Hamilton is talking about something he says something very, you know, know, something dramatic. And right in back of it was a barbecue at way in the distance. And I had I said Oh, good, Hey, get some fluid, get some barbecue. And when I when I do this, you throw the barbecue in the background. And so she says this thing, and then the fire goes up in the background just as a kind of hit. That was my favorite part of it. Because it was so spontaneous. Yeah, and you get a lot of fun out of that. And I think I think that's what a lot of good directors look for. And I took me a while to try and maybe maybe it's been a you know, part of what I look back on and don't like about what I did is that sometimes it's just too, too too much on the horse holding the reins back, you know. But as it starts that's a that's a gift. And it's something you have to watch out for, especially as young young people they want to, they want to do it right, you know, and you get and it's scary doing that. So you want to be prepared. You want to have it all together. But you also have to open up to what's available to you too.
Alex Ferrari 54:29
Yeah, and that's a thing though, I think that you just that's that's time and age and experience like your first move. You've got a first time director out there who's just like, let's play jazz out here, everybody, let's just do this or that you're scared to death because the guy's never done it before the guy hasn't done it before. So you I guess those first features have to be a little bit more tight, you know, but then as you get older and you do more stuff, then you just become much more relaxed. And I always I always equated to being like catching the magic. You know, catching the thunder. lightning in a bottle because there's things that you will never see, other than when you're on set the magic that the actor brings, or the or the the environment brings, or something happens, you just see a barbecue in the background like, wait a minute, boom, throw something. That's something you can plan for, you know, now did you did you also have like, because I do this all the time, when I go on set, list a shot list that's obscene, like, handed over to the first ad. And the first thing is, oh, ad shots. Okay. All before lunch? Oh, okay. And those first days, I was so prepared. That's what I would give them. And then obviously, I would get for now I'll do like 40. And I'll just tell him, I understand. We're not getting all of these. I know, we'll get 10. But they're here just in case things are just flowing. Is that was that your case? as well? Like? Did you like over a shot list? Something that people are like that you're insane?
Nick Castle 56:01
No, you know, I was pretty conservative in that way. You know, I kind of I kind of could see how long it would take to light. dosh was, which was, you know, so I prepare for that, that would be part of my calculus, I would have, you know, especially like we're saying, for the early shows, you know, I would have the shot list boom to my assistant, the Assistant to the ad the ad to the cameraman. And we pretty much have the day plan. And down to the inserts, you know, so that but and like you're saying too, as things went on, I would be laughs maybe just get bored with that kind of
While you know, you get lazy and you just go Okay, I know what I want. I'll just give them a general idea. And I said, We're fine. Don't worry about it. We're fine.
Alex Ferrari 56:52
Right? But that takes time. And a lot of first time directors don't get that or even young directors don't get them like you know, at a certain point. Like I'll just walk on a set and I'm just go. Alright, here here, I'm not going to storyboard out a dinner scene. Like unless it's something really elaborate people before I would need that security blanket. But now you're like, Alright, put the camera here. Let's go here, the dolly here. Let's rock and roll. And that's. But when you get more elaborate with some sequences. Yes, storyboarding and previz. And all that would help. Now you've I mean, you've worked with some amazing actors over the course of your career. Do you have any advice on how to direct actors, especially for young filmmakers? No. You're screwed all of you. I'm sorry.
Nick Castle 57:39
I say that, honestly. You know, I'll probably come up with something as we speak. But, you know, we weren't, at least at USC film school during the years that I were that we didn't have any education. In us in, in dealing with actors. We, it was the one thing that I'm sure they must have corrected.
Alex Ferrari 58:05
mean that Nina folch, the coach, she had a legendary class there that I I've taken because we've got recorded before she passed, and I took it, I was like, Oh, my God, and everyone from EDS awake? And I mean, they all took those classes, and they're like, Oh, my God, it changed the way Yeah, so they did face it, but you were screwed, basically got it, you should actually get a refund for a little bit of the tuition. Yeah,
Nick Castle 58:29
exactly. So you know, I didn't I just would be sometimes playing it by ear Can you know, the all the the actors have different processes, you know, you can't assume that you're going to say, okay, we're going to have a two week rehearsal period. And you're going to come in here and you're going to do this and you're going to, it's, it's something that the, I guess the first thing would be is to have dinner with your actors, and get a sense of who they are, and just have a rapport that's independent of this of the story, just to get a feel for how, you know, what their personality is like and, and what what to expect he or she can get a little sense of that from their own histories. So but it's, but most of what I did, as a director was came out of the general sense of, you know, my understanding of human psychology, which, you know, you don't have to take necessarily a course for that you just have to be kind of aware of it. And and then, of course, like, I probably are closer to some of the directors that are more about making sure that they have just hired the right person that they there and a lot of the people that you get you can get are themselves filmmakers, you know, they understand the filming process, they understand. You know, everything about it and the difficulties some of our summer prima donnas? You're gonna have to deal with that, of course. But a lot of I've found a lot of people are, you know, they understand when you when we're, how the process works, you know where you're going to, you know, and you try to make the sets as comfortable as you can. I think that's, that's another thing I think it's so different from director to director to actor to actor, my my theory was to make the set itself just a fun place to be, there would be no screaming, there will be no, you know, not even just between me and the actors, but between anybody and anybody else, if you have a problem, let's take it back and discuss it. You know, just so you know, you feel like now, some people do it the opposite way and they get a lot out of the confrontation, you know, the tension, maybe it works for certain things.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:56
Yeah, from from from speaking to you here for this hour, your energy doesn't seem to be that guy. The yeller the screamer, you seem the the happy set, the collaborative set the nj we're here to have some fun set. But I've been on those other sets where they thrive on confrontation, they thrive and it pushes them to another place. But that's someone else's process. And hopefully you signed up for that as an actor. Is that a surprise to you? Now, I'm gonna ask you the last few questions asked all my guests, what advice would you give a filmmaker starting in the business today? Well,
Nick Castle 1:01:34
it's funny because I was just talking to a young filmmaker, it depends on the your, your skill level, and what you're looking for, if you're talking about becoming a director, the the artists, the, the, you know, the person in charge of the film, the thing that was very instrumental to me in, in, and in the days and weeks, leaving film school was one to have a film that I had done, you know, now is the best time, I think in the history of motion pictures for young people to be able to produce direct, write, edit, and finish something you can actually see on absolutely no money, assuming you can, you know, you have friends and colleagues and you know that that will help you. So that's, that's a big, that I think was very difficult for us to do back in the day. And then, but the other thing that you have control over is the screenplay. And anybody that's a filmmaker, I think, should be a writer. And some people have different skills, but I think that's something again, that no one can ness, no one can. It's not, it's, it's, it's not a collaborative medium. It's something that you are there, you and the typewriter, and the I mean, the keyboard, and, and you can finish something and have something a product that, that that shows your talent. And if you have good ideas, I mean, you're you're not going to as it as a filmmaker, you're not going to walk in someplace and say I want to be a filmmaker, you know, you got to be you've done a little short, which is, you know, is a is a wonderful of a tool, or you have a screenplay, you know, that's and that's both of those things now, are available to you. And the other thing now, getting to that point, getting to that point that you have something valuable is the other thing that you need to do, which is learn the history of film. There's a lot of it out there.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:44
A couple of things.
Nick Castle 1:03:47
Yeah. And there's so much one of the best things that go into USC film school as a matter of fact, I've felt was not just meeting that individuals that would wind up working with and, and getting a lot of, you know, help from like john, for instance, but it was the film retrospectives, you know, there'd be you know, there'd be Preston Sturges festival, there'd be a Western festival, there'd be people coming over talking about films, all that stuff just goes right into here, and it stays there, you know, if you if it stays in there, and you start to create your own sense of I wouldn't say ethics, the aesthetics,
Alex Ferrari 1:04:26
Nick Castle 1:04:28
yes. aesthetics and, and you start to find you, you know, as a as a as an artist, so and then you know, the other thing that I remember john Houston saying to that question, I went to a on the Queen Mary they had, the Directors Guild had a had a weekend of john Houston movies with john Houston Paul. Great filmmaker. And these And he, he's someone asked what should young people do to get in debt to become filmmakers, he said, read, read and live, read and live. It was very simple to him, you know, you have to experience things you can't just experience. Now we're talking about learning the history of film, you can see yourself sitting in front of your 60 inch TV, watching the latest, you know, Steven Spielberg from 1975, or something, and think that's filmmaking? Well, that's important. And going back even obviously, further is important. But actually having something you passionate about, that only comes from loving reading, and that's something that can be forgotten in the world. That is, this can be such a mechanical, you know, mechanical art. And it's one of the good things about the new technology, by the way, that I think is that you're not necessarily confronted by this giant camera anymore. No, it's this suit. Right? Right, which I always found intimidating. And he had almost no physics. Oh, really?
Alex Ferrari 1:06:15
Oh my God, when you get that first, like, area 4435 or 535 up with off candidate and it's on a pan of vision Jesus Christ, like and you needed a degree just to turn the damn thing off. It was no,
Nick Castle 1:06:30
yeah, but along with the, you know, the intimidation of being on a set with all the other things, you have to do that with that giant camera, the one thing that which we've been talking about is to be able to sit, sit back and be able to assess it on the bigger picture, you know, literally not upon but a bit bigger picture of, of how it's playing, that, that's, that's the, maybe the most difficult thing to be, as to understand is to, to be able to keep the keep that story, you know, fresh and, and the and, and in those bits and pieces that you do every day, that continuity that that has to be there for it to feel like a real a real story a real real, you know, real movie.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:22
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life of the air? Yeah, I
Nick Castle 1:07:31
think it it is that same thing in a way stepping back to smell the roses or flowers?
Alex Ferrari 1:07:37
Enjoy the jump do it?
Nick Castle 1:07:38
Yeah, we are. We're doing it right now. I'm trying to think of how much more I can spend with my family. Now that I'm basically retired because I can't retire in a certain way. But, but enjoying the this the latter years of my life becoming, you know, the most involving and, you know, and, and, you know, and, and enjoying, you know, living so most of the time where we're enjoying making a movie or enjoying our career or joint You know, there's so much about the the act of creating a creating a career and it's you have to do it in order to make be successful. You have to put everything into it. Be able to step outside of it is the most important thing.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:33
And last question three of your favorite films of all time. Oh, boy. Let's say Meet me in St. Louis. Yeah, that's come up quite some quite a bond as this Yeah. Yes, it is. It has
Nick Castle 1:08:46
is a beautiful film. Oh, god, they're just so many I would The Searchers
Alex Ferrari 1:08:54
know, also another another one that's made the list many times. Yeah. Let's see. Westside story. Yes, very good. Which which brings us back to what we talked about earlier, which is now being remade by Steven Spielberg. So what another one another one. Nick, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, man. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to the tribe today and, and sharing your your knowledge and experience and stories with us. So I truly appreciate it, my friend. Thank you so so much, and I hope to see you on the set of Last Starfighter too.
Nick Castle 1:09:34
Yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you, Alex. Thanks a lot.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
If you liked Directing Last Starfighter & Writing Escape from New York with Nick Castle:
Enjoyed Directing Last Starfighter & Writing Escape from New York with Nick Castle? Please share it on your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc) by using social media buttons at the side or bottom of the blog. Or post to your blog and anywhere else you feel it would be a good fit. Thanks.
I welcome thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the comments section below…
Podcasts You Should Be Listening To:
Podcast: Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
Podcast: Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
Podcast: The Directors Series™ Podcast
Podcast: Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind™ Podcast
Podcast: The Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
Podcast: Filmmaking Motivation Podcast
IFH Podcast Network: Discover the Best Screenwriting and Filmmaking Podcasts
Stuff You Need in Your Life:
IFH Academy: Exclusive Filmmaking & Screenwriting Training
IFHTV: Indie Film Hustle TV
Book: Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
Book: Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
FREE 3-Part Indie Film Producing Video Series