Seven questions with an Independent Film Maker

Nick Khoo was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. I met him when I was an editor in Sydney. Even though he was my mentor, Nick became one of my best friends.

Nick is a very talent motion graphic artist and video editor. His first film, The Shot Down recently premiered in a theater in Australia. He wrote, directed, edited, created animation bits and color graded the film.

Nick didn’t wait for permission to create a film. He took a life goal upon himself and worked hard.

He gathered his friends together, picked up a camera and told a story.

The Shoot Down – Trailer

Here are seven questions with Nick Khoo:

1. Why was creating this film important to you?
It was becoming apparently that no one was going to just give you an opportunity to make a feature film, so I decided to make one for myself. I had read Robert Rodriguez’s “Rebel without a crew” and it just energised me so much that I thought that the only thing holding me back from making a film was me. And being from a church background you are constantly being challenged about making your limited resources work to your advantage. So looking at everything at my disposal I thought, well now I really don’t have an excuse.

2. What did you learn about being a Director?
Being a director is hard work. You are constantly planning. I read a little blog about how George Lucas on making the first Star Wars would get up at 6am, drive to the site,shoot all day, come back by 8pm, plan for the next day and be in bed by 1am. Then the whole process started again. Even with such a small team like ours, I found this timetable to be extremely true. The other thing I learned is you need to be a good people person otherwise I don’t think you can get the best performances out of your actors. And being from a post production background I definitely found it advantageous to know what things I could fix in post and what things we had to shoot again.

3. What did you learn being the film’s Editor?
Editing a film of this size requires you to see more of the bigger picture and not get bogged down in the smaller details. But I had worked on 30 minute documentaries before so I was very used to working on pacing for something at least that long. One of the things I learned while editing at church is make sure the you keep the pace. And with anything that is long form, you are constantly making sure that parts of the movie don’t lag or bring the whole story to a complete halt.

4. What type of difficulties did you come across and how did you over come them?
It was insane the amount of things that went wrong during the shoot. Even on the day before the premiere we had so many things go wrong that were out of my control! We had shot the movie during the middle of winter so everyone on the team, minus Sam, got the flu at some stage. We were all very medicated 🙂 We also had a harddrive crash which cost us a mint to get fixed, dealing with short days in Winter, dealing with long days in Summer, organising locations to shoot, feeding our crew, picking up gear, dropping off gear, shooting at a beach at night in the middle of winter.
All in all though, the best thing we had at our disposal was a good crew, and a good plan of action. Without those things, I reckon you’d be stuffed.

5. How did you finances the film?
Finances were generously donated by my folks, Sarah Vickery, Kurt Jaeger and self funded by myself (trust me, it was very cheap film)

6. What type of gear did you use?
We shot everything on a Panasonic HVX202 with a P+S Adapter and Carl Zeiss Lenses. We also had an audio mixer with a Sennheiser boom mic, a set of red heads, dimmer box, a wally dolly and tripod and a few reflectors.

7. What was it like watching your film in a theater?
Watching the film with people in a theatre was quite a rush I must say. It is always nice to watch your work up on a big screen in a dark theatre and hearing people respond to various parts of the film. All in all I am very happy with how people are responding to this film.

The Shoot Down is fun, honest and entertaining. Not sure if Nick is going to release it to the public, but when he does I’ll make sure to let you know.

Connect with Nick:

Website

Twitter

Vimeo

Youtube

My friend Nick Khoo

I must admit, I have never been the person to have lots of friends. I have this horrible habit of not putting effort in to friendships. Once in a while, I make a new friend that doesn’t feel like work. My friendship with Nick Khoo was the most unexpected gift Australia gave me.

Well, Nick is one of my soul mate friends. The ones I wish I could keep for life. We are indeed different but my goodness so a like. He would hate it when I would brag to other people how similar we were, after all he is an Asian guy and I am a Mexican girl. He was born in New Zealand and I was born in the hood. We have different cultural up bringing but some how we have some similar wiring. I remember once we ordered the same ice cream and had no idea until we both turned around, he then looked at me and said, “Don’t say it.” 🙂

We probably aren’t that much alike anymore since we’ve had some new life experiences since 2005. But it seems as though we met each other at the perfect time back then.

Actually.. its a funny story. I was a college student at Hillsong and my class was leaving the church office buildings and Nick happen to walk by. My teacher said, “Oh this is Nick Khoo, he makes all those amazing videos.” I said with my innocent brown eyes looking up to him in excitement, “Wow, maybe you can teach me some of your tricks!” and to my shock but amazement he said, “I don’t think so” and walked away. haha…

Yes.. this was the beginning of our beautiful and honest friendship.

From then on I tried hard to win his hearts affection. (In a very non-romantic way). At the Women Conference, my teacher knowing I was an editor, set me up with Nick to be his assistant. It was the best gig ever. I mainly hung out with him talking about life, God, California, and editing. He even let me work on the conference highlights! I’m not sure when I won him over, maybe it was when I brought him his lunch, or maybe it was my pretty house mate who talked to him that night when she saw him and I walking. Whatever it was, I’m glad he opened up his world to me. This is the first photo we ever took together.

In celebration to a conference well done!

From that event on, we become great friends. After long nights of editing, he would always offer to take me home. Here is a glamorous photo of me Nick took while editing in the basement where the computers were:

Those car ride talks alone have changed my life. I was a young 22-year-old girl who had a wounded heart and Nick became my honest and trustworthy friend, just what I needed. He became family. Even though Nick and I were close friends only for a short season in both of our lives, I know I will never forget him and hope he will never forget me.

I found his faith in God encouraging, his passion for editing inspiring and his easy going personality addicting. My house mates hated watching movies with us, as they could care less about what frame rate something was filmed in. He let me be a geek and a wanna be hippie artist at the same time. He never made me feel guilty for being myself.

He was one of the hardest people to leave behind when I left Sydney. Since then we have seen each other about once a year. This time last year I went back for a visit and just a few months ago he was on tour with the Hillsong team. Though I don’t talk to him everyday, I still remember those life changing conversations we had.

I write this special post for him today..

to say Happy Birthday Editing Soul Mate. I miss you and know the next time I see you, it will be like we were never apart. I will for sure, come to your wedding.

 

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