March 10, 2022

Nick Laws, Sound Guy, Entrepreneur, Freelancer

Nick Laws, Sound Guy, Entrepreneur, Freelancer
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Are you afraid to take the leap, quit the 9 to 5, and follow your passion? Nick Laws has encouragement for you and talks about overcoming his own fears to follow his dream to work in the film industry as a sound guy!

Follow Nick on Instagram - @thenicklaws 

Check out his website, 

Check out the movie Nick mentioned, Bryn Gets A Life 

Check out (and stay in) Nick's sweet cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN, Beary In Love 

Keep up with the local movie community in the Augusta area from which movies are in production here to getting started working crew by following the Southeastern Filmmakers page on Facebook 


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It weighs heavily sometimes on me. I think maybe being a freelancer is both a blessing and a curse.

Welcome to another episode of Chewing the Fat. I am your host, Big Robb. Thank you so much for downloading the episode and tuning in, I really appreciate that. Season two, getting off to a good start, lot of good response. Thank you for sticking with the podcast and showing me the love. I really, really do appreciate that. I'm excited to have a guest in studio with me today. We've known each other for...

Probably a few years working in the local film community. Please welcome Nick Laws. Hey, hey. Hey, Nick. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. I didn't know there would actually be fat that I could chew and I appreciate that. Yeah, I mean, that's, I mean, that's, when you come into the studio, that's one of the bonus perks. Like if you're on Zoom, you don't get the fat that you chew. Yeah, I wouldn't have eaten dinner if I'd known, you know. Well, you know, it is hard to get that, you know, down from Alaska, I mean, whale blubber. It's really, you know.

It's a delicacy. Yeah, you could taste it though, it's different. It was high quality stuff. I think the refrigeration on the truck went out, but it was still high quality stuff. Nick, we've known each other a few years, working in local film community, probably Wages of Cine would probably be where we first, where I was first introduced to you. And you have just, I mean, well, not just you,

film community here in Augusta has really really blown up and taken off. And I love to see it as an actor, as someone who loves being a part of those type of things. It's really cool to see productions. As a matter of fact, I told you, I saw you downtown yesterday filming something. So it's so cool to have that vibe into Augusta. What is your...

thoughts behind that? I mean, is film, you're a sound guy, let me interrupt you, you're a sound guy, you have many other talents, but sound guy Nick is the registered trademark. Right. Is that something you've always pursued from when you were little? No, not at all, not at all. I kind of always say I wish I had kind of been where I'm at now, you know, when I was 20, and I'd probably be a millionaire by now, but.

But that's OK. But no, I started out kind of, I went to school for business management. And then I worked my way up into a business management position, and I realized how terrible that was. And went to work for a local production company here, doing kind of just about everything, editing, videography. And that was fun. And then I went to work.

for a TV station, did a little stint there, and then I worked for another production company. And then in 2017, I went full-time freelance. And that's kind of when I kind of said, if I'm really going to make it, I need to focus on audio. So that's when I kind of really invested heavily into my sound equipment and started doing sound for local production companies.

film and TV that comes in the area and but on kind of on the same token I was doing videography have been doing videography still do videography so it's sort of a dual profession I guess so I have and also have okay which is a bit odd but it keeps me

you know, out of the poorhouse. Well, that's, I mean, that's the goal, right? At bare minimum, stay out of the poorhouse. Exactly. Nick, are you a native to Augusta? I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, but I moved here when I was 11, so I've been here almost 30 years. And yeah, I like Augusta, mostly because I am pretty much the only sound guy here. Right, well, you have big fish, little pond type of thing, right? It really is, it really is. I applaud you for...

for seeing what you wanted to do, niching down, niching down, niching down, whatever, you know what I mean? You know, focusing, there you go, that's better. Yeah. Well, I'm still kind of trying to do that. And you know, I've, when people ask me, well, what kind of stuff do you shoot? You know, I've done literally everything from birth announcements to funerals. Yeah. And just about everything in between. And I like,

All of it really, but at a certain point, yeah, you know, you don't want to become that, you know, the master of none. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Was the jack of all trades, master of none. Which is kind of where I'm at, but I'm I figure if I can focus on sound, then when these big movies come to Augusta or, you know, big, you know, ad campaigns and that sort of thing, I'm at the top of the list for them to call.

or at least close to the top, which seems to be the case. I mean, we did, I was the sound mixer on three movies last year, and they're all here in Augusta. And then I was the boom operator on one before that, right before the pandemic hit. And that's been really great. And that seems to be where I want to be, and I want to be it here in Augusta. And so a lot of what I've done, both with the Southeastern filmmakers, and also on the Film Augusta advisory panel,

It's just been to help bring business here and promote business, film business happening here. Yeah, for sure. I mean, because Augusta is a great location for, I mean, because we have rivers, we have sandy areas that could be deserty, plains or whatever, flatlands. We've got pine trees, we've got a little bit of everything. And if nothing else,

as far as like a hub Augustus, you're two hours from everywhere. You know, I mean, if you want the Atlantic Ocean, we're a couple hours from that. If you want the Appalachian Mountains, we're a couple hours from that. But you can double a lot of those type of locations right here. I remember, I'll have to look up the release date, you may have remembered.

One of the first movies I remember being shot in Augusta was That Darn Cat down at the Lamar Building. They used it as like an FBI headquarters or whatever. That was the remake of the original Disney movie, That Darn Cat, and it was a Disney remake. And I thought that was, I think that must have been like 92, 93, somewhere in the early 90s. I was like, that is the coolest thing. Why isn't there more of that type of stuff? Because again, as...

someone who does theater and enjoys acting and that type of stuff is like, how come I'm not part of this? How come, which it's a whole other struggle being on the acting end of things, as far as, you know, at least they're calling you. The audition process for you seems nil, so that's good. Yeah, it's like, oh, you have gear? Cool, here's when to show up. Here's the call sheet, be here. That's awesome.

But yes, just to have that type of vibe, to have people that are coming into town that are bringing experiences from other areas, doing larger films or whatever, and bringing opportunities too. Yeah, I guess it really is a great place. We kind of jokingly say we want to get all those B-movies from Atlanta, when we get the leftovers from Atlanta. And I think that's true. We really do want to get whatever we can get.

and not only the big prestige Marvel movies, but your $500,000 budget thriller, we'll take that too. And the stuff that I've heard is, we have all the stuff that Atlanta has, except it's 20 minutes to anywhere in town, there's no traffic. And the people here, like myself, we really wanna work and we are enthused about working. Some of us are a little bit greener than

others but it also means that we're not jaded like a lot of the professionals in Hollywood, in Atlanta, in New York. And we really genuinely want to make films. Yeah. And I think that's it. From doing work with the Wages of Sin guys and local indies that are making...

movies, making the B movies or whatever. It is 100% passion project. Yes, everybody wants to get paid. Yes, of course we would all like to get paid for stuff, but there's so much passion and heart behind everything that everybody does. There's such, I think, good intention behind what they're wanting this town to possibly be. I've got a lot of opinions on some of the things that the city as a whole could do better.

I'm sure you do too as far as being attractive to films and using what we have to again promote Augusta for film work. Is there a major single hurdle you think for getting more of that work here or is it something that will be solved with time? Well I think it is kind of a matter of time. I know that

Phil Magusta in Columbia County has its own film bureau, but I think that what they're doing is focusing on the tools that they have that when location managers are looking for that specific location, they're gonna, you know, they're gonna, Phil Magusta will have what they need to send out. Oh, you need a baseball stadium? Here's our options. And we have several. You know, you want Little League, you want, you know.

the old Lake Olmsted where we shot the hill, you know, and I think things like that, having access to those locations and like, and being able to send out, like here's a photo of, you know, all these locations that you're looking for. We have that here in Augusta. That's very important. So yeah, ultimately, you know, it's just a matter of time until, you know, the word kind of spreads that, hey, here's, they have all this stuff in Augusta.

You want old 60s vibe, old small town vibe. We can do that. You want big city, we can kind of do that too, and everything in between. I think the other thing that we need is a big soundstage. Yes. And that is something that I think is in the works, but it's gonna be a while, and it's gonna take a lot of money and...

Probably a lot of people to kind of make that happen, but I think that would really seal the deal You know so we get those on location shoots, but then we also can you can build out a set or two And we have places like IndieGrip. You know that has a pretty small soundstage, and that's great And they're a great resource But you can always use more and bigger you know yeah

This was my, like, who do I need to talk to idea about that. When we look at the Regency Mall, I was like, this would be a perfect place for a soundstage. It's already surrounded by a moat. So you could put guard gates there. And it's definitely big enough. It's big enough for you to have major soundstage area in there.

but also you could have smaller rental spaces for people to do audio sweetening or looping or music. I mean, you could have a whole orchestral studio there. And there's a back lot with a movie theater on it. You know what I mean? It's like there's where you can, you know, there was all this potential there and it just seems like there's not.

And again, I'm not knowing how much the people who own the property want and this, that, and the other. I was like, it just seemed like such a wasted opportunity. Because that's a place that was almost like a blight on the town because it's just an eyesore and something that could be turned into something really that we could shine. And it's right there by the airport. Yeah. Of course, right there by the sewage plant too, but that's our problem always, yo. Right. Well, that's Augusta. Yeah, welcome to the smell of Augusta.

You know, one of my thoughts was on that is that if we could, and the Augusta Tech now has classes in filmmaking, correct? Yeah. Yeah. Partnered with the Georgia Film Institute, what's the name of the? Yes. Yes, okay, we're gonna go with that. They're out of like Atlanta. Right. With proper teaching.

people these classes. It's not just like some guy. It's not like you walking in there. That stuff is kind of the more hands-on, like, here's a C-stand, here's how you put a light up so you don't hurt anybody. And then, I guess the university has their classes that are kind of more on the, you know, I hate to say, intellectual side. The visual, the artistic, the visual, the conceptual, those sides. Yeah, writing and directing and things like that. So.

So we're getting there. And a lot of the struggle has been what we call crew depth. Do you have people who can? Do you have a sound guy? Does he have a boom-op? Do you have a sound utility? And then that's just one department. Do you have an art department? Do you have somebody that can do production design? Do you have carpenters? Do you have set dressers? Whatever you need. Do you have the hair and makeup? And it's just costumes. There's so many different departments. And then.

So maybe you have enough to do one movie, but could you handle two at the same time? Yeah, and the answer is no, probably not. But I think what ultimately, you know, what kind of gets tossed around as a good solution for everything might be is if like HBO or Disney Plus or somebody says we want to do a series, you know.

10 plus episodes of a TV show and we want to shoot it in Augusta because we're, you know, for whatever reason, we're Tiger Atlanta or, uh, you know, Augusta has that feel, that vibe that we're going for. Uh, maybe they would be willing to invest or someone would invest then in like studio space or, uh, on, you know, on the crew side, it could be people like me, uh, that would be employed.

more steadily or people who maybe have that day job, but haven't really had the reason to quit it yet. Yeah, for sure. And this, you know, if you said, hey, I've got four months, six months, eight months of work, well, that's a good reason for a lot of people to jump in, dive in head first. Yeah, yeah. And I think what, again, what would be cool is if there was a way.

you know, even if it was, even if it was the city was involved somehow for like the, the, the, the crew side of things from the Augusta tech, like learning stuff to subsidize some of that cost for those classes. So that if you have people that maybe they're, they're down on the, like they're hard, they're, they're trying to come back and it's like, it's like, Hey, we have this opportunity for you to go take this class to learn a life skill, a marketable life skill.

We're gonna pay for your classes, but understand that, and we will work with the film office or whatever to get you on crew or whatever, but understand that when you do get crewed, we get 10% of your first year's checks or whatever to pay back the investment that was made into them for learning, and now they have something that they could be proud of.

that they can survive on, and it's not that much of an investment for the city to invest in people. And then they're gonna get it back on the backside too. You know, I don't, I mean as I speak, all of those things, I just, there's mountains of red tape, I understand, but that just seems like the altruistic way for Augusta to become like that. So, because then you not only have the locations, like you said, you then have the crew.

crew depth, you've got, hey, we have a class coming out every, you know, it's a six month class or whatever. We have a class coming out every six month that's 20 new people. And you're gonna have people that are gonna be familiar with lighting, set construction, you know, understand what a gaffer is. You know, what's an apple box? You know, those type of things. So that they're not just green new on set. And are able to.

instead of having to be like, oh man, we've got this guy, you know, they've got some experience. Yeah, and that's huge, that's huge, yeah. Yeah, I just think that that's, it's there, the opportunity is there, but like you said, somebody's gotta invest in it, somebody's gotta say, sign off on, yeah, this is what we need to do. Yeah, and there's people that, you know, in our community that are really, you know, putting their money where their mouth is, and so I don't wanna, you know,

Say that that no one is doing anything for film in Augusta because a lot of people are yeah but it you know, like you said there's a lot of red tape and there are it just takes time for For things to kind of evolve and to happen and I think we'll get there and you know, we are getting there I mean like I said You know movies are starting to come out like we had Tulsa last year that it came out Shot like 90% in Augusta, maybe a hundred percent in Augusta

And that was a really good movie. It wasn't a huge blockbuster, but it's out there and you can see it. And I didn't work on that one, but I'm really proud of it for the people that did. My buddy Denton was a DP on that one. And Denton Mackinson. Yeah, he's terrific. And so I'm really proud to point to that as an example of this is what could be, and we could be doing five, six, eight of these a year and keeping everybody employed. It'd be great.

Yeah, and I know we had, what was it, the Eastwood movie, the Mule? I don't know what the percentage was on what was shot here, what wasn't, but I know there were a lot of friends that did background work in that film. We had the Mel Gibson film come about six months ago or so they were filming. Aging Game was early last year. Yeah, I was the sound mixer on that one. That was my first feature as a sound mixer.

So imagine, you know, getting that call and then I showed up with the line producer. And you grab the boom to start and you're like, oh no no. He was like, yeah, we want to hire you for this movie. Oh, and by the way, the first two days we get Mel Gibson. I'm like, oh, OK. This is a legit movie then. And I was like, I better buy some more stuff. At least more mic tape.

At least more mic tape. You can never have enough mic tape. Yes. That is so cool. Yeah, and like you say, when you start thinking about the things that have been here, and more are coming, and whether it be commercial work, or film, yes, I think, you know, everybody wants to see the film, because that's the big golden shiny thing, but if you can get commercial work, that could pay all the bills.

For the films to come, you know. Yeah, that's the thing. Commercials and those single or two day or three day jobs typically pay more. You know, you could make $700 a day versus $200 a day on a film. I mean, obviously you're doing more days, but it's the same work. It's typically the same 12 hour day. So, yeah.

I'll take that any day of the week. Right, right. Do you have a favorite production that you've been a part of? Well, yeah. Hands down, my favorite has been the movie Applewood, which we shot over the summer. And that one was an all local production. Every bit of it was local, down to the talent, you know,

Kate Daly, local actress. She was fantastic. Susan Willis, local actor. Nathan, what's his last name? Raul, Roth, Rothwell. What's his last name? Anyway, he's really good. He's local.

He's in the movie. We shot it, you know all here in Augusta for a very low budget But I think it was just so much fun because like these are all my friends These are all the people that I know and if you know It's a dream crew to be able to work with them every day and it you know Ultimately if I could do that Every day. Mm-hmm. I'd be so happy. Yeah for sure for sure. I mean my you know, I've done a lot of commercial work but

Being able to be on set and knowing the crew, knowing whoever your co-stars are, whoever you're acting against or with, it is probably one of the best feelings in the world because you are, even if it's a commercial and it's goofy, you're creating a little bit of art. You're taking some creativity and putting it out into the world. Yeah, I'd just love to see.

more of that happening here. Love to see me in more of that, but I'm gonna, again, contact me. You know? But yeah, so what's the premise of Applewood then? So Applewood is- And are you able to talk about this stuff? I mean, some of it- Yeah, actually, Applewood should be coming out pretty soon, I think, although I don't know how it will be released or distributed.

That was Amy Bailey production, right? Yeah. I don't remember the name of her production company, but I know. Yeah. Beyond casual media. Well, there you go. But yeah, Applewood started out, we had my buddy Denton Atkinson, DP. He had been working alongside the director, Rob Hollocks, who's kind of the only one that wasn't local. But Rob had a lot of ideas, and he had a lot of connections.

And he wanted to direct a feature. He had kind of a budget in place, but couldn't nail down that lead actor, that household name, because he had not directed a feature. It's sort of like you have to be able to show that you are competent and can deliver a product. And so Denton said,

well, let's just make a movie. And then you can say you made a movie, right? And so it was gonna be very, very small budget, but it was based on an idea that Denton had about this psychic phenomenon where you touch an object and you can kind of see into its past, there's a name for it, I forget. So he kind of had that idea.

And he brought Amy on board and then she blew things up, budget-wise, but also production-wise and brought on a lot of resources and things that we really needed and turned it into a legit movie. And I haven't seen it yet, but I'm super excited. I think it's gonna be fantastic. And I think it's already doing what we intended it to do, which is now...

Rob Hollux has that to show for himself. And he can say, this is what I can do with this budget. Imagine what I could do with 10 times that. Or he can take that to leading Hollywood actors and say, watch this if you want to see that I know what I'm doing. And yeah, and I think that's happening. I really do.

Is the post happening in Augusta locally? Is it being? Actually, post has been happening in the UK. Oh, well. Which is where Rob is based. And I know that, I haven't seen a lot, but I saw Amy post about recording a live symphony for the score, which I'm very excited about. Cause that's.

That's not a low budget movie thing. No, not recording a live symphony. Yeah, and I know that they were doing, you know, color grading and all that, so it's deep into post right now. That's awesome. That's really cool. Is there a passion project that you have that you would love to see? Or is there something yummy? Because you kind of have...

knowledge and experience everything. Do you have like a blockbuster you've written? Or do you have a short or something like that that you'd like to put a dream team together and shoot? Yeah, actually I'd be meaning to talk to you. Do you have a million dollars or so that I can just have? That would be great. I mean, like not in these pants, but. Right, me neither. Now, it's pretty cliche, but I really want to direct. Okay.

And every time I do a movie, I think, I could do that, maybe not better, but I could do it differently. Or here's what I learned from this experience and here's what I can take into that. Any chance that I get, recently I had a chance with our friend and your former guest, Jay Starks. He came to me and said, will you direct this short film that I'm producing and acting in? And so that was a great opportunity.

For me, to kind of get to direct something that I didn't write, most of the stuff that I've done, like with Wages of Sin, I've been the writer kind of just out of necessity, which is probably the worst part of it, because I love her, but my wife says, maybe don't write, maybe you should just stick to the camera and sound stuff. And she's not wrong. But yeah, I think ultimately, I would love, I would love.

to direct a feature. And it'll happen someday, whether it's for no money at all and I'm just pulling favors. Or if I get somebody on board that maybe has the idea and they just need somebody to kind of make it happen. But yeah, that's ultimately what I think I'm kind of leaning towards.

career choices up to now really have been kind of, I've been pushed and prodded in those directions. Even when I started out doing video work, I was working for a company that processes Medicare claims. And I worked my way up into what I, supposed to be a management position, but they couldn't call me a manager because of corporate bullshit, really. Right, yeah. And so,

But what so I was the supervisor over two people and I Had a lot of time on my hands, and I didn't have we didn't have full internet access But I had access to Linda comm which I think now is is something different, but it was just online tutorials of you know software mostly Premiere Pro after effects Photoshop. I learned them all and that's kind of you know how I

was able to start doing things and start getting into those production jobs. And now, you know, and then from there, I kind of got pushed into, oh, now I'm shooting weddings. Now the more, you know, now I'm doing live streams. Now I'm a sound guy. And like being kind of pushed and not pushed in a bad way, but kind of it's come along when I needed it to.

I've never really, like I said, if I had started out when I was 20 years old and said, I'm gonna be a director, then I think my path would have been a lot different. But I also like how it has come along organically. And so now I'm putting that out there, the director thing, so that I'll have it in the back of my head and that it will kind of subtly influence my path going forward. And if it,

If it's this year, great. If it's 10 years from now, also great. Right. But I think it will happen. Yeah, and I think that's the great thing about having a community where the opportunity is there. I mean, yes, there's a lot to be said for creating your own opportunity. You have an idea and you wanna do something, like I said, you're either calling on Love Equity to get your friends to help you do it. Start a Kickstarter or something like that.

Dwayne Brown, Kentucky Goblins, right? Is that coming out? Oh my goodness. It is, it's supposed to be out May 13th. There you go. What? I think I heard that on your podcast. I know, right? But to have that opportunity, or if you do find that investment angel to really believe in what your idea is, but being able to have that support, like I said, of a community like.

the Southeastern filmmakers, Wages and I always talk about Wages and because like, you know, Dan and Steven, they will like support anybody for anything. They really embody the spirit of independence. They really are DTF down to film. I mean, really, um, you talked about your wife, she's supportive of your, uh,

creative endeavors and I understand a lot of these creative endeavors are paying bills now which is right which is great but prior to the paying bill part she does yeah a lot of times it's like is that a paid gig you know sort of questions and which I understand she's been supremely supportive and you know that's kind of it's the two things that I could give to any new up-and-coming filmmakers the first is

Well, you should always say what you want. Just put it out there, because that's how it happens. You come to something like the Southeastern Filmmakers, you say, I wanna be an editor, and next thing you know, someone's calling you to edit. That's just how it happens. It's just putting it out there and being open to opportunities that come to you. The second thing is to marry into somebody that has health insurance. Oh! Ha ha ha! And, uh...

I've been lucky enough to do that. To do both, really. Both of those things. So cool. Yeah. And I think she really is, because she gets enthused. I tell her, hey, I'm working with Mel Gibson. Or we were very excited. I was very excited, actually more than Mel Gibson, for this guy named Barkat Abdi, who was, if you watch Captain Phillips, he's the one that goes, look at me. I'm the captain now. Oh.

We had that guy in Augusta for two days. We shot with him and So this these little things, you know, obviously that's You know, he had a small part, but I I just loved being able to say that hey I work with that guy Yeah, and I met that guy, you know, but she's she kind of you know is living the Hollywood dream with me and yeah, super supportive and both, you know financially and Emotionally, that's great. Yeah, and it was it filmmaking

is tough in that, and it really makes no sense, but we work 12 hour days. I'm not quite sure how that got started, but that's just how it is. And it's probably my least favorite part of it. And I'm sure that there are a lot of reasons for it, but man. I mean,

I mean, why can't we shoot eight hour days? 10 hour days would be great. Well, I mean, I know there was a lot of like reform that was supposed to be happening in the film industry. Yeah. Granted, I know a lot of that's based on union houses, which Georgia, South Carolina, they're right to work states. Yeah, it's true. That doesn't really play here. Yeah, well, that's kind of another thing where, I feel like if I...

had the opportunity to make my own film, then maybe I would get to make those rules, and I would get to say, hey, we're shooting 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and after that, that's your own time. It's also the reason why I try and strike a balance with her. I'm not really seeking out a lot of work in Atlanta, for instance. I don't want to be gone. I'll do a day job. I do that quite often, but.

I don't want to go and take a feature in Atlanta or be a boom op in Atlanta and be away from her all week or for many weeks at a time if I can help it. I might bend that rule in the future. There may be some opportunities that are worth venturing down that road, but I have to try and keep that balance of...

The films that I've done, at least at the end of the night, I come home to her and on the weekends, you know, it's us. We don't have any kids. So, you know, she's my best friend, you know, and she's the one I really want to spend time with. So that's kind of been my thing is trying to keep that work-life balance that kind of often means being married to moviemaking and also married to her.

That's awesome. Plus you guys have that sweet cabin up in the, up in the outside of Gallenburg too. We do. We do. Yeah. That's, that's on my, that I've spoken that into existence for myself. At some point I will have a, a cabin in the woods. Yeah. We, yeah, we have a little place in, in Sevierville, the hometown of Valley Parton. And it's called Berry in Love, because everything up there has to be a bear pun.

And it has been great. So when we get the chance, we go up there and spend some time. Otherwise, it's sort of an investment property. And it's been great for us. Yeah, we love it.

All right, Nick, this is the part of the show where we do dive a little bit deeper and everybody goes through dark days. We talk about these good highs from working with Mel Gibson and these type of things, but everybody has down days and days of doubt.

How do you keep the darkness at bay? Well, you know, a lot of the time I'm so tied to my work that sometimes it feels like I'm physically impacted by my work and there's a lot of times where my body is telling me, hey, you need to take a day off.

And it also, it weighs heavily sometimes on me. I think maybe being a freelancer is both a blessing and a curse. You know, obviously I love being my own boss. I love kind of to a certain extent, being able to set my own schedule, being able to accept or reject jobs as needed. But at the same time, you know, like January, for instance, there was not a lot on my calendar.

You know, and I was riding that high of working 12, you know, 12 hours, 60 hour plus weeks on a movie called The Hill that wrapped right at Christmas. And then nothing. Yeah. You know, and just seeing that empty calendar, it affects me, you know, and that seems to be what causes me the most issues, you know.

So, you know, if I had that day job, that nine to five, obviously that wouldn't be an issue. But when I did have that day job, I had kind of the opposite problem. I was just, I felt so boxed in. And so, you know, trying to find that balance, I guess, has been really tough for me. And when I do have, you know, dark days, it seems to be related to my work and feeling like I'm either

not where I should be or maybe feeling like I'm doing too much for too little or not being creative enough. You know, a lot of these, well, these gigs are creative and some of them are just, we just need this on camera, you know? And so that's been the toughest part and

I'm able to kind of push my way through those times, you know, as things come around. And it's hard for me to have a day off and to say, I'm just gonna watch four seasons of whatever on Netflix, you know, because in the back of my head, you know, there's a little guy back there saying, hey, you gotta find some work, you gotta, you know, bills to pay.

The other kind of thing I think that I have a problem with is not uncommon, but it is the entrepreneurial spirit that I've had really. When I opened up my own business back in 2005, me and Matt Lohan started Sector 7G, All

building a business and you're building a thing and you're, you know, you're getting those results and seeing it grow into its own thing. And that's really great. And that, that's what really, you know, makes me the most fulfilled. I think when I get to a certain point though, you know, I'm either trying to push it in a different direction or maybe it's gotten, you know,

I've reached some sort of limit. That can be tough for me. Right. And even now, when I'm so busy all the time, as people both correctly and incorrectly think that I am, because it just depends on the week. Right. But in the back of my head, I'm like, man, here's another business idea. Here's something else that I could do. Or here's something else. Maybe I'm not really interested, but maybe I'll start my own podcast.

You know, you know, or like maybe I need to be a youtuber, you know, right? and it's it's just these things that You know, I I Feel like that's always gonna be there but the problem with that is that even when you get to a certain level

That drive is still there. Yeah. You know, so. Always having something new, always working on something else or whatever. Yeah, yeah. And there's always, you know, there's always that piece of gear that I need to save up for. Yeah. You know, and that's exciting, but at the same time, like, once you get it, there's just something else that I, you know, I need or want, you know. And, you know, I think that filmmaking can be

great in the sense that you really get to express yourself and you get to help others express their vision. But it is mentally draining sometimes. So yeah, it can be tough. It can be tough. But like I said, my wife is, I think she's really gotten accustomed to me and my ways. And we've been married 13 years.

So she she kind of knows You know how to help me? To be the best me I can be and you know, I really appreciate having her there and in just knowing that there's always going to be something around the corner that it's gonna you know inspire me and and and that hopefully will Help to you know further my career and make me a better person. Yeah, you know, and when you'd said earlier, you know in

Speaking what you want out. I think that's it's very Encouraging for for yourself to be able to speak that with confidence and say this is what I want You know, they say thoughts become things. So if you have dark thoughts, you're gonna they're gonna create dark situations so being able to have that mindset of hope and belief in yourself That you are moving yourself towards

These things that you want. Yeah, I think that's that's amazing To be able to have that as a tool Um to be able to again, basically you're continuing to encourage yourself In what you've you know what you're wanting for yourself for your for your family, you know And and to not stay Stagnant and it's not that you're not

You know, I think there's a big difference between thinking and, you know, always wanting to work on something and not being content. And I think sometimes there's some gray area where people think it's like, well, why can't you just be happy with what you have? And it's like, I am happy with what I have, but I have this idea and I want to try something more for every day to try and be better version of yourself than you were yesterday. You know,

Exactly, yeah. I think that's just one of the best things we can be in having somebody by your side that you can talk to that is, and not even at that point now, you're saying you don't even have to talk to her necessarily, she sees. She can tell when you need that space or that hug or that word of affirmation or whatever. Yeah, yeah. And that's the tough part, I think,

about, you know, depression, anxiety and things like that, is that, first off, it's really hard to kind of, for me to even admit, I think listening to your podcast has really made me think about my own, you know, mental health, you know, and because I've always been pretty balanced, I guess I would say, but I just have to accept that like, hey, sometimes

I'm not, and I think that's okay. But I've been kind of thinking about it, and I've been thinking about, hey, if I were ever on that podcast, how would I answer that question? Now I guess you all know. Because it's a tough thing, but for me, it's just about having something around the corner or something in my back pocket that I'm always kind of,

You know, like when you remember like fidget spinners. I think that's how I have to be like, okay, maybe I don't have a feature film coming up, but here's this short film that I'm directed, now I'm editing. And so like, I've got that, that I can fidget with, until something else comes along. And that kind of helps to keep me busy. But then, but also knowing, you know,

I just need to go out and do yard work today. I'm not fooling with, I don't want to touch Premiere Pro. I don't even want to look at it. I think those days are important too.

All right, Nick, it is time now for the third segment of the show. It's everybody's favorite. It's time now for the fast five. Fast five is the fast five. Sorry, I don't have a theme song yet. You know what instrument you play? I play bass. Hey, bass. Yeah, I get a bass line going on that or something like that. You know, we'll work something out. It's it's pretty good how it is. Hearing it live, it's a different experience. It's a different experience. Yeah. Especially when you should buy tickets. It's June a piece of.

Yeah. Whale blubber too. That's great. It's delicious, yeah. Mmm. So the Fast Five is powered by Poddex. It's an app created for podcasters, but they're great conversation starters.

Yeah, they have physical decks that you can carry around with you and you know, just have them as a conversation starter. If you ever have to talk in front of a group, maybe at one of the southeastern filmmaker things, you could use them as an icebreaker or something. Uh, but if you go to chewing the fat slash pod decks, use the promo code chew. You can get 10% off your physical decks, but 10% that's almost 11% almost almost about a percent off of that. Uh, you know, it's a good deal. Check out the app as well. So what I'm going to do,

is if someone hit the randomizer and we'll get going here with the Fast 5.

What's the last thing you've done that you are really proud of? Hmm. Well, uh, I did, like I mentioned, uh, I got to direct a short film with my buddy, Jay starts and, um, I'm pretty proud of that. I think just based on, uh, how it's shaping up in the editing and, and you know, being able to say, uh, that I

At the end of the day, I got what I wanted and I was able to kind of command the performances that I wanted and I had good actors. So that's easy, but also being able to manage a production and manage a crew, I had a lot of help. It was a big crew, so it was a beautiful endeavor and I'm proud of that. And also, on a bigger note, maybe we just,

It's a little shameless plug, but I DP'd a film called Brain Gets a Life. And people know me as a sound guy, so they say, well, why are you behind the camera? But, you know, hey, I dabble. And so I was a cinematographer on a feature film called Brain Gets a Life. It is out on YouTube right now. You can just look for it and watch it. It's like 70 minutes and it's totally worth your time. Shot on a super shoestring budget, but that's something that I can say that.

We basically shot that on everything that is in my office right now. So you can shoot a feature film without a huge budget and without a huge crew and you can do it and it can be done and I can show you the proof. Yeah, and it's won some awards at some film festivals. It has, it's done quite well. It's kind of an 80s comedy feel good kind of vibe. Cameron Logan was the director, writer, director and.

I think it's definitely, it's cute, it's charming. You should definitely check it out. Well, I'll put the link in the show notes for sure to make sure we, those can check out Brain Guts Alive. All right, question number two.

Who inspires you most and what qualities do they possess? Well, since we've been talking about film, maybe that's just on the brain, but I listened recently to a, there's another podcast about filmmaking and I listened to an interview with two camera operators on West Side Story.

Steven Spielberg's film. And I think that, you know, I've heard a lot about Spielberg. I've seen most of his movies, you know, obviously, you know, Jurassic Park hit me at the exact right moment when it needed to, you know? But so I think I have to say Steven Spielberg, based on what they've said about how he's really, he knows exactly what he wants. He talks directly to his camera operators and he's, it's in his head.

and he's conveying it to all these people to make it happen exactly how he wants it. And I really admire that, you know, because that's one of the biggest things that surprised me on these, you know, big feature films and it's kind of that old cliche of, well, it's not really, but it's the saying that there's two positions on a film set that you don't need any experience. You know, you can be the PA and go get coffee or you can direct. And...

And that's so true because a lot of it comes down to the people around you being able to do their jobs really well. But what really inspires me is the Steven Spielbergs and the Kubrick's and those people that like they know exactly what they want and they know how to get it. And even if you don't, they know how to do it. So that really inspires me. That's awesome. Number three.

Ooh, how many streaming services are you currently subscribed to? Hmm. How many do you bum off other people? Well, uh, I definitely bum HBO from somebody and I'm very thankful to them. I will not out them. But, uh, uh, but yeah, we've, let's see, streaming for music. I use a Google play which became YouTube music and I do enjoy that. Uh,

And then I've got HBO, I've got Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime. And I had Apple TV for the year after I bought an iPod. And then I let that lapse. And now I kind of wish I had that. I kind of wish I had Shutter, because I like horror movies. I like bad horror movies. I think they probably have a few. And some good ones. What else? Actually, we've got a free three-month subscription to Discovery+.

and I worked on a show last year, shot here in Augusta called Getaway Driver, and so I was able to watch the episode that I worked on, which is kind of cool. Very cool, awesome. So that's about, I lost count. That's like a hundred, yeah, it's ridiculous. We don't have cable. But we're gonna, you know. But we pay the difference. Oh yeah, in the number of different streaming services, especially when they started to really.

Break down into only their content when they started pull stuff from like Hulu and only in the oh now You have to get the peacock or oh you have to get the CBS thing or you have to it's like yeah It like I don't want to say bring cable back, but I mean it was it's becoming more expensive now than it was For sure that it wasn't for sure. All right number four

You're a musician. What do you think is more important in a song? The music, the melody, or lyrics? Oh, you're asking the wrong person about lyrics because I do not care. Really? One iota about lyrics. Really? Pretty much. Pretty much. Okay. I mean there's nothing wrong with that. Yeah, for a while, you know, I used to play in this band called the Radar Cinema.

We actually went instrumental for a while, just because we were all kind of that kind of music nerd. But I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a good lyric, if it finds me in the right way. But for me, my least favorite type of music is the guy in the coffee house with an acoustic guitar and vocals.

Gotta have some drums. I got some bass and I got me some some weird poly rhythms in there Like give me a solo give me something to hang my head on I don't want to have to like read your poetry to enjoy the music Playing a theremin or something like that, right? Yeah, that's awesome. All right and number five

burger or hot dog?

Hot dog. Yeah. You know, I think there's more opportunities for flavors and burger, maybe like, you know, toppings and things like that. I'm not a big toppings guy on a hot dog. I'm just straight mustard ketchup. But something about it, there's nothing better, man. Yeah. I was going to say, it's like, yes, burgers have like these infinite, you know, options and you can put bacon and cheese and this, that, and yeah. And granted, yes, you can do that Chicago dog and put everything on that thing. But

It's not, I don't think it's necessarily built for that type of construction for sure. Something about a hot dog bun is better. Like it's a good type of bread. Back when I was younger, my sister would sometimes just eat the hot dog bun and mess up the ratio of hot dogs to hot dog buns. And really that was a big upset in the whole household. But now I kind of understand why she did it. Yeah. Which is good.

Yeah, I'm good with a hot dog too. I think it's, that's, and I think that's, it's almost borderline finger food, because you can't eat it with one hand. It's, you know, and you have cocktail weenies, you have those kind of things where it's like, just quick, easy, boom, grab. You see people at parties all the time, you know, you've got a grill and they're cooking hot dogs. People will grab a naked dog, just eat a naked dog, but you don't usually see somebody just grabbing a naked burger and just chowing on a.

Burger patty. Yeah, but if you invite me to your cookout, I'm probably having one of both. Hey, yes Yeah, there will be one of each that will be yeah, but you know, yeah Like I like it a lot. All right, Nick

That's it. That's the Fast Five and that is the show. Thank you so much for being here with me, man. I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me. This is fun. You get a chance to talk with you and get to know you a little better. If folks want to keep up with you and everything that you've got going on, I know we've got your information on the website at, but are you very active on socials? Yeah. You know, I love Instagram. It's kind of been my jam lately. TheNickLaws on Instagram. If you see me posting a sound speeds photo,

That is my way of trying to be creative on set and trying to take a weird picture. And then that will let you know the days that I've worked sound. I will say this. They are cool. I love seeing.

Sound speeds photo come up because I know you're on set somewhere I'm also usually saying like why am I not on set somewhere? This is my thing that I've got to work there It's not you but yeah Check out at The Nick Laws Yeah on Instagram. Yeah and sound guy Nick dot com has been my new thing For you know, just doing sound and if you want to check out that's got my IMDB and and all those links and I post a bunch of photos and

the features that I've done and stuff like that. So I'm trying to fill that a little bit too. Very cool, very cool. So you can check out all those links in the show notes, also on the website. Again, thank you, Nick, so much for being here with me today. Yeah, absolutely. And buy Robb a coffee. Yeah, absolutely. If you would like to support this podcast, please buy me a coffee at While you're there, there is now a new store on there. We've got some journals and some t-shirts and stuff you can check out if you want to support the podcast, no pressure.

pretty cool. You should check them out at But as always, I look forward to the next time we have a moment to sit a spell and chew the fat.

Nick LawsProfile Photo

Nick Laws

Freelance Film Worker

Here are some of the things you might know Nick Laws from-
He owned an all-ages music venue called Sector 7G.
He played in bands like A Future Now Past, The Radar Cinema, Artemia, The Sixth Hour, and others.
He's made lots of short films and been president of the Southeastern Filmmakers.
He's a videographer and all around video wizard.
He's a sound mixer for commercials, TV, and feature films.
Otherwise, he's a pretty boring 40 year old guy that's married, has 3 dogs, 2 cats, and plays a mean game of Monopoly.