NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
“I’m always representing Detroit. I’m proud of it,” said Nicole, who at the time of our conversation was midway through her two-month production. “But being here for this amount of time, I’m thinking about New York. Brooklyn’s my home now.”
But it didn’t start out that way.
In the mid-90s when Nicole was fresh out of Specs Howard, she packed up and moved to the City That Never Sleeps. No real credits or experience under her belt, however, film companies kept slapping her in the face with the same pesky question.
“The first time I went to New York, people kept asking me, ‘Why are you here?,’ and ‘What have you done in your hometown?,’” said Nicole, who figured that if she could make it there she could have made it anywhere. “I made the mistake a lot of people make of not standing out. Eventually, I realized that the best way I could do that was to go back home.”
Undeterred, Nicole quickly got a job producing and directing live-action television, call-in talk shows, pre-teen programming and music specials at Comcast Cablevision. The work, though not always exciting, was steady. It also helped her build the production resume she desperately needed.
Then, in 1999 – when we all should have been partying like Prince foretold – Comcast gifted Nicole with a present she didn’t see coming – A pink slip.
“That’s how I was able to intern for you guys, remember?” she reminded me.
(You see, Fam, waaaay back in the day, when I produced my Showtime Showcase film, in Detroit, I had the absolute pleasure of working with Nicole. Knowing each other now for so long, I had forgotten exactly how we had met. Crazy, right?)
Anyway, as Nicole recalled, in addition to directing her own short films, The Stop and minor blues, “one project led to another and to another…”
So much so, that Nicole soon after found herself in the middle of Detroit’s recent filmmaking resurgence. Look at her resume now and you’ll find production coordinator credits for Eminem’s 8 Mile, Billy Crystals’ 61* and the Funk Brothers documentary, Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
At long last standing out in the burgeoning Michigan film production community, Nicole could have easily abandoned her goal to become a successful filmmaker in her own right. Life, however, was not about to let her get comfortable.
“Things totally dried up in Detroit. I decided I needed something different and I was just going to go,” said Nicole. “I picked the date, sold my truck in two days and left.”