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Director’s Statement

 

Most of us can look back on an experience that changed who we were and shaped who we would become. Psychologists call those defining moments. When I was looking for a story for my first film, my wife, Lisa, reminded me about such a moment in my life, and I knew I had found my story.

Though Get the Dime’s Julius is very different than I was at his age, we have one thing in common — a burning desire to get to the heart of the character. Full of fire and ready to do whatever was necessary to have a “real” experience, I twisted a few arms to get there. Once “inside,” I knew almost immediately that I had bitten off more than I could chew.

Julius’ behavior toward Kristy is unacceptable, but in a society that loves a winner — especially in show business circles — concessions are often made. Julius’ need to win overshadows his concern for his fellow human beings. He therefore has no connection to the real world. His peers and his acting coach encourage this disconnection. Julius’ peers idolize him and his acting coach allows him to overstep because he is his star, the embodiment of his “teachings” (i.e., a stellar endorsement for his class and his livelihood).

Impressionable young actors are often times duped by guru like coaches to put the profession of acting above all else, often in the guise of being “for the sake of the art.”

Given that Julius is an actor, he is motivated to explore the feminine mystique in a way that most men would never care to attempt. When he is dressed in full regalia, Julius looks in the mirror and recognizes, almost immediately, a new brand of power. At the club, he recklessly abuses his newfound power, which leads him headlong to his moment of reckoning.

What happened to me that evening did ultimately enrich my work at a funky little theater on 5th and Western in Los Angeles, and forced me to ask myself if this “acting thing” was really worth dying for. The answer was, of course, obvious. But what made it all worthwhile was the experience of being on the other side of the male/female dynamic, feeling intimidated and physically overpowered and really f—— scared. I had the “real” experience I was looking for and, as a result, my perception of women and their feelings was forever altered. What I learned, I try to pass along to my son, to my wife and daughters, and to every woman I meet.

My intention with this film was to juxtapose the dark tone of the subject matter with rich, deeply saturated images and to create an atmosphere where the “real” world intersects with the dream world. I am interested in the effect the waking experience has on the subconscious and dream life and vice versa and how those states of consciousness bleed into one another.

The editing process was, for me where the film came alive, where I finally had all of the elements, plenty of “paint” and “clay” to work with, to add, take away, pull and blend until the film had a pleasing shape. My desire is that “Get the Dime” will be disturbing, thought provoking and ultimately uplifting. To whatever degree I have succeeded, I owe my sincerest thanks to everyone who collaborated in the process, my wonderful actors, D.P. and Camera operator, crew; and to Lisa Nichols, without whose excellent producing skills, love and encouragement, Get the Dime would not have been. This is our film.

- Stephen Nichols

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