“It’s poetic, in a sense, that I’m getting to show my film at the place that allowed me to make it,” said Nick Terry, writer, director, cinematographer, editor, producer, and star of Finding October, a film that is premiering at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival on Mon., May 30 at Shoreline Community College. Terry, a Shoreline alumnus, graduated from the College’s digital film program in 2012.
Finding October, an “emotionally engaging chamber piece” about a 20-something embarking on a road trip to propose to his girlfriend, is Terry’s third feature and his second to show at SIFF. But despite his past success, this film is the one in which Terry found his stride as a filmmaker.
Terry produced his first SIFF feature while still in high school. “That first film was a totally different production than Finding October,” said Terry. “It was shot over nine months, and because it was a faux documentary it leant itself to improv, so really it got by on character and plot. I didn’t feel like I actually wrote it.”
Finding October, on the other hand, was fully scripted and shot over a week. “Because I actually planned out production, knew more of the technical aspects about equipment and lighting, and had a fully fleshed-out script for this feature, the honor of being in SIFF felt more earned,” said Terry. And he says he owes that tightened production schedule, technical know-how, and scripting ability to Shoreline.
“Shoreline was huge for me,” said Terry. “I had just finished my second feature when I started the film program, and I realized on my first day of class that I knew nothing. There were so many technical skills I hadn’t learned and so much to the business of filmmaking that I had no idea about. So I spent the next two years just absorbing information and taking away everything I could.”
That information involved a lot of hands-on experience with dedicated instructors like Kris Boustedt, a faculty member in the film program.
“I had really cool experiences with running real film sets,” said Terry, “and Kris (Boustedt) was amazingly supportive and very much helped me hone ideas and figure out how to bring my vision to the screen. To this day, even though I’ve been graduated several years, Kris is still an amazing resource for me as far as contacts in the industry and consultation on films.”
According to Boustedt, Finding October is true Terry style. “It captures a very particular and, for me, really nostalgic zeitgeist: that sense of threshold and adventure when you’re in love in your early 20s,” said Boustedt. “And the fact that Nick did it all – wrote, edited, produced, directed – means you can really see his artistic sensibility shining front and center. He came to us as an already creative filmmaker with a clear sense of vision, and I’m very proud of how his technical skills have grown as well as his ability to craft a story while at Shoreline. He’ll go far, without a doubt.”
Terry is currently in production on his fourth feature, a faux documentary about adults banding together to create their own superhero team. He hopes it will be out in fall of this year.
“If I had not gone to Shoreline, if I had just left high school and tried to make films without the technical knowledge I have now, I’d be miles behind where I am currently,” said Terry. “I have so much more confidence and know-how now. Shoreline was definitely the right decision for me.”
Finding October plays during SIFF 2016 in Shoreline Community College’s Main Campus Theater on Mon., May 30 at 6 p.m. Terry and co-stars Karin Terry (Nick Terry’s wife and a former Shoreline student as well) and Michael Ward will participate in a question and answer session after the film.