What is your name & what are you studying?
My name is Nick Dugan and I am studying MFA Film Production with Directing Emphasis.
What inspired you to pursue a career in film?
All I’ve ever wanted to do is write and direct. As a kid, I fooled around incessantly with my dad’s camcorder. Eventually, he got fed up with me “borrowing” his camera and graced me with a Digital Blue Movie Creator (shoutout 2001) for Christmas. An insatiable appetite for filmmaking was permanently seared into to the walls of my cranium from there on out. As a child and as a teenager, however, I wasn’t educated in an environment that energized or encouraged creativity. It took a lot of soul-searching to break free from a completely different professional trajectory, and to excavate my passion for filmmaking. After graduating from college, I was all geared up to apply to law school. I was woefully unqualified, but more importantly – I realized that I’d be a fool not to muster up the courage to pivot into film. As I grew older, I realized that films were critical in helping me reconcile my own personal litany of idiosyncrasies and imperfections. My mission onward was to make films that do the same for others.
What made you choose Dodge?
Dodge is well-known for allowing students to get their hands dirty right away. That’s what magnetized me to the program. I yearned for a high volume of experience on set, and that’s exactly what I got. There’s no other school that throws you right into the mix as immediately as Dodge does. I had also been on the production assistant circuit up in LA for 3+ years, so a move to Orange was much-needed departure.
What’s a project you’re most proud of that you worked on at Dodge?
The Dodge project that I’m most proud of is Into the Honeycomb. Writing and directing it was the first time I was able to really apply all that I had learned (mostly through trial and error). It also gave me the opportunity to offload and explore my own traumas – in a way that was deeply nourishing, therapeutic, and cathartic.
If you could give any one piece of advice to your freshman self, what would it be?
Open yourself to criticism. You’re not here to be celebrated for where you’re already at. The only way to improve is to allow yourself to see what you’ve been doing incorrectly. It’s not always fun, but it’s how you get better. I would also say to all those who are averse to self-promotion, and who cringe at the idea of prematurely and shamelessly identifying yourself as a director/cinematographer/writer/producer/editor/sound designer/production designer: You are exactly that already. Don’t be afraid to tell the world.