Mike P. Nelson
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What is your favorite thing about your job?

Telling irreverent, violent stories with heart and collaborating with new people.

Why did you choose filmmaking as your major and what were your classes like?

Film is life and was such a big part of my growing up. If I was going to embark on a career path it was going to be something fun that I couldn't do without. The classes were great. What made them even more memorable were my peers. I was so fortunate to learn with a group of people as equally passionate and vocal as I was.

Did MCAD prepare you for life after graduation?

It showed me that there is a potential for greatness if you want it. Even as a filmmaker, the design, drawing, sculpture, and animation courses refined my palette and gave me the smarts to confidently attack anything I want in film. Leaving MCAD was only the start though. Once you leave school, be prepared to continue to learn, continue to fail, and continue to change.

How do you find inspiration when you are feeling stuck?

Sometimes it just takes time or removing yourself from what you are doing to get inspired to work on or finish your piece. Get lost in thought, watch films, scour images online or in books . . . READ. Most importantly, never be afraid to use yourself as inspiration; everyone has a story, a past, complexities. It's scary to divulge the shit in your head sometimes, but when you do, you feel free.

What advice do you have for art/design students?

Own it. You have the opportunity to embark on the hardest, most satisfying life you could ever imagine. The moment you let this opportunity fall by the wayside and don't embrace everything about it, you will see it as a job, you will be unhappy, and ultimately, you will fail. So, own it!

Has your work evolved since leaving MCAD? How so?

Collaboration, life experience, and honesty. Don't suppress any of these. They will help you succeed. As soon as I let go and let other artists become part of my work, my work got better. As soon as I saw scary, tragic, uncomfortable, and pain as good things, my work got better. (Never forget happiness either. Though you need the others to make happiness shine that much more). As soon as I was honest with myself about what made me happy in my work, even if it wasn't seen as proper or wholesome, or it was too violent, or it wasn't mainstream enough, I made better work.

Current obsession(s)?

The Fargo series, Narcos, wood paneling, and watching my one-year-old grow.