Nick Pasyanos: The Rebirth of a Salesman
By Effie Lascarides
PROVIDENCE, RI - Have you ever wondered what your life may have been like if you had pursued a different career? Did it ever occur to you that it might not be too late? Soon you'll be able to read an inspirational book by someone who did just that...but that will be when Nick Pasyanos finds the time to complete it. Right now he's too busy juggling three careers: that of a salesman and a portrait photographer for almost three decades and, recently, a filmmaker.
His most recent career started three years ago when he penned the script for a movie with the intention to try to sell it. That was his original goal. He fully recognized that one of the toughest challenges was trying to get into the Hollywood system "because they say that half the people in Los Angeles are walking around with scripts under their arms...I wouldn't doubt it! But I had to start somewhere... I love movies, I want to be in the business so I started writing some scripts. [When] I wrote a script that I really liked, [and] thought was marketable, I started compiling the names of people to start sending the script out to."
But two things changed his course. "Within a 12-hour period I saw a couple of small-budget films that clicked with me. All of a sudden I got the brainstorm that I wasn't going to sell the script. I was going to make the movie myself!"
As vividly as if it were today he remembers that he was driving on Route 195 when all of a sudden "the light bulb went off" in his head!
"I called my girlfriend from the car and told her: I'm making the movie! She thought I had got into a car accident and hit my head! I said: No, no, no! I'm of sound mind and body. I'm going to do it!" He was so motivated that nothing could stand in his way; not even the approximately 60 locations of the many characters of the script.
Aware that he needed to educate himself in all aspects of filmmaking he allowed one year for preparation. He started devouring books about film, essentially living at book stores, and buying up every book that he felt could benefit him. At the same time he began searching for the right equipment and he continued researching the subject. "...And that was it!"
He wrote, directed and produced the movie. He was even behind the camera whenever he needed to fill in for his cameraman. "I was going to be chief cook and bottle washer for this production out of necessity. You just do what you gotta do.:
But, although you can read about the technical art of filmmaking, what about directing? "I saw an interview with Bobby and Peter Farrelly recently where Peter Farrelly said: 'If you've eaten in a restaurant you pretty much get an idea on how to wait on a table!' I thought that he was right in that if you're a movie geek like I am and you've seen them as much as I have and you've studied them, you kind of get a feeling for what looks realistic, and what doesn't.
The actors were all local theater actors from Rhode Island with no film-acting experience. Shooting - only on weekends "because [this] was a don't-quit-your-day-job project" - the film took seven months to complete.
"The whole thing was difficult. Even right now trying to sell it. Selling it is probably the most difficult, frustrating part of the whole process... During the making of it nothing ever seemed to go right. It's full of obstacles to get to where you want to be. But I was blessed with a lot of good breaks and a lot of good things happened along the way. My cast was a super cast. All my assistants on my crew were terrific. I didn't expect my girlfriend to stick with me through the whole thing, but she did! I figured she's going to blow me off after a week or two of getting up early on weekends!"
The hardest part was planning and trying to line up the actors who would be needed for the shooting of each scene.
"You had a scene on Saturday with six actors and you'd call them up. Five could make it but one couldn't so I was back to square one trying to replan and reschedule everything from the beginning. That was grinding. A lot of times, I didn't have the shooting schedule finalized until Friday night when I was shooting Saturday and Sunday."
Pasyanos was born in Boston in 1951. His family later moved to Rhode Island when he as 15. His roots are from the island of Mytilene which he has visited a couple of times and loves it. He makes no attempt to hide the fact that he is proud to be Greek.
His movie, "BOXEDMAN" has many autobiographical elements, but some are "just totally my own wild imagination. I just went kind of nuts! It's a combination. You know, everyone says: "The funniest thing happened to me today or last year or whatever, I could write a book!" Well I did! Funny things that I experienced with people on sales calls... Some of these things are in the movie, other things I just totally made up."
It is the story of a young, insecure guy who graduates from college after spending a long "career" as a student. Venturing out into the world he goes to work for a really tough boss. Of course, he becomes a salesman constantly "under the gun for quotas and all that."
Pasyanos took life elements that everyone can relate to - underdog, mean boss, big challenges on the job - and turned them into a movie.
"I wanted a romantic angle to it so there's also a love story. I thought these are all elements that everyone can relate to. The more of these elements you get into the story, the better your chance of success."
"Himself a salesman for 29 years, Pasyanos would be the first to admit that it's a "rough, tough racquet. Selling is always difficult. If it wasn't, everybody would be a salesman."
"He has also run a portrait-and wedding-photography business for the same number of years. The first day of shooting it dawned on him that all those years of photographing weddings were the best training for his movie because in essence he's been directing people for years to get the aesthetic results that he wanted for the photos. The only difference was that he was directing stills instead of motion.
Curious as to which experience of making this film could possibly stand out in his mind - after all he is a first-time filmmaker, where every experience is novelty - I couldn't resist asking him.
"My first day shooting. A romantic scene between the protagonist of the film and his love interest. It was a date they had, a picnic on the rocks at Castle Hill. I had envisioned it in my mind a certain way and shot it exactly like that. It turned out terrific. People ooh and ah every time it's on the screen. My music composer, Grand Malloy Smith wrote the perfect music for that scene... It's just breathtaking...!"
Despite the difficulties he has encountered so far in selling his film, he is working on two more scripts and is also writing a book on his experience on making the movie.
He is hoping to inspire others who are looking for a life change to fulfill their dreams. "I don't know, maybe starting a vineyard or cow farm or something, as well as those who may be interested in making a move. But I also consider my book an amusing piece. So many funny things happened during the shooting of the film..."