[image-1] As a film fan, it’s common to focus one’s praise for a film on the usual suspects like the actors, the writer, the director, and the cinematographer. It’s easy to forget about the hundreds, sometimes thousands of people, who help perfect that actor’s performance, that writer’s words, that director’s ideas, or that cinematographer’s vision.
When not working behind the lens of the productions going on around the Charleston area, Nicholas Brown is hosting The Second Sticks Podcast, a show dedicated to those names that don’t get near enough recognition for their hard work.
Recently, Brown sat down in the luxurious Citadel Mall food court, near the Gemstones Prayer Center, to chat about his show, cameras, movies, and the importance of staying through the ending credits.
CP: How did you come up with the name for the podcast?
NB: I work as a professional camera assistant. Second sticks is basically when you put the slate in front of the camera and you say “marker” and you hit the sticks. If the camera wasn’t recording or you weren’t in the frame or something, you have to hit the sticks again and make sure that you’re in the front. It’s for sound sync so that they know in case they missed a frame.
CP: How did you come up with the podcast?
NB: When I got into film, I didn’t know what it was like working on a film set. In my film experience, or my college experience, it was a lot of theory, a little bit of hands-on work — with not professional gear. Now, I’m a professional. When I came up with the podcast it’s because I was in between jobs and bored. I wanted to stay creative and also try to supplement the film school education with on-set stories and on-set advice from people that actually work.
CP: I’m assuming you’re working in town?
NB: It’s kind of weird how it works. I do work with Rough House Pictures a lot and I do a lot of the Rough House jobs that are in town. Being a camera assistant, you’re not tied to a company. I’ve worked for HBO and I’ve worked for Netflix and I’ve worked for CBS and ABC. It’s basically just whoever and whenever you’re available. It can be feast or famine, especially at the beginning, but once you get established, commercials will call you.
CP: What got you into the cameras?
NB: I’ve always been kind of a techie person. And as a kid I was obsessed with movies and photography. I never really considered doing film as a career until I was already in college. My brother and I grew up quoting movies, watching movies, bonding over movies. I was working in a movie theater and a friend of mine just randomly said, “Why don’t you just study film? All you do is quote movies all day.” So then I looked into it and from that point, I got a camera, started shooting and stuff. After studying film production at Central Washington University, I moved to Charleston. I tried to get on Army Wives and I just tried to get on as a set PA. From there I got into the camera department and have been working cameras ever since.
CP: What is the ultimate goal of Second Sticks?
NB: I wanted Second Sticks to be a way of saying, “Watch the credits, let’s let some of [these people] tell their story about what their experience was like in this movie.” I just think that’s an important story to tell as well.
CP: So you find yourself staying for the credits more?
NB: Oh yeah. Ever since I got into film. Yeah. It’s like an unwritten rule. Yeah. It’s a respect. I mean, it really is. It’s like all these people spend all this time — we should at least just sit through so we can see the names. Even movies that I’ve worked on and seen in the theater, it feels so good to see your own name in the credits. You know, so it’s like I want to pay respect to all those people.
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