Cole Nowicki

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 2.22.10 PMInterviewed by Curtis AuCoin

Cole Nowicki is a writer, illustrator, comic, and graphic designer based in Vancouver, BC. His Portraits of Brief Encounters, a series of “run-ins, pass-bys, overhears and introspections,” is a self-published collection of stories and art. Dealing with the menial and hilarious moments of his everyday, his Portraits have been tweaked to fit comedy clubs, and collaborative art shows. His last exhibition, (Another) Portraits of Brief Encounters, featured eleven local artists visually interpreting his stories, as well as a gallery game. Nowicki also runs an online skateboard, art, and lifestyle magazine called Sunday Drive Digest, and has been published in McSweeney’s, Sad Mag, and King Shit.

Nowicki’s blurring of life and art reveals how trivial moments can create meaning in our contemporary media driven setting. We spoke over email to discuss the ups and downs of self-publishing, poor comedic delivery, and what it means to hold someone’s attention.

Why portraits? Why brief encounters? Why not write the next great American novel?

This effort isn’t going into the next great American novel because I’m obviously Canadian, but also because I use these usually small, inane, or revelatory moments as a nice writing exercise of sorts. Did the Starbucks barista really just write “Coal” on the cup? How can I expand on this? What other ways am I like a harmful fossil fuel? Can I tie in the fact that my dad works at a coal plant? Absolutely. It gives me the opportunity to flesh out an otherwise throwaway idea and send it out into the digital world almost immediately for appraisal, which is one of the boons of the social media age. It’s like the Antiques Roadshow, you don’t know the value of the junk in your attic until a bunch of strangers tell you. The visual side is important because it can aid, deter, and influence the reader in many ways, which I find interesting. And I’ve always mixed the things I like together—the cream corn gets swirled in with the mashed potatoes, which get spread over the lasagna. 

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Carlos Algara

Photo by: Alejandro Seyffert.

Photo by: Alejandro Seyffert.

Interviewed by Tomas Nepomuceno.

Born in Mexico City, Carlos Algara is a rising filmmaker and screenwriter. During his undergraduate program he wrote, produced and directed his first short The Intruder, which screened in film festivals around the world. When he met fellow filmmaker Alejandro Martinez-Beltran, who became his friend and business associate, they started a production company called The Visualistas and produced El Firulete, based on a script that Algara wrote. This short made its way to major festivals including Warsaw and Raindance, and defined Algara as a passionate writer.

In 2012 he graduated from the Vancouver Film School with a degree in screenwriting and shortly after co-wrote a thriller screenplay entitled Veronica, which was optioned and is now being made into a feature film. That was Algara’s big debut into the feature world.

Currently writing for Sony Pictures Television, he is in the process of developing a TV series, which is scheduled to begin production in mid-2016.

Screenplays: how did that start? Do you remember the first time you thought, “I want to write a script”?

I wouldn’t say that I remember the exact moment, no. I always enjoyed writing and telling stories, ever since I was a little boy. Then, of course, came puberty, and with it, the strangeness of discovering who I was. And yes, I wrote cheesy, colorful poetry back then. And yes, my peers gave me a hard time for it. But it was back then that I discovered I actually had a passion and a calling for writing. And I mean writing in general. I also always loved films, so the screenplays came almost instinctively afterwards, starting with short films, and later on, with feature length screenplays.

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