Servite Spotlight: Nick Johnson’ 23


Photo Provided by Nick Johnson

Future Oscar winner Nick Johnson

Allison Lillestol, Copy Editor

The experience of going to the movies is unlike any other. The smell of fresh popcorn fills the air while families and friends search for their theater. The lights dim as trailers begin, and you whisper to the person next to you, “We have to see that when it comes out.” It’s a moment that can’t be beat.

But all the best films begin with amazing filmmakers.

Servite Friar Nicholas Johnson ’23 has many talents, but most notable is his talent for filmmaking. Being a fellow member of Trinitas Arts Conservatory, I am lucky to know the next-best filmmaker of our generation.

Film has always been a major part of Nick’s life. Growing up, Nick always found himself drawn to filmmaking: “I have very vivid memories of being a little kid and watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones with my family, and wanting to be a part of those worlds. For as long as I can remember, my dad and I would stay up late to watch whatever weird movies no one else wanted to watch, which we still do.”

A shot from Nick and Donovan’s film “Alive.” (Photo Provided by Nick Johnson)

When Nick was around eight or nine years old, he received his first camcorder camera. And thus, his filmmaking journey began.

Inspired by the YouTube channel “Corridor Digital,” Nick began making his first films: “I would try to make movie trailers on iMovie with footage of me fighting imaginary enemies and jumping off rocks.” I hope when Nick makes it big, he releases these clips in his documentary.

When he was in seventh grade, Nick joined his first film class: “It was just basically shooting really cheesy PSAs with a bunch of teenagers who took themselves very seriously. Granted, I took myself way too seriously too. All the stuff we filmed was either horrible, unfinished, or never saw the light of day. Again, the stuff was REALLY bad so I’m not too bummed about that stuff never getting released.”

Sophomore year Nick joined Servite’s film class and got an opportunity to really dive into filmmaking. Nick partnered up with Servite graduate Donovan Decano’ 22 to create three of their own films. His favorite film of theirs’, Alive, was filmed in Servite Theater featuring students like Bridgette Sanders’ 23. Give it ten years and the Servite Theater will be a landmark, and not because of the infamous Dance Moms competition that was filmed there.

But how does Nick come up with his amazing ideas? When it comes to finding inspiration, Nick finds it everywhere: “Everything around us is potent with inspiration, whether it’s another movie, a book, a picture, a song, a single phrase or line that strikes you. There are ideas everywhere.”

Nick also looks up to filmmakers and writers like Wes Anderson and David Foster Wallace and their ability to “mix hilarity and heartbreak.”

A scene from “Alive” featuring students Bridgette Sanders’23, Alec Mercado’23, and Maya Castaneda’ 22. (Photo Provided by Nick Johnson)

And with all the amazing directors in the world, Nick says his biggest inspiration is his parents: “They’ve both introduced me to so many amazing movies and bands and books and I can’t thank them enough for enabling my creativity.”

Another passion of his, music, also plays a big part in his films: “I get a lot of inspiration from people like Father John Misty and groups like Wilco. I also like to name my movies after songs or have a bunch of good music in the movies.”

Nick is currently working on his upcoming film Insomnia featuring Rosary’s own Bridgette Sanders‘ 23. Although he doesn’t want to share much, he did say, “I think it’s the most fun to go into this one blind.” Ominous but intriguing.

Luckily, Nick plans on having a future in the film industry. He hopes, in a perfect world, to direct, write films, and record his own music.

And lucky for you, when Nick is the biggest name in Hollywood, you can say “Hey, I went to school with him!”