July 1, 2013
Nicholas Arnold believes it is crucial to hold onto our dreams in order to reach our goals. He is living proof.
I find it rather fun to tackle the impossible. Call me crazy, but I get a rush out of accomplishing something insurmountable. From the time I was a child, I was wishing upon stars, tossing coins in fountains and conjuring up a destiny for myself.
Walt Disney said if you can dream it, you can do it. At 15 I set out to make that motto a reality. I would create a full-length, dramatic feature film using a cast of unknown actors that would be a call-to-arms in the cause against bullying. The goal was to finish it before my graduation. Daunting task? Sure. But I soon found out that people thrive on seeing someone attempt daunting tasks. They even want to be a part of it. With the aid of over 100 youth in my hometown, we achieved our goal and created a media frenzy in the city. We were in every newspaper, on every radio show and even made international news. The film The Vicious Circle had taken on a life of its own — one that I could not control. But beyond that, we showed an entire city what a group of dreamers are capable of when they commit unwaveringly to their ambitions.
As I approach my mid-twenties, I am beginning to learn why most adults lose that drive and belief in their dreams. We are taught to grow out of the childhood naivety we all had as kids. Work, school and the “real world” teach us to see naivety as a shameful thing. The truth is we must hang on to it. The naivety and imagination of a child is the most important tool on an impossible quest. Without it, we are plagued by logic and realism, which prevents us from seeing past obstacles and barriers. It is naivety that led me to write, direct and produce my current feature film, William’s Lullaby, with no budget, a crew of seven and a tight 16-day shooting schedule. Five years in the works, William’s Lullaby now holds its own as a professional, dramatic and anticipated work in the film community. And to think that three years ago I had no idea how it would come together. All I had was a story, a dream and a little faith.
All that said, faith in your dreams does not come without doubt and fear. Those who know my work know that I finish each of my films with a simple windmill logo, alluding to Cervantes’ Don Quixote — a representation of the impossible task made possible and a reminder to my audience that all dreams, no matter how daunting, can be achieved. In Cervantes’ novel, Quixote, an imaginative old man who believes himself to be a knight-errant on a valiant quest, stumbles upon a slew of windmills he sees as menacing giants to be conquered. When I helm a project I do my best to lead with confidence, humility and fortitude — just like crazy old Don Quixote. But what most don’t realize is that with every project I battle doubt and uncertainty from start to finish. At times I question my sanity for taking on these giants in the first place. Perhaps my insanity lies in the fact that I forge onward despite all of this. One thing I do know, with the release of William’s Lullaby on the horizon and the uncertainty of how it will be received, I am wiser, stronger and smarter for the doubts and fears overcome. And I will continue to tackle what scares me until I can stand tall and say: “NOTHING.”