Aidan O’Donnell is a young up-and-coming filmmaker who is ready to collaborate and make himself known in the film world. This Cleveland native sat down with Nectar News to discuss his project “Couch Knife” and what is up next on his horizons:
Nectar News: Aidan, it is a pleasure to speak with you. You just graduated from Tulane University where you studied film. Congratulations!
Aidan O’Donnell: Thank you!
NN: What drew you to film studies?
AO: Ever since I was young, I’ve always loved movies and TV. I think a lot of that stemmed from family road trips. We would watch a lot of movies in the car, and then it was after a while I started trying to dissect them and how they were made, and I thought that was incredibly fascinating.
Then I came to Tulane, as a finance major and it wasn’t until the fall semester of my sophomore year, that I learned about video production also known as Digital Media practices. And then, as soon as I heard about it, I went both feet in. I thought it was super cool and fun. We started with basic video editing, and short assignments, and then, ultimately, it ended with a capstone assignment of producing, writing, and directing our own short films. This was incredibly rewarding because, I got tons of experience in all the pre-production, all the actual production, and then a lot of the post-production. I just loved the whole process.
NN: That’s fantastic, do you have a favorite area that you want to focus on in the film industry?
AO: I love it all. I’m still trying to figure out what I love the most. Because I think the ability to be as creative, and put our own spin, on our project, I think is something really unique to this creative industry. And to just tell a story in the way you want to tell it that’s really rewarding.
NN: What kind of stories do you want to focus on telling?
AO: So, I really enjoy narratives. That’s where a lot of my creativity flows from. I thought what was really cool about Nectar News is that it reminded me a lot of John Krasinski’s “Good Time News,” which he created over quarantine. My mom got a ton out of that, so I know that only focusing on the positive news can be really worthwhile for some people especially if they’re struggling. I would love to do documentaries if it’s around social work, and stuff that could make other people feel good. It’s just trying to entertain people, whether it be, they find it funny, they find it comical, they find it scary or thrilling, or if they’re attracted to it because it is a worthwhile story.
NN: Awesome, what are some of your favorite documentaries?
AO: Now, this might just be because I’m a big sports fan, but I loved The Last Dance, just because as a Cleveland guy, I’ve been pro LeBron, “LeBron’s better than Jordan” and stuff like that. So, it was really fun to see the inner workings of the guy who’s heralded as the greatest of all time because obviously, I wasn’t alive to watch him play and appreciate it, so it was great to see the back story behind that. And then, I’m definitely going to tune into the Magic Johnson documentary, just because for me, that’s what I find entertaining, the sports and the getting to know the person behind the persona, I think is really cool and worthwhile.
NN: Absolutely. So back to you as a filmmaker. You had the opportunity to work on a bunch of projects during your time at Tulane. Any favorites?
OA: Oh yeah, definitely. So, Couch Knife was my Capstone film, So, I wrote it, directed it, and produced it. I’m definitely really proud of it because I wanted to do a lot of the post-production myself because I really enjoy editing. So, I think I’m very proud of it because aside from the color grading, I did everything from wrap filming to release. So, I did the audio, I did edit it, and I did a bunch of syncing, it was definitely a challenge, but it was really fun and I really like to be able to test myself with my abilities.
NN: Amazing. So, now that you are graduated and are ready to take the film world by storm, what are the projects that you hope to work on?
Yeah. Dream projects to work on would be big narrative features. I could see myself doing everything from writing to working on finances in the back end or holding a boom. I’m trying to do anything right now in the film industry, just because I love the creative aspect of it. I know it’s a very competitive industry where I just got to get my foot in the door and then make connections, so I’m just trying to get that first toe in right now. So, it’s definitely a little daunting, but it’s definitely exciting and I know it’s going to be very worthwhile once it comes together. Stuff I’ve been working on in the Interim, I’m doing some creative writing on the side, eventually in 10, 15 years’ time, I want to release this series I’ve been working on. I’m just trying to keep that creative part of my brain active and yeah, staying optimistic.