Your Vote Actually DOES count… An interview w/ Filmmaker Michael Nims
A few months ago I was approached by a young man full of passion. He said “I know or at least I hope you’ll be interested in this. You’ll be perfect for it”. He was pretty cryptic but when he finally sent me an email it turns out it was a treatment for “The Letter”, a voting PSA. He was right I was ecstatic. Voting has been a big part of my life, ever since I was knee high to my grandma in the voting booths of New York City. She would take me in the booth with her and allow me to click the buttons and pull the huge lever. It was AMAZING. When I became an educator in ’05 registering my high school seniors was one of my favorite activities. It’s something I’ve done every year I was in the classroom. In graduate school I helped many of my out of town friends to secure absentee voter information and make sure we voted.
I have never believed that my vote did not count. I believe that idea comes from a misunderstanding of the way presidential elections actually work. The short version- your “popular” vote determines which candidate gets your states electoral votes (in winner take all states at least). The people casting the electoral votes are SWORN to follow the wishes of the majority from the popular vote. Most states even have a fine for electors who do not follow this. So in short it REALLY does count.
Soooooooooooo anyway class dismissed and back to the story at hand Mr. Nims! A few weeks ago I was able to help Nims turn his dream into reality. We filmed “The Letter” a few weeks ago and posted it September 12th, 2012 to great reception. “The Letter” is making its way around college campuses and blogs nationwide. I sat down with the visionary of the clip to learn some more about this student, member of the military, clothing designer, writer, and (yep and lol ) FILMMAKER, Michael Nims.
BROWN SUGAR- Was voting something you grew up around?
NIMS- Voting was something I was something I was familiar with growing up in a military family because most times we were directly affected by the outcome of every election so it was kinda vital in our household, like a big Super Bowl of politics every few years lol
BROWN SUGAR- Tell me about your 1st time voting experience or a key moment in your own voting life.
NIMS- My first voting experience was in 2008 and also President Obama’s first election, I turned 18 during President Bush’s tenure so I had to wait a few years but I was sure to make my vote in such a monumental election, a black man campaigning for commander and chief and actually having a shot in succeeding Was uplifting to me and it was imperative that I contribute to this ground breaking era in us history
BROWN SUGAR- Every election cycle we get naysayers who say “my vote doesn’t count”. What do you say to them?
NIMS- I believe people who say their vote doesn’t count don’t understand the nature of politics or the grounds of what our nation was built upon. Our government operates by a democracy in which the people have a voice and not solely one person, a democracy also embodies “Majority rule but respect of the minorities rights” meaning the candidates with the most votes take office but in no way of form exploit opposing parties or their supporters so in fact EVERYONES VOTE COUNTS!
BROWN SUGAR- Why use film & social media to push the importance of voting?
NIMS- Being a Mass Communications student at Norfolk State University I’ve learned about a few different mediums in media and which outlets people of certain demographics engage on a regular basis. Social media is one major avenue that has helped frame my generation’s society so social networking sites such as twitter Instagram Facebook and YouTube are essential to push the importance of voting to my generation
BROWN SUGAR- When did you fall in love w/ film & photography?
NIMS- I’ve always had a respect for all forms of art but my love for it began to grow in the early 2000’s. Certain photos in hip hop magazines and certain videos that expressed what was going on in the records of songs solidified my appreciation for film and photography. I was the friend always with a camera, from disposable to all different digital cameras to my most recent purchase a cannon T3i. I’m into music, fashion and fun but finding photographers and videographers who share the same views became a hassle so I recently decided to do things on my own so look forward to some work from me whatever it is lol
BROWN SUGAR- You have a clothing company called Conservative Controversy? Tell me about the name & the brand.
NIMS- Conservative Controversy the phrase came to me from the type of music I listen too. I like music with substance, music forwarding messages of hope, tragedy to triumph type of tracks, artist who tell where they’ve been and how things are no sugar coating. Freeway’s first album, J Cole’s Friday Night Lights, Wale’s More about Nothing all helped me form the phrase now clothing line Conservative Controversy. Those artists put together music which fed into their emotions and poured through speakers and it influenced me, the intentions of a man to live conservatively but making controversial decisions unintentionally along the way. Every design I place on a garment I try to embody the two too make people think, to evoke questions, push the envelope as far as possible.
BROWN SUGAR- What can people expect from Michael Nims over the next 5 years?
NIMS- I’m not sure what people can expect from me within the next 5 years, I do and want to do so much. I want to manage and promote artists, shoot commercials/short film, design clothing and eventually dabble in politics all of which I do now but I plan to focus harder on these things and become more of a force in everything so hopefully I’m a rising executive within the next few years so look out for something with my name attached! You won’t be disappointed… I hope lol
BROWN SUGAR- People are calling your words in “The Letter” eloquent. How do you respond to that?
NIMS- Honestly, I felt like it was a stretch, some people do this for a living and for me just to do it just this once made me feel so much more capable of other things, people constantly tell me of my influence on others and the reception of this piece kinda opened my eyes a little wider to see this.
Find out more about Michael Nims – @conserVAtiveCon on both twitter and on Instagram
Brown Sugar is penned by Andrea Michele @brown_sugar415 on twitter.
Important links for Voters- DEADLINES are quickly approaching. Register NOW and vote November 6th, 2012
Virginia – http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/webdocs/easyvoterguide201207.pdf
New York – http://www.elections.ny.gov/