Nicole Daddona and Adam Shenkman On Creative Authenticity and Partnership

August 1, 2019 by GIPHY Arts

Chew On This is a speaker series created and hosted by GIPHY. The format is a 30 minute artist lecture presented by a single artist or team of artist using GIFs in their practice. On July 31st, we were joined by surrealistic artists and filmmakers Nicole Daddona (also known as Friday) and Adam Shenkman. The pair spoke about their experience pitching and developing films and television and working as creative partners.

AS: Shooting in the real world is always guerrilla style for us. Part of the last short film we did called “Sexy Furby” we shot at a New England church where we didn’t have permission to film. The priest ended up coming out while we’re filming a scene where Nicole marries a human-sized furby and he’s like, “What are you guys doing here?”.  “Family photo”. Every morning: “Family photo”. Everything was a “family photo”. What are you guys doing shooting in Victor Borge’s house? “Family photos”. I’m sure everybody whose ever shot guerrilla style has a great story about their process. I don’t think we’ll do another “family photo” shoot again. Next time we’ll get permission.

ND: We make it a point to meet a lot of our idols. Jim Henson is obviously dead, but I found out when I was older that he lived in the town I grew up in, in Connecticut so we went to that house. We probably should have called first, but we just pulled up in my painted car and the owner happened to be outside and they’re like, “you’re Jim Henson fans.” And we’re like “Yes, we are.” And they’re like, “Come in, I’ll show you around.” And then they somehow magically showed us around. They showed us the bathroom that Jim and Jane Henson mosaickedĀ themselves and we got to sit on the toilet. It was it was all very exciting.

ND: For me, being an artist is about taking all the things that have influenced me in my life and my own experience plus my own unique ideas, and then mixing that all up and shooting it out as a creation. Over time, this output becomes more fine tuned to whoever you are as an artist. Working with someone else who has a similar taste and creative vision and being able to really hone that together can get it very sharp very quickly. It’s nice to work with the creative partner.

AS: We’re up here looking like creative crackheads to you. We’re all over the place. You can’t do that when you pitch a television show. You have to be very specific. And you have to, you know (what’s that Bob Dylan quote?) “know your song well before you start singing”. When we go into a room to pitch (which we do that pretty often) we like to pinpoint the whole world of the show, and where it will go. Once you share the world, then I feel like you can plug the executives you’re pitching  into that world. You can make them feel like they’re really in that world and even characters in that world. So we do that, we put them into our world and it seems to work!

AS: I’ve found the hardest thing about creating is talking about yourself and actually showing your work to an audience. It make you vulnerable which is, you know, difficult. It’s very easy to pretend you’re the best when it’s just you and your mind. But once you share your work with actual people it’s hard to put everything out in the open and get feedback other than your own.

Chew On This events are held at GIPHY and are open to local artists interested in the power of GIFs. Each lecture is followed by a Q&A with the presenting artist at the helm. To find out about Chew On This Events, follow @giphyarts or join our artist directory for a personal invitation to local events in your area.