Nick Daez is a director for television shows and commercials. He owns a video production company called Seabiscuit Films which specializes in food, travel, and lifestyle bespoke films. Having known him for a little more than a decade, I have gotten glimpses into his journey as he grew mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I wanted to discuss this journey with him little further, here's where our conversation took us:
What got you into film production? And how long have you been in the business?
It all started when I was in my second year at Ateneo De Manila University. I had absolutely no idea what career I wanted pursue. At the time, I was just fascinated by creativity and the study of psychology. Everything changed when I had took this Production Design class under the late national artist for theatre design, Salvador Bernal. All we did was watch foreign and art house films and write about them. I loved it. It didn't feel like school work to me. Then when we were asked to produce our own short films for our final project, that was the game changer. For the first time in my life, I lost my self in the process. Time stopped and I felt an infinite amount of energy. I wanted it to be perfect. I worked long hours and I didn't even notice it. When I look back at it now, it felt like I had entered the zone or that flow state of ecstasis. It became my compass and I just kept following it. I studied and read books on the craft. I helped out in shoots and apprenticed under directors.
One thing led to another and I found myself working with my high school friends on passion projects. Then this led to us creating our own company called WYD Productions. I stayed with them for two years which was an incredible process of learning and absorbing. Then after 2 years, I had to take another leap and sold my shares. I felt the need to get out of my comfort zone and define myself more. I started Seabiscuit Films with my then girlfriend and a childhood friend. Fast forward, it's been 8 years all in all of working in production and it has been the most rewarding and expansive time in my career and personal life.
I noticed that a lot of your work is very well thought of, there’s almost a spiritual nature to them. Could you tell me about the projects that you choose, the way you frame your messages, and why this is important to you?
When it comes to choosing projects, the ones that I really enjoy are those that allow me to be creative but at the same time, educate, provoke or inspire the people watching the work we produce. We've been very fortunate to work on projects that give us the chance to meet amazing people and film in beautiful locations. These really give us the right foundation to create something we're proud of. I think the spiritual nature probably comes from the passion the entire team has whenever we work on a project. It's really an intricate craft - from concept development to filming and editing. Each part is intrinsically connected to one another and the kind of energy you put into the work has a huge influence on the vibe the video gives to the audience. If you give out an energy of complacency or laziness, that will come out in your work and the people watching will feel that. On the other hand, if you're giving off good vibrations and sharing the inspiration, that will spill over the work as well.
You are clearly able to deliver messages beyond what most people would even take time to understand, where do you think that comes from? And why?
I think being able to deliver those kind of messages is a reflection of how we understand the stories and experiences we go through in film making. We're not trying to please anyone else. We're just trying to create work that we can feel happy and proud of. There's so much refinement and editing entailed in finally getting to that point wherein we can say that the work is done and we can share it with people. In a sense, we have to be at peace with it then we can let it go.
Could you tell me a little bit more about what authenticity means to you and how you align yourself with it? In what ways do you find that authenticity rewards you?
I think authenticity in itself is the reward actually. It gives you a sense of liberation and openness. Also, it allows you to be completely honest and aware by embracing the dark and light inside us.
In order to be authentic we need to first acknowledge that there are parts of us that are “missing” or “false” in some way. What was it about yourself that made you realize it was time to re-calibrate?
I think getting deeply into kundalini yoga, meditation and different healing modalities made me realize it was time to re-calibrate. For a long time, I didn't recognize those missing or false parts within me. But the more I deepened my spiritual life, the more aware I became.
What was happening in your life then?
My marriage had just ended and I was trying to figure out who I really was and what I wanted to do with my life. It was the beginning of my Saturn Return which really destroyed metaphorically. But it was so integral in my spiritual awakening.
What helped you through the discovery process? And how?
A list of things... regular daily meditation, attending Kundalini Yoga classes, going to the Healing House, my solo trip to India for 2 months, Inner Dance, attending the Kundalini Yoga Summer Solstice Festival, experiencing White Tantric Yoga, connecting with a lot of new people, constant traveling, and allowing myself to hit rock bottom.
It sounds like you’ve been through quite a lot and yet all of this has enriched your journey. May I know why you were drawn to all these modalities? What made you realize that these modalities were right for you?
I was actually just extremely open to trying different kinds of modalities. And when I think about it, I actually didn't even look for them. They sort of just found me. I wouldn't say no to anything. If it resonated to me, I stayed with it. When it didn't feel right anymore, I just didn't continue.
How do you think these have helped your own wounds and issues?
I think all of the modalities that I've tried helped me face all the wounds and issues that I was dealing with. They helped me understand the roots of them and how they were manifesting at a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
Why not see a “professional”?
I actually did in the beginning and it was beneficial.
Why did you stop?
I didn't feel the need to continue. It was good to get that kind of perspective. But I guess for me, I just gravitated more towards esoteric healing modalities.
What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing difficulty in their lives right now?
The advice I would give would be to take difficulty as lesson and a gift. I am a big believer that difficulty is an opportunity to evolve and transform. For a long time, I used to want to escape difficulty. But now, I recognize it as something that's that's there to guide us in raising our consciousness and self-actualization.
How can they benefit from the same modalities you experienced?
I think modalities are so dependent on how open you are to the healing. It isn't a one way street. So if someone goes into Kundalini Yoga for example for the first time, if they enter with an open mind, they'll get the full benefit of the experience. For me Kundalini Yoga just brings me to blissful and peaceful state. Whenever I finish a class, I always experience tremendous gratitude and bliss. It's the most incredible high.
What’s one good way to heal the soul when it is restless?
One good way to heal the soul when it is restless is to travel alone without a plan. Allow chance encounters and synchronicities to unfold and you'll find amazing things happen to you.
Author Rebecca Campbell, in her book Light is The New Black, defines lightworkers as "anyone who devotes their life to being a light in the world". According to Campbell, they are people who "wholeheartedly make [sic] the decision to make the world a brighter place by being in it." The way I see it, lightworkers lend their light on certain issues to help the world heal. In the last 3 years, I have dedicated my time to learning more and more about the various modalities around us that can heal the psyche. Healing Minds PH is here to introduce more practitioners and the healing work that they do or individuals who have sought healing through this series that will allow them to start Shining Their Light.