Acknowledging Your Worth: How to Work with Social Enterprises and Non-Profits Without Becoming a Charity Case

Even a teenager can see how important it is for a working-mom to value herself.

Game Changers Nicole HansenWhen my 18-year-old son looked at the title of my #WomenGameChangers keynote the night before I was going to speak, “Acknowledging Your Worth: How to Work with Social Enterprises and Non-Profits Without Becoming a Charity Case,” he said, “Mom, that’s something you know a lot about!”

How does he know so much about how important it is for a woman to acknowledge her worth? Well this boy knows plenty. He’s seen me do anything to make his dreams come to fruition. Green Galaxy was founded eight years ago as his production company, to produce his global warming commercial Save It. He said I had to help him get it made, and I did! But after we succeeded, and his PSA was out there, people started coming to me and asking me to help them as well. The only problem was they weren’t offering me anything in return for my expertise. All of these people expected me to give to their companies and their causes what I have given to my kids: my connections, my ability to be a cheerleader and the skills to bring everything together and make dreams a reality.

Me with BoysMy 18 year old saw that I so overwhelmed, it was hard for me pay full attention to him and his autistic brother, because I was too busy trying to save the world that they care so much about. I was so busy nurturing everyone else that I had forgotten to make sure I was taking care of myself, first. Luckily, I have some amazing mentors, including men. One successful entrepreneur took me aside and told me to read the fable “The Richest Man in Babylon.” It made me realize that as an entrepreneur, and especially a social entrepreneur, you must pay yourself first and then pay everyone else. You need to put 10% off to the side, because otherwise you’ll never have anything to fall back on, nor will you be able to keep yourself from being a burden to your children once you’re too old to work.

My brother, who helps run The Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow, also taught me to take stock of my skills and tools: my visual storytelling, my gung-ho attitude and my networking abilities, and to monetize them. My tools included creating pitch presentations, doing social-media marketing, designing websites and initiating strategic partnerships, but I needed to get paid for those services. I started empowering myself to ask for my piece of the pie, charging for my time, and taking producing fees off the back-end if that’s what it took. I had a client who had huge dreams to build her brand into a transmedia universe of books, games, events, media and charitable programs. I realized that it was humanly impossible for me to do on my own. So I put a budget together and made a proposal to get the work done, and had to empower myself to ask her to pay for it, which I’ve never been very good at, and guess what? My client approved that budget and we were off to the races. I could pay myself, my expenses, my subcontractors and put that 10% aside!

Nicole Quote Meme

Finally, the most important lesson I’ve learned from one of my mentors was how to negotiate a contract for myself. When I started off my life in Hollywood, I made more money in my 20s as a working actress than most lawyers do coming out of law school. But that’s the thing: I had agents and lawyers negotiating my contracts. I just trusted their expertise, expecting that my union would take care of enforcing those contracts. But companies fail and file for bankruptcy, and I was left without any residuals to rely on. So my legal advisers taught me how to write and enforce my contracts: to be sure I only offer what I know I can deliver, and to only work once I receive a retainer upfront. This is because once I do start working, I give my clients my all! I take care of them as if they are my children and that sort of attention makes me great at what I do: building their business profile and cheering them on in every media outlet.

As women, our nature is to nurture. But as they tell you during the safety instructions on an airplane, when the plane is losing altitude and you’re traveling with a small child, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Then help the child put on their mask.” In the business world, if you pass out from lack of funding, you’ll be no good at helping your client or your contractors. You need to build a team you can depend on, but make sure your team can depend on you first. That’s how we’ve been able to build websites, build brands and build partnerships with the entertainment industry successfully for so many of our clients. Because I’m able to acknowledge my worth, my business is healthy enough to help others.

WomenGameChangers Periscope 2015-09-24 from Sustainable Business Council on Vimeo.

 


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Published in ‘Produced By’ Magazine

Producing Green Soldiers to Lighten The Burden

produced-by-cover“At the very first Produced By Conference in 2009, I was surprised to see a panelist in a US Army uniform. Speaking on the topic of green productions, there was Dr. Kevin Geiss, then the head of the US Army’s Energy Security program. In his opening statement, Dr. Geiss mentioned that many of the American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq had died while guarding fuel convoys and not in combat. The news was dispiriting, but left me wondering what it had to do with green production…”

Read the full article (PDF) by Nicole Hansen in Produced By  (July-August 2014),
The Official Magazine of the Producers Guild of America


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Remembering Brian Gerber | The Nation

Remembering Brian Gerber | The Nation.

Remembering Brian Gerber

September 11, 2012

On the night of Tuesday August 28, I came home from a birthday party and opened my Facebook page to the shocking and dismaying news that Brian Gerber was reported missing on Monday, August 27 around 4pm. He was last seen driving a silver 2004 Toyota Prius.

I found myself thinking the most outlandish things. A father of two doesn’t just disappear. Brian’s profile picture for years had been a black and white “ABIDE” poster, not the kind, bespectacled face of this intelligent, sweet and funny man. With a witty and liberal take on current events, he regularly posted provocative and not always popular commentaries. I worried there had been some sort of confrontation or misunderstanding regarding his posts. My kids and I hoped that he would be found alive and well.

I hadn’t seen Brian in a few years, but he played an important role in my, and my son’s, life. I met him through an email introduction about five years ago. My then-10-year-old son Nikos, who struggles with learning disorders, had a chilling vision for a global warming PSA that eventually became “Save It,” a popular video warning against the impact of climate change starring Tony Goldwyn and his 9-year-old brother Dimitri which debuted on You Tube at #2 for non-profit videos and appeared on CNN and MSNBC during the 2008 presidential debates.

My friend Marshall Herskovitz who had created Thirtysomething and produced Blood Diamondoffered to help. He called his friend Leila Conners who had just co-directed the climate change-themed documentary The 11th Hour, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The next thing I knew, I received a call from her partner on the film who enthusiastically offered to help get my son’s vision translated into a full-blown short.

When I finally met Brian, he went way above and beyond. He graciously found stock footage of polluters, climate disasters and endangered species affected by oil spills, all to include in Nikos’s childhood vision of his dire future. He was generous with his time, advice and his invaluable production tips.

Brian took great joy in sharing pictures of his newborn first child and he always had a twinkle in his eye delivering an ironic comeback for any climate change naysayers. The time we spent with him was brief, but his contribution to my son’s message was significant and helped to bring my son’s nightmare of the future into a full and frightening vision for others to comprehend and hopefully halt. Nikos, now 15, remembers him as “a really nice, kind person. He helped me a lot and never asked for anything in return. I’m very sad and will always be grateful for his help.”

On August 29, Brian’s body was found in his Prius at the bottom of a ravine off the Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest. He had apparently committed suicide. I couldn’t believe it, neither could countless other friends who posted on his Facebook page. They too had memories of how his generosity had contributed to their artistic pursuits, and as with us, how he never expected anything in return.

His modesty too was apparently legion. I did not know until after his death that he was a board member of IDA and that with his business partner, Thomas Riegler, had spearheaded the 2008 relaunch of documentary.org. I was also unaware that Brian was a founder of Digital Hollywood and had collaborated on videos with R.E.M. and Elvis Costello.

His biggest production credits included The 11th Hour, Leonardo DiCaprio’s global-warming documentary, and The Dungeon Masters, a celebrated look at the Dungeons & Dragons sub-culture. Brian also worked with numerous nonprofit organizations, producing multimedia projects for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Heal the Bay, TreePeople, Bioneers, and the Scripps Oceanographic Institute, among others.

I can only say that in my memory, Brian most closely resembled the sweet, lovable, humorous, and caring guardian angel Clarence, played by Henry Travers in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. I only wish that he had been saved by an angel of his own – an angel who could have shown up at the moment of this generous man’s deepest despair and shown him how many people had been touched by his kindness, how many lives had been changed by his generosity, and how many friends he had whose most fervent wish was to have been there to give him the support he needed.

Please join me in contributing to the Brian Gerber Memorial Fund, which will help the financial needs of Brian’s wife, Arabella Field, and their two young sons in the wake of his tragic passing.

About the Author

Nicole Hansen
Nicole Hansen is the Founder and President of Green Galaxy Enterprises (GGE), a renewable energy consulting business…

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“Save It” at Avatar Earth Day Event, Nokia Center

• Avatar Earth Day

Nikos Spiridakis was invited to present his PSA SaveIt  for an audience of 5,000
at risk kids alongside James Cameron’s Avatar.  Nikos was thrilled to have the opportunity to be congratulated by the Oscar winning director and encouraged to keep telling his visual stories to help convey messages of environmental importance. What Nikos found most fulfilling was to hear Mr. Cameron tell him that he helped the kids in the audience feel like their voices could be heard when it came to important issues such as the environment and the reaction from the kids who surrounded Nikos after he came offstage, confirmed Mr. Cameron’s words.

 

Nicole helped to organize and invite celebrities to participate in the Private Earth Day Briefing & Strategy Session with JamesCameron 

The event was held to discuss director James Cameron’s recent trips to the Amazon Rainforest to stop the Bello Monte Dam and Washington, DC, to meet with Sen. Kerry, Sen. Lindsey Graham, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Obama.  (April 22, 5 – 6:30 pm, JW Marriott)

The goals:

1.  To create a coordinated, high profile effort to educate the public on the critical need to support the strongest possible Kerry-Graham-Leiberman energy/climate change bill.

2.  To create a coordinated, high profile effort to educate the global community to come together to stop a dam that will, as in AVATAR, destroy the habitat of many indigenous tribes and 500 square kilometers of precious rainforest.  The project has been temporarily stayed but political pressure to build the dam is very strong in Brazil.

3.  To discuss new ways to frame and message the debate on climate change and to strategize about how to educate the public about “True Cost” economics, the real value of nature, “Silent Taxation”, the “Phantom Deficit”, “Corporate Socialism”, “Dishonest Accounting” that purposely excludes bona fide externalities and other critical concepts that the current mainstream news media refuse to discuss. 

Venue:  The new, LEED-Certified JW Marriott at LA Live, next to The Nokia Theatre

Participants:  The briefing and strategy session will be limited to 60 participants.  Those already confimed include: Suzy Cameron, AVATAR cast members Michelle Rodriquez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore plus Rosario Dawson, Billy Zane, John Salley, James Cromwell, Daryl Hannah, Frances Fisher, John Quigley, Magda Rod, climate scientist Julienne Stroeve, Stefan Weitz (Bing), Michael Martin (Music Matters), Dreaming Bear, Nicole Hanson and others from the Hollywood and environmental communities.

3.  Other Earth Day Events sponsored by Richard Greene and The Words That Shook The World Environmental Solutions “Eco Warrior” Competitions and Programs, with James Cameron andAVATAR cast members

A.  9 am – 4 pm: Screening of AVATAR for 5,000 “at risk” LA Partnership School students, “Eco Warrior” Training and “AVATAR Awards Competition and Ceremony”

B.  5 – 6:30 pm:  Invitation Only Briefing and Strategy Session

C.  6:30 – 7:30 pm:  Green Carpet (Participants in the Strategy Session may exit without being a part of the Green Carpet unless they wish to)

D.  7:30 – 10:30 pm:  VIP Party, co-sponsored by Bing, with James and Suzy Cameron and many others.  Michelle Rodriguez to DJ.  (Rumored appearance by a blue Na’vi from Pandora)

 

The placement of these organizations as part of our portfolio does not imply an endorsement by Green Galaxy Enterprises nor its partners.


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Green Salon Series Presented By Breathe L.A.

Originally published in Green Blog Network GBN

When the Green Blog Network asked me to be a panelist for the Breathe LA Salon “AB 32.0 and the Rise of Green Digital Media” and blog about it on The Green Blog Network, I was reluctant. Ever since my son Nikos directed the global warming PSA, Save It, I’ve been thrown into a world of “green” issues. Many times I feel ill equipped to participate, as if I’m the student and everyone else around me are the experts—including my own children. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in Boulder, Colorado! Nothing could be more “green” than the granola Disneyland of my youth. But since coming to California twenty years ago, being ecological has gone from something the “Earth Muffins” of Boulder would do to actually becoming state laws. Such is the case with California’s AB 32.

 

AB 32 – Getting The Word Out

Stephanie Mullen, the Senior Field Representative to State Senator Fran Pavley made the opening remarks, stating that Senator Pavley authored AB 32 to give the California Air Resources Board authority to bring emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. Though the law was enacted years ago, I was surprised to hear that it has not yet been implemented. She stated that we need to use resources more effectively and are looking for a strong, green economy in California. The moderator, Ray Gonzales, a former KTLA personality, brought up the fact that there is a lot of opposition to the law because of its shorthand as “the global warming law.” I believe he has a point—so how does the green social media reach those who don’t believe in global warming so that they will be less opposed to something that is basically based on common sense?
Common Sense Approach To Information Dissemination
 
The first panelist, Jennifer Gooding, is the LA Ambassador to EcoTuesday. She brought up the point that people’s initial hesitation arises from a disconnection to the world that can be remedied by social media. She believes that we need a forum to connect, and she has been described as that connector. We often get a bunch of information, are overwhelmed, but are not connected. That’s the benefit of social media when it comes to getting the message out there, since the vast majority of people did not know what AB 32 is. We’re failing by not having common people understand the basics.
Panelist Siel Ju is the Green LA Girl, and has appeared on outlets including NPR and NBC, among many others. She has a Ph.D in creative writing and literature but is now devoted to blogging about environmental issues. She noted that AB 32 is not a familiar term to most people. It reminded her of the battle with rBGH, which makes cows produce more milk but also causes birth defects. We must give people more information and not just boil it down to “Ban rBGH!” (or “Save AB 32!”) Whether it be eating locally produced food or riding the subway, we should connect AB 32 to things people already desire. Moreover, we must use social media for a conversation to make connections.

Panelist Josh Tickell, director of Fuel, stressed that there is power of media in environmental issues. Stepping back from the fray, the long-term objectives of AB 32 are a breakthrough and so are its emissions cuts. The Fuel film is digital media designed to have an effect. They didn’t want the result to just end in rallying efforts, but rather to “shift the energy needle” in this country. He wanted a campaign with 10 goals that people could choose from as they matched their own. A big topic for Josh is fuel made from algae, and he observed that a lot of food energy is going unused. He was able to get a meeting with the Department of Energy and to start a campaign for algae. The meeting turned into a shouting match with great disagreement on the department’s side. In the end, through the social, objective based digital and social media, there is significant investment and growing, with already $100 million being spent on algae lobbying. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can order a million solar roofs, and the next campaign should be a million green cars. What we need, according to Josh, is a broad perspective.

Save It
Before I spoke, I shared my answer to the global warming messaging through digital media and showed my son’s 1Sky PSA, Save It (later endorsed by Global Green and Greenpeace). The shocker was that people wrote hate messages on YouTube where it premiered as Take Part’s first video release, calling me an uninformed hippie that has brainwashed my kids, and some who even said my son was “stupid.” Ironically, my sons both have developmental disorders that I was warned by the EPA they would have, as a result of environmental toxins. With what my children have to go through to be educated in special needs schools, at the expense of the government, is why it matters to all of us. Framing the discussion as a human health issue is much less controversial than global warming and we can use social media to educate people about asthma, autism, cancer and numerous other disorders that are exacerbated by or a direct cause of the toxins we are responsible for trying to control. So Earth Muffin or not, the real cost of paying for our health will far outweigh the cost of converting to cleaner and greener technologies in the long run. That’s how we should use social media to educate the masses to the importance of actuallyimplementing AB 32.
Bio: Nicole organized and produced the first Renewable Energy Conference and Awards Gala at the United Nations sponsored by the Honduran Permanent Mission to the UN with notable speakers and honorees such as Dr. Arthur Nozik of NREL, Dr. Daniel Nocera of MIT as well as Billionaire John Paul DeJoria. She was a featured speaker alongside producer Marshall Herskovitz for the 2009 Green Girls Holiday Event advocating publicly for the use of renewable energy technologies. 

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The Future of Christmas

Nicole Hansen’s Speech for the Green Girls Holiday Spectacular

Nicole Hansen Speaking at The Green Girls Holiday Party by Nrav Photography

Nicole Hansen Speaking at The Green Girls Holiday Spectacular by Nrav Photography

Christmas — do you remember it as a child? The anticipation of Santa eating the cookies and eggnog you left out for him, before he leaves you that train set, dollhouse or the latest electronics you wanted and behaved so carefully for in the weeks leading up to Christmas morning?

Now imagine you have a boy, surrounded by the joy and excitement of Christmas, who only stands by the tree, fixated by the little choo choo train ornament and keeps trying to climb the tree to get it. He screams, bites and cries when mom tells him no. This little boy has an older brother who gets up Christmas morning and runs to the tree to open his presents, but even though he’s 6, he can’t read his name on the packages. He is stressed because he can’t tell if Santa left him that R2-D2 droid he wanted until mom and dad can tell him which gift is his, while the little brother just wanders off instead of trying to open any gifts— to him, they are meaningless boxes.

These are the Christmases I have experienced with my own children and I fear are the Christmases of future generations. It’s bad enough that parents have to stress over lead in toys, or the plastics leeching from your baby’s bottles and the effects it will have on their children’s health and brain development. Knowing that there is little they can do when the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat is filled with so many known and unknown toxins and environmental waste, we resign ourselves to the fact that our world is changing, and I don’t mean just climate change. Humanity’s capacity for social interaction is changing too, and even our children know it.

saveit-posterTwo years ago, I was not (nor can I take credit for being now) an environmentalist. But that is when my 10 year old son told me the idea for a global warming commercial, shortly after visiting a gas station: “Imagine a boy is sitting in a car, watching as his dad pumps gas and there is a beeping sound. The kid watches his dad clean the windows and do what he always does, and as the dad looks at his son through the window, he smiles. But the kid isn’t smiling, mom, cause the kid knows what’s happening. Cause as the gas is pumping, there is this sound that goes beep beep beep beep beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep and then the screen goes black. Cause we killed it mom, we killed our planet, but the dad doesn’t know it and the kid does”. Hearing this, from my own son, I instantly got chills. He said, “You gotta help me make this, mom. You can’t tell anyone this story unless they can help me get it made!”

That’s when I called producer Marshall Herskovitz. He was the only person I knew who seemed to know something about what Nikos was saying; he had testified in front of Congress about converting our technologies and going to war against climate change. With his help and the help of Nikos’ godfather Tony Goldwyn, the film got made, and became a 1Sky Campaign seen on the Internet, CNN, MSNBC and even Weinstein Company DVD releases. Nikos has since been asked to blog on Huffington Posts, and appear on TV shows, but he refuses. His video says it all. But where did this come from, this fear and anger over what is happening to our earth?

positivelygreen02

READ Rachelle Carson’s Full Interview

Months after Save It premiered, Ed Begley’s wife, Rachelle Carson-Begley was in my kitchen, asking if I had read about my kids in her magazine interview. I was puzzled. No, I hadn’t. Rachelle explained that she used my kids as examples of how the environment can damage children’s brains.

You see, when I was pregnant with my youngest son and Nikos was just barely 2, there was a knock on the door, and it was two young scientists from the California EPA. They saw I was 7 months pregnant with my son standing next to me, and they gasped. “You must evacuate your apartment immediately.” “Why?” I asked. “The dry cleaners across the alley is putting out percoethylene far over the legal limits. We only knocked to measure it more accurately, because the exhaust is coming right through your open window”. What they hadn’t realized until they saw me was there was a pregnant woman and a toddler living there. “Has your son had breathing problems?” “Yes,” I said, “He was just hospitalized because of it.”

They told me to leave immediately, that it was likely my children would have neurological disorders, and to get a lawyer. So I spoke to one, and the lawyer said “you can spend the next ten years of your life trying to sue a mom and pop dry cleaners or the next ten years of your life helping your kids.“ I decided on helping my kids.

As Rachelle recounted my own story to me, Nikos walked into the room. I asked Rachelle to not speak about it, as my kids didn’t know what happened to them. Nikos overheard and just looked at me, saying “Of course I know mom. I remember you and dad talking about it. Why do you think I care so much about the air we breathe? Why do you think I made my commercial? It’s because we’re mutants, mom. My brother and I were poisoned by the air and we’re mutants because of it.”

IMG_0248You see, Nikos came up with a brilliant visual story to tell you his fears, because he couldn’t read or write. Nikos’ brother Dimitri was born affected; he is autistic and that is why Christmas had no meaning to him. It’s why he couldn’t understand there was something inside the wrapped box for him under the tree. It’s why now, at the age of 10, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, he sometimes regresses to the behavior of a wild animal growling at us because he can’t understand why he has to wait until the 25th to be rewarded for good behavior on a field trip he went on one day. The future doesn’t exist for him. He can’t think past a few hours for delayed gratification, let alone a few weeks. And this is what our future holds: a society of people who can’t function in normal schools, who receive $100,000/year worth of therapies and schools just to be able to learn and live in society. Why are 1 in 59 boys diagnosed with autism? Could it be that the sins of the fathers are already being visited on their sons?

Carla Ortiz with speakers, Marshall Herskovitz and Nicole Hansen at the Green Girls Holiday Spectacular Photo by, Djeneba Aduayom Photography

Carla Ortiz with speakers, Marshall Herskovitz and Nicole Hansen at the Green Girls Holiday Spectacular
© Djeneba Aduayom Photography

We need to change our lifestyle. People can’t relate to the cute polar bears in the Coca Cola Christmas ads and the fact that the real ones are now starving to death. But they can start to see the real burden and realize that their complacency and disdain for all things environmental is actually touching their own lives and affecting their own children now. Not 50 years down the line, not 20, not 10, but with each of their grandchildren, children and even themselves. The effects are autism, cancer and Alzheimer’s, not to mention conflicts across the globe arising because of the lack of water and food, people attacking their neighbors for more fertile ground and fighting for fossil fuels. The United States Department of Defense can see the urgency of implementing green and sustainable technologies; they can see the urgency to win the hearts and minds of people around the globe by providing solar refrigeration of vaccines and technologies for school children in the developing world so they can be educated and have a better life. But what is it going to take for the public to see that this is not someone else’s problem? When it’s a problem that’s hitting home. It is a problem that parents can no longer afford to pay for their child’s Christmas presents because it’s all gone to their healthcare, private special education and therapeutic bills, because no one, not even our government, can keep up with the costs born by these children much longer.

People can say, “global warming is nothing but survival of the fittest.” Well, that generation is here. Man has evolved, and unless we do something now, our world will be unrecognizable to us and humanity will be far different than we were even 10 years ago.

In Christmases to come, my story can be one of many that the future holds, or we can put a stop to it now. It is up to us whether to have Christmas time be filled with generous spirits and joy. It is up to us to learn how we have suffered from our environment and work to improve it, both in the messages we share and the choices we make. Goodwill towards men can be a cliché for the holidays, but it is a real principle. In our hearts and through our actions, we can show that this is what our move towards sustainability is all about.


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Save It (PSA)

Save It, A Global Warming Message by a 10 Year Old

Poster with actor Dimitri Spiridakis

As 10-year-old Nikos Spiridakis watched his mom pumping gasoline, he listened to the methodical beeps that kept tempo with the gallons of fuel funneling into their sedan.  To him, the beeps resembled the sounds of a hospital EKG and he knew that every gallon burned was contributing to the death of our planet.  He shared an idea for a story, incorporating those sounds and images with his mom, and he insisted she couldn’t tell the idea to anyone unless they could help him get it shot.  She agreed, and immediately called producer Marshall Herskovitz.

Herskovitz (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) thought it was a great story for anyone, let alone a child, to have conceived, and he offered to executive produce. Nikos himself mentioned the idea to his godfather actor/director Tony Goldwyn (The Last Kiss, Dexter) who was so impressed, he offered to act in the spot and be his directing mentor.

Film director Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury, The Express) thought it was the kind of visual storytelling that showed Nikos was capable of directing even at age 10 and took on the role of Nikos’ directing consultant.  Nikos’ mother Nicole Hansen helped to put the entire project together and his brother Dimitri played the little boy.

Everyone from the cinematographer to the editor gave their time in the effort to help Nikos make his first “home movie,” since Nikos financed it all with a gift from his grandmother.

Nikos’ idea can have a real impact on the way people view the reality of global warming — a vision especially poignant coming from the mind of a dyslexic child, who tells his story with pictures more effectively than almost anyone could using words.

Nikos knew his future was in the hands of the older generations and believed that if the world could see his vision of our future, he could inspire us all to do our part and “Save It” for future generations. The video message Nikos envisioned soon became a 1Sky campaign and debuted as TakePart TV’s inaugural release for YouTube at #2 for non-profit videos. It ran on CNN and MSNBC during the 2008 Presidential Debates, and appears on the Weinstein Company’s 2009 DVD releases such as The Reader.

On Nikos:

“In a long career as a producer, I’ve hired over forty first-time directors, and have seen first-hand that the essence of film directing cannot be taught – a person either gets it or doesn’t, a person either understands how to think through a camera lens and understand how images will go together or doesn’t.  It was astonishing to me, though, to see that ability so fully established in someone as young as Nikos.  His ability to visualize carried him through every aspect of this process, from pre-production, to the day of filming, to the many long hours in the editing room.  He’s simply a born filmmaker.”  Marshall Herskovitz, Executive Producer, Save It  (credits include: Defiance, Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, My So Called Life and Thirtysomething)

“The word prodigy is overused and, it seems to me, often misunderstood.  If you want a terrific example of a prodigy – a person with exceptional talents, particularly at such a young age – then take a look at Nikos.  He is a natural born filmmaker, and it’s our responsibility, I believe, to encourage him and nurture those talents. “ Gary Fleder, mentor (credits include: The Express, Runaway Jury, Life Unexpected,Kiss the Girls)


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