"Meet the Makers" Volume II: Nicole Yulo

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01-Oct-15
by Courtney Cilman
“Meet the Makers” is an interview series highlighting the experiences of current students and faculty within the Film program. This week, I caught up with Nicole Yulo, a writing and directing concentrate and native of Manila, Philippines, to get her take on what life is like as a Columbia student.

Nicole came to Columbia with a strong sensibility for art. The daughter of actress Menchu Lauchengco, Nicole spent much of her childhood in the theater watching her mother.
“Until I was about 7, she would take me to rehearsals and I would play around the
backstage of theaters. She would have to explain things to me because I was too young
to understand the difference between fiction and reality. When she did Evita and they
brought her out in a coffin, I thought she actually died.”
After years of fascination with the stage, she expanded into writing. Though she shared theater with her mother, writing was always something more private and more personal. During her undergrad years at Bryn Mawr College,  she decided to focus on writing. She graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and Creative Writing. Post-college, she worked in publishing and was also selling her original artwork.

For Yulo, filmmaking was a dream that came to her only after years of feeling that the craft was out of her reach. She found a safe haven here at Columbia:
“I was convinced I couldn’t ‘do’ art. One fateful class in college changed that, where I
found out I could paint. I changed my major, and have since been trying to seek out and
do the things that terrify me the most. Film is the combination of my passions; like a
natural extension. I came to Columbia because of the emphasis on story. Story is where
it starts, and the program seemed to be structured with that in mind.”
Her screenplay, Changelings, has already won recognition at the West Field Screenplay Competition, where she was a finalist. Most recently, she advanced to the second round in the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition with her script. Now, Nicole feels less fear of being a filmmaker and more ready to take on the challenge of art. I asked her to sum herself up in a quote and she shows her new fearlessness:
   
“The theater nerds will recognize this one. With all there is, why settle for just a piece of the sky?”

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.