Actress and new director Niki Koss takes Courageous Nerd through her career so far, including recent directorial efforts Night, Night and We Stand With You.

Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to do this.

Niki Koss (NK): Of course, thanks for having me! 

Although you are known as an actor, you recently directed some projects: Night, Night and We Stand With You. How have you found the experience of following different creative passions?

NK: I absolutely love all facets of this industry, but directing is probably my favorite. It’s incredibly fulfilling being able to pursue multiple creative passions at once. Believe it or not, if I didn’t always have ten things going on at once I think it’d go crazy. 

To what extent has working on professional sets as an actor helped your directing style?

NK: Being an actress is imperative in my personal approach to directing. It allows me to speak the same language as the actors and communicate on a different level both of us really appreciate. It also saves a lot of time and back and forth, which allows me to really understand how they are feeling. 

Was directing something you always wanted to pursue?

NK: Yes, but it didn’t really sink in until a few years ago. I’ve been directing my whole life. I have so many home movies that I made and forced family members to act in through the years. As cheesy as it sounds, I think directing is in my blood. 

In particular, the cast of Night, Night includes Eric Roberts and Tony Todd. How much pressure was there in directing such established actors?

NK: There was a bit of pressure, but luckily I work better under those pretences. 

Have you both directed and starred in a project? If not, would you ever plan on doing so?

NK: Yes and I’ll never do it again! That’s not true, maybe I will, but not for quite some time. The way I approach acting is pretty much the polar opposite of how I approach directing so I really like to keep them separated as best I can for now. 

Let’s break down the individual films. Why was We Stand With You a story that you felt compelled to tell?

NK: “We Stand With You” is by far the most important creative work I’ve ever done. The story is essentially about females having ownership over their own bodies and how unfortunately, we live in a world where that’s not the case everywhere. I have been deeply affected by the themes that exist within the film and so has every other female I know. It was a story I felt the world needed to hear and through a medium that can really reach people in a profound and lasting way. 

Are there are any memories or moments that stand out from making that project?

NK: Oh my gosh, yes. I made the mistake of asking my mom to be an extra in the film. She ended up getting some major coverage and was featured more than anyone had anticipated. All I’m going to say is editing around her awkwardness on camera was no easy feat! 

As for Night, Night, what drew you to that story?

NK:Night, Night” was initially presented to me by the writer, Robert Johnson. I had always wanted to direct a psychological thriller and the concept definitely reeled me in. After reading the script I immediately had a vision of what I wanted for the film, which is always a great sign. And the rest was history. 

If you could go back to the beginning of shooting on Night, Night and give some tips to your past self, what would they be?

NK: Hmm… I would say trust your instincts more. I had a lot of wacky ideas on that set that most people didn’t understand. Once the ideas were executed however, people usually ended up liking them and changing their minds. On my next one I’m definitely going to go in with a more trust your gut type of attitude. 

If people want to find out more about your work, where can they look?

NK: I usually update my Instagram with work updates more frequently than the rest, but I’m also on Twitter and Facebook! All @nikikoss 

Lastly, what’s one thing you’re looking forward to in 2021?

NK: Going to Europe. I miss it terribly! 

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