Who Is Maclain Nelson
The year was 1998, and football season was well underway. Timpview and Highland were neck and neck. This was unheard of. Clearly, Timpview was the underdog. And yet the score was super close. Timpview 41, Highland 40. In the last few seconds of the game, while the Highland QB threw what was going to be the winning touchdown, their moment of undying glory, little Maclain Nelson stepped up and intercepted it! Timpview won!! They beat Highland! Oh man, those were the glory days, and Maclain loves it when I tell that story, which is why I shared it publicly on this podcast! But for reals, Maclain and my history go back to good old 9th grade. And amidst all the sports practices, Mac found a love of filmmaking.
Back then it was little videos for high school assemblies. This evolved into feature film directing. After a myriad of projects, Maclain wrote and directed Once I Was a Beehive. It slowly but surely captured some die-hard fans. Years later he created the spinoff stand-alone feature Once I was Engaged, which is currently in theaters. Mac worked his magic again and created a fun and memorable world in this rom-com that teaches incredible lessons about truly following your heart when making life-changing decisions. It is so good and you should check it out!
You can find all details of screenings here: www.onceiwasengaged.com
We had a great time reminiscing and chatting about the process of making this film and all the incredible memories he made with friends. Enjoy!
Get to Know Maclain Nelson
Maclain Nelson is a writer/director/actor who has an impressive career. He was born on July 15, 1980. Notably, one of his most famous works is the film Once I Was Engaged, which was released in 2021. This film is dubbed a new coming-of-age comedy from the creators of Once I Was A Beehive. Maclain is a master of creating engaging romantic comedies that not only speak volumes with their carefully crafted scripts but appealing characters that everyone can relate to. Not only does his career span over many years, but his work today is becoming even more relevant as he delves into the world of coming-of-age films.
It all began in his childhood. Maclain loves to tell stories. It’s something that he has always done and one of the reasons why his films translate so well onto screen. He always had a passion for filmmaking, even in his younger schooldays. He began to put his talents onto film during high school, where he would create small videos for the school assemblies. He also loved to act; his desire to perform helped him gain some impressive credits, although his first performance as Bambi in the first grade of course was his proudest! During high school, he focused his hobbies on sports, specifically football. During his stint in the student government, he enjoyed creating movies.
Becoming a Filmmaker
His passion eventually turned into a career. He then studied his craft at Brigham Young University in 2003 with a degree in theater arts studies. In 2013 Nelson worked with Garrett Batty as co-producer of The Saratov Approach. This was a dramatic thriller film about a 1998 kidnapping of two Latter-day Saint missionaries in Russia. His work has spanned across many genres, and many of these are inspired by his love for the arts.
He created multiple projects and then focused his efforts into directing. He then wrote and directed Once I Was A Beehive, which was released in 2015. The film was screened at the 2015 LDS Film Festival. It is a beautiful coming-of-age film that focuses on the emotional and captivating journey of a young girl. His love of films has taken him to Los Angeles, where he now resides. Maclain is also an accomplished actor, which is another facet of his never-ending skill-set. He was in the TV show Show Offs, as well as My Brother, The Time Traveler, and multiple short films. He also co-produced the movie My Brother, The Time Traveler, which was the 25th movie of Maclain’s career.
For many years he has been a producer at Arrowstorm Entertainment and is also an independent director. His works within film offer people a journey through pain and also through love and positivity. As with any piece of art, the goal is not only to entertain but to educate and for the audience to feel. Maclain manages to create this every single time, with an emphasis on self-development. His creativity speaks volumes. Being an actor himself, he can appreciate the audience fully as well as understand the emotions behind every story and every character. Each frame in a movie is a piece of art that reaches out.
His entrepreneurship is what has led him down a successful path. In 2018 he spoke about the importance of being able to follow your gut instinct in your career. He is inspired by the stories that he hears and adapting them to screen. This is what has made each of his projects so well received and, above all, so relatable. His ideas may often seem outlandish, as he once said on LDS Daily, “How else could you explain that a 34-year-old man would decide to make a heartfelt movie about Girls Camp?”
His interests away from the camera take him into the outdoors. He loves to hike and be out in the open air with his family. He enjoys photography, which aligns well with his filmmaking skills. He also loves to travel, which undoubtedly inspires his filmmaking even further.
He always follows his intuition and gives himself the chance to create something that he truly believes in. In the instance of art and filmmaking, a true filmmaker surely has to rely on that intuition in order to create something believable. That is what Maclain Nelson has continued to do throughout his career thus far — and undoubtedly in his career going forward.
Maclain Nelson Podcast Transcription
Charan: What’s going on, guys? This is a Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I’m here with my dear friend, Maclain Nelson, who has also brought a special guest with him, Tinky the dog, who is the star in and of itself, right?
Charan: He‘s incredible. But you guys, honestly, Maclain and I, we’ve known each other for quite some time now, gosh.
Maclain: Yes, ninth grade, since ninth grade.
Charan: Ninth grade, I believe.
Maclain: Which was ’94.
Charan: Was it ’94 or ’95, something like that, right?
Maclain: ’94, yeah.
Charan: Yeah. Geez, it’s been a long time. And this is back before the internet, or the internet was just barely becoming a thing. In fact, my dad was trying to explain what email was to me, and I’m like, “Dad, I don’t think anyone’s ever going to use this.” That’s why he’s a computer engineer and I’m not. But Mac always loves to say that he is responsible, and I will give him credit, for my entering into the film industry, because he put me in our high school video that aired in the auditorium in our high school years.
Maclain: I gave you your first role.
Charan: He really did.
Maclain: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: This podcast would not be a good podcast if I did not talk about the catch heard around the world. This is my favorite story of all time, I have got to say this. But you guys, here’s the deal. High school football’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. All right? All right? And anyone that says otherwise, well, they’re fools. And we were a 4A school, I believe, and this was the year, and it was a really powerful year because our good friend, Sam, had passed away, and so there was this whole thing of like, “Hey, let’s get…” I felt like that whole year, our senior year, everyone was like, “We’ve got to do this for Sam. We got to do this for Sam.” Right? And I remember our team went so far, and then the semi-final game was, I think, against Brighton, I believe?
Charan: Highland, Highland. Right, and they were really, really good. We were definitely the underdogs in that game, but somehow or other, somehow or other, Maclain, the guy, he just fought and fought and worked so hard, and the last second, you intercepted or something?
Charan: You intercepted it, and we won the game, like 41–40. It was such a tight game, very, very tight.
Maclain: Yeah, that’s a good memory, man.
Charan: Dude, listen, after high school, nothing matters anymore. And then we ended up winning the final game, and it was a really special moment. But yeah, it was a great time.
Maclain: I appreciate you keeping that alive-
Maclain: … so I don’t have to brag myself. You can just brag for me.
Charan: No, no, no, no. I will talk about it. Don’t worry. Don’t worry.
Maclain: And now I’m on podcasts, holding my movie star dog.
Charan: Your movie star dog. But what’s cool is, I remember you were the sports guy, but you did do drama and you were in Hamlet, I believe, in high school and stuff like that.
Maclain: Yeah. I mean, I never was able to do the fall musical because I was always playing football, but I did audition for Hamlet. I did do the state competitions, and then I also did all the video announcements for student government. So, that was kind of how I got in… That was my first real taste of film and when I really realized I like film.
Charan: You love this, yeah.
Maclain: You know what I mean? Theater’s cool and all, but I want to do movies.
Charan: You want to do movies. And it was cool, because I remember even after high school and as you started to get into college, I’d be randomly walking around BYU campus, and a whole section of some building would be closed off because you were filming, and you were the director or you were acting in it or something. You were doing something. And I’m like, “Wait, is that Maclain? Is he doing stuff?” And I just remember kind of watching you from afar a little bit but seeing you work your magic and producing, and you were doing a lot of producing and doing a lot of acting, and I always loved seeing what you were able to do and put together and I guess create. But I believe Once I Was a Beehive was your first movie that you directed. Is that right or no? Am I in the wrong?
Maclain: No, it wasn’t my first. I directed it. It was the first I directed alone. I’ve co-directed a couple of movies, but Once I Was a Beehive was the first one that I had written alone and directed alone. I mean, Hailey Smith, we came up with the characters together, but I wrote the script myself.
Charan: You wrote the script, yeah.
Maclain: By the way, is this dog, is it so distracting, her panting, or are we okay? All right. Awesome.
Charan: I mean, listen, wherever Tinky is, that’s where our audience’s hearts are going to be. That’s for dang sure. Well, it was interesting because when you made that movie, and I remember you were over at my apartment because my roommate was scoring the movie, I remember thinking, “Mac, this is genius.” Because you were able to create a really adorable, awesome story that hit a market perfectly, and you understood things that I felt like a lot of other filmmakers didn’t understand, whereas it was like, “Oh yeah, we just want to make a cool movie and stuff.” You’re like, “Yeah, I want to make a great movie and I’ll tell a great story, but I also understand the business sense of it, and I also understand this is a specific market that I want to hit.” Why were you drawn to that market?
Maclain: Honestly, I mean, a little bit. I produced a movie and acted in a movie called The Saratov Approach. I played Elder Propst in that, and that was the first one I’d done in kind of the specific LDS space. It worked out well because we tried to make it so that not just people of The Church of Jesus Christ would be interested in it but everybody. So, after that one did well, I was kind of like, “You know, maybe there’s some other stories…” I’d never really set out to make specifically religious movies, but because it crossed over and because people liked it, I thought, “Maybe there’s a space for this.”
Maclain: And I just, I had, for some reason, a weird fascination with girls camp, because my mom was a camp leader for years and years, and she was the super, over-the-top leader who had everything planned to the… And she would brag about how cool girls camp was and how if guys only knew how awesome it was, they would want to go so bad. And I just, I’d tease her a little bit, but just something about that world sparked my interest, and then my good friend Hailey Smith and I kind of brainstormed about if we were to do a movie. I have some really talented female friends and actors, and I wanted to do something that gave them a platform for them to show how amazing they were, like Lisa Clark and Hailey Smith, and of course, my wife, Clare Niederpruem. So, yeah, we just kind of came up with this world. And then, I took a deep dive into that, what that was all about. Most people say that I captured the world pretty well even though I’ve never experienced it, but I definitely did my research.
Charan: Well, what was cool was back in the 2000s, there were a whole string of movies made in the LDS genre that came out, like Singles Ward and stuff like that. And the first couple were a hit, and all of a sudden, I felt like they were kind of not hitting the audiences, and I felt like they weren’t hitting the audiences because either they were making a little too much fun of it or they weren’t making it as relatable. People just weren’t connecting. Right?
Charan: But Saratov Approach, which is a movie I love, and I mean, we went to high school together, and Corbin and I, we actually served our missions together. So, there was a lot of connections I personally had, and I remember watching that movie and being like, “Oh my gosh, I am totally moved right now. I’m really connecting with this story. It’s amazing.” And your performance was incredible. And I remember thinking when Once I Was a Beehive came out, you made the story, you had the funny over-the-top leaders, like Barta, and everything that did such a great job. But Paris’s story and her storyline, it was something that people can really latch onto and feel this connection to, so much so that I feel like that movie was a massive, massive success. And I don’t even know if you remember this, but I made this huge announcement in my church ward. I’m like, “Guys, you’ve got to go watch this movie.” And it was hilarious.
Maclain: Love it.
Charan: But the thing was, it was really cool, and it reached a huge audience, so much so that you’re like, “All right, we’re going to make the next one.” And that’s what you just really did with Once I Was Engaged, and I feel in so many ways, you definitely leveled up from the previous one.
Maclain: Oh, thank you.
Charan: Not that your storytelling was bad before or anything. It was great, but its production value was better. You guys were in Hawaii, shooting the film, which probably had its own challenges.
Maclain: Yeah. I definitely hope I’m getting better as a filmmaker.
Maclain Nelson Talks About Once I Was Engaged
Charan: Well, you definitely are. So, can you walk me a little bit through Once I Was Engaged and how that all came about?
Maclain: The first movie was… It started slow, but it gained steam, and gained traction, and gained a lot of fans, and people kept saying, “Can you do another one? Are you going to do another one?” And we thought about it, but it was a lot of work and we just, we weren’t sure. I didn’t really have something in mind. I didn’t plan it to be more than one movie, but because it gained in popularity, we just decided to explore it. And Excel Entertainment, who did our DVD release, was very interested as well. So they wanted to get on board early. So, we partnered with Arthur on that, and then I wrote a script actually probably 2017.
Charan: Oh, it was a while ago.
Maclain: So, I did it a while ago.
Maclain: And we were planning on going and doing it, but then I don’t know if you know, how many of the listeners know, Lisa Clark’s husband, Chris Clark, he got diagnosed with ALS.
Charan: Yeah. And Lisa’s been on this podcast.
Maclain: Yeah. Oh, okay, great.
Charan: She’s told us all about it, yeah.
Maclain: Yeah. So, Lisa, she went from being like, “Okay, yeah, let’s make this movie, everything’s fine,” to “My husband’s sick. I have to take care of him.” It progressed over some time, but she became the main breadwinner. So, she was very unavailable to do the project for several years, one of the reasons why we didn’t shoot it until 2020. And there was one point where we were thinking about shifting the focus to maybe making it about Charlotte’s character because we wouldn’t have access to Lisa really, other than in a smaller role, because Lisa has such a big role in this. But we kept it kind of floating. There was one point where we were going to try to have Chris play the dad. There was a bunch of different kind of iterations just because we really felt it needed to be about Carrie Carrington and Bree Carrington.
Maclain: But in the end, it didn’t really work out. I kind of thought we were never going to make this movie just because the window was going to pass.
Charan: Close, yeah.
Maclain: You know what I mean?
Maclain: But later, so Chris passed in last June, a year ago. Obviously, I was very hesitant to even bring it up to Lisa, but a couple of months after, we were talking. We’re very close friends. We’re like brother-sister close. In conversation, that came up and I just said, “Hey, I do feel like it’s time, that I want to do something with this script, but it’s up to you. If there’s something you want to try to do, I want to do it. If not, then there’s plenty of other things.” You what I mean?
Charan: [crosstalk 00:13:37], yeah.
Maclain: But she said yes. And we were in the middle of a pandemic, so it was like we had to do something. And so, it was this very, very silver lining in the cloud that we were able to put this together, and it kind of became like a very much of a healing process, making this movie for all of us as friends.
Maclain: We’d been isolated from everyone. We had to shoot with masks on and all the protocols, but when we went to Hawaii, we were quarantining, and the numbers there were a lot lower. And because we’re all quarantined together, we kind of created our own bubble. So, we got to be real friends and real… You know what I mean? At the end of the day, we would be able to just hang out and chill, and we were in this beautiful place at the Oahu Whale House, which is this place, beautiful house, and you can rent out for your family.
Charan: Yeah, and make movies in.
Maclain: Exactly. So, it just was a very amazing… The whole cast wanted to come back together, even though they were spread out all over the United States, New York, California, North Carolina, everywhere, Florida, but everybody wanted to come back, and it was kind of a testament to the relationships that we had from the first one kind of carrying over.
Charan: Well, it was interesting. My buddy Skyler, I think he was your gaffer.
Charan: Because he had just gaffed a movie that I produced.
Maclain: Oh nice.
Charan: And then he’s like, “Yeah, I’m heading to Hawaii for Mac’s movie.” I’m like, “Dude, that’s amazing. That’s so great they’re doing that.” And I know he had a great time. But what was really cool was to see Bart there with Baylen and Wyatt. I love that because those are his actual kids, and I don’t think Baylen and Wyatt ever acted in anything, and they did-
Maclain: I mean, they’d done high school plays and stuff, and they’ve auditioned, but this was their first movie.
Charan: Their first movie. And they were great. I was like, “Oh my gosh. Good job.” You know?
Charan: I thought that those guys all did really, really well. What do you hope that the audiences will get from this movie versus Once I Was a Beehive?
Maclain: You know, I hope people will come and laugh really hard. There’s a lot of big laugh-out-loud moments. It is very much a rom-com, heavy on the comedy. It’s got some good romance too, but it’s heavy on the comedy. And also kind of like with Once I Was a Beehive, we hit you hard with comedy, but we had a message in there. I want people to come away with the message about… Basically, we’re exploring a time in people’s lives. A lot of people make these decisions in their early twenties that affect the rest of their life, what college they’re going to, in the Latter-day Saint culture whether or not you’re going on a mission, getting married, you’re choosing someone for the rest of your life and beyond, if you believe that.
Charan: Yeah, sure.
Maclain: So, it happens at such a young age. I wanted to kind of explore all of the ups and downs, the pressures, the roller coaster ride that it feels like to be making these decisions at such a young age. And there a lot of fun to be had. Basically, the main message is when you’re making these hard decisions to trust yourself, to be brave, and to really listen to your heart and your inspiration, and not really be… Don’t give in to outside pressures. Just make sure that you’re making these choices for yourself, and you’re being brave.
Charan: For yourself.
Maclain: And I mean, that’s a universal principle, and sometimes that can get overlooked because you want to have the…
Maclain: And also when we talk about our weddings and our engagements, all the craziness, people kind of whitewash and just tell the fairy tale: “Well, we fell in love and it was perfect.” You know what I mean? But we got to explore kind of the things that happen, you know what I mean, where ex-girlfriends or boyfriends kind of come out of the woodwork and say, “Hey, what’s going on? Are you…” You know what I mean?
Charan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Maclain: All these pressures come out. So, we didn’t want to whitewash it and make it look just pretty and fancy. We wanted to make all of the ups and downs that makes an engagement. And so, that’s our goal, for people to experience that with us.
Charan: Well, I think it’s such a powerful thing, because I remember I had a former mission companion friend of mine who was recently going through a divorce. And he and I were chatting about it, and he was saying, “You know what?” He’s like, “Charan, I honestly think that when I got married, I think I got married because of the expectation of getting married.” I’m like, “Well, what do you mean?” He says, he’s like, “Dude, there’s just so much pressure sometimes, and the church says this, the LDS culture, the prophet said this, or this is what we’re supposed to do. This is what needs to happen. And so, that storyline got in my head and it gets into a lot of people’s heads. And that’s what I did.” And he’s like, “Sometimes I wonder if I truly ever loved my wife.” And I’m like, “Oh, it’s tough to say that.” He’s like, “She’s a wonderful person.” And she really is.
Charan: And so, anyway, they’re kind of going through a divorce right now, and the good thing is, is they’re very, very cordial. They’re friends, and they understand, and she’s very mature, and they’re trying to make it as easy of a transition as possible, which is awesome. But I think that’s such a tough thing because there’s so many people. Look, me and Leanne [Aqualis 00:19:44], we were discussing this at the thing. It’s like, “Are we the two that didn’t get married?” And so, it was funny, because I felt like your movie premiere was a massive high school reunion because so many of our high school friends were there.
Charan: I was thinking about it, I’m like, “Man, there’s a lot of folks that have gotten married or just because of the culture have been like, ‘Yep, this is what we’re supposed to do.'” And then they realize, like, “Hey, it’s not all that simple. It’s not all that easy.” And so, I’m actually really glad that you explored bits of that in your film because you’re kind of making people aware that hey, look, I know what people say, but what does your heart say?
Charan: And I love, I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s a part where at the beginning of the film, she writes a letter, right, to her older self about this day. And I think that’s a very powerful thing to do, and it’s good. I think it’s important to trust your heart in these type of situations and stuff, and kind of figure it out hey, where I’m supposed to go and what I’m supposed to do? So, I love it. Now, what are you hoping with the movie? What do you hope people will…
Maclain: Well, I hope people get to see it in the theaters. It’s one of those-
Charan: Is it going to be out there for a while?
Maclain: Yeah. I mean, well, this is the tricky thing with independent films is that you never know how long it’s going to be in the theaters because it all depends on if people are going or not. People don’t realize it’s not a set time. It’s like, if the movie’s doing well and people are going, the theaters want to make more money, so they will keep it in the theaters. If you’re not ranking, and a new movie’s coming in, there’s 10 screens at your theater, and you’re number 9 or number 10, if two new movies are coming in, you’re gone or they’re cutting your showtimes.
Maclain: So, yeah, we really want people to see it in the theaters because that really sends a message to all the different channels in Hollywood that these movies are important, that people want more of them, that they should put them on Netflix. They should have them more easily available to other people. And so, yeah, I’m just, I’m hoping people will go see it with their families. You don’t have to know the first movie to know this one.
Charan: Yeah, it’s a standalone film.
Maclain: It stands alone. It’s not a true sequel. It’s more of a spinoff. So, I just hope people go see it, take their families. I hope it sparks discussion. So far, everybody’s saying they laughed so hard, but then they found themselves talking about the movie afterwards because they shared a story they haven’t shared about their own engagement and marriage, or they shared an experience they heard of, or a younger kid who is just maybe in their teens asking these questions. And basically, it’s a way into good conversations with families about really important things.
Charan: Absolutely. And it’s interesting, too, because it’s, I don’t know, I found if you’re an active Latter-day Saint, there’s so many things you can relate with it, and even if you’re not a member of the faith, I think there’s still a lot of things you’re going to be able to relate with it.
Maclain: Oh yeah, yeah.
Charan: And what’s so cool is even though it’s kind of a niche film, it has a lot of universal truths that people can take for themselves, which I think is really powerful. I think of even the Hindu culture, right, originally came from, and it’s a very family-oriented society as well, and so, I think there’s a lot of similarities that you can take with it.
Maclain Nelson Talks About Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Charan: So, I kind of want to shift topics a little bit. Now, part of the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast is discussing people’s lemonade stand stories which means in their lives, they have been dealt lemons. They’ve been dealt blows, and then they’re able to shift it and turn it into lemonade. Has there ever been a moment in your own life where you’re like, “Oh, that was a lemon, that was a blow”?
Maclain: Oh, definitely.
Charan: Yeah. I mean, we’re filmmakers, so that’s a daily occurrence.
Maclain: I feel my wife and I… so my wife plays Bree Carrington in this movie, the one who’s getting engaged. And we’ve been in this industry since… I started in 2003. She started after she graduated college in 2008, and we’ve had huge ups and downs. You know what I mean? We’ve had times when we’ve just been, you have a movie, you have a script, it’s going well, and then people just decide, “No, we’re not doing this.” And just, you feel like all this work goes down the toilet.
Maclain: I mean, I’d say the biggest lemon for us, obviously, and I know this is a lemon for everybody, but when the pandemic hit, we literally lost all of our jobs. We were shooting Hallmark movies, and they just all got canceled, and we didn’t know what we were going to do to pay our rent. You know what I mean?
Charan: And you guys live in LA. It’s an expensive place.
Maclain: We live in Los Angeles. It is not a cheap place to live. And that’s kind of when we were like, “Well, maybe we can scrape together some budget.” And we know some people that have been interested in our past films and some investors types and start pitching it around, and kind of out of necessity, we’re like, “Well, we have to do something on our own. We have to make something because otherwise we’ll be sitting around, and we’ll have no ability to make a living.” So, that lemon, that giant lemon, we definitely turned into something which we think is very delicious lemonade.
Charan: It’s very delicious. Some sugar in there, yeah.
Maclain: Yeah. I mean, I think in the arts, it’s a constant up and down.
Charan: Well, dude, especially if you’re an independent filmmaker, it’s like you’re climbing Mount Everest every single time. It’s tough. It’s very tough to make ends meet a lot of times, because in an independent film, I feel like the rules change all the time as far as oh, this is the distribution model now, this is how you’re going to make money and everything versus a studio system where you’re almost a steady type of paycheck. Yeah, it’s amazing that you’ve been able to withstand the test of time and withstand a pandemic, because it was not easy for anybody.
Maclain: It was not, no, absolutely. And like I said, some people, I hate… You shouldn’t ever really compare hardships, because I know that ours was… Some people lost their lives. Some people lost family members. And so, to kind of compare it, it wasn’t near that. But I heard a really good analogy about this is like we were all in the same flood, but some people had a boat, some people had a yacht, some people had a rowboat size, some people just had a piece of wood, and some people maybe had-
Charan: Like a life jacket or something.
Maclain: You know what I mean? That was interesting just to kind of put it in perspective. We were all in it together, but some people just had some more resources, and I feel like I was maybe in a little rowboat where the waves hit us hard. Anyway, it’s important to just keep all that stuff in perspective-
Charan: Absolutely, yeah.
Maclain: … because we just wanted to be sensitive to kind of what people were going through. But yeah, it was an interesting time for everybody.
Charan: Yeah. It was, it was a very interesting thing. I remember, yeah, it was just crazy. I came to set of a movie that Clare was directing because they wanted to possibly use me as a stunt body double or something for a character that I was already like, “There’s no way they’re going to use me. I don’t even look like the guy.” But even just coming to set, I had to get Covid-tested. I’m like, “I don’t even know if I want to be in the movie.” But it was funny, because Brent Geisler, he’s a good friend of mine, we were kind of chatting about just kind of the insanity of shooting during last year. It was crazy. And especially, shooting movies in the union, there were so many protocols you had to take, and yeah, it’s amazing that you were able to come through. You had some battle wounds, but you were able to lick them off and be like, “All right, let’s just kind of go again.” You know?
Maclain: Yeah. I mean, we had to shut down for a week because somebody got tested positive. Anyway.
Charan: Oh man.
Maclain: But no one really wants to hear about it.
Charan: No one wants to hear about that.
Charan: So, a couple of last questions for you.
Maclain Nelson Talks About What Brings Him Joy
Charan: What brings you joy right now?
Maclain: This dog brings me joy even though she’s a little bit of a nut. But the principle behind a dog, anything you unconditionally love brings you a lot of joy. My wife and I have a ton of fun. We work together. We collaborate together, and we’re apart sometimes because we’re on different projects, but because we’re both kind of have a similar goal when we’re working together, we always have this joy and this camaraderie and this kind of shared experience. And at times, it’s great when we do get to work together. Like with this one, we’re together 24 hours a day for three months in a row. And a lot of people don’t have that, even if they see that you have a 9-to-5-type job, you’re away from your spouse a lot. Our relationship brings us a ton of joy.
Charan: And that’s amazing, Mac.
Maclain: Yeah. Oh, thanks.
Charan: Honestly, that’s so amazing, because I know a lot of people, they’re like, “Oh no, no, our lives are separate, and we’ll spend a little bit of time.” But you guys are working together and having joined… I have to interject because there’s something, it was hilarious. Matt Mattson and I, who’s a good friend of yours as well, we were chatting. We kept trying to get your attention at the premiere, but we’re like, “Ah, he’s too busy.” But what people don’t know is when Clare turned 30, you threw the biggest birthday bash for her at Lake Arrowhead, I believe, I think, and we rented a couple of cabins and stuff like that, and it was just so insanely fun. So many people showed up, but we kept being like, “When’s Clare’s next birthday party? When is that going to happen? Because we need it.” But that was the thing. You always knew how to bring people together.
Maclain: Thanks, man.
Charan: And celebrate things that you really, really honored your wife there, and did things that you knew that she was going to love, like when we all made those homemade movies and stuff like that. It was just so much fun. Right? So, I just love that you have that ability to do that. But I know I cut you off a little bit, but you were saying though about working with Clare for three months or so. What other things are you kind of grateful for?
Maclain: I mean, I’m very grateful for laughter. I think comedy does really heal the soul. I think that it’s very important, and I’m very lucky to have a lot of, yourself included, a lot of very hilarious friends that are able to… That’s one great way that you do make lemonade out of lemons. You can joke about it, and it helps you laugh, and then helps you deal with it, and it helps you realize that other people are going through that same stuff, and you’re just a part of the whole experience, and the laughter kind of gets you through it. So, I mean, yeah, doing improv comedy. I do the Show Offs show on BYUtv, and I get to just laugh, and make jokes, and be characters, and do a bunch of amazing improvised plays and musicals with my friends. And it’s just, what could be better?
Charan: What could be better, yeah?
Maclain: What can be better than just having fun and laughing and sharing that?
Charan: I think about my time in LA. I lived there for almost ten years, and I was talking to some friends of mine. They’re like, “Well, what do you miss about LA?” And I’m like, “My friends.” Honestly, the amount of good times we had over there, and all the ridiculousness, whether we were getting at Will Rubio’s house or we’re going to the beach or whatever we were doing, we always… And what was cool was every single one of our friends were so different from each other in certain ways, and then also very similar, but yet we did, we got together all the time, and we laughed, and it was a good thing.
Maclain Nelson Talks About His Greatest Fear
Charan: Okay. So, two more questions. What’s your greatest fear?
Maclain: Oh gosh, my greatest fear. This is a hard one. This is a very vulnerable question.
Charan: It is the vulnerable question.
Maclain: My biggest fear is losing my wife.
Charan: Mm, yeah. Yeah. That’d be [crosstalk 00:33:20].
Maclain: Losing that relationship. Yeah, that is, that’s the thing I have nightmares about. When you find your best friend, and you share everything with them, and you just want to be with them always, it’s really hard to find that, and so to think about losing that can almost…
Charan: Yeah. How did you two meet then?
Maclain: I was teaching an improv class at her college, a two-day intensive workshop at University of Tampa. She’s quite a bit younger than me. But I mean, it wasn’t weird. She was a senior in college, and it wasn’t like I was her professor. It was a two-day workshop that I came in as an industry professional, and we just hit it off. And after the second workshop, we all went to IHOP, and the students wanted to chat with me about the industry and all that, and we just sat next to each other. And one by one, people left, and the end of the night, it was just the two of us, and we talked for like three hours.
Maclain: I got her number and got on the plane the next day, and I just called her, and we talked again, and she literally just said, “Well, call me tomorrow.” The next day, I called her again for three hours. And six weeks later, I was like, “I have to come back and see you. I’m going to pretend that I’m going to set up another improv-“
Charan: Another improv, yeah.
Maclain: “… Another improv workshop, yeah, but it’s going to be to see you.” And so, yeah, it was kind of this long-distance thing for a year. And then, I think with the long-distance… I’m telling you the whole story. I don’t know if you [crosstalk 00:35:04].
Charan: No. No, no, no, it was great, yeah.
Maclain: With the long distance, you kind of realize you have to be in the same city for a while. So, she was brave and moved. Talk about being brave.
Charan: Yeah, and trusting your heart.
Maclain: Yeah, and trusting your heart. She literally moved out to Utah, got an apartment not too far from where my house was, and just started working on films out here just to see if… She left New York. She was, just finished a Broadway musical tour, and she came out and was willing to take a bet on… And just see where things went as a relationship. And after a year of being, dating in the same place, I proposed to her, and we definitely had our ups and downs during the engagement, big time. There were several times where it almost…
Maclain: Oh yeah.
Maclain: Oh yeah. I’d say about a month before.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Maclain: It almost all was just gone.
Charan: Really? I did not know any of this.
Maclain: Oh yeah.
Charan: See? People don’t talk about it [crosstalk 00:36:07] till it’s like you’re on the spot.
Maclain: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It wasn’t because we didn’t love each other. It was just because of she is a different religion than me. She was raised Catholic, and I’m an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ. There was some big, big… Mostly similarities, but some differences, enough that you got to really think about it. And we went to premarital counseling, and we talked about everything, and in the end, we both made the decision to get married, and I’m so glad we did. But yeah, it was one of those moments where it’s always a choice. Marriage is always a choice, but I really feel like I was supposed to at least meet her and connect with her, because it really had one weekend to do it, and if we didn’t connect that weekend, I would have never seen her again.
Charan: Wouldn’t have seen her again. Well, the thing is, is as you’re telling me the story, how’d you keep thinking it was all about choices. It was all about trusting your heart, and taking that leap of faith, and making that choice, and seeing hey, is this worth it, is it not worth it. And I think that sums up your movie. It sums up life really, and I love that you did that. And kind of going back to your fear, I think if you guys keep choosing each other every single day, then there is nothing to fear. Right?
Maclain Nelson’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: You just keep making that same choice over and over again. So, I love that. So, last question for you, Mac. What advice would you give your younger self, the one that just graduated high school?
Maclain: Oh boy.
Maclain: I would give my younger self. Let me think about this for one second.
Maclain: I don’t just have these on the cuff, ready to go.
Charan: Dude, I know.
Maclain: I think I would say, however hard you think you need to work, you got to work a little bit harder.
Charan: Yeah. Okay. All right.
Maclain: I think, especially in the arts, you just have to work a little bit harder, because everybody’s fighting to do… Everybody wants to do their first film. Everybody wants to be an… It’s such a competitive industry and there’s only so many… It’s just, you just have to work harder to… Let me rephrase that, because I don’t think there’s a limited number of jobs because you can always just create your own.
Charan: Sure, of course.
Maclain: That’s the cool thing about this industry, but you’re kind of taught that okay, you just have to wait until someone discovers you. But no, if you work really hard and you try to learn all the different aspects, not just acting, but writing, and directing, and producing, and anything, even doing things on crew, like costume design or wardrobe, all those things help you to be a better filmmaker. And so, I just, I would have told myself to just work a little harder, to not have an ego, and to just treat my… Because as an actor, you don’t have a 9-to-5, but you got to still treat it like a 9-to-5. You have to put in 40 hours a week of something.
Charan: Of something.
Maclain: Even if no one’s paying you. So, it took me a while to realize, “Oh, okay if I want to be a writer, I have to work 40 hours a week, even though people aren’t…” I just sit by my computer and I have to write something.
Charan: Well, there’s this principle. There’s two thoughts I had, was one is work begets work.
Charan: And I’ve always known you to be someone that works. You’re constantly working. Whether you’re getting paid for it or not, you’re constantly working. And more often than not, I know for myself, there’s a lot of work I’ve done, there’s no pay there.
Maclain: Yeah, for sure. Same.
Charan: And then other thing is something I think, I believe Steve Martin, I believe, said was, “Be so good that they just can’t say no.”
Maclain: Yeah, they can’t ignore you.
Charan: They can’t ignore you. That’s what it was. Right?
Charan: That’s kind of what you’re doing. You’re creating such good goodness out there that it will come back to you, and it’s going to continue to come back, and you’re going to continue to help bring more light to the world.
Charan: Yeah, man. Well, listen, I’m so thankful that you came on this podcast. And listeners, for all of you out there, please check out Once I Was Engaged. It’s in theaters. Is it in theaters right now?
Maclain: Yes. It’s in theaters all over Utah right now.
Charan: Right now. Okay.
Maclain: So, go this week because it’s very important for us to send a message to the theaters that you guys want more movies like this. And then we expand to Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada on August 6th. I mean, it’s basically Father of the Bride meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding but set in-
Charan: In Hawaii.
Maclain: Yeah, Hawaii. You’ll have a lot of fun, all ages, men and women. It’s great for date night. It’s great for family night. It’s great for just a group of friends to get together and go see, but yeah.
Charan: And you’ll learn some incredible life lessons, honestly. You really well. So, yeah, please go support Maclain. And this movie, it’s a fantastic movie, and we need more type of films like this out there. So, we would love for it if you guys would support this.
Maclain: And Roxy, or Tink… This is Tink, but she plays Roxy in the movie, and she definitely wants people to go see her. Right, Tinky? Yeah, good girl.
Charan: Yeah, I mean, whenever you lick someone’s nose, that’s the sign. That’s the sign.
Maclain: That’s the affirmative.
Charan: All right. Well, thank you so much, Mac, for coming on, and thanks so much, Roxy, for your contribution. Your panting is amazing. And we’ll chat later.
Maclain: Thanks so much.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and reviews. And if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand Story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.
The Lemonade Stand Stories Podcast with Charan Prabhakar was created to shine a light on some of the world’s greatest creators, entrepreneurs, and innovators and the positive impact they’re making in the world.
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