A River Of Waste

Don McCorkell

ROBERT NELMS, Director of Photography and Editor

Robert Nelms grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In elementary school he was described as a constant daydreamer who would rather draw pictures of spaceships, characters and scenes from movies rather than finish his schoolwork - his parents and his art teacher were very supportive though. In middle school, Robert's parents bought a video camera to use for family gatherings; however he had other plans. With the help of friends, animals, action figures, and clay, Robert began shooting scenes using stop motion animation, in-camera effects and various fireworks to produce his own movie shorts. As his sophomore year in high school began, Robert watched as his school's morning news show played throughout the televisions in the classrooms. He told the teacher the show was "all wrong" it needed a punchier intro and a better background. Robert asked to be assigned to the morning news show and his teacher agreed. Robert's world was changed forever.

Following his inclusion into remaking the morning news show, with the help of his technical education teacher and art teacher, Robert put together a basic editing bay. Students liked the changes they saw in the show, and soon they began bringing their various classroom video assignments to him for help in mixing and editing. Over time Robert realized that he didn't have enough time in one class hour to edit and advise on assignments brought to him, so he asked to spend other class time at the editing bay.
The following year Robert's high school received a generous grant from one of the local cable stations. This meant brand new equipment and new video cameras. He soon realized that he would have to learn everything about this new equipment. Robert edited all of his high school's videos until his graduation in 1996. A year later, the Tulsa Education Service Center asked for a documentary on the PTA spanning 80 years. Robert was specifically asked by his high school principal to come back and assist in putting the documentary together. It was his first paid assignment. Robert eventually moved to California to pursue a career in digital editing and filmmaking. While attending community college, he was asked to make a short film with some of his fellow students titled Art of Matter. The short was a tremendous learning experience for Robert and it caught the eye of Don McCorkell, who hired him to shoot and A River of Waste.