Nash Hagen

HOMELESS FILM SCHOOL GRAD

TO

Luxury Resort Photographer

IF YOU WANT TO READ THE SHORT VERSION...

Otherwise you better buckle up!

It was a typical Tuesday afternoon in August 2017. I had just graduated film school 3 months earlier and had been working on various film sets across the country. I received a phone call from an (808) area code and I immediately knew who it was.

See about 2 months prior a friend of mine that was a year ahead of me in school offered to put me in touch with the assistant director of Hawaii 5-0. After a few failed attempts at connecting, I wrote it off as a long shot. But now…

808… that’s a Hawaii number! Could it be? I picked up the phone. 

“Hello?”

“Hey I’m calling from the set of Hawaii 5-0, I see you have expressed interest in helping us out on set. Are you on Island and available to work this Friday? Call time is 6am.”

“Yup I’ll be there!”

“Great see you then.”

*Click

Holy crap! I had just accepted a 1 day job in Hawaii. I was not on island, I was sitting at my parents place in Tennessee. In fact I had never been to Hawaii in my life yet now I had 3 days to prepare for the biggest move of my life. Needless to say I was in full scramble mode!

Lighting a car scene for one of my first short film shoots in college

The Beginnings

Well it turns out my good friend from film school had gotten a similar job on 5-0 and moved to Hawaii as well. After 2 days of scrambling, I texted him as a last ditch effort to try and find a place to stay after my plane would land in just 24 hours. He mentioned he was sleeping at a church and there was some room on the floor if I was down. SCORE! I had a place to sleep! I ended up sleeping on that floor for almost a month and am so grateful for it.

A few months after moving I decided to give free lancing a try. Ever since I was 8 years old I knew I wanted to be a film director. I loved the thought of creating stories and captivating audiences with my work. Throughout my childhood, I’d constantly be bribing my siblings and friends to act with me in little short films (if you could call them that) that I would make. This was pre-social media age so really it was only my parents who would see them, but I knew someday I would make my dream a reality. 

Working on sets was long tiring work. It was fun, but left little room for creativity (unless you were the important roles like Director or Cinematographer). The only way I could do that was either working in the industry for years and putting in my dues, or breaking off on my own and doing it myself! Needless to say, I did the latter lol.

Some Of My Early Work

At first, it was really tough. 

I had no connections, no social media or marketing experience, and very little work examples, but I did have one thing. A drive to make the dream a reality. 

After months of trial and error, shooting and posting to Instagram every day, and lots of late nights, I finally started to figure out some things that worked. I started to pitch brands to shoot products for their marketing and ultimately found a niche in the luxury resort space. 

Fast forward almost 5 years and thousands of photos later and I have worked with some of the top names in the travel space including Royal Caribbean, Hyatt, Westin, Marriott, and Margaritaville to name a few (you can check out my media kit if you want to see a more comprehensive list). 

I’ve shot a Black Friday campaign for a resort in Kauai, and grand opening photos for a hotel just outside of Disney Land. I traveled to Vietnam to shoot a documentary about building homes for the underprivileged, and filmed the Caribbean’s largest waterpark in the Bahamas. Ultimately for me its about sharing experiences and stories that resonate with people and inspiring them to live these experiences themselves.

It’s been a lot of work but so rewarding and God has blessed me immensely, not only with an amazing career but also a beautiful wife, and life I could only have dreamed of before!

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