Nicholas E. Copus


I was born outside London in 1966 during the summer of love and was immediately put up for adoption. As Thatcher seized power, we emigrated to Canada…Even at eight I had socialist tendencies, but clearly no understanding of a sub artic climates.

I lived through twelve six-month Edmonton winters, watching movies and absorbing alternative and punk rock bands, in eighty-eight my MG Convertible was buried in a snowstorm and didn’t emerge till spring. I swore I would not endure another Edmonton winter and migrated to the warmer but wetter climate of Vancouver.

I was accepted into Emily Carr University’s film program with seven other hopefuls. Four years of trying to to tell the difference between Fuji and Kodak stock and being everyone’s cameraman, as I was the only one who could load the Arri SR, I graduated with Honors in 94, with a selection of pretty embarrassing short films, and a $300 music video I directed for my ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend’s band. (In an attempt to get her back), instead I got nominated for Canadian Independent music video of the year, which I did not win, nor did I get the girl.

Upon graduation I had an opportunity to join the camera union or work as a director with a Karaoke music video company, (tough decision)

Two hundred Karaoke videos later I found myself living in Honk Kong under contract for Polygram Far east, and Polygram Asia directing MTVs for some of Asia’s top recording artists. I left Hong Kong in 1997, just prior to it being returned to China. (I was not that much of a Socialist) 

I went home, all the way home, to London, with one bag, after years of growing up on a diet of Stephen Frear’s films, and Monty Python I somehow was romanticizing grubby flats, and multiple trains passing within inches of one’s headboard. 

The BBC at the time needed directors who could operate cameras as they were making their first foray into small digital equipment, I lucked out and got a three-month contract in their documentary department producing, shooting and editing, on early nonlinear systems for a weekly magazine show focused on the arts called ‘The Frame’. 

I worked for the BBC for over a decade producing and directing, short and full-length documentaries, including Once Upon a time in Utah (The Sundance film festival 2003) and Biography about Jimmy Mcgovern, Isaac Hayes and David Bowie. (yeah I interviewed him) In 1999 I was invited to join the BBC’s, New ‘Fiction LAB’, a media department set on developing new technology to produce unique dramatic content. My focused shifted solely to scripted production, I completed multiple films there including, A life in a Day, A Boy in Darkness, Trouble at the Top, Scar stories, The Caravan, My Fathers Expectations. As well as multiple episodes of Eastenders and Holby City.  My work columnated in Producing and Directing a feature length film called 'Thunder Road, that after its initial broadcast was broken into thirty chapters to be the first film digitally broadcast on High-speed internet, and the first film ever shot at the BBC in HD, this was 2003… 

It was written by the amazing John Godber.

My first foray into America drama was on the 4400 in 2006, I had no idea how US episodic worked, and clumsily stumbled through, making minor and major missteps on a daily basis but managed to deliver an episode that got me invited back to direct that season’s finale. This opened the door a crack, and Toronto outfit Shaftsbury films took a huge risk by hiring me to direct 'The Summit' after I convinced them I was really good at shooting anything anywhere. We shot this British, Canadian four-hour miniseries in five countries, and it starred Bruce Greenwood, Christopher Plummer, James Purefoy and Mia Maestro. It received a Genie nomination for best Director and also took home the Genie for best limited series that year. It was a labor of love and remains one of the best experiences of my entire career. After this I returned to the UK to direct The Day of The Triffids a six-hour miniseries featuring Venessa Redgrave, Brian Coxx , Jolie Richardson, Eddie Izzard, Dougary Scott, Jason Priestly. For the BBC.

In the years since I’ve directed over 100 hours of episodic and mini-series for multiple networks, cable, and studios. I’ve been an active producing director on seven series and a Co-executive Producer on five series. Worked and shot all over the world, hit it out of the park and had my nosed bloodied several times.

Stand outs Include Alphas, Gotham, Lethal Weapon, Into the Badlands, Salem, and most recently on the Right Stuff, American Gods and John Well’s Animal Kingdom, which I’m currently the PD / Co-Executive Producer on. 

I have I believe a solid reputation as a slightly loud, decisive, but supportive and positive force in production, as a director with an ability to handle the most complex of episodes crammed into the daily realties of production with the most benevolent and nutty of actors. 

I pride myself on my connection to those who I have worked with closely and forged strong repours with, be they writers, show runners, actors, studio executives, and most importantly the crew. A few standouts Glen Mazzera, Brannon Braga, Matt Hill, Craig Silverstein, Mark Lafferty, Emily Whitsell, Ira Bherr, Bruno Heller, Daniele Nathanson, John Wax, and John Wells. Not to mention Xochi Blymer one of the AD’s on Animal Kingdom, and Francisco Morales at Craft services who just makes the best Sausages.

I’m currently completing two years of overseeing Animal Kingdom of which 19 episodes have been shot under COVID restrictions, I directed ten of those episodes, and on screen they remained seamless in not giving away the massive safety issues being dealt with by some incredible and truly brave medical staff, all keeping us shooting but invisible behind the lens. 

The Series comes to an end in July. 

I live with my Wife (not the music video girl) and my eleven-year-old-going on seventeen daughter, and an overly energetic Miniature French bulldog. 

I split my time between Los Angeles and Vancouver but have been states side for the last year due to work and Covid. 

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