NICHO BARNARD INTERVIEW
The Crew: First of all congratulations on your first series, and let me just say we are super excited to watch The Crossing.
Nicho: Thank you so much 🙂 We are all also very excited and are so happy to see that people show the same passion and interest in the series. It makes our work so much easier if we have a fan base that supports us, and we know we are doing it not just for ourselves. I’ll make sure to invite you to the special “first look” screening event in May.
The Crew: At 20, you are already an accomplished actor, filmmaker, TV & musical theatre director, event manager, coordinator and vocal coach. You sing, dance, write, produce & direct. You really do believe in the motto “Go big or go home.” What motivates you to be so persistent and work so hard in the pursuit of your art?
Nicho: My passion, since seven arts has really been a big part of my life. I also think my biggest motivation is the pessimists who keep telling me that I can’t do it, I can’t achieve my dreams and that it’s an unrealistic career path. I want to do it, make it big and show them! Anything is possible with hard work, determination, and faith!
The Crew: How did you learn the craft of filmmaking?
Nicho: Hahaha, I am addicted! Since very young, every documentary, EPK, Behind The Scene’s looks on movies and how to make movies I’ve watched. The industry always intrigued me. I made it my goal to learn everything I can do to ace and achieve my goals. Reading books, attending conferences, seminar’s, workshops, studied, courses, experience, etc. You name it!
The Crew: At 18, you wrote and directed your first short film. What was it about?
Nicho: It was a very small project I took on with some friends and family one December holiday. I had this idea for a movie and recently saw some fascinating documentaries on how they make movies in Hollywood, so I sat down and wrote a short movie script and asked all my friends and family to offer up their December holiday to help me make it. The movie was called Ghostface. It was about a series of killings that took place in a town and was about betrayal and also had some romance.
The Crew: What was the most important thing you learned making that film?
Nicho: It looks easier than it is hahaha and you need a lot of patience and determination. Plus you need to be organized and know what it is that you want exactly.
The Crew: What kinds of obstacles have you faced (if any), because of your age? How has your age benefitted you? Does your age make you stand out from the crowd and garner positive attention or is it an obstacle?
Nicho: Both. For some people, they think it’s amazing that someone like myself has accomplished so many things so young and works so hard and are so determined. Others believe that it is a problem because they think I lack experience at my age and am TO YOUNG to do the job right and professional. But ultimately my age has benefitted me because when people see how passionate and determined I am they tend to support and help a lot. I also think that’s why I get sponsors so easily hahaha 😉 .
The Crew: What is it about you, and your experience that makes you a good filmmaker?
Nicho: I don’t know! I believe that even though I have accomplished so many things in life, I am still in a learning curve and learn a lot everyday. Even people that have been in the industry for years and years still learn something everyday. And I think my willingness to learn more and expand myself helps make me a good filmmaker. Plus I learned to master the art of patience.
The Crew: Who are some of your favourite filmmakers, and how did they influence you?
Nicho: Oh wow! There’s so many. Clint Eastwood, James Cameron (famously known for Terminator, Aliens, Titanic) also my all time favourite Steven Spielberg, don’t forget Christopher Nolan (famous for the Batman Series, Insomnia, and Inception) and of course the late Alfred Hitchcock is known for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They are all just so great. Legends. They made fantastic films, each in their own different style and way of different methods. Their influence on me was to be able to see the amazing work they created and got such great recognition for it, and it inspires you to work hard for your goals and also to reach that!
The Crew: Where do you find your inspiration?
Nicho: MUSIC! I love music and as a singer, listening to music helps me think and lets me create stories in my mind. I also find inspiration through people, their stories and everything around us. Plus people that tend to want to break you down inspires me to work harder to prove them wrong.
The Crew: How important is it for you to be an auteur?
Nicho: Vital. I want my work to be noticeable and different and unique.
The Crew: Do you give your collaborators (writers, cinematographers, production designers, editors) a lot of creative freedom, or do you have an unyielding vision you are trying to realize?
Nicho: I am very persistent and know how I want things done that way I know it will be correct, but I do give my team creative tiles to explore and make suggestions and sometimes when it’s good ideas, we use it. I am a very open director that works with my team and not them FOR ME. I believe I am a leader that leads and not a boss that commands.
The Crew: What’s the filmmaking climate like in South Africa right now with regards to financing, distribution, crewing and casting?
Nicho: It’s really a tough industry in South Africa. But South Africa has incredible talent. Truly. And we have the best locations. It’s tough with regards to finance. Sometimes we rely totally on investors from companies – But with the economic crises, it affects us because companies are not so eager to sponsor and invest anymore. But hey, SA has made some great movies. I think SA’s Film and TV Industry has picked up a lot in the past ten years from what it was. All South Africa needs now is a good Drama-Thriller. #TheCrossing
The Crew: Do you have tips on finding funding for aspiring filmmakers?
Nicho: Oh my! I am going to be brutally honest. It’s not easy ! Just stay determined. If you have a good product to “Sell” and have a good pitch and presentation to present, people will invest in what they think has the potential for growth. Also, it helps to have a killer smile sometimes to smooth the process haha.
The Crew: What advice can you offer to aspiring artists regarding the use of social media to promote themselves?
Nicho: Social media is really the key element in our industry so make use of it. Social media helps. Even when it feels like it’s not. Many artists get discovered online. Social media helps you to be noticed and to create fan bases and for people to know about you – BUT social media can also be a bad thing. As artists, whatever you put out there on Social Media can have dangerous repercussions. In my opinion, 80% of employers will go to your social media to see who and what you are before you get hired. So be careful.
The Crew: How has the technology and the democratization of the filmmaking process affected your work as a filmmaker?
Nicho: Technology helps a lot. I mean we have advanced so much over the past centuries. It’s amazing. It makes my job so much easier. Things just get simpler. And more efficient.
The Crew: With easier access to filmmaking tools and distribution, how do you make your work stand out from a crowded field?
Nicho: I think the image I create is what peaks people’s interest. And having great people to work with also helps. Plus I think what makes my work stand out is my creativity, and I always introduce new faces and talent into the industry with my work instead of using people that are already famous and well known. We need growth and by that, we have to dig deeper into our talent pool because there is really incredible talent out there in South Africa.
The Crew: What is your dream project?
Nicho: I am working on it! Hahaha… The Crossing (A TV Series) is really something I wanted to do for a long time and if we can get The Crossing to higher grounds and on TV and accomplish our goals – That would be a dream come true. Also maybe I think the ultimate would be to work in Hollywood and to accomplish what those great directors did. And a bit of Broadway in between would be super.
The Crew: Do you prefer theatre or film? Why?
Nicho: Both! I can’t choose. They are both so unique and so different from one another. There’s nothing more thrilling than a live performance on stage, and there’s nothing more fun than to create and make something entertaining and intriguing on set behind the camera for people to enjoy. They are both very close to my heart, and I’ll always make time for both.
The Crew: What projects are you working on now?
Nicho: Currently just The Crossing. Although I was asked to produce two feature films later, that will be on Mzanzi. And I am busy working on a stage play for a new musical production I want to go in collaboration with later this year or next year…
The Crew: Tell us about your new TV series ‘The Crossing’? What is it about?
Nicho: Well, The Crossing is a new Drama – Thriller. Something new to SA Market and something truly unique with a lot of excitement. It’s about a young girl that moves to a small town called Lakewood to study fashion. Upon her arrival, she learns that things are not as they seem in the small town, and soon she and her new friends get into trouble when an unknown stalker starts harassing them. It starts with just pranks, threats, and text messages but turns into violence which takes a dramatic toll one night that starts unraveling everything and the students lives as they know it. Soon everyone is in danger, and everyone is a suspect.
The Crew: Tell us a bit about the cast of The Crossing?
Nicho: We have some familiar faces and new faces in The Crossing. Actors and Actresses that have significant experience in Series like Binnelanders, Donkerland, South African Films, etc. The cast is lead by Clarissa Taljaar who plays Christal de Waal. Followed by Daniel Nunes that plays Miles Ramsey, Christal’s love interest. Marischka Ceaser, who plays Michaela Livingston, the town’s rich girl (your typical mean girl). With her friends Charlotte de Beer, who plays Missy Jones, Laikin Govender, who plays Alice Smith, Arno Kritzinger, who plays Jake Matthews and Charles Adosamni, who plays Brad Jenkins, the two boys are friends with the town bitches! The rest of the cast are all on our website. Each character is critical to the storyline.
The Crew: Did you write the script for The Crossing?
Nicho: I did. Yes. The entire storyline, creative concept and script I wrote. I did have an editor that helped me with grammar, spelling, and suggestions on wording etc.
The Crew: What is the message in the series that you’re trying to get across?
Nicho: The message is in the mystery! You’ll have to wait until the end of the series to see what and why.
The Crew: What is the budget for The Crossing and how did you secure financing for the production?
Nicho: The pilot episode had a very LOW / NO BUDGET. We had some expenses that had to be covered and got those funds luckily through two investors. Duzelle Schwan from Schwan Productions and Karesh Eshwar. Without them, the pilot would not have been possible. From here if the pilot gets picked up for a series, we have to get funding through Government Grants or the Broadcaster will supply the funds. We’re talking about approximately R280 000 per episode more or less.
The Crew: What makes a good TV series?
Nicho: A good storyline, A great cast, a fantastic script, a good director, and QUALITY!
The Crew: Why did you want to make a TV Series instead of a feature film?
Nicho: TV Series is just so much more fun. A feature film is one storyline that runs for 2 hours. A Series is one story line but with much more elements, cliffhangers, there’s more space for creativity, and you can bring in new elements and change the storyline, surprise your audiences every time with every episode. Plus a TV Series is 13 or 20 episodes of 45 minutes where a feature is one time, once off 2 hours. Plus SA needs a great intriguing good TV Series
The Crew: What role does social media have in finding an audience for The Crossing?
Nicho: Huge!!! Because you ultimately grow and market our show to public through Social Media. Also to have a strong social media platforms in place helps the Series itself to grow bigger. I rely a lot on Social Media for The Crossing to achieve what we need with regards to audiences.
The Crew: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the production of The Crossing?
Nicho: I’ve learned a lot, but I also think I’ve helped others also learn a lot. I have learnt though that tight schedules don’t work haha.
The Crew: When and where will we be able to watch The Crossing?
Nicho: With regards to broadcasting – We have no confirmed details yet. But we will have a special screening premiere in May in Hartbeespoortdam (Which is our fictional Lakewood) and are aiming to get Netflix and Showmax onboard as well. If all goes well, we should have The Crossing premiered on TV in October 2016.
The Crew: Where do you see yourself a year from now? Five years from now? Do you see yourself in Hollywood one day?
Nicho: Of course – Hollywood is the goal and dream. I hope that from a year from now, my work would have evolved into something bigger and better and by then The Crossing would be on TV with a lof of fans and audiences. 5 Years from now I hope to be in Hollywood with much more films and shows behind my name and an Oscar or two hahaha!
The Crew: What advice do you have for young and aspiring filmmakers?
Nicho: Never give up! Work for your dreams and goals and give it your best. When you fall, get up and try again. In life, it’s not about how and when we fall, but how we stand up that makes a difference. And go big! Never do anything small or halfway. If you want to do something, do it right and go big from the beginning. Set goals, work for them and stay determined.
The Crew: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.
Nicho Barnard: It’s only a pleasure, thank you so much for considering me for your blog, which I might add looks amazing.
Nicho Barnard Contact Details:
Website: Nicho Barnard
FaceBook: Nicho Barnard
Website: The Crossing
FaceBook: The Crossing
IMDB: The Crossing