Nicho Barnard, born Johannes Nicholas Barnard is an Award-Winning Actor, Singer and an experienced and qualified Film Director, Producer & Writer.
Nicho is the CEO and Founder of an International Performing Arts College in South Africa called “SAFATA” – The South African Film, Acting & Theatre Academy.
Apart from that, Nicho is also the Founder and Owner of Nightlight Productions and the Director of another Film Production Company called Windmill Production.
Nicho serves as an Executive Producer on numerous Windmill Productions and was appointed as the Showrunner for an upcoming new International Television Series called “DREAMS” set to go in production in the near future. This position and credit make Nicho the youngest showrunner in television history, followed by the creation of his own Television Series “OBSESSION” which was picked up for distribution by Amazon Video – although production has yet to be confirmed.
Welcome to TV Series Hub, with such a diverse portfolio, how would you introduce yourself to our audience?
Hey TV Series Hub and all the awesome followers, my Name is Nicho Barnard. I am an award-winning Film Director, Producer & Actor and also Theatre Director and Producer. I am the CEO and Founder of SAFATA, a Director for Windmill Productions, a Resident Judge for Talent Africa and a youth ambassador for the Model United Nations of South Africa. 😊
Your life has had several ups and downs, but it has been truly inspirational. What kept you going during the difficult times?
Determination. A will to succeed and passion. I also have an incredible support system at home with my friends and family who support me in everything and I think because of everything that I have experienced in life, it gave me strength to keep fighting and working even though the odds looks slim. We can’t hate the experiences that shapes us hey! And I’m glad I never gave up cause I in the end – beat the odds.
Being passionate about the industry at a young age, where did your inspiration come from? How did you know, this industry is exactly what you want to do?
My mom was a singer back in the day. They used to be part of a very-well known band in the Free State province where I grew up. So, growing up with performing, singing and music was a big part of my life. I got into the performing arts from a young age, and always loved it. As I grew older, the love, passion, drive and dream became bigger and bigger and I haven’t looked back yet – I still pursue that dream I gave myself when I was 9-Years old. It’s sometimes hard, but it’s so worth it doing what you love every day.
Having studied under Shonda Rhimes (Writing for Television Masters Class), what valuable experience did you gain that has helped shape your current productions?
Shonda’s masterclass was very insightful. After studying Directing & Writing here in SA at an institute, I thought I knew what Writing / Filmmaking entailed? But obviously as I started working in the industry, I soon learned that what we were taught, didn’t even grasp what one actually has to know in the real world. I think what was amazing was – doing the masterclass with Shonda who have been in the industry, struggled herself, walked the road herself – she gave insightful content – not just textbook info, but info she herself PERSONALLY learned from her work which was amazing. It opened up a whole new door of thinking and doing things.
At a quick glance, you star in almost all of your productions. Is that following the legacy of the Late Stan Lee? LOL. You could say so. It happened by accident that I ended up appearing in my first production – and of course I didn’t mind as I am a performer (singer, actor) myself and I love the thrill of performing (singing or acting). But after the first production, it started happening more frequently. Sometimes by choice. Sometimes not by choice. But it was fun. I got to be on both sides of the coin, but I never put myself in a leading role as I’d much rather do a smaller role / cameo, and give someone else the spotlight and focus on being behind the camera as the Director and Producer. It’s much more thrilling and rewarding. But hey, I never say no to acting or performing opportunities. You learn a lot and I feel it helps me, as a Director, work with other actors much better.
Acting, singing, directing, judging etc., How do you manage to do so many things at once?
Patience, tolerance, balance (which is not as easy as it sounds) and being focused on what you want to achieve. I am and have always been a go-getter. Someone that grabs the bull by the horns. I like learning, like improving myself so every opportunity that presents itself, I grab. It has enabled me to learn a lot, grow as a person and grow in my professions.
Out of all of the things you do, what do you enjoy the most?
Directing / Producing is probably at the top of my list. It’s thrilling and rewarding as I mentioned above. BUT, second to that will be acting. It’s a different art form – one that allows you to truly dive into your creativeness and I love having the freedom to dive into a new character.
Your latest venture has been starring in Talent Africa. What is the objective of such a show?
Talent Africa The Series was created to showcase the amazing talent that South Africa has to offer. It’s to promote the competition and platform that has been existing for many years and to show other performers that there is a platform for them that recognizes them and gives them true opportunities. I think it’s something incredible for young and upcoming performers.
What was the process like and the challenges faced when bringing it to television?
The process was fun, interesting and new. It’s the first time I did a show like this – so it was a learning curve and experience for me. It’s reality. So everything you see is real and it’s real life. Our jobs was just to make sure we capture those moments to the best of our abilities. Some of the challenges you face with something like this is, your environment is uncontrolled. It’s a real competition, the contestants are performing, they do their thing – they go off. You are filming in a real theatre, with lights (which is also sometimes problematic) and you have to make do. There is no “Cut”, “Redo”, “Okay wait, stand here”. It’s shoot, go, and move on. But it worked. And it was fun.
With an illustrious career so far and several achievements up to date, what keeps you driving for more?
The strive to better myself. It’s not about being better than other people, but about being better than what I used to be Yesterday. That’s the real key to success I think. The ability to still want to learn and grow, even when you have “made it”.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Exactly where I am now. Doing what I love every day. Meeting amazing people, creating awesome content, practicing my craft, giving back and changing lives. Of course, I’d love to be better, more achieved, more successful with a few more accolades, movies, films and acting gigs behind my name. And ideally, I’d love to do more and bigger work behind and in front of the camera. But hey, I am pretty content with my life – all I want, is to do what I love, and to love what I do and to continue growing as a creative.
Finally, having been on the side of hearing ‘No’ several times, how would you advise others in a similar situation?
If they say NO. You say yes to yourself, and you go out and do it yourself. Don’t wait for opportunities if they don’t come. Create your own. If they say NO – then try again. If they say NO again – knock again. The art of dreamers isn’t lying in bed and dreaming about what we want. It’s getting out of bed, and going to chase what you want. The success is in the chase, cause let me tell you. It surely won’t come to you.
You may read more about Talent Africa here.