Have you heard of Nico Nyoni? Content Director makes the move to shooting with agencies.
Armed with years of experience in the international and local reality TV biz, Nico Nyoni, from Let it Rain Films, is now set to start his storytelling journey shooting brand work with agencies. Driven to shoot beautiful cinematic pieces and honest stories, with a passion for filmmaking and an obsession with covering every angle, the branded content world needs to watch out! Along with the support of the experienced team at Let it Rain Films, we figured Nico will soon become a household name, so we went all Diane Sawyer and got the scoop.
Zimbabwean born Nico is no newbie to the camera. Determined to pursue a career in filmmaking, he crossed the border to South Africa almost 12 years ago. Nico was soon nabbed as a camera operator by shows like 50/50 and Carte Blanche. One wintery morning, in Muizenburg, with only his groceries and his showreel in his backpack, the then 23 year old Nico noticed the Let it Rain offices. Lucky for all of us, Nico decided to go in and drop off his reel. A decision that lead to a rich career shooting content on some of the toughest film sets around the world and an opportunity to be closely mentored by Director Lee Doig (oh you know, only the guy who won an Emmy).
iDidTht: ‘Hang on, do you always carry your showreel around with you?’
Nico: ‘Haha, starting out in the industry yes. I definitely don’t regret having it on me that day and showing it to Sam [Executive Producer Sam Kelly] and Lee [Director Lee Doig]. Lee even showed me his.’
iDidTht: ‘Haha, wait, he showed you his showreel? You must have platzed yourself?!’
Nico: ‘Yeah my 23 year old self was pretty humbled. Luckily they were both incredibly warm and encouraging and said I could hang out there any time and do odd jobs in the office. Soon we became good mates. Two months later I started filming and editing all the company’s behind-the-scenes footage which lead to me directing their content and Lee officially starting to mentor me.’
Nico has spent years grafting as Lee’s assistant on commercials sets and he joined the seasoned Director as his camera assistant back in 2012 on Survivor: Caramoan – yes that’s the American one with forever-young presenter Jeff Probst. Nico quickly proved himself to be a valuable asset to the team and since then has done 15 seasons of Survivor, gradually working his way up the snake-infested ladder; from Lee’s assistant for 6 years to becoming a junior shooter, a camera operator, and eventually, in the latest season of Survivor: Edge of Extinction; Head of Camera. His impressive career also includes working as a cameraman on shows like Masterchef SA, Fear Factor India and I’m a Celebrity Australia – all shows that carry the iDidTht stamp of Binge-Worthy Series approval.
iDidTht: ‘With such a rich career already, why the move to working with agencies to shoot content for brands?’
Nico: ‘I am driven by the need to shoot beautiful cinematic pieces and tell honest stories, especially stories of hope and I’m utterly obsessed with lighting and creating moods. I just look at the world differently and I want to explore that more.’
iDidTht: ‘What do you think your extensive experience working in reality TV will mean to you in your next chapter.’
Nico: ‘Reality TV teaches you to think quickly on your feet. You only get one chance to get that shot on those sets because the action is all happening live. That has developed an incredible gut-instinct in me and means I am always one step ahead when it comes to creating stories and finding the right angle. The beauty of that is that you really learn to trust yourself and your abilities and that is invaluable when shooting content and all you have is one take. It also taught me to be all about solutions, I don’t see problems.’
Survivor ‘David & Goliath’
Camera: Nico Nyoni
Behind the Scenes for Outsurance ‘Jack of All Trades’
Director & Camera: Nico Nyoni
iDidTht: ‘What have you learnt working so closely with Lee over the years?’
Nico: ‘Definitely his commercial exposure – the way he functions, the way he shoots, the way he sees things – he brings it with him on reality sets. The way he frames things, the way he thinks about his lighting, the way he places his subjects, just everything. He applies that same thinking from TV commercials to reality sets, even though things happen so much faster they share the same principles.’
iDidTht: ‘What’s the biggest difference between you and Lee?’
Nico: ‘Ha, I’m perhaps a bit more easy-going than Lee. Lee is incredibly precise about what he wants. Lee, if you’re reading this, I love you buddy! Honestly though, you will never meet anyone with more integrity than Lee and I hope that’s something we share. ’
iDidTht: ‘Last question, what’s harder – being a DP on Survivor or being a dad to twins?’
Nico: ‘Being a dad of twins because damn it’s a challenge! Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but yoh! I enjoy being away sometimes, haha.’
iDidTht: ‘Dear Nico’s wife, if you’re reading this, he didn’t mean that!’
Nico: ‘Haha, nah I love them, but they’re almost 2 years old guys, it’s hard!’
Not only has Nico’s wealth of experience taught him how to think on his feet with a real gut instinct for where the shot is, but like his mentor Lee, he is incredibly passionate about telling unpretentious authentic human stories and showcasing beautiful imagery. Oh, and if there’s an immunity idol to be found, you better believe he’ll be there to capture the moment. We’re pretty sure agencies will be clamouring to use him for all their content needs soon, so get in there and contact Let it Rain Films and Nico here: https://ididthat.co/let-it-rain-films/
Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio
Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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