VLOG LIFE : SISAN BANIYA
Vlogging is catching on in Nepal, and at a rapid pace too. Many people in the country have taken to YouTube to express themselves and their opinions; a random craze of dubsteps and vines seems to have catalyzed the phenomenon to some extent. As a result, there are now several YouTube channels that are getting a significant amount of attention.
One which caught our attention was Sisan Baniya’s channel. His videos are well videographed, edited, and are conceptually strong. But more than that, what really keeps you interested is Sisan’s personality and charisma. Long hair and scraggly beard aside, he appears to be genuinely fun guy to be around. His vlogs are fun to watch, free of fake accents, and chock full of fun. And apart from fun, goofy videos he also delves into important social issues in the present context.
But Sisan wasn’t the agyakari son in any way, shape, or form. And like in most cases, Sisan’s parents were worried he was wandering off into the wrong path. Long story short, Sisan found himself sitting behind the counter of a handicraft shop taking care of the family business. Things did take a turn for the better and what started as a passionate endeavor with a generic camera phone is today a venture that is slowly but surely paving its path to success. He is currently the Managing Director of Paradygm Pictures and is seriously pursuing a career in cinematography.
SB: “I’ve been a story teller since forever. That is who I am. Photography was something I was passionate about. But when you’re stuck working in a shop there is little place for your creativity to prosper. Nevertheless, working at the handicraft shop really helped me set my priorities straight. I understood my responsibilities and matured during my stint at the job.
But the passion for photography and storytelling was always there. So I saved up for six months and got myself a Sony Ericson flip phone. It was the first thing I bought with my own money.”
This was before vines and dubsteps exploded into the pop culture scene, so videography was yet to be a hobby people indulged in. Sisan started off with photography from his flip phone
and later transitioned into videography. Videos were an even better medium of expressing himself, and he loved recording footages of everything he could.
With encouragement from his pals he stuck to the hobby.
SB:“Sushant Pradhan egged me on to start vlogging. It took me a year or two to actually. I finally made and uploaded my first video, for which I got great reviews.” It was Sisan’s second video that really put him on the map. The video was entitled |Little Things| which received an overwhelming response.
SB: “After that vlog there was no looking back. I watched vlogs by Casey Neistat to understand the techniques and process and the rest of the things came instinctually.
As fun and lively as his videos are, it has to be noted that his pool of talent extends from just fun and sarcasm. For some strange reason, the reasoning and logical viewpoints seem to hit home a lot faster when it’s coming from someone who isn’t full of themselves. Sisan expresses his honest thoughts about serious issues plaguing the county (Indianization, Tourism Nepal 2016), and it isn’t mindless ramblings.
SB: “The vlogs that I make based on politics might look effortless and simple because it is the voice of the general people. I am just voicing the opinions of the people I talk to, because I usually sit and discuss these topics before vlogging them. I would love to do something like what Jon Oliver does .I think humor is mandatory and I personally love the comedy format, and it helps to put the point across in a manner that is receptible manner. Wherever I go I try to make people smile and that is as important as disseminating the information.
“I’ve been a story teller since forever. That is who I am. Photography was something I was passionate about.”
About being politically biased, I really don’t care if I seem so because being opinionative is perfectly fine. I couldn’t care less about all the badmouthing about this on the personal messages or on my social media pages.”
As someone who is constantly travelling to make vlogs he is always coming up with interesting videos that make people see places he visits with a different perspective. One very interesting project that people are anticipating is the post earthquake Langtang documentary.
SB: “The main motive behind the Langtang documentary was to make a documentary based on the aftermath of the earthquake. It is tragic that the locals of Langtang have not been able to leave their homes even if there is nothing left; they are living in the disaster struck area where only debris is left. They are living in a reality which is distressful beyond imagination .I wanted to find out whose fault it was, and why people have not been able to leave. How long can we blame the government and sit with our hands folded?”
Besides his regular vlogging, Sisan is also the managing director of Paradygm Pictures Pvt. Ltd which works on documentaries and videos based on outsourced projects from abroad and within the country. After finishing his Bachelor degree he started Paradygm in 2011 with a few friends. He believes that creative people when pushed to be work within boundaries or held on to too tight will not be able to perform well. It is very important for him to work with people who share a common vision with him and do not want to work compromising with the quality. He takes pride in the fact that his company’s name aligns with what he has always wanted to do and that is walking in a path that has not been yet taken. He urges his teammates to work smart instead of hard in order to get better results.
SB: “Working with friends is always tricky. I began Paradygm with my friend, but things turned downwards because of idea clashes. We are still very good friends but I don’t think we can be the way we used to be. We worked really hard in our initial days maybe because we were desperate to take Paradygm somewhere but not exactly knowing where it was. And we ended up letting people take us for granted. Long day shoots were compensated for with a box of cigarettes. They would give me false hopes and say that they would pay me the day after but that day never came. The same happened with so many agencies. But eventually things got better and fell into place.
I learned a lot from the early years, and now I know the importance of having a business mind which I do now.” Aside from advertisements, vlogs and documentaries Sisan Baniya is also experimenting with the movie scenario in Nepal. The style depicted in Nepali cinema is very different when compared to his style so when we asked him how he integrates his personal touch to fit into the Nepali Film Industry this is what he had to say;
SB: “The movie that I am working in as a cinematographer is very different from mainstream Nepali movies. It does not have dances and songs and drama. It is a serious story and well I wouldn’t say I have integrated it as such but this is not a contemporary movie, it’s an art movie. The one that I am working on right now is not for the Nepali audience and we discussed this beforehand. We are basically making a flop movie. Most of the Nepali movies just copy Bollywood movies and remake them and I just want to be different from that .I feel like if people just wanted to watch the Bollywood drama they would buy a ticket for a Bollywood movie and not a pathetic translation of the movie you know what I mean?
The need to be an original storyteller is important and I feel Nepal has a lot of stories that need to be showcased.’ While he understands the importance of being an original storyteller he says it is equally challenging to portray what he envisions on camera because ‘things are not always easy or what it seems you know’
When asked what made him work so hard and make videos ‘It makes me happy ‘is all he had to say.