The filmmaker Nicky Pajkić (25) has travelled around the world to make the most beautiful aftermovies. Until recently he was working for Final Kid, pioneer in making film productions for names such as Ultra Music Festival, David Guetta and Tiësto. We spoke the ambitious filmmaker about what it's like to film such a big festival, the importance of an aftermovie and his plans for the future.
How did you get the idea to start making aftermovies?
'I saw the aftermovies of Ultra Music Festival created by the company Final Kid and it really inspired me. Up until then I didn't know it was possible to capture so many emotions on a festival and show them to the world. The hype that people feel whilst watching such a video, that's something I wanted to be able to do. That's the feeling I wanted to convey.'
Nicky Pajkić at Ultra Miami in 2018, photograph by: Mehmet Cakmak ©
What was your experience with your Audiovisual education at Hilversum and did you learn there a lot?
'It was a good stepping stone. It started out as a hobby and with the education you learn a lot about the professional setting in the audiovisual world. With my education I created a proper fundament. By following online tutorials and especially by doing in practice, I was able to grow a lot. I took on a lot of free jobs just so I could continue developing myself. It was also nice that we got the chance to do internships over the period of two years. I learn faster in practice, so these internships have contributed a lot.'
How did you end up at Final Kid after your education?
'I had already made quite some aftermovies, so the start of a portfolio was there. This portfolio wasn't very impressive because it mainly consisted of what I had taught myself. The aftermovies that Final Kid produced were my big example. I was doing an internship at Sugar Films at the time and my supervisor happened to know the founder of Final Kid, Charly Friedrichs. He gave me his contact details and I approached him. After an interview I was lucky enough to do my next internship at Final Kid. After half a year, I got offered a job!'
What does your average working day look like at with such a massive production like Ultra Music Festival?
'It differs. There are different chapters: the pre-production, the production and the post-production. First you start preparing different things in advance. What kind of film are you going to make? What is realistic in the time and budget available? Based on these factors you try to think of a great concept. After the preparations you travel to the selected destinations where you try to find the most beautiful places to film. This makes the work very special.Aftermovie Ultra Miami 2019
So you're saying that there aren't many average working days?
'Well, it differs. During the pre-production you're mostly writing down concepts, but the average working day at Final Kid's office is mostly editing. This is also something that sets Final Kid apart from other aftermovies. They spend a lot of time editing. I have grown the most in terms of editing at Final Kid because of it.'
'On production-days we film. These days tend to be pretty long. You want to make most of your days at the chosen locations because we don't always have a lot of time to film. You get up early and finish late. Once you're back in the Netherlands you don't have second chance to film any additional material, so everything needs to happen as good as possible when you're there.'
Do you think aftermovies are a necessity for a festival or for artists?
'I don't think they are a necessity. Aftermovies are relatively new. 2010 was the beginning of aftermovies as we know them now. They have never been necessary, just like there weren't any photographs of festivals in the past. I believe aftermovies are part of some sort of marketing package nowadays. Just like visitors expect photographs after a festival, they often expect an aftermovie as well. Some festivals have a relatively simple aftermovie and others make massive art projects.'
Do you think festivals or artists need a good aftermovie to stay relevant?
'I don't think they need it to stay relevant, but it can make a difference between you and your competition. An aftermovie can create a beautiful image of your party. It can be a very strong marketing tool. A good example is the collaberation between Final Kid and Ultra Music Festival. Ultra is one of the biggest brands in the festivalscene nowadays, I believe partly because of the aftermovies. They were one of the firsts with such a cinematic aftermovie. The Ultra aftermovies have generated many views and brand awareness. I think it has given the festival more opportunity to expand. Some organisers tend to underestimate the influence of a good aftermovie on the sales of their next event.'
Recently you were on your way to a job in India, but it was cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Does the current situation affect the amount of jobs you have?
'Definitely. At this stage of my life I'm very active in the event industry. I make films from events or artists. I mostly work at places where people get together and that's something we can't do for the time being. I do notice the effects; a lot of jobs have been cancelled ever since the outbreak, but I'm not very worried about my personal situation yet.'Tiësto Northern Lights Tour 2018
You also worked with Tiësto a few times. How did that happen?
'The first time, in 2016, the management of Tiësto contacted Final Kid about wanting a video of their tour. That was a huge challenge because I hadn't been working for the company for a very long time yet. Being able to join one of the biggest DJs in the Netherlands all of a sudden was a chance to prove myself. Luckily it went well! They were statisfied and after the first trip in 2016, I got to go on tour with him more often.'
What aftermovies are you specifically proud of?
'The latest Northern Lights video for Tiësto for sure, even though I wouldn't really call that an aftermovie. More like a mini-documentary or a tourfilm. Most aftermovies that I make are in teams from two to twenty-five men. The Tiësto Northern Lights is something I made all by myself. I also directed Ultra Miami 2019 and Korea 2017 at Final Kid and these are productions with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I am pretty proud of them. Those were projects in which I really pushed my limits and tested my capabilities. When I look at how they turned out, I do feel proud.'
What's unique about your aftermovies?
'Sometimes the deadline from a client is within a week or even three days after a festival. At Final Kid we were in a luxurious position because we got quite some time to edit. I think the most important thing is to create some sort of experience-film: you need to relive the festival or show when you watch it. That's the goal. When I make a film from a festival I want the viewer to feel the emotion and make them feel as if they attended the event. A short recap doesn't cut it. I think the best way to make an aftermovie is to tell a story.'
At the beginning of this year you started your own company, Pajkić Films. What are your future plans with this company?
'The past five years at Final Kid have been a great learning experience. I have edited a lot, filmed a lot and directed projects that I would never have been able to do otherwise. It's unique that the company that I worked at gave me the opportunity to do productions at this level. It's quite special that someone of 22 years is allowed to direct a production at the other side of the world! I'm very grateful for that. Recently I quit my job at Final Kid to continue as a freelancer. Now I want to focus more on documentaries or maybe even more commercial jobs. In addition to what I already do, many new doors are opening up. The link to music is still important, but this time I want to add even more story to my films. I really want to create my own signature now.'
What do you think will be the future of aftermovies?
'I think it will be more difficult to impress the audience in the future. The general approach is becoming more commercial, but that's not strange when you see the major impact of marketing on festival visitors.'
Do you have any advice for readers who might want to do the same?
'It's not a 9-to-5 job. You have to be prepared and willing to put in many hours. It takes a lot of time, money and discipline to move forward. The only thing you really need is the motivation to start.'
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