Vidad and Bryce of Round 3 Creative a video production company talk about their background in film and video documentary and their recent documentation series of Nasir Sobhani ‘The Streets Barber Stories.’
Q: Where were you guy’s born/currently live?
A: We both live in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Bryce grew up in the sticks just out of Melbourne, Vidad (of Persian and Indian decent), was born in Malaysia before moving to Australia back in 2001. You can tell our influences are quite different..
Q: Can you talk about the background of Round 3 Creative and how it all started?
A: Round 3 was born from our shared love of the moving image medium. We met while at film school and collaborated with each other, as well as working with a lot of different creatives. We have very different styles, but found that we are both really pumped and excited about similar things. We had this big vision of collaborating on projects with our peers and putting it all under the same banner, and as soon as we left university we started Round 3.
Q: Do each of you have a background in film/video documentary?
A: Yep, we both studied a Bachelor of Film and Television at Swinburne Uni of Tech (back in it’s glory days shooting on 16mm before it went all digital).
Q: What is the meaning behind Round 3 Creative - can you talk about the name for a bit?
A: Round 3 really came from our frustration of wanting to reach for the stars, but not having the means to do it – as cheesy as that sounds. In our university years, we always threw around crazy ideas that became implausible for us to achieve. I guess we grew up quite comfortable in a financial sense, but we were like any uni kid living out of home with part time jobs. Other people we studied with had parents forking out huge amounts to support their projects – we didn’t. Being able to fund big projects seemed impossible because we didn’t have a lot of savings or trust funds – haha.
It became this thing where we had to risk a lot to make things work, we really wanted to achieve big crazy ideas but would have to be on a shoe string budget to do it and take bigger risks (like only enough film for one take!) – and so no mistakes allowed.
The name came from, like, playing video games, where you’re on your ‘last life’ or the ‘third and final round’. So we came up with Round 3, which represented our idea of being under pressure and deciding to go in hard, overcome failure and smash it and succeed.
Q: How would you define the word success?
A: What a great question! It would have to be seeing someone accomplish his or her vision, despite all the difficult challenges that were overcome to make it. Pulling off great, successful projects means that you never want traces of the original challenges in your finished product. Or want it to look too low budget!
Success for a project like this is when you have spent 100s of hours thinking about a project and working on it, all for like a few minutes or seconds of video (which can seem outlandish) - but it’s all worth it when the final piece works - that’s success.
Q: You have recently started an ongoing documentary series of Nasir Sobhani ‘The Streets Barber Stories’- what’s it like being surrounded and working with Nasir and the street people he works with every day? And what do you hope to take away from this experience?
A: It’s such a thrilling joy. What you see is what you get with Nas, and he just has so much energy. His ability to be genuinely open with the people around him is really the key. He connects with people of all backgrounds, and never once have we seen him shun someone away. The biggest lesson to learn from Nasir I think is that if you truly open your self up to the world, that’s when you will be truly surprised by what you can get back from others.
Q: How many episodes do you plan on having for this series?
A: There isn’t a specific number that’s the end goal right now, we see it as an ongoing series as we continue to help and support Nasir. We want to see the series grow further, and the beauty of it being online and self published is that it’s super flexible, which is very exciting. We also have tonnes of plans for collaborative ideas with Nasir for how we can push things bigger and further, but right now we’re focussing on simple character episodes, while we build a bigger project behind the scenes.
Q: What have been some of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of working on this project?
A: The strengths are that through Nasir we have such a rare and powerful opportunity to document these captivating human stories. It’s an area that would be very hard for filmmakers to access otherwise. Sensitivity and protecting the subjects, is probably the greatest challenge – people see a camera crew and assume they’re going to be misrepresented for the sake of ‘entertainment’. Which is a shame that society has descended to that point where some get joy out of judging people who are less fortunate. A more light-hearted weakness is that hair clippers are LOUD, and capturing and editing such messy audio is tricky!
Q: Have you worked with Nasir before in terms of documentation?
A: We originally used to go out and take photos with Nas, and eventually pitched him the idea of video based shorts.
Q: Can you talk about the process when documenting this series?
A: With the first 2 Eps we would go out with Nas and allow a more natural documentation, setting up a camera as he set up his ‘barber shop’ on the middle of the streets, and just seeing who would turn up on the day. However, the last few episodes we have implemented a slightly more planned approach. It’s not produced and constructed or anything but we discuss with Nasir who he thinks makes for an interesting episode and would be willing to share. We try to spend a full day with them to get a bit more of an in depth understanding about their background, and allow them to be comfortable with the film crew – which is usually pretty small, maybe 2 – 3 people. It’s a lot of recording, allowing conversation to flow naturally, and making sure as much as possible is explored and captured. It’s in the editing process that we decide how those stories can be best presented and reflect the subject’s identity.
Q: What are the messages you want to send through the documentation of Nasir?
A: Check your judgements at the door! Everybody has a story to tell – and we should be open to listening to our community rather than shutting the door on them, no matter who they are. We were all born the same and all born equal, some of us have just ended up on a harder, different road.
Q: Do you have anything else you want your viewers to know about you
A: That this is our passion, and we love telling stories. If there’s an amazing story out there that you want to tell, you’re probably going to have to do it off your own bat, ‘cos no ones lining your pockets to do it. Speaking of stories.. we are always looking for more stories and people to cover. If you have ideas of someone or something that you think is important, we would love to hear from you! – info@round 3.com.au