Say What? Nikki Baigent

Nikki Baigent started developing black and white photos with her Dad and continued to do black and white photography throughout her teens. On returning from her big OE she did a media studies course at the then Waikato Polytechnic with the fabulous Paul Swadel before starting out in production coordinating in Auckland, mostly working on features. She’s currently line producer for the second season of Filthy Rich.

What titles you’ve worked on stand out for you?
I started 25 years ago. A huge highlight was Roger Donaldson’s The World’s Fastest Indian – but all jobs have their highlights. Another, and probably the most challenging, was working on Gaylene Preston’s mini-series Hope and Wire.

Who have you built good working relationships with over the years?
My most important relationships as a Line Producer are the Producer or Producer-Director, then the HODs. We have a fabulous bunch of creatives and really good HODs on Filthy Rich even amidst the Film and TV work explosion in Auckland. We counted nine productions shooting in Auckland next year which is a bit of a record. I think it was a similar number last year when we were crewing to start Filthy.

Team Filthy safety briefing
Photo: Scott McAulay

As well as Steven Zanoski on Filthy Rich, producers Murray Francis and Jozsef Fityus. I first worked with Murray on The World’s Fastest Indian. I did several Bradley Brothers features with Jozsef, from Dale’s Wild Blue and Kids’ World in the late nineties through Cupid’s Prey to the three Treasure Island features. Last year I also did Dean O’Gorman & Mick Taylor’s short Ron, which Jozsef produced.

Grant McKinnon was DoP on many of the films Jozsef produced, and I also worked with him on The World’s Fastest Indian and a couple of Gaylene Preston productions, Strongman and the post-earthquakes Hope & Wire in Christchurch. I’ve worked with James Young (Gaffer) for years too.

Filthy Rich
Photo: Scott McAulay

They’re fantastic HODs. You try to get your favourites, but when they’re good they are often booked on other jobs.

Rob Harley. He’s an awesome man! I worked with him on Robin Singleton’s Cancerman docudrama about John Scott and Milan Brych, and various docos. And John Harris. Wonderful man! What about Brian Walden – he needs a mention too. And Brian Trenchard-Smith!

All of these people have taught me so much!

How did you come to Filthy Rich?
I line produced series 1. Steven Zanoski employed me and we work really well together. I first worked with him several years ago when I did the second season of Mercy Peak at SPP.

What’s changing at the moment?
Location shooting is now a very challenging environment in Auckland, especially for the lower budget NZ funded productions. Fees have increased with the real estate boom, as has the amount of consultation required to ensure we look after location owners and local communities.

The increase in traffic has also put pressure the way we scout and schedule locations, specifically choosing the areas we film in (close to the studio if possible) and relocates.

On Filthy, we’re shooting with three new VariCam LT low light cameras so we can shoot fast for maximum coverage. On series 2 we’ve also upped the story stakes. The writers have given us more locations, characters, stunts and action!

Photo: Scott McAulay

In recent years there’s been an increase in the amount of supplementary material getting captured and used. How much is that impacting on your work?
On a production the size of Filthy Rich most of this additional material is handled by network marketing or a publicist. While our main focus is shooting the show, we do schedule for marketing requirements – it’s in the show’s best interests to make this work.

The challenge often comes when publicity’s big push for material comes closer to the show screening, so their requirements need to fit with often very tight last block schedules.

What does 2017 hold?
I’m booked on Filthy Rich until mid-April and then there’s post. I will then have a break and be Mum for a while.
Top Image: Nikki Baigent
Photo: Scott McAulay


Written by Keith Barclay

Keith is the editor of SCREENZ, and the co-creator and founding editor of CREWED.