Hykie Berg, well known in the South African entertainment world, is not only a successful actor, but he also writes and produces films. He has a passion for social upliftment and founded a public benefit organisation that works with addicts and alcoholics.
He feels that the local content of entertainment seems to be lacking in quality and one often has to feature in productions that one does not believe to be of the highest standard.
It wasn’t Hykie’s lifelong dream to become an actor. He started his studies with BCom before settling on Drama. He calls the decision to pursue a career in entertainment a “divine invitation from God”, a defining moment in his life. Upon completion of his studies, he realised that the world of acting is a tough industry and much harder to navigate as a young actor than he initially anticipated, especially the first year where you attempt to establish yourself. You can’t rely solely on your talent to do so, it requires constant hard work and perseverance.
After almost a year of being unemployed, Hykie considered going back to work as a waiter. He eventually got a small part in a series called The Res, filmed in Durban. After that, another six months went by without work. In 2005 he was offered a role in Egoli, a popular South African soap opera, where he worked for three years. In the local entertainment scene getting a part or getting exposure and publicity doesn’t constitute “getting your big break” into the industry. He tends to resign from a soapie after two and a half or three years as not to overexpose himself in one role as a certain character.
He struggles with routine because of the irregular daily schedule that is an actor’s life. He is also extremely ADHD, but he finds making time for exercise and reading books help with that. He especially enjoyed Would Driving A Porsche Change Your Life? by Wouter Snyman where he learned about the difference between a vision, a dream and goal setting and the importance of mentors in one’s life. He talks about how commitment is the driving force behind a project long after the initial fervour has dissipated. His focus has recently shifted to utilising his profile as an actor to generate different revenue streams for himself. There is a misconception that once you are an established actor you only need to act. Hykie used his influence to build relationships with companies with which he shares similar value systems and whose products and services he believes in. In doing this he has been able to generate additional income for himself. Hykie believes people do business with people they like, respect and trust and that you build business connections through networking. Finding time for his relationship with God is also important to him. Ultimately he wants to use his influence to encourage new leaders and uplift people.
Hykie won Survivor SA in 2011. He used that publicity to drive his keynote speaking, especially on teamwork, using Survivor as a tool. Hykie started growing a database of people who downloaded his eBook. He is also Master of Ceremonies at events. He prefers joining up with companies and working on their brand awareness as opposed to pursuing a career as a singer, like some actors tend to do. He then gets paid a retainer for his services. Hykie is also part of a network marketing company and works as a screenwriter and film producer.
The local film industry
Your target market for Afrikaans films is very small and you only earn about 28% of what movie houses charge per ticket. But South Africans are hesitant to watch a locally produced English film when they have such a wide scope of international movies to choose from. Hykie believes that the world hungers for real stories of struggles overcome that instil hope in the audience. He wants to make films that change people’s hearts. And in doing so you can shed light on issues close to your heart, create awareness where there wasn’t before.
Marketing yourself as a brand
He suggests to upcoming entertainment artists to create a persona and utilise YouTube and other social media platforms to create awareness of this persona. Understand the tools you have at your disposal and keep in mind that the internet has made the world so small. If need be, see a social media strategist to help you. You should always keep learning and evolving as an actor, and the same goes for entrepreneurship – never claim expert status.
Reset Button Scenario: Starting over with the current knowledge and skills, what business would you start?
Network marketing, especially in this day and age where everything is digital and online. The average person doesn’t have the capital to buy assets or equity to generate wealth. Network marketing gives you the opportunity to create a business without the initial capital. You can distribute products online and at the same time empower other people. People then become your asset. It could be helpful to explore network marketing if you are new to the entrepreneurial world and do not as yet have your own idea for a business.
Last words of advice
If you want things to change, you need to change. In relationships, business or your finances.
If you want something you’ve never had before, you’re going to have to do something you’ve never done before. Make sacrifices; don’t do the same things over and over and expect a different outcome.
Serenity prayer changed – God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the people that I can and the wisdom to know that that person is I. The whole process of change starts with me. Find your passion to give meaning of your life. You create purpose in your life by being proactive.