After a successful run of coordinating production for South Africa’s Expresso Morning Show and Afternoon Express TV shows, actor, producer and director Abraham Pieters is now gunning for internship opportunities on E! News and the Oprah Winfrey Network. According to Pieters, the former has already accepted his internship application.
Pieters says working for Expresso Morning Show and Afternoon Express was beyond amazing. “Working for the two shows was unpredictable, intoxicating, rewarding and it was a whole lot of hard work. It was my desire to stay and work in Cape Town on Expresso Morning Show and Afternoon Express. To keep working alongside some of the best writers, directors, producers in the game. Everyone from the studio crew, hair, and makeup, to the security at the front gate are true friends of mine. They have been my work family and I love them dearly. Unfortunately, my decision to leave was made for me and I had to relocate to Johannesburg, break new territory, raise my bar and take my career to the next level,” Pieters adds.
Pieters who has been working as an actor for roughly 7 years and as producer/ director for 5 years comes with vast TV experience as he also worked on shows for both Namibian TV networks.
“When I was first given a producers job at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) I was 21 years old. I gained so much experience at NBC, it laid the foundation for me and was a perfect blueprint for me to take my career to new heights. My passion has always been to reflect the multi-cultural, multiracial, multi-everything world that we see all around us. I wanted to tell stories about the people and not just problems. I wanted a platform where I could spark conversations, engage with viewers. Therefore, I left NBC immediately after my internship and created my own TV Show, Afro Space which aired on One Africa TV. Afro Space highlighted the success stories of Namibians. Showing what can and has been done by Namibians and by achievers all over our country to make a significant contribution to improving lifestyle, while at the same time, telling our own stories and staying true to our heritage,” Pieters says.
The show had two great seasons, however, when Pieters relocated to South Africa, Afro Space was cancelled. But Pieters is set to revive the show this year, with a whole new team and more substantial content.
Working in the TV business is not all glitz and glamour says, Pieters. As he says that pitching an idea or concept to a network or studio can be very terrifying because you have to tell them why you think this show or concept will work for the Network or Studio.
“A pitch can be very long depending on the amount of time you get from the Network or Studio because you have to go into every detail of your show and answer all the questions they have to ask and make sure you have all the answers. So my advice would be if you want to develop something you must be able to pitch it. You must be able to walk into that office and say, ‘here is my idea and here’s how it’s going to work’, be confident. And if your pitch is bad or if you don’t like talking in front of people, it will be a giant challenge because you can’t ask someone else to pitch for you, you alone know the ins and outs of your concept. So you really have to figure it how to do it and how to do it very well,” Pieters advises.
Pieters’s creative abilities stretch from writing to directing, acting and producing. Here is a Q&A we did to get down and under the powerhouse that is Abraham Pieters:
How was your experience in Hollywood?
I had the great privilege to take part in Industry Hollywood. I was selected out of hundreds of participants to represent Namibia and Africa. This was an intensive Film and Drama course that ran for two weeks in Los Angeles with a group of 30 actors from all walks of life, I was the only African there who was trying to break into the Hollywood. We had 4 -5 Auditions in a day and Workshops. We had different tasks every day. I had the time of my life although it was challenging at times. I also had the privilege to audition for Disney and Nickelodeon.
Is this industry a closed door, or an open door? Is it who you know, or who knows your work?
It comes down to being talented. You can be friends with the writer or director but that will not get you far, because that’s not the only writer and director. So it’s really important that you work on your craft so that people respect you and in return value your craft. The other important this is authenticity and originality—it is the only way to get noticed. There are a million and one copycats out there, and everyone’s trying to do the same thing, so you just have to find your authentic voice. I try my utmost best to influence and not get influenced.
What is your writing process?
I write with loud music in my ears, I can write anywhere. I don’t get distracted by any environment whatsoever. I can write a short film in a day. I have a tendency to speak my dialogue out loud as I type. And I never read my script through immediately. I give it a day or two before I read the entire script from the beginning.
Do you have advice for people looking to break into your field?
Tenacity and persistence—nothing beats it. Even if your talent isn’t there yet, you can always develop it to what it will eventually be. But nothing compares to people who are persistent and tenacious and driven and have a really clear, defined goal of what they want. Not giving up is really of huge importance. Also, just never listen to the people who tell you no. A lot of people tell you what you should do—but if that doesn’t agree with you and what you think your destiny is, then don’t listen to it. Don’t listen to the “nos” and the formulas that seem to work for the masses—do what you believe to be true for yourself. And that’s not always easy to do! It means you have to risk a lot. It means you have to gain a lot of confidence and faith. If you put yourself out there, you will attract exactly what you want.
This ‘n That
Are you a TV junkie, or a film buff?
I like watching reality TV, Documentaries, and docu-series’. I would say TV because I work in TV and I like the pressure and fast lane of how things work – compared to film and theatre.
You seem to be pretty busy. How is love lane treating you?
The love of my life is currently my career, I work 7 days a week – Monday to Monday and I love it. I’m content and happy being single because my priority is my career. I’m not only striving for success but having a meaningful life is very important to me.
What’s your favourite place to eat?
I don’t have the luxury to go out a lot due to my busy schedule but I like McDonald’s they have stupendous vegan meals.
Name one actor/actress you would love to get naughty with?
Yara Shahidi from Blackish.
What is your favourite daily attire?
I don’t have a signature look, being an actor or being in the entertainment industry, you constantly have to adapt, whether it’s gaining weight or changing hairstyles – its a constant change in terms of image.
What’s your bad quality?
My bad quality would be to turn down every invitation I get, whether its family or friends. I feel extremely bad afterwards but I just don’t like invitations or being social, it’s very difficult for me. That’s why access to me is very limited. People are friends with you for different reasons and they have agendas and I’m way too woke for that.
Do you know how to drop an egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
No. I can’t even cook. I didn’t even know how my stove worked, a friend had to show me.
What song best describes your work ethic?
Formation by Beyoncé.