This Filmmaker is Documenting the Fascinating Characters of NYC in a personal way.

A screenshot from Nicolas’ Instagram Page @NewYorkNico

“New York kind of saved me after coming back from La and being in this deep dark depression and not knowing what I was gonna do for a living” — Nicolas Heller

In my recent trip to NYC (full blog post on that coming soon), I had the pleasure of meeting with filmmaker Nicolas Heller to record a conversation for my Podcast. On his Instagram page @NewYorkNico, he refers to himself as the unofficial talent scout of NYC, where he documents the fascinating characters around the city in a raw and personal way.

Nicolas’ latest project is a Facebook Watch series entitled New York’s Got Talent, where he combines the candid cellphone style of his instagram work with his background in longer form work to create these fascinating profile pieces.

A snippet from his New York’s Got Talent episode on Matthew Silver, a frequent cameo in his videos.

“I took this series about New York City street characters and being this guy who’s uncovering forgotten New York City… I took that and kind of made it my thing and that took me out of this dark place that I was in, so New York really saved me.” — Nicolas Heller

On top of his candid style vids, Nicolas has also built up a catalogue of well polished commercial and client work under his company Heller Films.

Although I thought I had only just been introduced to his work this year, I recalled unknowingly seeing his early work in shooting music videos under the alias Ricky Shabazz and the boom bap boys years ago. As with many artists who we may stumble upon, there is usually a long journey of paid dues that leads to future successes.

In our conversation we speak about

0:00: Intro
1:53 NYC Roots & Getting into filmmaking
4:50 Shooting Music Videos
7:37 moving to LA & Back
8:45 Inspiration strikes at Union Sq.
13:30 Starting @NewYorkNico Instagram page
17:00 Finding Momentum & Catching Attention of Celebrities
20:43 Meeting Charlie Da Wolf
23:30 New York’s Got Talent Facebook Watch Show
25:22 Matthew Silver
29:00 Hosting a Talent Show with Jeff Garlin
35:20 Dealing with Criticisms & Misunderstandings
44:38 Commercial work vs Cell Phone Vids
51:00 Street Videography Technique
52:08 Intentions with his work
58:00 Future Projects

You can watch the whole podcast episode on Youtube above, or stream the audio on iTunes, Stitcher & more.


Connect with Nicolas:


Ricky Shabazz Music Video Work

Documentary on Te’Devan (No Your City series)

Matthew Silver

New Yorks Got Talent Episode: Charlie Da Wolf

New Yorks Got Talent Episode: T-Rex