‘It’s only very recently that I started reading books on filmmaking’Sisan Baniya, a video content creator, on how he got into reading and how reading filmmaking books has helped him better understand his craft.
Sisan Baniya, one of the most familiar names in Nepal’s vlogging scene, started reading at an early age. As a school-going child, Baniya read fiction to escape the realities of being a student. In this interview with the Post, Baniya shares the kind of books he loved reading as a child and how he now makes it a point to read diverse genres.
Were you into books from a young age?
I was fortunate enough to have been guided into reading novels at an early age. Though I wasn’t the best in academics, I have always loved listening to and reading stories. Growing up, I loved reading fantasy books, and I spent a lot of time reading such books in my school library. I’d even hide them under course books and read them during class. I especially loved ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain and ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens. These books were my escape from complex maths, boring classes, and teachers.
How often do you make time to read books now?
Though I always carry a book in my backpack, I no longer read as much as I used to. Every time I sit down to read, one thing or another always pops up to distract me.
Which genres do you enjoy reading the most? And which do you avoid?
I’m constantly moving from one genre to another. Ever since I started my podcast channel, I have begun reading various genres to better understand the subject matter guests on my podcast specialise in. When reading books dealing with complex subject matters, I take a break in between and read books that are easier to go through. I also read self-help books, but I try to avoid those that try too hard.
Books you read that left a lasting impression on you.
I still remember reading ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ by Mark Twain and ‘David Copperfield’ by Charles Dickens. I really enjoyed Tom Sawyer’s character growth from a mischievous child to a grown-up who takes good care of his loved ones.
I vividly remember enjoying reading ‘David Copperfield’ because the novel’s titular character loses his girlfriend. At that point in my life, I had a huge crush on a girl, my life’s first-ever crush, and reading the book made me think about her a lot.
Any books you have recently read that helped you in your professional life?
I recently read ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’
by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia and ‘Rework’ by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. The former helped me, to some extent, redesign my living habits. The latter made me realise the benefits of having a small team and that a casual work environment isn’t a bad idea.
A book that you have always wanted to read but never gotten around to reading it.
‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m going to start reading the book as soon as I am done answering your questions.
You are one of the most popular Nepali video content creators on YouTube. How often do you read books on filmmaking?
It’s only very recently that I started reading books on filmmaking. Ever since I decided to pursue filmmaking seriously, that’s when I felt the need to read extensively more about filmmaking and things related to the process. I have realised that if you want to make technically sound movies, reading filmmaking books helps a lot.
What are you planning to read next?
I just started reading ‘What Makes You Not a Buddhist’ by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. So far I like it, and I look forward to finishing it.
Three books you would like to recommend.
This is tough. Try not to overthink into my list.
‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini
‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts
‘Outliers: The Story of Success’ by Malcolm Gladwell