Busking In Berlin
How was I going to really understand what these people went through unless I became one?
In Berlin, in nearly every season, you’ll walk past a busker or street performer on many corners of the city, especially places like Alexanderplatz or Mauerpark. Busking in Berlin has become a street performers ritual! Musicians, artists, circus performers and magicians come from far and wide, especially in summer, to brave the crowds and see what happens for a few hours on the street and if you, as a visitor to Berlin, stay here long enough you’ll be able to enjoy countless performances from talented people from all over the world here to brighten up your day for a few Euro.
Carlos Tomich is one of those people, but he’s busking on the streets not just to survive but as the focal point of a film project close to his heart. Carlos is a filmmaker from Australia who had been working with a bunch of different Australian bands trying to crack the big time but the topic of street performers and the lives they lead was always intriguing to him. So, one day, he set a goal for himself – to live in Berlin only on what busking in the streets earned him and document the process in a film called ‘Busking In Berlin’.
My Destination Berlin spoke with Carlos to see just how he’s doing it, and why...
MyDBerlin - So, Why Berlin?
Carlos - “Because it is the most artistic citiy in the world” Carlos says, “I had lived there briefly in 2011 and had remembered seeing amazing amounts of art taken to the streets, and its liberal culture allowed for that. In my home in Australia you needed permits for everything and you have to audition to become a "busker". How was I ever going to find any genuine artists? So I bought the cheapest guitar I could find and got a flight to Berlin”.
MyDBerlin - Did you have a budget to start with? Film camera? Somewhere to stay?
Carlos - “To make the film more genuine I had set myself some rules, no money, no funding, no fancy hotels. I was going to live off the money I made on the streets and document my experience and the other artists I met along the way. From the start of the film everything had gone wrong, from missing my connection from Frankfurt to Berlin, losing my camera that I had to film the movie on and then making little to no money in my first week busking. This became the story of how I became the "Neigh Kid Horse" and how I overcame all my problems”.
MyDBerlin - The Neigh-Kid Horse?
Carlos - “Well, how was I going to really understand what these people went through unless I became one?”
MyDBerlin - A Horse?
Carlos - “It’s a gymmick. I hadn’t actually played guitar for quite a while so I had to have some way of getting people's attention to begin with, but you’ll have to watch the film to get the whole story. There are so many different people performing out there. Sometimes you walk past someone strumming a few chords with a drink in the other hand, and a note on the ground saying, "need money for weed and beer". Sometimes you will walk past some of the most talented musicians you have ever heard and stop and listen, it's not always musicians though, sometimes a clown, mime or painter”.
MyDBerlin – So is the film about your travels and time busking in Berlin? Or the whole scene?
Carlos - “Well, the film also follows the story of 9 other street musicians I met along my travels in Berlin and how they became buskers and what their experiences were. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live the life of a street musician? Or why people were taking their music to the streets? It’s a really interesting story.”
MyDBerlin – So you’ve finished filming, what now?
Carlos - “I am continuing to busk around Europe at the moment to help promote the documentary to other people and find time to edit the documentary”.
MyDBerlin – Sounds like a great Berlin film project on the street-performing scene in the city. Where and when can we see the film?
Carlos - “I will be back in Berlin in April to busk again and also release the film, hopefully in some small local cinemas. But as I started with no budget, I’m looking for help.”
MyDBerlin – What kind of help?
Carlos - “Crowd funding mainly, it's the best way to promote the project globally and also give people a little taste of what they’re contributing to”.