Tuesday, November 14, 2017

INTERVIEW. 'Show courage'. Riaan Manser talks about his new series, How to Adventure on Discovery Channel, fatherhood and shares his 3 golden rules for stepping out and tackling life.

"Show courage. Take the first step." So says the South African adventurer, Riaan Manser, who is taking everyday people on big adventures in his brand-new locally produced series How to Adventure starting on Discovery Channel (DStv 121) on Tuesday 14 November at 21:00.

Produced by Oxyg3n Media, in How to Adventure Riaan Manser takes South Africans out of their comfort zone, travelling across the country on interesting and nail-biting adventures.

From snorkeling with seals while keeping an eye out for sharks, to jumping off cliffs and bridges, deep sea fishing and mountain hiking, Riaan Manser will show viewers in 12 episodes that anyone can have an adventure, an in-between offers tips and tricks for rookie adventurers everywhere, drawing on his years of experience travelling the world.

"Riaan's travel tales have captured the imaginations of viewers worldwide and we are thrilled to present this 12-part series where he showcases even more of South Africa's magnificent scenery and the thrilling adventures the country has to offer," says Dilek Doyran, the Discovery Network International's vice president of commercial development and country manager for Africa

Speaking during a presentation session at the recent DStv Media Showcase for the press held at MultiChoice City in Randburg, Johannesburg, Riaan Manser said the show came about because "I always knew I wanted to do something where I could share adventure with other people".

"All of us like adventure. And we want to share it with other people, so very simply How to Adventure came about just with my idea thinking, 'How can I get other people to do adventurous things?"

"We've been growing in this How to Adventure journey in that we realised in having the person as the guest doing adventure, we actually learn more about them than when we interview them."

"We hope the first season is going to be incredible. We hope we're going to get even better. It's exciting and a new take on adventuring in television and we're proud that it gets showcased on Discovery," said Riaan Manser.

TVwithThinus asked Riaan Manser for his thoughts on the lack of local and quality local adventure programming, and as local TV is starting to master doing good cooking shows, what his advice is for TV makers to properly approach and do the adventure genre well.

"The mentality of South African production companies: We need to be challenged, we need to look at what other production companies are doing and that's the only way we criticise ourselves on what we producing and putting on."

"When a broadcaster takes it, it doesn't mean that it is the greatest ever, ever, ever put on TV. And if we're honest with ourselves - we're going to create local but we're producing international. And I buy into that idea."

"I'm not partnering with Rebecca Fuller-Campbell, Oxyg3n Media CEO, and with Discovery Channel because I'm hoping it's just going to be on TV over here in South Africa. We've got to make it big globally," said Riaan Manser.

"The advice I think is to just be yourself. People who want to do adventure shows have to be authentic. A lot of people are trying to be a Bear Grylls, or trying to be this or that. South Africans are better than that."

Riaan Manser says anything that you have in your life that you want to take on - a task or an idea, three things will dictate if that can happen.

"The first thing is courage. If you're not going to be brave enough to take on the task you're talking about, it's just not going to happen. We can stand around a fire and we can chat about things. I can tell you from experience if I didn't take the courage to take the first step, nothing will happen in my life."

"I'm not the bravest person out there, but I am the person that will act. That's the difference between me and other people. Show courage - whether in your life or relationship or anything you do.Take that first step. Courage. Be brave."

"The second thing is perseverance. Perseverance will decide whether something will happen or not. Not just your enthusiasm through the first stage, second stage and third stage. It's about seeing something through, persevering."

"And the last thing is having the wrong attitude. Something I've been so guilty of. It's cliched, but it dictates whether you're going to be successful or not."

"Next time you're sitting in an environment where you're not doing candyfloss and lollipop stuff, look around the room. And ask yourself what attitude you're going to have," says Riaan Manser.

TVwithThinus also asked Riaan Manser how he thinks fatherhood is going to change him and if he's going to become more cautious, careful and more risk averse in life. He's becoming a first-time dad with his wife Vasti of their son James.

"Ooh, tough question. I'm as naive as I was when I sat on a bicycle [in 2005 he became the first person to have circumnavigate the coast of Africa by bicycle]."

"People look at me now and I stand in front of audiences. You should have seen me at the V&A Waterfront in 2003 for that bicycle trip of mine, climbing on that bicycle - 5 people and a dog saying goodbye to me."

"There was no razzmatazz for me. I stood there and I said 'I'm going to absolutely make this."

"I think the naivety I took on that trip - hey, that son of mine, his name is James. And we're going to give him the same enthusiasm that I think I'm known for. And if I put on the nappies the wrong way, that's okay for the first few times, I think I'm going to get the hang of it."

Riaan Manser says he and the family plans to just stay home as he gets used to fatherhood.

(But just for a little while.)