Christoph Ph. Nick

Creative Director & Founder of Zum Staunen*

As every human, I was born with a large degree of natural curiosity. Fortunately, this has not changed until the present day. From early on, the creative arts were an important aspect of my life. Thankfully, this also is still the case. And this is my story: I was born in August 1979 in Lich, Germany. A small town in the middle of nowhere. Typically for German towns, Lich also has a brewery: Licher. Their slogan is „Aus dem Herzen der Natur“: „From the heart of nature“. So there’s the proof: I was born in the heart of nature. Whether that’s the root cause for my affinity to nature, I don’t know for sure. Growing up on the countryside, being outdoors in the wild, exploring the environment, spending time with horses and roaming freely most days are some of my strongest childhood memories. During school, I got my kicks out of theatre, music, drawing and graffiti. This artistic focus, paired with a generally broad spectrum of interests led me to a B.A. degree in Multimedia in the UK. Here I had the opportunity to explore all different aspects of the new, digital media world from computer aided graphic and interactive design, to video productions and 3D animations. My focus became interactive and audio-visual work. Apart from enabling the launch of my freelance career as a multimedia designer and videographer, the degree won me a position at internationally renowned ad agency OgilvyInteractive in Frankfurt. I was in charge of video for web. That was very exciting and felt ground-breaking in pre-YouTube times. – Imagine! But the shiny, superficial world of marketing and sales bored and frustrated me. This feeling fostered an ever growing interest in real people, their stories and how they relate to our society and the world we live in. Hence, chose to go the UK again for a Masters‘ degree in TV Production with focus on documentaries. I wanted to tell all the untold real-life stories for a better world. Returning to Germany, well trained, full of enthusiasm, I found the local film and television industry to be a very closed ecosystem that promotes and favours its own offsprings. In addition, I realised that it’s extremely challenging to make a living in the documentary industry. Thus my dream of working at a German documentary production company shattered and I continued freelancing offering my broad array of skills and growing my network of partners. During this period, I was able to increase my involvement in the education and academic sectors, which I felt most meaningful and right. Then my wife and I moved to Africa (Zambia) for work, where we stayed for 6 years. There I was able to live my dream as a self-shooting freelance documentary filmmaker. I travelled across the region, met wonderful people and produced touching films about pressing issues. Partly my own productions, partly for international NGOs. This experience manifested my urge to work to make the world a better place. Better for the underdogs, better for the unprotected. Humans and non-humans. After returning to Germany, I had no idea however, what would be the right way to accomplish this. So while settling back into the German lifestyle, I continued doing what I knew. I freelanced with a strong focus on factual video production for cultural and nonprofit institutions. I marketed my first feature documentary and took a lot of film seminars to get into the German film- and television industry. I took up training students in documentary filmmaking again, giving workshops at schools and even in Palestine. I enjoyed it. But I was uncertain about fulfilling my mission to make the world a better place. Until late 2019, when I got the chance to intensify my involvement in Science Communication, which had always been an area that gave me great satisfaction because of the purposefulness. And then, suddenly, it clicked. I knew what I needed to do. The idea for „Zum Staunen“ was born. „Staunen“ means „being in awe“ in German. Under this brand, I launched a SciComm creative studio in late 2022 focusing solely on Science Communication. To partner up with scientists to make the world a better place.