Tag Archives: Filmmaking

Shock and AWE, provided by David Donihue

Whatever! Simply whatever you want to learn, The Internet is the answer. Nowadays, it is simple for us to just type a query in the search bar and get the answers in an instant. Living is far less challenging now, isn’t it? Well, not exactly. Even though The Internet is full of information, not all of it is worthy of your time. It might not even be true for that matter. In such times, I can’t express the joy when I discover something that is truly brilliant. Something that all of us young filmmakers can aspire to do some day!

1.Take Me Home

Just some time ago I discovered this music video by David Donihue. I was astonished by the positivity it has to offer. Not one of us gets everything so easily. And the way you deal with failure is what defines your character. There are two things that matter in the world. The situation and your reaction to the situation. Rather than revealing anything more about the contents of the music video, I’d just like to say that this video was uploaded just about 12 days ago and it has already crossed the 300,000 mark. Go ahead and watch it!

2. Shock To The System

Upon doing some research I found a few more videos by the same director. This time, it’s a totally different subject and the treatment will leave you astonished. A thought provoking concept, conveyed beautifully. Avoid the family filter and watch it. It is imperative that you do!

3. Doping

Well, just as I was talking about our reaction to the situation that matters, I saw this. It led me to believe that the situation doesn’t matter at all. In fact nothing else matters. This beautiful She Hulk in the video brought out the monster in me. It reminded me of two little words I love to say to all of them who do not appreciate my efforts. The video made me laugh and it made me think! That is quite an achievement!

4. Blue Sky

Something ironic about the video being in black and white isn’t it? I am a fan of Black and White. In fact, the very first film that I made was in black and white. Even one of my latest films is in black and white. The tone itself made me nostalgic. The music and the lyrics were a brilliant addition that simply took me down the memory lane. Watch the video and learn how well emotions can be handled!

“So who is the one that fills your life with colours?” This is the question I wanted to ask myself upon looking at the video. The video is simple and yet touching. And the interpretation of the title “Blue Sky” in the video makes this video one of my favourite music videos I have seen lately. I feel the title of any film or any art form for that matter, should have a deeper meaning. I could sense the director wanting to derive that meaning from the title of the song and incorporate it into the video so that it reaches the audience effectively.

(I took a break as I wanted to download these songs from iTunes, or otherwise.)

Coming back to the film making bit of these five videos… I think what I loved the most about these videos are the story part of them. Nowadays, when the attention span of audiences has shrunk down it is remarkable to find something that can hold the audience for 5 to 6 minutes. Usually we see music videos with fast moving imagery and no story at all. But I feel, the story behind a film is very important. And even I am sure I will definitely remember these music videos for the story and the overall direction.

Why am I featuring this awesome filmmaker?

I feel some filmmakers, over a period of time develop a style for themselves that they are comfortable in. I feel it is very dangerous for the “art” of cinema. As soon as an artist enters his comfort zone, the art dies. And I feel David over here is determined to give us a variety of good films in the form of music videos. I feel it is important that we learn that nothing good ever comes out of comfort zone.

Discovering a new artist on The Internet is happiness. It is a day well spent.

I want to share this happiness with you guys and I want you to pass it along…

Cheers!

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#6 My Creation – Pardes (2012)

I had just finished my first year in college. I was getting a few assignments to shoot. I had an agenda of making a film every month. This is the movie I came up with. It started as a simple following assignment. And it turned out to be a short and sweet documentary which earned me multiple awards in the years to come. And most importantly it showed me how difficult it is to even think to produce one short film per month.

Pardes

It is the story of a man who came to Mumbai in search of a better and comforting life. The main character is a bhelwala (street chat seller) who is selling bhel in Mumbai for 16 years. The story explores the problems he faced and how his roommates helped him find solutions from time to time. Furthermore, the story explains his thoughts about his wife and his four kids which stay in village. Why doesn’t he bring them in Mumbai? Doesn’t he miss them? The story explains.

I am listing down a number of things I learnt while making the film:

1. Get your character right: Find an interesting enough character and your job is half done. Well, not literally. But a character with multiple personal challenges commands attention.

2. Multiple locations: I had a number of options open. The fact that attracted me with this particular subject was that he roams from place to place. I had the liberty of changing the location as I shoot him. I had the liberty of making him stand anywhere I like and take a timelapse. In the end my choice of locations made it look even more cinematic.

3. Small crew, small camera: I like to work alone. But a small crew of dedicated members is always welcome. Smaller the camera, lesser the attention. When using a DSLR, it is really easy to go around taking shots that you like. If you can manage to do so with a camera even smaller, nothing like it. At times, the complexity of the shot, the locations demand the use of smaller cameras with inferior power. But if the end result is going to be interesting enough, it doesn’t really matter.

4. The story is made on the edit table: After the interviews I was trying so hard to make him look like the hero of my film. It didn’t work out. I had to change the story by a great extent after taking his interview. And that actually worked in my favour.

5. Hide that lapel mic: Pretty simple actually. Take 5 seconds out of your precious time and pay attention to these smaller mistakes you can easily avoid.

6. Inserts and cut aways: I finished off the interview in a day. However it took me two and a half months to finish the documentary. I was roaming all over Mumbai collecting small clips for my film, making timelapses and staging some shots as well.

7. Hardwork, hardwork and hardwork: It’s a simple formula actually. To make something, anything, you have to devote your time. You cannot produce anything worthwhile without putting in your heart and soul. It is just not possible. That’s why I feel making a film in 1 month is kind of unrealistic and cruel. It kills the art.

8. You can’t make the films you don’t like: And the opposite of this is also true. My father disliked the film as I showed him the first cut. This was the first film, he told me that he did not like. It was a major blow. Yet towards the end I was eager on finishing it. I just wanted to know what have I invested in…

9. Take care of that hard drive: Luckily I had the export of the film on my laptop. My portable hard drive crashed and it had my FCP files. I could never retrieve the edit. I wanted to make a smaller version, I couldn’t.

10. The best compliment: As I stated above, this started as an assignment at FX School. We were told to follow any interesting character and ask him questions about his life. Making a documentary out of it came much later in our syllabus. When I showed it to my professor, she asked me for the FCP edit file. I told her that it wasn’t possible for me to retrieve it. She refused to accept my submission saying she does not believe that I made it. This, by far, is the best compliment I have ever received for my film. (Although it wasn’t intended to be one!)

The Uninformed States of America

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In the world wide mess that we call as the Internet, it is difficult to find something which is informative, thought provoking yet intriguing. Which brings me to this trailer that I came across yesterday.

Even my country, India, witnessed an election that changed the political scenario by a great margin. It just proved how important it is for the country to make the youth aware about their rights and responsibilities.

The project, directed by Mike Riley comes across as an interesting political science experiment bringing some very interesting causes of political apathy in the USA in the Sizzle Reel itself. I am sure there is a lot to come in the full feature. when we talk about this film, we are looking at some raw, unbiased views of American citizens.

The treatment of the Sizzle Reel is very catchy with a very interesting host that keeps you glued. The most important part of a documentary is to keep aside your own opinions as a maker and put forward the truth. And in these terms, the project sounds very promising.

The makers at Finally Free Media are about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project on very soon. They’re also accepting submissions and requests for interviews and appearances within the film on the official website at www.theusafilm.com.

So you think you are not a part of the Uninformed States of America? Check out this awesome quiz and find out yourself.

 

 

#1 My Creation – Argument (December 2011) – Backstory

A Shot From The Film Argument

Before this film, I helped a friend of mine in the edit, sound design and visual effects for his short film ‘Pause’ in which I acted as well. And the film had a very warm response from the audience. We decided to make one more short film, which failed miserably. I had a really clear idea about the story of the film and the dialogues as well. But for some reason I couldn’t convey it very well. My friend slept the entire afternoon and I was demoralised.

I realized the importance of having the script in writing. Even when you are writing, directing, shooting and editing the film on your own, you are not the only mind working on it. When you direct your actors, they give their suggestions. They may be brilliant but not in sync with the demand of the script. When you have your script in your hand you can simply ask your actors to stick to the plan when it is necessary. It is very important for the director, the captain of the ship to have a command over his vessel. A hard copy of the script in your hand is your map, your compass and your wheel.

I also had a very simple shot division plan and a storyboard this time. I borrowed a camera, a Canon 550 from a friend of mine, a 50mm 1.8 lens from another friend in a different part of the city, I asked my dad and a friend of his to act and was all set to shoot.

The shoot was in the afternoon at Juhu beach and I was running around everywhere since morning. When we reached at the location it struck me that I forgot my script at home! I hadn’t explained the script to the actors by then. But we were losing light. We had to start. So again, even this time I was without a script even after writing it so precisely.

I struggled while directing but everything was alright. I had to come back on the next day to take a few inserts. The treatment changed drastically on the edit table. But I am glad we could finish this. The film was screened at Usha Pravin Gandhi College during Aahan International Short Film Festival in January and that was my first screening. The film got the second best film award and thus it all started.

The film was screened at a few more festivals in 2012. I tried sending the film to Berlin Short Film Festival but it couldn’t work out. Quite recently, all of my films were screened back to back at My Mumbai Film Festival. I couldn’t go for the screening but my mother and my younger brother did. My brother said that out of all the films, Argument received the best response. By many aspects, my work after this film was more substantial for me in terms of quality and reach as well. But I think the first step, the first boost was essential.

As I look back, when I made the film I did not know whether I was shooting at 24 fps or 25 fps. I spent at least 15 minutes in changing the lens, which doesn’t take more than 5 seconds. I almost lost my friend’s SD Card. I was turning the focus ring when it was on auto and I thought I broke it. There were so many retakes just because I kept my tripod in the frame. And many more mistakes, which taught me more than any institute would have.