Sunday, September 18, 2005

Lights Camera Action

I had written this to my friends as a summarization of our work for the short film and as a remembrance for their efforts.

Thought some of you might want to read it!!!

We have won the second prize!!!!!!!!!

There was joy ,there was jubilation and we were jumping all around.

I smiled.
It was one of those smiles where every inch of the lip movement is an involuntary reaction to the uncontrollable outburst from the heart. It was a smile where you forget about your not so perfect teeth and smile without any concern about your looks. It was a smile where the edges of lips hopelessly tries to expand more and regretfully stops somewhere near your ear all the while cursing the limitation of human body.

A smile,
Celebrating the magic of friendship.
A smile,
Reaffirming the sincerity and sheer hard work.
A smile,
Proving the power of teamwork.
A smile,
Reflecting the confidence in life and acknowledging the sign of better things in this unforgiving world.

A smile that knocks the doors of your eyes looking for tears of joy!!!!!!!

(Somebody stop this guy!!!)
So much for a smile , let me get to the point..
On September 9th , a bunch of “happy go lucky” software professionals (and one happiest go luckiest HR person! J)Were gathered in MC room, bldg number 1, second floor, Infosys, Sholinganallur campus.

The occasion????

The screening and the announcement of results of the short film competition with the title “Community empathy and Social consciousness”

My mind rewinded back to the first meeting of this team. We had come to the meeting based on a post in BB.
“No!! We are not gonna show a usual issue thing!! The one where we see a touchy depiction of some social evil and accusing the audience of all problems and eventually making them feel bad for watching the film. We are not gonna be problem pundits !! We are gonna be solution sheiks!! We are not gonna show what you have not done.We are gonna show what you CAN do!!”
The words echoed in my ears!! This was the unanimous decision we took at the end result of our brainstorming.
What a refreshing thought!!

I knew we had won it right then! We had won in deciding the right concept and outlook of the film.

The next Monday there was a flurry of emails. A few of us had written scripts and had made a few stories (quite a few INKers in the group so it was obvious that we were never gonna run out of stories).
We met again and finalized the story. The readiness with which people agreed to unanimously decide on a story amazed me. All of these guys were proven storytellers but they agreed not to press on with their story and willfully accepted one of the many good ideas and wanted to go forward.
I knew we had won it right then! We had won in killing our ego (creators have a biiiiiiiiiig ego,trust me!! J), and work towards a common goal.

Soon we decided on our roles and started looking for people to act in our movie. After a few auditions we narrowed down the actors/actresses.
Soon it was time for shooting. The first day we decided to shoot at a beautiful road in Annanagar and “Jeevika-a home for the aged and destitute“ with a simple handy cam without even a tripod.
My God!!!!!!
The ideas started pouring like I never imagined. We shall zoom from here and then pan it across to there and then zoom out and then this that blah blah!!! Now we were in a fix!!!
Which idea to decide on?? We only have five minutes and five thousand to show our movie and all these ideas are enough to make five movies!!!!!!!!! Perhaps we had too many people with lots of ideas.
Compromises had to be made, pride had to be swallowed and the sweltering heat added to fatigue didn’t help much. There were times when the frustration and irritation threatened to erupt and destroy the setting like an ugly volcano destroying a peaceful village. But common sense prevailed.
By the time we went back to our homes at 11-11.30 on that Saturday night, we had shouted, thought, argued, decided, walked, ran, taught, negotiated, imagined, traveled like no other day.
As all this happened with the veil of making a movie, when the veil was removed, the enormity of the efforts settled on our bodies as pain and tiredness with the sweet feeling of achieving something!! It wasn’t entirely peaceful sleep for all!! Some had to get up early next morning to go office on a shift on that Sunday. (duty calls, sometimes it orders too!! J)
After another day of hectic shooting, the cast and the crew heaved a sigh of relief.

“Substantial amount of work is done”, someone remarked with a tone of satisfaction.

I heard a smirk from somewhere. I didn’t realize at that time, that it was God laughing at our innocence.

To be continued……………..
It was then time for editing!!!!!!

A bunch from the team went to the studio located in Kodambakkam.
What an incredible experience!!! The magic of movie making spread before our eyes as the professional started to isolate the shots and started putting them in place!!!!
And as we guided him through, we ended up with one single piece with the whole flow. But before that we had to decide the right “take” to include and had to regretfully exclude some very good shots.
Now we have a problem!! The film was supposed to be just 5 minutes and we had lot more than 5 minutes to our footage. We had to cut out a few shots!!!
But which one????
It was like asking a sculptor which part of the torso can be cut of his beautiful sculpture!!

Sacrifices had to be made. Scenes for which we had to toil in terms of acting,lighting,camera angles etc etc had to be cut. It got harder as we started nearing 5 minutes and the last two minutes were the most painful.
In the end we had a film for 5 minutes without any sound. We were fairly satisfied but what is this??? Not many outsiders were able to understand it!!!!!!!!!! L

What could be wrong??? Why isn’t the flow very understandable?? Is it because there is no sound?? Should there be another round of editing??? That will be extra money!!!!, not to mention the time and effort. In the end we decided to make a small change in editing and go ahead with the dubbing!!

The effect of sound to a non-talkie is amazing; no matter how much you can imagine its importance.
The actors gave their voices to the characters as their “astral projections” moved on the screen.
The tweaking, the fine tunings, the adjustments we made to each and every dialogue was to be seen to be believed.
It was 2-3 am , by the time the dubbing was over. We went back sleeping to the nearest shelter available to get a shut eye. The eyes got “shut down“ very soon but not the minds. The movie played over and over in our dreams.

“What time is it ????
Its time for MUSIC!!!!!!!!!”

Creating music is always a challenge. Creating it for a movie, tougher!!
Creating it for a five-minute movie so that it brings out the essence of the message??
Forget it boss!! J

It was with these constraints, our music director started his musical venture. When it was over we were bowled over by the originality and serenity of the music.

The movie was played to few outsiders again and this time almost everyone liked and most importantly understood it!! J
Feedbacks were implemented and our movie was ready.
We made our posters and by this time, the date for submission had arrived. We submitted our movie and our fingers were crossed. Some of us even crossed our hands and legs.

Before we could realize it was 9th September , the day when the results were to be announced.
We gathered in MC room, where all movies were to be screened and the results were to be announced.
As the movies were screened one by one, I personally felt that our movie was more complete than any other movie in terms of story, screenplay, acting, originality in music, message etc.
And then the announcement came.

We have won the second prize!!!!!!!!!

Take a bow Sudharshan, for your neat camera work .
Take a bow Venu, for your camera work, non-intrusive guidance and millions of other incredible things you did for the film, which I won’t be able to mention, due to the sheer enormity of it!!
Take a bow Deepak, for your great work with the story/script and wonderful direction.
Take a bow Megh, for your beautiful music and your inputs to help us narrow down the concept.
Take a bow Vidhatri, for your effort in direction and the time you spent in finalizing logistics and locations.
Take a bow Vineetha, for your encouraging leadership and your unstinted help and support all the way through.

Take a bow
Imay (Rishab)
,Neena (Suprita)
,Madhu (Caretaker)
,Swetha (Anjali)
,Saurabh (Vivek)
,Santhosh (Shaam)

for your mature acting and the receptiveness with which you took our inputs without any ill feeing.

We have won in making an impact in the competition.
We have won in presenting a sound and practical idea.
We had won when we succeeded in making this movie with absolutely no exposure in limited time.
We had won when we juggled our time and made sure we don’t compromise on the quality of the movie all the while dutifully working in the office.
But more importantly,
If the message reaches the audience and if they spend a minute thinking about the topic,
We have won a prize, which cannot be matched by any other.

Thanks for the fun,
Thanks for the experience,
Thanks for the sweet pains,
Thanks for the exhilaration,
Thanks for the smiles,
Thanks for the tears (of joy)
(fine fine!! I will stop!!!! J)

Thanks for everything.
Good luck,

Special Thanks :
Manimegalai, Jeevika-a home for the aged and destitute (Padur)(little girl in the movie)
,Mr.Subramaniam ,Caretaker, Jeevika-a home for the aged and destitute (Padur)

The end. (its about time anyway!!!!!! )

1 Comment:

nivash said...

really nice........