Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Payanathin mudivil - the making - part one

Standing in the road and talking with my friends, about how our short film would fare when published, we were wondering how many hits/views of our short film would be considered a good target.The concensus was that maybe 700 would be a good- challenging target (for a first short). After a month of release, the comments and feed back have been overwhelmingly positive. People have been appreciating finer aspects of the film that we had never anticipated. Nevertheless, should take into account that people who gave the feedback would be less critical since it is a maiden attempt.

At this point of time, I would like to thank Siva, Arun, Anand S, Anand B and Arief again for their help in making this short film possible. Without their interest and participation in the clueless making, this wouldn't be possible today.

Something that just started as a whiling away the time during the train journey, has finally become this. I was thinking of writing about the beginnings of how this all came through. So here it goes.

Before making this, I had made two-three attempts at shooting a short with friends which didn't complete due to a variety of reasons varying from overly ambitious expectations to pathetic making. Often times, the interest that you have while starting somethings decomposes so fast, as things don't translate as imagined in your mind. For the same reason, dropped a few projects before completion.

When asked by an interviewer recently about my strong point, I replied, that I thoroughly analyze all possible options before venturing into something. She then asked what my weak point is. I replied to her, that I tend to overdo my strong point. That I over analyze and over complicate options and hence take too much of a time to decide on things. The main intention was to give a diplomatic reply, but my answer made me think.

"You are perfect DSS, you know" told a friend of mine, when we were chatting in the pantry.
"A what??" said me.
"A DSS- a decision support system."
"......." blank expression from me.
"you give the inputs to it, it analyses everything and provides all possible information to you. But it can not decide the way to proceed".
It was very true.

After a long time, encouraged by my good friend Lokesh to make a short in time to submit for a particular competition, I decided to complete one however bad it turns out.I completed it and published it only to those involved in it, to a lukewarm response. But to me completing it was a personal goal achieved.

Sometime later, when I joined facebook, I saw a video uploaded by Sivaram, that he had made on his cell phone cam. Shot very simply, but edited and mixed with the theme of Cinema Paradiso, it was a nice effort. After seeing that I hesitantly showed him the silent short that I had made. And after mutual confessions of interests in film making, we planned to shoot something.
Then came the trip. We decided to shoot something and release it however bad it be. So we decided on two stories. I chose a story that I had written in my blog long back.In search of the absurd man. Siva chose a Jeffery Archer story. Everyone was game. And we started shooting.
I had planned to make the narration as voice over, as it facilitated me for two reasons. I can shoot anything and put the voice over narration. Moreover the dialogues were not ready. So I would shoot some sequences; write the dialogs later and edit it accordingly. So it was mostly like.

Me: 'Go there, stand over there and give a blank look'
Siva: 'hmmm.. k'
Me:'Turn to your left and look above with a confused look'
Siva: Dai ennaya vachu edhuvum comedy keemedy pannalayae'

Thanks to Arun's eye for visuals, we shot some good sequences, that I later used for voice over narration. We shot footage of Siva, standing and brooding over things. We finally shot the sequence with Arun playing CK in a hotel in Mangalore. I had initially planned not to shoot it and tell the story without actually showing the writer. But due to Arun's persistent warning that it would be difficult to convey without scenes of CK, I shot it. And thanks to the early morning sun shining from our windows, got some nice visuals.

And satisfied with the footage shot, returned home. And now came the bigger challenge. To tell the story with the available footage in a coherent manner with an intact emotional core. The dialog for the voice over, the editing and the other post production stuff. The most difficult part was the dialogs themselves. I have an inclination to delve in philosophical ramblings when I start narrating, which is not because of choice, but I have a hard time doing otherwise. To me that forms the emotional core for a movie. Even the message(if i can say so) of the short, was something from my immediate experience. So the final version of the script that became the short, was stripped down from my confounding philosophical statements to simple things that everyone could associate.More on that in part two. :)