ఈ వారం ఎకనామిక్ టైమ్స్ లో “Techie’s Reel Side” అని ఒక వ్యాసం ప్రచురించారు. అందులో నా గురించి కూడా వ్రాసారు. నిజానికి నేను నవతరంగం గురించి కూడా చాలా వ్రాసాను. కానీ వాళ్ళు దాని గురించి ఏమీ ప్రస్తావించకపోవడం కొంచెం బాధ కలిగింది.
ఎకనామిక్ టైమ్స్ లో వచ్చిన వ్యాసమూ, మరియు దానితో పాటు అంతకు ముందు వాళ్ళు నన్ను చేసిన ఇంటర్వ్యూ క్రింద ప్రచురిస్తున్నాను. చదివి మీ అభిప్రాయాలు తెలియచేయండి.
TECHIES’ REEL SIDE
LIGHTS, camera, action and cut. Cut is where Venkat Siddareddy, a budding film maker, began his behind-the-scenes journey. After editing and sound designing for a television series for a year, he played varied roles of an editor, script writer and director in his reel life. Zoom out and pan the camera to his real life and you meet a tech brain. Cameras are rolling in the IT sector and it is showtime for Venkat and the tech brigade. They are zooming in on their interest in film making.
“Film making is a dream through which people will remember us for what we did. It is fun, titillates our creative skills. It’s a challenge by itself and riding through it requires a lot of hard work, team play and coordination. It also allows us to show our passion through our skills,” said Bijoy PI and Prashanth P Nair, techie filmmakers working for SunTech Business Solutions. Venkat calls filmmaking an instrument to reflect the society which it entertains and a channel for expressing himself.
But how did the movie bug hit the tech lot? For SunTec Business Solutions’ filmmakers, the movie, masti and magic began with film appreciation where they would gather, watch movies and share views on different dimensions that would drill down to nitty-gritty of the subject. Wanting to go deeper into movies they began working on their first venture — a stage show ‘Tech a Break’ depicting the transition of cinema from old times to new. Thereafter, they made ‘The Shadow’ using a handycam and recently wrapped up their third film ‘The Myth’ that talks about beliefs on ancient cultural impressions being misused by modern era. For Venkat, however, it was self learning with the web as his guide. “I stretched hours to learn about film making. The world wide web had just opened up and I was able to acquire lots of information online,” said Venkat.
Their tech roots served as a boon to acquire the skill of film-making. Knowing technology aided their artistic sensibility. From an execution angle, certain practices in IT could be applied to film making. “It’s all about effectiveness in using the right skills at the right place and time. Project planning is a common element in both streams. Testing and final acceptance or rejection happens for both. The final verdict is by the users for IT and audience in case of film. Engineering, finishing, marketing, sale/distribution are the same hats both in film making and IT but with different colours,” said Bijoy PI and Prashanth P Nair. Further, the advent of digital technology worked in favour of these techie filmmakers, making it possible to be on your own and yet be a film maker. “Technology helps in the faster realisation of the stages involved in film thereby reducing time and improving efficiency,” said Venkat. While the tech circuits worked in their favour, there was troubleshoot elsewhere.Balancing your 9-6 job with your passion, convincing the team and stakeholders that your idea clicks, resource management, time management and people management are the common obstacles the techie film makers unanimously zero in on. And professional guidance was the route the Myth team took to solve these teething problems. They approached veterans in cinema to ensure they are on the right track, studied about shooting and got professional advice on technical aspects. Venkat suggests understanding editing well as it is what makes a film flow smoothly. “Once you understand editing everything else can be clearly understood. Being a techie it is fairly easy to understand the basics of editing as you are not new to technology,” he said.
It is thumbs up from these techie filmmakers to comrades in the IT sector aspiring to do the same. Take the risk and do something totally different from what you do. Filmmaking does wonders to your career too, they add. “It enriches your personality. You would also enjoy your usual work along with it. More people start recognising you and appreciating you. You learn to take more risks in life,” said Bijoy P I and Prashanth P Nair. Talking along the same lines, Venkat asks filmmaking enthusiasts in the tech circuit to be focused and not allow their dreams to be drowned in routine. So, aspiring techie filmmakers live your dream and let the show begin!
When and why did you enter the world of film making? Describe your journey been so far as a film maker?
I was an avid film goer and wanted to make films always. As Cinephiles in the University of Hyderabad we engaged in discussions to improve our understanding of films. Being from various streams of education helped us know and appreciate films in their different colours.
A job in the software industry left me with very little time to follow my passion but it also developed in me a capability of self learning.I stretched hours to know and learn more about various aspects of film making. The world wide web had just opened up and I was able to acquire lots of information online.I started to make short films and put them up on the web.On watching one of my videos a director approached me to edit his television series. My day job found me in the office and at night I worked on Editing and Sound design for the series for more than a year.
Although i have worked in Television and short films in various capacities (editor,script writer,director), honestly I cannot call myself a full fledged film maker yet. But i am all ready to take a step into this world of film making soon.
An IT professional and a film maker is an unusual combination. Would you call yourself a typical film maker — the man behind the scenes lost in his creative world — or a new breed among film makers? Why?
In the present landscape we cannot deny the role of technology in films , be it editing , cinematography , sound , post production or even pre-production.Knowing technology is only a boon for an artiste.I identify myself amongst the new breed of film makers who can use technology to aid his artistic sensibility.
How different has the experience been compared your experience in the tech circuits?
In software Industry every process sees itself through different clear cut phases.Such an approach lies in film making too but in a loosely defined manner.I believe that in every random abstract process there lies a certain taste of modularity.Technology helps in the faster realization of the various stages involved in film thereby lessening time and improving efficiency.
What does film making mean to you?
For me film is an instrument to reflect the society whom it entertains.It also provides the scope to document history visually. I would like to make films that are thought provoking and engage audience in questioning themselves.
For me film making is also about expressing your self. With the advent of digital technology it is possible to be on your own and yet be a film maker. Digital technology enables a film maker to be as independent as a writer.The camera can now be compared to a pen.
As a film maker, describe the challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
As I mentioned earlier I am not in to feature length film making yet. So I cannot really talk about the challenges in making a film. But there are always challenges of balancing a job with your passion. Having film making as a passion will take lots of your time in 1)watching films 2) Analyzing films 3) Understanding films 4) Appreciating films. A 9-6 job and a passion for film making will leave you very little time for any other activities.
Although you can pursue your interests in film making along with a job, there comes a time when it becomes inevitable to chose one among the two. Currently I am in the phase of making this big decision.
What skills would you ask people interested in film making to acquire, specially those like you who happen to be IT professionals?
Of all the aspects of film making,I feel editing can be a foundation in understanding and learning all the other aspects of film making. In my opinion editing is what makes a film ‘film’. Once you understand the process of editing everything else can be clearly understood and learnt.And being a techie it is fairly easy to understand the basics of editing. Because as a techie you are not new to technology.
Active in regional films and TV circuits, comment on the power of cinema, specially regional cinema?
No one can deny the power of cinema. Especially in the present scenario anyone with a story to tell can be a film maker.
Film being a visual medium you can convey anything.The mind may use film as an author does his pen.
With blogs , forums and the information boom, educating people about the nuances of film and talking about film has become easier.
Last year I started to write a blog (www.24fps.co.in) in Telugu. With the tremendous response I received from my blog, this year I started a website to promote quality cinema. On January 1st this year I launched the website www.navatarangam.com.
Navatarangam (Telugu for New wave) is a website launched in the beginning of this year to create a wide knowledge base related to Cinema. Although it started as a personal blog, in no time it has attracted a wide range of Telugu speaking audience from around the world.
Currently, Navatarangam has considerably good readership (one lakh page views per month).The wide range of articles being covered is the secret of the growing popularity of this site. With the support of almost 50 active contributors on board and a few more getting ready to join, the content that is being generated is of high standard.
What started of as a personal blog, a few months back, Navatarangam, has, currently acquired a high standard of a web-mag. Apart from the daily articles published by the authors, there are monthly sections like ‘Focus’ and ‘Cinema of the Month’.
In the ‘Cinema of the Month’ section, a lesser known film is given wide publicity by reviewing the film, promoting it by bringing the film clips, interviews etc. Under the ‘Focus’ section, we are publishing a series of articles based on a filmmaker of our choice. The aim is to bring out as much information as possible about the filmmaker .All this is particularly aimed at the Telugu speaking population.
I am currently working on launching a social networking site (Prakamya,in Telugu) for aspiring film makers in Jan 2009.
IT professionals often complaint of not being able to fulfill their aspirations after they join the tech world. How do you balance your work to fit in your film making aspirations?
As an IT professional you have the advantage of being always connected to the world through the web. This is a great opportunity to meet like minded people. Also being a techie means that all the information in the world is available to you with just few strokes on the key board. Time stretches for an artiste and managing your time makes all the difference.
Also keeping an active mind is very important. Let Tagore’s words motivate us
“…Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit”.
What advice would you give to aspiring independent film makers?
I am aspiring to be an independent film maker. I think I am close to realizing my dream.
I feel one needs to be focused and must not allow their dreams to be drowned in the routine.
One must struggle to educate and equip oneself well before entering the field.
My best wishes to all of them.