Filmmaking, for me, is a tangible medium to narrate a story blended with the personal views and knowledge about the world and life.
It’s been a difficult, but a beautiful journey, as I am able to understand and challenge myself in every step to tell a story in a unique way. But on one thing I always have to compromise – the technical equipment, i.e. cameras, different lenses, lighting and audio equipment.
You ought to think that those are the most important aspects to experience a good film. I agree. Then why do I compromise or, if I rephrase it, why do I not work towards it to get it right?
1) No Money
Despite doing plenty of work as an artist in theatre, filmmaking, marketing and writing I am not paid enough to save some money for myself and filming. In general, I have less than Rs 1000 in my bank account.
Mostly the art is taken for granted (unless you are famous) as it doesn’t give you the result right away. It’s not exactly the complaints but the truth. The struggle of an artist and its benefits & repercussions are the topics of another time.
Most of the camera and sound equipment come with a huge price (at least for me, it’s huge). I have to go with what is available and shamefully ask people with skills to work for free.
2) Time and Manpower Limitations
Let’s get it right out in the open. I am not skilled enough technically. I should be but since the availability of equipment is often for a very limited period (sometimes, only for shooting) I wouldn’t get enough time to get along with the technical crews and learn their functionality according to the scene requirements. Hence, I usually have to trust my cinematographer, lighting expert, sound engineer or editor to apply their knowledge. I just have to explain scene, framing, the emotion behind the scene and how it should feel.
Here I want every aspiring filmmaker to know that you do not need to know everything to become a filmmaker. Filmmaking is a collaborative process where a bunch of skilled people contributes to accomplish one vision. But your vision has to be clear with each and every scene. In my view, this is the best way to create a space for all the creative energies to emerge. Do not tell the artist how to but what to.
With money coming into the picture, I may not get all of them or have the particularly skilled people for the specific responsibility. These are the limitations I have to deal with every film. In these cases, I have to do research myself and tell them what to do that are not enough to learn.
Being a director on a smaller scale, you also have to take a role of production manager. However, for a big production, you may not have to manage everything but still you have to have a vision for every single thing like story, dialogue, acting, cinematography, editing, sound, music, art style, set design, props etc that give your film a meaning. You need to sit with each department to make them realize the vision.
3) It’s Beyond My Control
While dealing with these limitations and money, I usually go back to what I am good at i.e. writing, directing the actors and imagination. Those skills are in my control and I can make changes in the story or the way of acting according to available resources.
I am sure that all aspiring filmmakers go back to their expertise zone and find the possibility to compensate for what is lacking in other department.
At the end, I would like to add
You must not stop filming due to limitations. Find a way to get resources, do compromise to a certain extent, if you really have to and make all of it work in your favour. Keep Filming.
My next short film title is “A Few Minutes of Condom” based on relationship and communication between the couple. It falls in the genre of drama and romance. The challenging part of this film was to be shot it in one long take (no cut whatsoever). The film is over 15 mins without any cut. I shall announce the promo video and the date of release.
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