I regularly participate in some of the most happening filmmaking communities on orkut by offering advises for the tasks of different phases of filmmaking whenever anyone posts a filmmaking related query or seeks a professional thought on any area of filmmaking.
 
I am copying and pasting some of the important queries and my answers in the following for review of the respectable visitors of my Windows Live Space.
 
I hope that all of you find these queries and my answers informative, especially, the filmmaking enthusiasts of you.
 

Query:

want help..

i want to learn direction..
want ur suggetions..
 
 Fim Director
 
My Answer:
 
You can take some good short courses or graduation degree in filmmaking/directing.

You can also learn film direction by doing it yourself. You can even utilize your or your friend’s or any family member’s mobile camera for that purpose, if you don’t have a camcorder. Use whatever good or bad camera you can get your hands on and shoot as many short films as you can. Ideally a dozen of them. This way you will get to learn a lot about direction by actually doing it yourself, one of the great ways to learn anything (by doing it yourself).

One piece of advice: Don’t just schedule the shoots of your short films before getting finalized at every detail on paper and in your mind. By "every detail" I mean how you want to shoot the shots, from which angle camera will be focusing your characters, objects, etc. AND DON’T FORGET TO WRITE SCREENPLAYS FIRST. Once you have made sure that all of this has been done, stick with the plan.

Good Luck. I hope that this helps.

 
 
Query:
 
New wave cinema
m makin a project on indian new wave cinema ie indian parallel cinema or art films..for dat i require answers to few questions as a part of my research..kindly help….
 

Q1..given a chance, will u prefer a karan johar film or a mira nair film and y?

Q2..is the indian taste for cinema changing? ur views?

Q3..do u thnk ppl prefer bollwood ovr art films? gv ur views on dat nd wat will u prefer and y?

Q4..wat accrdng to u is new wave cinema? do u thng more films of this genre shud b produced?

pls mention ur name nd occupation as well…
thnkuu…

 Parallel Cinema
My Answer:
 
I have always questioned the definition of parallel cinema which most modern day professionals and hence new filmmakers have taken.

I doubt that from its beginning the art cinema was called parallel cinema. In that sense, the definition of parallel cinema that we see on Wikipedia and other encyclopedias are somewhat inappropriate.

According to what i have observed, rather studied, there is a clear difference between parallel cinema and art movie cinema. The difference is when we refer to a parallel cinema, we are referring to the films that are "equally" entertaining (and maybe marketable as well) as their counterparts, but unlike the counterparts, they are telling or exploring real-life issues, maintaining artistic values while preserving the commercial and entertainment aspects.

Now, when we refer to art movies, we are referring to the movies that consciously disregard the commercial and entertainment aspects and just tell or explore real-life issues, maybe somewhat hard-hitting issues.

Thus, very much like mainstream Bollywood cinema, the parallel cinema is "equally" liked by the middle class housewives and rakshawalas and all and the so-called superior-class, but rightly-called intellectual class, providing parallel cinema movies with great commercial successes. While on the other hand, the art cinema is liked by only a certain class, that’s why they are not commercially successful like parallel or mainstream cinema movies.

An example of the parallel cinema, thus, would be the recent Amir Khan production "Taare Zameen Per." I am sure many of us observers have noted that this movie discusses a real-life issue and at the same time does maintain entertainment and commercial aspects.

An example of the art movie, thus, would be Deepa Mehta’s and Nair’s flicks.

Do let me know if you disagree with me. I believe we can get the things correct only if we talk.

 
Query:
 
Hi friends

My name is Vivek Nagendra
Like Tanya we are also doing research on the problems faced by serious film makers for our project

kindly answer few of my queries

1) what all problems does a film maker face when he is making serious/documentary films?

2)Why is it so difficult for a serious film to find a theatre?

3)why does the genral audience not prefer serious films to commercial films in the market today?

4) how difficult is it for serious film makers to finance their films?

5)what remedies do you guys suggest for making serious films reach out to a large audience?

i have seen film enthusiasts in this community. hope to get some answers

regards
vivek

 
 Serious Films
 
My Answer:
 
Hi Vivek:

I find your 1st and 4th question pretty much the same whose answers covering the 2nd and 3rd questions as well. Your 5th question is independent of them all. So —

— if the filmmaker is not financing the project himself/herself, they are going to find it pretty difficult to get finance. If they succeed in getting the finance, they are very likely to face problems in getting distribution for their project unless there are some A-list on screen talents on board. And not to forget the equally passionate cast and crew for the project.

To proceed further let’s assume that the filmmaker has got equally passionate cast and crew with A-List on screen talents on board, finance, and distribution, now starts the hard work of getting public to watch the serious film/documentary. This is where your marketing tactics would make the game or destroy it. Depending on how you made the project i.e. with or without the above mentioned ingredients you can get public to watch your project.

For example, if there are no top on screen talents attached with your project, the only thing left to focus in your marketing material i.e. brochures, tv and print media ads etc is the heart aching topic. You are to make sure that your ads do the job of getting the public to come to watch your project done. Have the ads written in a way that instantly generate interests among the public by convincing them that your project is not only talking about some serious issue but also providing the solution. Mind you, there are many more techniques to do that, which can’t be covered within this space.

There is no doubt that Indian public prefers commercial films but i find Indian cinema goers much more open to be taught may i say than their counterparts in other countries of South Asian region. I also think it is natural for the public of South Asian region to prefer commercial movies. You see, who would like to pay to see all those problems on screen which they are already seeing in their everyday lives.

 
I do believe that if you also provide a practical solution (not necessarily the resolution of the film) to the problem in your film or documentary, and mention it in your ads, the public is bound to come. Its also natural to attempt to find the solutions of problems. It has been done by humans since ancient times.

I suppose i have covered your first 4 questions. Now, let’s come to the 5th, the last question.

A simple remedy:

Plan your project well.

Every bit of your project in all stages must be planned out in advance with plan B and if possible Plan C as well for every single thing.

Good Luck.

Query:
 

SUGGESTIONS PLEASE !

Hey everyone ! im currently into my second year of engineering in computer sciences frm mumbai, i have recently developed an interest in making a documentry on children… though i have already started the basic work, but then too since i hardly know anything about documentry making, I would like to know how to go about it. Also are there any institutes in MUMBAI where i can learn film making as a part time. I

would really appreciate your reply !

 
 Children Documentary
 
My Answer:
 
Hi Jitender:

Assuming you already have a suitable camcorder, my advice would be to make some short, experimental documentaries on any topic, ideally the topics related to the main theme you are talking about to make the documentary on.

This way you will get hands-on experience with shooting documentaries and that too on the relevant topics which will be a learning experience like no other.

Once you have shot the experimental documentaries, it will be a good idea to have the best one edited either by yourself or ideally by any of the available post production companies to have a look at the finished product done by you to figure out the areas you can improve more.

I would also advice you to pay special attention or the due attention on your scripts. It is unfortunate that scripts are often overlooked by filmmakers in South Asian mainstream industry, which cause them serious problems later. A script is a blue print, the plan, the basis of the projects and it is indeed very wise to make the basis as strong as possible to have a solid finished product that is literally ready to win awards.

Hope that helps.

 
Query:
 

need help…..

hi frndz…. i wan help from u i want to make short film i have script but i dont have any knowledge abt techniques like camera, editing, sound, & even i don have money 4 d film so can u plz tell me hw should i start……. fm wer can i get finence…. aftr complition wer shoud i show my film……. plz waiting 4 gud advice….
 
 Mobile Phone Filmmaking
 
My Answer:
 
You can use your video camera cell phone to shoot low to micro budget short films and have them showcased in the cell phone film festivals.

Before that, it would be a wise idea to shoot at least half a dozen short films to get familiar with different techniques and hence get ready for the main thing. Now the topics for those half a dozen, experimental short films can be as simple as —

— a man tells his girlfriend that he wants to quit the relationship or vice versa.
— a person finds that she has some fatal disease.
— a married person finds that his/her spouse is having an affair.
— a person gets joyed or sorrows after having read a letter

topics like that.

Hope that helps.

 
Query:
 

wat 2 use??

Hey frens………..want 2 make a short movie………
so , do i need a handycam 4 that, or a mobile camera will do???
PLZ HELP
 
Someone Named "C"’s Reply:
 
Use a handycam if you have one……..Only the high end mobile phones produce pretty ok video quality….

If you are still doubtful, shoot something with you phone, transfer the video to your pc and check if that quality is adequate for your movie or else use a handycam

 
Cell Phone Filmmaking
 
My Answer:
 
I agree with C with the exception that you might want to shoot something with your cell phone first regardless of the picture and sound quality so as to gain some practical knowledge of different aspects of filmmaking if it is the first time you are going to shoot something as a short film. The topics can be as simple as a person leaving his home for work, entering his room, or expressing joy or sorrow after having read some email or letter. This will just give you practical understanding of shots and other aspects of filmmaking and you will start learning to choose best shots for different scenes.

Later, you can go on and buy a good mini-dv camcorder, a 3ccd maybe. Until you go to shopping, you can use your cell phone.

 
Query:
 

Making short music video

Hi All,

I am Nitin a software engineer. Music is my passion and I love to sing. I have recorded some songs recently. Now I want to make some videos around my composed songs with some theme in mind.
For this I will be recording videos with different views. One with myself actually singing the song plus the actor in the theme.

My idea is to finally merge and mix all the videos and overwrite the audio to make the complete video.

Need your help here. What is the best software (available on internet) that I can use to achieve this.

regards,
NiTiN

 
 Music Videos
 
My Answer:
 
A good music video is always the one which shows a story with shots of the singer lip syncing an acceptable, rather common thing. The story told in the music video got to be related with the lyrics. Of course it sounds obvious, but some new directors ruined their music videos by opting for the opposite route.

I would suggest you to write the script of the music video first focusing on what would look great on screen while the song is being played. This way you won’t be shooting different scenarios for the same video, which can look unprofessional if some certain techniques are not taken care of, and then you will not have to compile different parts of your different videos shot to make a single video.

No doubt you will need a good editing software and the editing software applications suggested to you above are great ones. But i guess you wanted to know of the best editing software that is available on internet for free. In that case, i am not aware of any such software, but Microsoft Windows XP comes with a free editing software which is suitable for basic level editing. See if it has all you want to use out of a free editing software.

Hope that helps.

 
Query:
 

aspiring filmmaker

dear friends,
i am an engineering student, currently studying in tamil nadu, i am extremely passionate about making movies. i have made a couple of short films for my college. i aspire to become a filmmaker, can you please suggest me how to begin.
can i pursue a corespondence{distant learning} course in filmaking? or what is the best way to learn how to make movies professionaly? and please suggest me a good basic movie camera i should buy"
it will be so nice of all you professional to lend a helping hand"
thanks
 
 Filmmaking
 
My Answer:
 
Hello Haider:

Completing any filmmaking course is a must, i would say, for anyone who wants to enter into filmmaking and make it big. Yes, you can learn filmmaking all by yourself, either through the available free of cost materials available on the internet or by making movies yourself. However, great filmmakers we know today, well, most of them, have some sort of academic learning background in filmmaking. So, you get the idea.

I would recommend pursuing online filmmaking courses. If you can do that from a reputable film institute such as New York Film Academy or you can get yourself enrolled into the online filmmaking courses by UCLA, you will be in good shape to start off your filmmaking career in an impressive mode.

As for the camera you should buy, i would say you should buy any camcorder which is 3ccd and which supports 24fps. Also the sound is of utmost importance just as the ability of the camcorder to shoot great in low light.

I have noticed that Canon XL2 and Sony DSRPD 170 are very popular among India’s independent filmmakers including the A-list independent filmmakers.

When i researched in Hollywood film market, i found that it is Panasonic AG DVX100A and its latest model Panasonic AG DVX100B camcorders that are widely used by independent filmmakers there and they are very happy with the way this camcorder does wonders for them. Recently released Angelina Julie starrer A Mighty Heart has some shots shot with this camcorder. Also, there are some globally famous independent films from Hollywood that were completely shot using this camera.

Hope that helps.

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Making a good screenplay great
 
A new friend from India on orkut recently requested my suggestions on how to write a short film screenplay in a win-win way. Here is what I advised him:
 
  1. Every word of your screenplay MUST be doing either of the following;

(a)   moving your story forward

(b)  revealing something about the characters

 

  1. Don’t waste time in getting the reader/viewer/audience involved in your script/film at the start of your script/film. You can achieve that by building ‘believability’ into the beginning of your film. And believability can be achieved by having the character(s) do or say something that the audience/reader can relate to, no matter if the character(s) you are showing at the start of your film are aliens from some far off planet.
  2. Don’t forget the “show, don’t tell” rule throughout your script/film.
  3. Subtext is crucial. Avoid on-the-nose dialogue; it can kill your project. Incase you are wondering what is subtext: It is the opposite of on-the-nose dialogue and it is all about not having your characters say exactly what they are thinking.
  4. Don’t be afraid of re-writing. If you feel your script may benefit from a rewrite, please do it for a greater final product.
  5. Make sure that the end of your script/film is not predictable. Brainstorm ways to make your end as interesting and unique as you can make to make the readers/audience/viewers talk about your script/film hours or hopefully days and months after reading/watching your work.
  6. Middle part of your script/film is also very important. Raise the stakes as high as possible within the literary capacity of the story, and you will have a great middle.