In a country that is the largest producer of movies that capture the culture of various states and linguistic groups, short films may finally be the upcoming trend. Even the recent super hit in Tamil and Telugu – Kadhalil Sodhapuvadhu Yapadi/Love Failure was first discovered as a short film on YouTube. Yet again, social media triumphs over the conventional practice of waiting for your script and cast to be approved and then direct the film. Short-films are economical, easier to shoot and most importantly, Fun for students. Additionally, YouTube makes the lives of these GEN-Y directors much simpler. Starting from promotional videos for Cultural fests to documentaries on environmental issues, everything can be shot and uploaded in no time for the world to see.
Short-film making has become a serious business with talent shows such as NaalayaIyakkunar (Tamil TV show in Kalaignar TV) paving way for young blood into the world of cinematography. AshwathNarayan was one of the finalists in the third season , the youngest and the only engineer in the lot. “It all began when I was the Cultural Secretary of my college when a renowned director presided over the inaugural. The applause he got when he climbed the stage was thunderous and suddenly, I wanted it myself – acknowledgement and recognition”, he recalls. He started small, making a promo for his college’s cultural fest . “The response after the first screening was immediate and overwhelming. I had random people coming up to me, congratulating me for the video. That was my first taste of success”, he reminisces. From then on, there has been no looking back for him. He sent in an entry to the contest, got selected and went through the different rounds, determined, until the finals. “The contest was a major platform for me to learn and improvise. With each round, I improved, technically and script-wise”, he says. Today, Ashwath has eight short films to his credit and is working on more.
Serious film-making aside, there are many instances of Youtube videos, shot in no time, going viral. One such video , “Shit People Say in Chennai “, made by Sandhya Ramachandran and her friends for Madras Day, got repeatedly shared and hit 50,000 likes within a few days. The video is a reflection on the way the native language has evolved over the ages and how the “Madras Baasha” is spoken in different ways. It highlights the clashes in the lifestyles of a Tamil Brahmin, an auto-rickshaw driver and the “cool dudes” and how they co-exist in the same city.”It took about 2 hours to script. 3-4 hours to shoot. 8 hours to edit. When we shot and edited it, we were pretty confident we were going to get a decent number of views. 50,000 wasn’t really on our mind. Youtube is tricky. A baby sneezing can get 3 million views. Yanni playing music will probably get only 1800 views. Tricky is the word”, shares Akash Iyer, Editor/Actor of Shit People Say in Chennai. He had been doing promos for bands and sports website when Sandhya and him decided to take part in the British Council’s Madras Day Competition. “We were supposed to make two videos - one a short film and one shit people say in Chennai. Later we scrapped the short film and stuck with this because it was so much more fun”, he adds. Akash is currently studying for CWA meanwhile making videos for Sportskeeda.com, an Indian sports company.
Akash also being a great fan of YouTube, he believes” India's YouTube generation is so far behind the rest of the world. We need pioneers and more people who want to make a career on YouTube. You don’t risk too much on YouTube. You have creative freedom. I love youtube. If anything, it is so under-used in our country. We need to inspire people into thinking anyone can make videos. I think India as a country is shy and unwilling to embarrass itself in front of a camera”.Of course, there are amateurs as well, with a dream to see their names roll in the credits. Sanjay Reddy, a second year student pursuing Engineering has just ventured into the field. “I started watching a lot of movies after my 12th Board examinations and realised that the media is a powerful tool to get your message across to a wide audience.” His first short-film, a joint effort by him and his friends is soon to be released.
Short-films/videos definitely seem to be making waves today with over-night celebrities and instant successes. Have an idea, a hazy theme for it hovering the background ? Quick! Grab a pen, make a script, get in friends, shoot and roll!!
Author Credit: Akshaya Bhat