A modern day David and Goliath story of Underdog and dreams. Dream big...Go bigger!Rahul Paul
Movies! Without zero experience in any of the film making areas I knew I had slim of chances of making it into the showbiz. After getting multiple rejections from auditions and harsh goodbyes from directors whom I wished to assist, I was on the verge of giving up. But I was believed I was born to do this and hence decided to storm into the Indian (Malayalam) Film Industry
The Malayalam Film Industry was polluted with all sorts of Artists Unions and Film fraternity associations which hampered every debutants entry. That was where I saw my opportunity. I had colleagues who were movie enthusiasts and had done many short films in hopes that they might get noticed. I screened many short films selecting the best ones and contacted their makers through my colleagues. I unfolded my plans before them. With their unanimous agreement, we decided to take on the Big Guns of the industry.
The Idea: After calculating all associated costs, for a 20 minute short film, the amount came close to 2-2.5 lakhs .Of course, the costs do not include the remunerations of anyone who worked because everyone was driven by the enthusiasm and zeal to enter the industry. That was the main plus point of working with a team of people who are all oriented towards the same goal. Our idea was to make 3-4 short films, create fillers between the movies to bring logical connections for the movies and VOILA! you get a 90 minute film. The 4 movies had to be similar in some way or the other.
We decided to integrate the story generation and the Marketing of our movie. We selected a genre and made a Story writing contest for Short Film contest. The winner was to get 8 grand and it was open to all Engineering Colleges across the state. Our calculation behind this was to generate a buzz as well as market the movie to the college of the winners. Since there were to be 4 short stories, we planned to select from 4 different colleges, in order to create more buzz.
Once we got the story, we decided to start the action. With such a setup, everybody is eager to come for work, the fatigue is less and satisfaction is more. Since the entire funding was from our team, we had collective responsibility for marketing the movie and completing the work on schedule. The daily action was uploaded by the photographers. We had the entire cast and crew making appearances in malls and other public places. We had the upcoming stars and other New Gen directors talking about us (mutual publicity) and washed out yesteryear actors making friendly appearances in our venture.
After all these, we were faced with the final hurdle; the release of the movie! We had all invested big money into this project. With many associations coming against us for not having included them, we were paying the price. Didn’t we have freedom to express our talent to the world? Couldn’t we do anything without such interferences? We decided not to give in to them and fought against them in the public forum and garnered hundreds of supporters. That was when we were contacted by the censor board who promised to help us in certifying the film and promised their full support. But the theatres association were against us. They prohibited screening our movie in any of their theatres.
When things seemed lost and we decided to quit, we found a ray of hope through the founder of Bookmyshow whom we had met at an international conference. We had a talk with him and he set us up a meeting with the Cinemax group. We negotiated and they agreed to screen our movie in their lean period. We reluctantly agreed. We may have to wait for a while, but at least we got something.
Within a span of 4 months, we had our release. We were allotted 4 shows each on a given day and that too only in Cinemax. No Posters, No flexes and no outside of the social media marketing. We gave it our all and this was what we got. We ended our crusade against the Indian Film Industry; or so we thought.
The next day, the social media was abuzz with our maiden venture. Even the critics had given glowing reviews. The Cinemax had increased its shows in a matter of days and we even had calls from secondary theatres for release of our movie. Within a week we had almost 80-90 shows per day.
It has been a week now over since the release, and the team is overjoyed. We hope to make more meaningful movies and bring up artists who have real talent in them. We hope that people have faith in our banner and recognize our movies by our brand rather than the actors who star in them. This is THE dream that I hope to carry forward.