Mostly plot narration, a bit of review. It’s personal. I don’t speak for everyone.
Mostly plot narration, a bit of review. It’s personal. I don’t speak for everyone.
I only wanted to show that two day old Bhindi is fine to eat (to which Biwi generally doesn’t agree with). But a lot more happened. See.
Biwi flew to Ahmedabad last Friday. Five days ago. She will return to Goa the coming Friday. The morning after she left, I went running again. The same six kilometers as the previous day. Slightly faster though. Later that night, at around eleven, I took a taxi to the airport. Izaz bhai has been my reguar cab driver since past few months. He usually wears a white shirt (uniform). He was wearing a t-shirt when he came to pick me up.
I meant it. He spoke for a while about the need for uniforms during day-time and all that. When we reached the airport, he decided not to charge me the extra night time fee. ‘Some other time sir’, he said smiling. So sweet!
My flight from Goa to Hyderabad took off at around one in the night – and because the entire row in the aircraft (on my side of the aisle) was vacant – I slept occupying all the three seats. Tried sleeping rather. Didn’t succeed much. It didn’t help that the flight was a short one.
I landed between two and two thirty and slept for about an hour or so in the transit hotel at the airport. One can book a room on an hourly basis at this airport – which is pretty cool. The room was absolutely tiny though – not much space around the bed. But the bed was cozy and I could relax somewhat.
I was in Hyderabad to shoot an engagement function of few hours. Val – the girl, had been my junior in IIT. I headed the design department for IIT Madras’ technical festival during my last two years there. In the final year, Val had worked for me as a photography coordinator. Her job had been to make photographs based on the requirement of the rest of the design team (for brochures, posters etc.). Now, after so many years, I was her photographer! Life comes a full circle. I mean, yeah not exactly full in this case, but what somewhat circulish?
The function got over by around 11. My flight back to Goa would depart only at 03 pm. So I called up Radha and asked her if she was free and if we could catch up. We ended up catching up. Even if it was just for fifteen, twenty minutes. And even if the restaurant where Radha took me could offer nothing more than veg pakodas and sandwich (which we could not finish anyway, given that I had to rush for the airport and all that).
‘Dominique, you have got a great hairstyle’, I told him, while on our way. I don’t remember now whether he thanked me for this compliment (which I genuinely meant) but I do remember him explaining to me how his hair used to be so much more silkier when he was younger. ‘I am sure’, I said. He didn’t give me any discount once the trip was over.
Next day, I tried getting up in the morning (to go for my run) – but failed. So I did some weight training instead (later during the day). This was day before yesterday – 15th August – India’s Independence day. Po – the rockstar, wanted me to come over to a restaurant-cum-bar in the evening, where he was performing, and shoot a video for him. I did that. It was also good to note that, that place was serving beer even on 15th Aug! Things that can happen only in Goa! ? By the way, you so totally HAVE to view the short clip below to see how amazing Po is on guitar (it might take you a while to guess the song though)! ?
Yesterday, I tried once more to get up early enough to go for my run. Yesterday, I failed again. So, did some weight training again. Today morning, I finally got up. 0530 AM. Yay!
But I was so sleepy that I sat on my chair and slept again (didn’t have a great sound sleep last night). Tomorrow morning, I will get up and do a 8k. There are only 39 more days to go for the Chicago Half and there is only so much that I can screw up when it comes to training!
PS: the feature image is a photograph that I made in the lounge of the hotel, where the engagement was held (Park Hyatt, Hyderabad).
I saw a short 15 minute documentary video on the legendary swimmer Michael Phelps just now. One of my Facebook friends had shared it on his timeline. And because I loved the way the film was made, I thought of breaking down the storytelling bit (my newest obsession – every time I see a good story, whether it be a documentary – short or otherwise, or a Hollywood movie).
So why does the audience care about what the protagonist wants?
If the record holder of the highest number of Olympic medals is not sure what the purpose of his life is and is fucked up in any way, we all want to know why! It’s difficult not to care about his journey to see if he can figure things out (which he most likely will, we kind of know that), but more importantly, how exactly does he figure things out? Did someone help him in this journey? Did he bump into something (by accident or choice) that opened his eyes? ‘Tell us all’, the audience screams.
What makes it difficult for Michael to figure out what he truly wants from his life is what makes it difficult for any of us – there is no well defined way of finding this out really! We also get to know about his estranged relationship with his father, which was not easy to sort out.
At stake was a) his reputation as a celebrity Olympic champ and b) his life. Two pretty high stakes really!
Unfortunately, this story lacks a visual flow. There is no connecting start and end. Do I think having a visual flow would have elevated the story? Yes, absolutely.
Following, methinks, are main ones:
Whether you are writing a story (doesn’t really matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction) or making a film, do make sure you story answers these questions! Because every good watchable story, generally does! You can read more about the importance of each of these questions in another detailed blog here.
Feature image source.
The Shop Art Art Shop Residency and Exhibition got over on 14th Jun. I returned to Goa last evening. And it’s time for a wrap up post. I still remember how I had felt first, on reaching the village – “now that I am in Gunehar, I wonder what stories I am going to end up with, in the next three weeks” (quote from diary #1). As it turned out eventually, I didn’t end up making a story on any of my first ideas (house with the best view, village life, struggle of artists etc. – diary #2). Even the sniper project that I started in the second week (diary #3) did not lead to anything exciting other than a dramatic fight scene (which I started showing as a story in itself, but gradually just retained the most interesting parts of that video for a jingle that I made later). Diary #3 also mentions a “juicy conversation” (quoting below) and that finally did become a story [you can watch it here on 3 Minute Stories’ Facebook page].
…villager approached me… …shared a lot about his life. Pretty juicy stuff for first meeting – how his first wife had an affair and dumped him, the reasons why he doesn’t like his father, a foreigner who has promised to adopt his children and take them to England and things like that.
The first story that I finished editing was on Maniram (sharing it below). To read up more on how this story happened, you can visit my blog on 3 Minute Stories.
By the time I wrote my last diary from Gunehar, I already had two more stories ready + 1 super duper cute jingle. You can watch Indira and Chhangu’s story on Facebook (the video description on FB also explains how the story happened). It’s a simple story about a woman and her hopes and desires from her teenage son.
The exhibition part of the residency was only two days away. So I started tidying up my shop (this residency was not only about making documentaries, but also about managing a space like a multimedia installation). I am not a space person, so it took me considerable time and effort. I am thankful to Eeint (the bottle guy from diary #5) who helped me with some good ideas about setting up the space.
I would also go out once in a while during power-cuts (that were rare) or during rains to make images.
Two days before the event / residency ended, there was a dance programme by the villagers and a trial Gaddi fashion show. There would be an even bigger function on the closing night, but I didn’t take any pictures then; so sharing the ones from this prior evening.
Maniram’s story had just started when 4T decided to change the angle of the screen. Yes, in the middle of the screening with thousands of villagers watching. I am sure 4T just wanted more people to get a good view. But everyone who has set up a home projector that has couple of wires going from here to there, knows that it’s a fragile setup and any lose wire can shut off the screening. While in a home setup, that’s fine because it usually doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to sort things out, in a public screening, it can lead to chaos. In my case, because of the abrupt and unplanned change in the way the screen was put up, I had to readjust my projector and in the process, the sound cable probably got loose from some point (and there were too many points). Sound stopped. And I could not figure out why, for about a minute. So yes, the screening stopped. So did my heart. 4T soon announced on mic that because most villagers had anyway seen my movies, it was ok. And I guess it was indeed ok for many. But boy, what a heart-breaking moment that was for me (I can still feel the pain). I was in pain and I was angry. For many hours following that, I kept wondering how amazing it would have been, had 4T not tried adjusting the screen in the middle of a screening. But then, was it really his fault? He just forgot to take into account the fragility of the whole setup when he decided to do what he did. He only wanted more people to watch the screening properly.
The local singers took over the stage immediately and I zoned out, unable to focus on anything. I am sure majority of the villagers had indeed already seen the stories in some screening or the other, as 4T had rightly said. But I also knew many in the audience had not. And in any case, this was not about who had seen the stories and who had not. For me, it was simply the biggest gathering of audience who were watching it and that’s a difference experience altogether.
Eeint saw me dissolving in the background, and could read my expressions. He hung out with me for a while. Some villagers offered booze and I tried to feel normal again. But in spite of trying so for few hours, (I even went up the stage, dressed like a Gaddi and did a bit of drunk dance), I finally realized I had to deal with the fiasco on my own. I had to let it sink in, stop blaming anyone and move on. Shit happens all the time and that evening was just my unlucky day. While the rest of the artists partied till late night, I chose to skip my dinner and went to sleep. Sleep came very late. It was the worst possible way the festival could have ended for me.
‘Where had you disappeared last night?’, Kaki asked me the next day. She added that everyone had missed me and all of that. I wondered if I should make an excuse. I didn’t. “I was not in a great mood yesterday”, I gave her an honest reply. I think she understood.
So to sum it up, I would love to wrap up my Gunehar diary on a happy and positive note. My stay was about:
May life be interesting always. Full of things to write and talk about, like this! Over and out for now!
Now the filmy world shall remember me by the name of Amrit Singh!
LOL – to think of it, Singh is King! Ha ha!
So now you know how I spent my 2008 Christmas!