small productions/big productions : karen

Until “The Golden Age” I had only really worked on small productions and my own films at film school. I’ve had various experiences on TV programmes and in postproduction houses but nothing really to speak of.

Compared to “The Golden Age” my involvement on low budget features and shorts was a completely different kettle of fish. My level of responsibility was usually high and I was juggling several roles. Some days I would wear a Producer cap others a Writer and most days I was multi capping, not always a great look. Working in this homogeneous way with roles bleeding into your co-workers you always have an overview of the project, a lot of support and enormous amount of creative fulfilment. Where my vision was impaired I could rely on a co-worker to lead vice-versa and you work on getting a film made.
On a feature you generally start out on the lowest rung of the ladder and you work exclusively in one department, in a supportive role. So it’s often difficult to get an overview of what is happening on the project and to find creative fulfilment. There are also hundreds to thousands of people involved at any one time. This means you can be completely unaware of forces affecting decisions being made.
This is an odd thing to get used to as you can quickly start treating your role like a regular job and stop absorbing what’s going on around. It is very easy to not feel utilised and get bored. If you commit to these feelings then you’ll find yourself not seizing the opportunity to absorb the actions of the heads of departments when they come up. So one of the greatest lessons for me was learning to make a concerted effort to observe the creatives and not begrudge the times when there is little to do. When you manage to do this it’s very humbling and you are constantly amazed and in awe at the years of experience that so many of the crew have to offer.
I talk about my experiences on low budget work as homogenous but that’s an idealistic description. It is often a chaotic and the interpersonal relationships can become very messy when there are blurred ideas over the films ownership. Working on a feature you get the space to focus in one department, find clarity and learn from crew with immense experience and talent something difficult to find or access on frantic low budget projects.
I guess the trick is to keep making and creating on personal projects and continuing the learning and absorbing on larger industry jobs (whilst hopefully climbing the rungs on the ladder), to get the best of both worlds and keep developing.

6 thoughts on “small productions/big productions : karen

  1. hi karen…
    i am understanding exactly what you are saying!…i went through it alot many times…i am a screenwriter but i had to take differnt roles at times…but after a point i made sure to the director that i am not going to waste my time on the work which i am not interested in…my pesonal choice as for now has always been low budget, personal films where one can experiment a lot(aesthetically, creatively, form of narration etc.)…now i have started making my own films starting with handy cam and then if there is a proper saving done by me for 2-3 months then digi beta or now say some latest digital camera…( i dont even know the name…hahahha…ignorance is a curse(some say bliss!) but what the hell one day i will remember it…)and in the process i am learning a lot…
    but, still i can understand the kind of experince
    you must be getting with people like Mr. kapur and all… amazing…lucky you!(not denying your efforts or talent when i say lucky!)
    as of today , i dont want to make or write a big budget mega starrer feature…i am more interested in simple, small, sweet( could be hard hitting also) films…but i dont know what will happen in the future…
    but its really great that Mr. Kapur has started this dairy thingy on this blog…its great to read the experinces of all u guys…its really enriching… keep posting…take care…tata…kedar

  2. I suppose anything creative is a challenge? For Shekhar, the over-seer, the responsibility must crush the ability to become creative and explore new twists or turns, to an old classic? and, for you the under-seer, all the middle-ground, must bustle at times; and yet, the quieting moments, must be in an anxious wait?
    At least you are at a state of this awareness, that it is in how we handle the middle-ground, which makes the climb to the top, palpable! : )

  3. Rotterdam, 17 April 2007
    The Netherlands
    Subject: Djotipersad Lachman
    Respected Shekharji,
    Before writing about the main subject of this letter I would like to introduce myself.
    My name is Djotipersad Lachman and I’m a Director, Scriptwriter & Actor. Born in South America, living in the Netherlands; a small country in Europe, with a small film industry.
    At the age of 18/19 years I wrote, directed, produced, acted and distributed the Hindi spoken film named the “Formula”. At the age of 19/20 again I wrote, directed, produced and distributed the second film “Kala Dhandha” (the Black Deal). There after ones again I wrote, directed, produced, acted and distributed the Film “Tu Kahan Hain”. Here after I was named as the first youngest filmmaker in Holland and West-Indisch.
    The reason for writing you is that I would like to get a opportunity to contribute to the great Indian Film Cinema, like you all mentioned in Amsterdam during the IFFA Awards 2005. I would like to get the opportunity to proof my quality in direction with some of my scripts.
    My scripts finished and unfinished are one by one unique written in Dutch and English for the great Indian Film Industry and International market. The scripts are original, no duplications or copy. In Holland I can’t proof the capacities I have, that’s the reasons why great directors from the Netherlands like Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct) went to Hollywood.
    This is the right time, because India need me, like I need my Mahabharat left 130 years ago by our ancestor. On this theme I wrote a true based story called “Be-Ghar”. This script will shocked the world, when it will be produced for the International Screen.
    Dear Shekharji, I’m looking forward to your reply and invitation to make more great movies like Shekhar Kapur has given the worldwide Cinema.
    Yours sincerely
    Djotipersad Lachman
    Adress: Kees van Dongenhof 28, 3024 NA Rotterdam, the Netherlands
    Tel. 0031(0)108002675. Fax. 0031(0)104762575. Mob. 0031(0) 641420604

  4. hi shekhar
    i want to write short stories i am not sure how to start i always make lots of sketches in my mind i have one character who is always in my mind regarding so many issues i use that character and try to say whats in my mind , if i want to put all my thoughts on paper whats the best way advixe , my main prob is my english i am not that much eductaed and not from any mission school , i know i can write in hindi i need your valuable advise
    best regards

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