Rewiring My Filmmaker Brain

Moving from Onset to Post

Being on set making a film is so different from being in post production making a film, that it takes me some time to get adjusted to that change. It’s the same difficulty when moving from the writing phase, and other pre production phase, to being on set.

Ambivert Filmmaker

I’m a fairly introverted and extroverted being that prefers to stay inside and read a book, or watch a movie, than go to a party full of strangers, very much like the character of Arun in Munnariv.

I enjoy a lot the process of writing, sitting with my characters, seeing them talk to one another, and to me. For someone looking at it from the outside, I’m sitting alone in a room, with a laptop. But to me it’s a whole world in there.

Contrast that with the life on set. It’s full of people; actors, cameraman, art, lighting, sound. Even in a micro budget film, there will always be people. At the least there needs to be an actor in front of the camera. That’s people to deal with ?

The good thing about being an ambivert is that I can switch from the introvert mode to the extroverted one.

Life On Set

On set things are always moving, it’s dynamic, one thing or the other is happening every moment; be it rehearsals, setting up lights and camera, choices of costumes, food and snacks. It’s life in motion.

As a director, every second on set I’m answering questions; from the cameraman on where I want the camera, what lens, which type of light; from the actors, what the scene is about, what their character’s motivation is, how their modulation should be, how their body language should be; from the production team when to set up breakfast, where we’ll be during lunch, what time should they bring a certain actor onto set; you get the point. Having a good Direction team helps in this regard, but that is a luxury we you are making a movie for no budget.

When I’m in the thick of it, there is no time on think. It’s then and there or let things pile on and bring everything to a crashing halt later. There is no time to analyse how something will be perceived by someone else. Many a times I go on my instinct and deal with the consequences later.

Life Not On Set

While I’m working alone, in writing or in editing, I can think as much as I want to and choose or postpone things or at times avoid it altogether. Phew! What a relief ?

But when I look at it from the other side, that’s tremendous waste of time! I mean I can sit hours and hours with two lines of text, figuring out the right words to use, when to punctuate, or not. And the same when I’m in editing, dubbing and all those post works. Once in Munnariv, I spend hours with Rajeev, our editor, trying to figure out where to place just one cut in the movie.

“When in production, post seems like a drag; dull, slow, and lonely. While writing, production seems a dread; hectic, tiring, and draining.”

The Rewiring

Time on set and in pre/post-production have their pluses and minuses and I enjoy both. The problem is the switch. When I’m pushed into one from the other, it takes my brain time to rewrite. It’s like driving for months in a left hand driven country likee Dubai, and suddenly getting into an Indian right hand driven car. The process is the same, to drive, but it takes some time to get the change into our system.

Maybe with experience I’ll learn to move from one to another faster. Experience is after all without a substitute.

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