Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Not-So-Beaten Path

When I first heard the lyrics for the song “Papa Kehete Hai Bada Nam Karega” I felt the music directors where talking directly to me. My Parents would go all googly eyed every time they would talk about my future and how splendid it would be… well a future as an Engineer, or a Doctor, or a Chartered Accountant. Every family event, if we came across any cousins, extended cousins, long lost relatives even, who were in these “chosen” fields, my parents would nod expectantly at me with the sparkly “this could be you in a few years” look.

So it was no surprise that I started college doing what my parents thought was a great choice. I gave it my best shot. Well maybe 'best' is over-stretching a bit. Lets just say I gave it 'a' shot. Its not like I was against doing engineering, its just that I had been convinced that what I really wanted to do wasn't a solid choice. Now what I really wanted to do was, be behind a camera. I had a fascination for seeing the world through a 35mm lens. I had a basic handy-cam that belong to my family and me and some of my like-minded friends spent a lot of time coming up with ideas on what to shoot.So I feel it was one of those destiny things that in my second year at college we volunteered to make a short behind-the-scenes video on the highs and lows of a college fest. It turned out to be such a big hit that they posted it on the college website. They even used it as a video to get potential sponsors for next year’s fests. Tons of people came up to us and told us how awesome the video was and that's when I knew... I had found my calling.

After a lot of heartbreak and ‘emotional atyachar’ on my part, my parents finally agreed to let me take a break from my college and try my hand at what they thought was a passing fad at best. When I started off I was super gung-ho about what I was doing and you wouldn't catch me without a camera even when I was sleeping. Of course I had a dozen creative ideas a day and I would enthusiastically start of making something out of them, but somehow I felt they all lacked proper direction. I figured I needed a place that would let me master my skills and turn me into a proper Jedi at making great movies. I realized I needed a formal education.

After a lot of research, I joined FX School to do a course in film making. I came up with this great analogy that creativity was a sword and formal education the hand that wielded it, the better trained the hand the more effective the sword, right! After a grueling year in the filmmaking program learning about exposure, color, the different type of production cameras, lighting techniques and a lot more, I had a reel that I was proud to show off. I want to say I set off into the sunset right after this but it took me a while to get my first break. After doing a couple of internships I finally got a break as an AD in an upcoming movie with a production house. It was a dream come true and my parents couldn't have been more proud that I had managed to actually do something with my dream. I remember taking them to see the movie in the theater. When the credits rolled with my name in it, it was my Parents that clapped the loudest.

Two years on and I haven't looked back. I actually have a job that I like, one that I'm pretty good at, and it's heading in the right direction. I'm in a pretty good position compared to a lot of my recent grad friends and I'm glad I didn't go run-of-the-mill like them. So in the words of Denzel Washington all I got to say is - sometimes "You gotta do, what you gotta do!"

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