Some unexpected things do happen in life which will affect your life.This is a story about such how I started and made my short film JIVA.
I remember my friend Sooryah sent me a message on fb which was a link for a 101 hour short film festival. He said we gotta do it ,as usual I was ready for every project proposed and I forget it later as usual.It was the day they were going to give the genre by email. I was busy in some wedding shoot and didn't even care about it. After finishing the shoot ,took rest that day and early morning felt something uneasy It was something guilty that I am escaping from a challenge and even my friend was pushing hard for it. so finally we decided to give it a shot as there was just 48 hours left in those 101 hours . Yeah Damn!!! I wasted a lot of time. As the genre was " Livelihood " I could write something easy on 3- act structure which goes something like ,A character want's something and we give more problem to get it and finally we give him. It's as simple as it is the most simple script I ever wrote. I personally hate the so called message oriented films I just wanna show the problem than solution. In fact this is the most cliche I ever wrote .It was done in 2 hours at a tea stall in Madhapur. so It was time for shoot.
I always hated doing casting ,It may be hard to admit for other short film makers also but it is true that's why we choose our friends as the cast. Not until that night I moved my ass to get the actors and props.I needed a 10 year old boy so It was not so hard but finally got a kid near by my house who is dead and dumb and over that he has fever but, his father insisted to take him as actor.Done with the cast as I wrote locations which I have seen so it was not hard to get them too. As I needed night shots I started the shoot as soon as I met the boy ,fixed the costumes and props in a hour and started the shoot. Now comes the fantastic creature Camera . We used 6D , 85mm1.4 and just that nothing else no wideangle ,no zoom's no nothing. It was just because of my friend Viswanath who gave me this gear to shoot or else I would even shoot it with a mobile phone.Due to his absence I gotta do the Cinematography myself no focus puller ,no lightguys All in one.
We choose a main road near by my house and started the scene where the guy sleeps on a footpath.I arranged the boy communicated with him by myself sleeping on footpath as he is deaf and dumb It was everything shown to him .I was never good at getting performances and I feared how I could do it with a 10 year old guy my luck .The boy is talented though he is a watchman's son he is very disciplined and cooperative .The problem was unwanted attention on road everyone started crowding.I started getting nervous ,so we shifted him were less people could see and I hided my self as I had a long focal length lens
.I wrapped the shot in 1 hour.got some cool images in street light and gotta get ready for shoot at 6 A.M. Well sooryah was on the way he didn't even know that I started the shoot without the producer .That night he came after the boy slept we went for location scout and finalized the shot list and we had just 36 hours more. we had a sleep for 2 hours and started next schedule.
The best thing that had in the morning was we lost the shot list ( and meeting my 6'th class girlfriend during the shoot after 10 years)seriously that's the best thing because I shot things which I didn't imagine.We completely went to capture an early morning ambiance, so shot everything Interesting.All the shots were cool the shoot was going fast as the boy was really good in acting.It was like I had a gun and was shooting everyone like in a Hollywood action film.It was a good practice by shooting weddings as they will hone your skills of focus and composition.While I was shooting a scene there of guy vomiting It was 8 in the morning I always saw a dog giving milk for it's babies from the balcony.I never thought I could use it in a film.It's the best thing I have captured with a camera ever.At that moment I didn't give a shit for focus or composition I was just shooting the marvelous scene and I was experiencing the beauty of it by my eyes as the camera was shooting itself for 1 min.
The shoot was completed in tight 4 hours as we don't have any ND filters and have less time for edit and music.Thanks for my colony people who gave their locations for free The kirana store ,The tiffin center ,The paper shop and everyone the whole colony was colorful as a festival.We felt really happy for being that reason .After wrapping the shoot I bathed and slept for few hours as I need to get back on editing.
Editing was always easy as I shot the footage myself. done the first edit in a hour was not much satisfied as I did it without music.I found I have no time for music as I had just 10 hours to submit. done with final edit and color pallet in 15 min. Intentionally we gave it a low contrast look to make it feel soft and some good vibrant colors.I was not understanding how the movie was, because I lost my perspective on the film by editing.I was just fine with the film and was very eager to get the response.The first response was from a fellow participant of Chennai. His response was fantastic.I thought he was flattering until I got the response from sooryah's friends . I have a list of genuine guys who abuse my works. It was the final test ,even they liked it ,they were curious about the visual style and narrative.At that time I didn't how far this was going to go until I meet J.k Bharavi ( writer of Annamaya and Ramadasu). he watched the film during the final R.R by Ree Bhatter,
Bharavi sir liked the film and even watched my previous films too ,He gave a hi five after seeing my previous works and took my contact and said we would work soon.That's It I needed nothing else than that.There I believed I made a satisfactory work.I am a fan of Ree Bhatter we used to sit and discuss a lot of Hans Zimmer .He genuinely got inspired by the film and composed it which is my ringtone now.It is my first original composition ever so It will always be memorable work for me.
I reached the final success which is my satisfaction. I was not so impressed I was just satisfied .I have been waiting for this from many years.It was recently selected to Purbeck Film Festival in UK among 2000 films.It was the first fest there are lot more but ultimately the audience response is important I would love to have 1000 dislikes than 100 views.
All this film gave me was expensive confidence on the art I believed.It will have always an affect on my life.It was just possible by 4 people Sooryah ,Ree,Viswanath and Vasu.I imagine If I could do this in 20 hrs how many films could I have made so I gotta do more works like this. It's always a matter of perspiration and passion. For everyone who is waiting for a chance .give it yourself. No one else knows you more than you.Go grab a camera and shoot something. All the best.