Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Flash Frame Visuals Academy, Bangalore, India

Monday, 18 November 2013

Lessons learnt on-sets - Filmmaking students

Students working on-set during their project shoot

2013 Diploma in Digital Filmmaking batch began with full enthusiasm. Diversity in nationalities helped students form a team, which not just learns with each other but rather from each other. Things seemed too easy and then they were announced about their first project and that was a television commercial, while the products were pre decided by the faculty. They thought it would be as easy as the sessions before, but what they didn’t come seeing ahead was many sleepless nights, creative brainstorming, endless thinking and finally contended faces.

FFVA students all set to learn..on-set

IDEAS- the seed beneath all
After they were allotted their respective products, students were asked to come up with the ad concepts. Before this they were completely unaware about the way brainstorming takes place. Ideas were rejected, debated upon, questioned and in short completely ripped apart. More set of better ideas students thought, re-worked on the practical aspects about the same and thus kick started their real industry like experience while still being in the institute.

SCRIPTING-the real spine
Scripting formats were given. Content was furnished in the same. Only after the scripts were finalized, rest of the planning was allowed to take place around it. Students realized why script is always considered the backbone of any kind of visual product.

PRE-PRODUCTION – the foundation role reversal stage
Without compromising on any single activity, proper auditions were conducted, students were allotted their respective departments, which they were supposed to supervise and be the in charge of. Where for one project they directed, for other they were the cinematographer, for rest they were the art director or the costume designer. They played different roles in different projects thus having a hang of all different kind of activities that happen on a normal shooting set and also they understood which department they specializes in!

Any project is incomplete without the word budget. Budgeting, shows how much money and time needs to be invested and how much their project is worth. Students got a very clear idea on this. It took them time to realize that how every smallest detailing while shooting needs pre planning and separate bucks go into it.


Institute planned for few back-to-back shoot days as well, just to give them a hang about how it is when they work continuously. Even when the body gets tired, brains are still expected to work. The tired faces uses to go home late, after keeping it all ready for the next day shoot, early morning smiling faces used to be all set to get into actions. Few lessons they learnt early.

Same they students were expected to dump their footage, see how their ad film has come, improvise in the next projects where required. It was a good overall experience, giving them a pinch of reality while making them thoroughly enjoy the different aspects of as filming.

Happy reading!

Written by
Aditi KK
Head - Academics 

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
email : info@ffvacademy.com

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Pre Production - What happens in the Film Industry?

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
Website : www.ffvacademy.com

Pre production - What happens in the Film Industry
The pre production stage is the foundation or root for any film. More the time spent and good the pre production of a film is, more smoother and organized is the production and post production of any film. 

What we have furnished below, is based on the pre production for the Tamil feature film "Oru Modhal Oru Kadhal" (OMOK) , Written & Directed by Keerthi Kumar, the Founder and Director of Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television, Bangalore. The film is scheduled to hit the theaters by the end of 2013. 

1st poster/paper ad of Oru Modhal Oru Kadhal
2012-13 Filmmaking students of Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television were selected as assistant directors  to work in the film. The students of FFVA, after getting Placements through the Film School, had a quality and sensible learning throughout the film. 

The below mentioned Pre production is a basic structure of how it happens for a medium budget, live action film in India. We have not explained in depth, since the level of execution differs from team to team. 

After the script of OMOK was finalized, producers were confirmed, contracts were signed and the pre production commenced. Based on the experience of the FFVA team, we have furnished the practical points below. 

1) Idea - Story discussion The Director/Writer prepares the one line of the movie. One line indicates, description of each scene in few lines. Then the Director himself or the Dialogue writer starts with the dialogues. Based on this scenes are analyzed, criticized, developed, shaped.etc. by the Director, along with the assistant directors. Some Directors also have a "Screenplay Team" where a group of experts sit and develop the scenes, along with the assistant Directors. 

2) Script - Prepare the bound script. Usually prepared by the Director and Writer or only the Director, if there is no writer. The bound script is the foundation and the base of the movie. Whatever happens after this, is based on the bound script. The Cinematographer and Assistant directors have a copy each, so that they can do homework, before sitting along with the Director and plan for the making. Its based on this bound script, the Director, Cinematographer and Asst.Directors guide the art director, costume designer and other technicians.

3) Cast & Crew - Cast and crew are identified. Assistant Directors maintain a cast list of the characters. Crew is mostly decided by the Director and producer.

4) Budget - After the cast and crew is finalized, based on the how much the production house can spend, budget sheet is prepared. Preparing and locking the budget takes few days or few weeks, depending on the production house. This task is done by the line producer/executive producer, with the help of production managers.

5) Scheduling - The entire plan of shoot is divided as schedules. One schedule will have continuous no of shooting days. So a movie is divided to "n" no of schedules. For example : OMOK shoot was finished in five schedules. Each schedule had seven days approximately. 

There is no particular rule, like - one schedule should have this no of days only. It depends on the team working style, availability of resources.etc. Schedule is made based on the artist dates and its the job of the team to combine other resources based on the dates.

Initial Film Schedule of OMOK - #Schedule #FilmSchedule #Planning
The above shown is the image of the initial schedule which was finalized for the shoot of OMOK. This schedule sheet was later divided in-depth into shooting schedule for costume dept, Art and also based on the cast. Each of this sub divided list/plan will be with the Assistant directors, who belong to the respective departments.

The Director and Cinematographer sit with the core team members and finalize the schedules based on the above mentioned factors. After finalizing, they report to the Line producer. 

After this, the assistant Directors are split to different departments and they start working, as follows:

6) Locations - Location scouting will start. One or two assistant directors will roam with production managers, take photos, show to the Director and Cinematographer. After they both visit, discuss and approve, the locations are finalized.

The Director and Cinematographer of OMOK visiting the location before many days of the shoot

A day before the shoot - Director discussing the scene with the Asst.Directors at the location

OMOK on-set - Director, Cinematographer & Art Director
7) Costumes - Director, Cinematographer, asst Director of costume department, and the costume designer....all of them sit and decide the costumes for each scene. Assistant director and the costume designer show reference to Director and Cinematographer. Once finalized, purchase starts. The costumes are decided sensibly, based on the scene, mood of the scene, actors, message conveyed.etc.

OMOK on-set - Costume designer 

8) Props - Any special properties required, Director informs the art director and member of the art department keep the properties ready. Illustrations are made if required. Again the Cinematographer works closely with the art director/production designer so that the properties used are in sync with the lighting setup and angles, decided by the Cinematographer. Also the costume designer and art director sit with the cinematographer, if their work is suitable for that scene and the mood.

9) Music (applicable only if songs are there..mostly indian films)  - Meanwhile Director sits with the Music director who is a part of the crew. The music composing starts according to the situations explained by the Director. Basic tunes are formed and the recording starts. Since production also involves shooting of the songs, song composing is done during the pre production stage. Original background music happens in post production stage. 

10) Photoshoot - for publicity stills. Stills used for posters and publicity. A professional photographer is hired and photoshoot is done. He is different from the still photographer who will be available in the shooting spot throughout. 

During the photoshoot of OMOK 

11) Rehearsals (if required, but always better to do) - To be done by the actors. Director trains them. A kind of pre visualization. To save time in the spot. 

Director with the female protagonist of OMOK..on-set

 Final team discussion with all assistants and crew right before the shoot begins. 

The pre production involves contribution of the entire team of technicians. The Director's job is to identify the right talent, take suggestions, implement them in the right way and organize it with the help of the team. The bottom line is THE TEAMWORK! 

The OMOK team

Article by: 
The Faculty 
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
For more details mail us to info@ffvacademy.com

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Bollywood Business - An insight

Bollywood Business - An insight

Born in 1980’s, yes I always belonged to a section of society which considered going to cinema is nothing but a waste of time, money and good morals that have been carved in kids. Infact the first movie that I ever saw in theatre was Amitabh Bachchan’s "Hum", followed by Sanjay Dutt’s "Sadak", after which my father thought not to take me to theatre anymore. All thanks to "Hum Aapke Hain Kaun", the trend changed and so did parents.

That was year beginning of 90’s…from then till now, cinema has changed in length and breadth. But nothing comes like present era, which according to me is the best time for new filmmakers and new never thought before ideas to emerge. If we go by facts and figures, the growth has been so much that in last year itself, film industry has grown by 21%, all thanks to this sudden shift from celluloid to digital.

In this write-up, I shall be throwing light on the growth of bollywood, how the audience and the filmmakers have changed their perspective and what keeps the change going.

70’s and 80’s made best of the films such as Arth, Sholay, Don, Anand and many more. But late 1980’s started focusing on stories based on young puppy love and friendship along with family conflict. Movies like Maine Pyar Kiya, Qyamat se Qyamat Tak made perfect timing to catch hold the interest of young blood of India.

1990’s belonged to the era of experimentation when Indian audience was getting used to variety of cinema, where there was this romantic angle followed by this bad father whose job is to be the villain between two love birds. It also witnessed the emergence of top-notch heroes of today. Where on one hand we saw movies like Baazigar, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Raja Hindustani, Hero No.1, a little change in sensibilities came with the movie like Dil Toh Pagal Hai , Pardes and DDLJ. Music remained the biggest interest throughout.

Dil Toh Pagal Hai


Change of cinema scenario

But it was 2001 that was the most important year for Bollywood. It saw the release of 5 films that were to change the scenario of Hindi film industry for ever:

  • Gadar
  • Lagaan
  • Dil Chahta Hai
  • Chandni Bar 
  •  Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G)

Dil Chahta Hai is a 2001 Indian coming of age film starring Aamir KhanSaif Ali KhanAkshaye KhannaPreity ZintaSonali Kulkarni, and Dimple Kapadia. The first film written and directed byFarhan Akhtar, it is set in modern-day urban Mumbai and focuses on a major period of transition in the lives of three young friends.

Lagaan (Land Tax) is a 2001 Indian epic musical sports drama film written and directed by Ashutosh GowarikerAamir Khan, who was also the producer, stars with Gracy Singh in the lead roles; British actors Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne play the supporting roles. Lagaan clashed with Sunny Deol's Gadar: Ek Prem Katha at the box office. Made on a budget of INR25 crore (US$4.6 million), the film was shot in an ancient village near Bhuj, India.

Chandni Bar is a 2001 Hindi film directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. It depicts the gritty life of the Mumbai underworld, including prostitution, dance bars and gun crime. The film stars Tabu and Atul Kulkarni in lead roles. It also stars Ananya KhareRajpal Yadav, Minakshi Sahani and Vishal Thakkar. The film was a critically acclaimed hit and it won four National Film Awards. Tabu came into the limelight with this movie, along with Rajpal Yadav.

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (Revolt: A Love Story) is a 2001 Bollywood action movie starring Sunny DeolAmisha Patel, and Amrish Puriset in the time of the Indian partitionGadar: Ek Prem Katha was a box office phenomenon and sold more tickets at theatres in India than any film in history apart from Sholay (1975).

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (English: Sometimes happy, sometimes sad), also known as K3G, is a 2001 drama film written and directed by Karan Johar and produced by his father, Yash Johar, under the banner of Dharma Productions. Written specifically to evoke nostalgia among the expatriate Indian audiences, the film stars Amitabh BachchanJaya BachchanShahrukh KhanKajolHrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor in leading roles, with Rani Mukerji appearing in an extended cameo appearance.

The impact of hindi films overseas was such that the Oxford Dictionary had included the word “Bollywood” in its vocabulary.

Though Lagaan went onto win all the popular awards that year, it was Farhan Akhtar’s debut venture Dil Chahta Hai (DCH) that defined the cinematic language for the coming decade. It was an altogether different story which instantly hit the chords with gen-next. The multiplex gave these people the liberty to try out whatever they wanted to and be assured that if nothing else, there films would at least break even. Even if a film ran only in Mumbai or Delhi it was more than enough. Add to it the unheard prices that DTH and satellite television channels were ready to buy the film for. Even a flop film made under 5 crores would recover cost.

But various factors changed over the period of time, which impacted the change in the style of filmmaking as well.

Content is the hero

There came in era when a young angry man had to fight against fat villains in order to save his love interest and become her hero forever. But today the definition of conflict has changed in audience mind. They are happy with more real situations, locations and characters, till the time director is able to meet their modest expectations. It’s no more just about the film cameras and foreign locations. Now the trend of the day is the story that will entertain them in more realistic way, something that they can relate to better. Even women or kid protagonist also would do justice.

Limitation of resources has been transformed into strength today. The parallel use of DSLR for Cinematography, and Digital projection is the latest trend. Infact, corporates such as PVR are already looking at these low-on-cost-high-on-content films as the next big thing. 

Taare Zamin Par, Wake up Sid, Delhi Belly, Kahaani, Vicky Donor, Gangs of Wasseypur and Paan Singh Tomar are the best examples to highlight the above-mentioned points. They are the meagre budget films who have given amazing profit to  the industry.

In order to make all this happen, one has to pull audience to the theatres and in order to do that they should know about so n so film is releasing or released. So one word that summarizes everything is marketing. 

     Movie                        Budget               Profit
Wake Up Sid                15 crore           46.2 crore
Vicky Donor                 5 crore             87.6 crore
Delhi Belly                    25 crore           92 crore
Paan Singh Tomar      8 crores           35 crores

Marketing is kingmaker

Irrespective of small budget film or a big budget film there are few questions that need to be answered first before expecting audience to step into theatre.

*How to bring audience to theatre?
*Why should they invest their time and money in your film?
*How many audience make the right market?

The biggest challenge lies in getting them to the theatre.  In most cases, they have better alternatives. It could be watching a movie at home at fraction of the cost on DVD, or for free on TV. Their biggest obstacle is that a ‘big film’ too costs them the same ticket price & is vying for their money. 
When they have so many low-cost, high-value options why should they opt for a ‘small film’ over this? Out of sympathy that it’s being made by a small Producer? Or out of moral responsibility that they should encourage films made by new talent? The paying audience doesn’t care about these things.
So make sure you have the right marketing techniques to catch the attention of audience. Either music, or trailer or teaser, it might not all the time be star value, but something to get the attention of your audience.
Few years down the line, Aamir Khan revolutionized movie marketing using similar concepts. Giving Ghajini haircut to the ushers, distributing the 10000 ‘film clips’ of Lagaan in 10000 DVD editions of the film to mark its 10th anniversary or playing hide and seek with people of India for promotions of 3 Idiots. Very recently he had come up with the idea of using the word Talaash to replace ‘Search’ on Google Home Page. During the promotion of Ra-One, even Shah Rukh didn’t leave any stone unturned and did launch a video game as well to attract maximum eye balls. Of course, word of mouth and social networking sites are always an add on!

Just a quick glance on division of Film industry revenue in Bollywood:
Domestic Theatrical- 74%
Overseas Theatrical-7%
Home Video-3%
Cable and Satellite Right-11%
Ancillary Revenue Streams-5%
Total Industry size-100% 
Stars vs actors

Audience have become intelligent enough to differentiate between stars and actors. So much that actor-based movies have taken a lead over start-studded cinema. 2012 onwards I think that the acting plethora belongs to actors who won hearts by their performance and not by the big name and moolah they have gathered over the years. 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Bajpai, Irfan and Ayushman Khurana have managed to carry movie burden on their shoulders quite confidently and at par with other bigbies of the industry. Collection of movies such as Vicky Donor, Paan Singh Tomar says it all.

Irfan Khan


Manoj Bajpai


Some interesting facts (source- DIBD International Business Development/bollywood)

  •            Reliance Big Entertainment  has signed a deal worth US$ 1.2 billion with Steven Spielberg’s ‘Dream Works SKG’ to produce 36 films for the next 6 years
  •            Reliance also acquired around 200 theatres in 28 locations in North America to screen Bollywood and other regional movies from India.
  •      Walt Disney has invested around US$ 324 million in a deal with Yash Raj Films
Well this is it about cream of Bollywood business. Bollywood that has represented India on global map like never before, bollywood that comprises of dreams and passion of millions of people. So low budget, intelligent marketing and good content are need of an hour. If you have it all, what you’re waiting for. Get ready to showcase yourself on the big screen. Get-Set-Go!!

References :
Bbcnews, Wikipedia, Madaboutmoviez.com, Times of India, Allushirishblog

Written by 
Aditi KK
Head - Academics
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
email : aditi@ffvacademy.com