Friday, January 4, 2013

Explaining BOATS

This is a follow-up post.

Thank you, everyone, who've seen the film and have provided me with their criticisms, advises, appreciation and questions. A lot of people who I've spoken to about the film have told me what they thought about it and the problems they had with it. Soon enough, I found a pattern there. I will be addressing the most redundant views. This is not a post condemning the opinions nor a defense against criticism. I'm really glad that people are telling me what they thought. I just want to explain what went through my mind when I made it so that another viewing might help you understand the film better.

1. The short was a tad too long
I was trying to show the sheer inactivity in our lives. Our lives don't happen like they are shown in the movies. Phenomenal events don't happen to us every day and likewise, we do not remember what we had done yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. Because so many days are equal, a little inordinary ones seem so special. The idea was to capture the inactivity. Also, I looked at myself as an auteur and likewise understood that all art films need long, voiceless shots for the viewer to decipher the mood. Guess I screwed up there.

2. There was no plot and the dialogue was redundant
When we look at our lives, do we have any idea why we are wherever we are? Or do we have the capacity to be accountable for every action and every moment in our lives? Life just flows. And only when you look back, you connect the dots and try to create a plot. And redundancy is probably the most redundant part of our lives. We think the same things over and over again, talk the same things over and over again because talking and thinking lets us be in our comfort zone and dream of a better future. That's what both my characters did. They had been talking about the film for years and that's what they did on yet another day too. Because taking out a camera and shooting was such a pain in the ass. Dreaming about it was comforting and gave them a feeling that they were going somewhere with their lives. They could justify their joblessness by believing that they were the creative ones and were waiting for the right spark of inspiration.

3. Editing was pathetic and bad Re-recording
Have to second that. No excuses or explanation there. Should consult a pro. For the record, we recorded the dialogue on an iphone. And there is no lip sync because my actors improvised with the dialogue and we had to make do with what we could hear amidst the blare of Vinayaka Nimarjanam.

4. Shot in Black & White and no BGM
Again, the auteur stuff. I thought I was being clever by keeping everything under the rug. Implicitly sharing everything. Black and White for two reasons- 1. Two complementary characters 2. The minimalist, subdued mood.
No BGM because the one thing I scored on my computer felt right for a horror film. Otherwise, I'd have loved to have music at the end of second scene when they are walking away. That is precisely why I didn't cut that shot. But despite having no BGM, I couldn't cut it because I fell in love with it. Oh, btw, if you noticed, the end credits roll with a guitar strumming pattern. Its just two chords, G and C,  one after the other, repeating and never changing. That was supposed to be an allegory to the repetitiveness mentioned in point above.

5. Ending too abrupt/inconclusive 
Everyone of us has life-changing moments in our life. When we think of the most important incidents in our lives, there's a specific moment pertaining to that incident that is stored in our heads. But we map them only when we're looking back, trying to find the point where that big turn came. None of us have ever been able to be in the moment and decide that this one will be life changing. Past gives us our bearings, not the present. I wanted to signify that. I could have had a simple voice over stating if the film was to be made or not. But I didn't. Because I've had hundreds of meetings like the one between the two protagonists in the film and only one of them shaped this movie. This film is a tribute to the forgotten hundreds.

6. The acting could have been better
Fair enough but I have to take the blame for that. I was so overwhelmed with the process of making the movie that I didn't explain it to my actors precisely how I wanted them to be. They did the best they could have. Novice direction- Charged Guilty.

7. No character depth
I thought this was uncalled for. I thought I had stuffed the characters with a lot of traits, opinions, feelings that even if they weren't anything else, they were real, normal people. Nothing is on the face but if you pay a little attention, I believe, you can learn quite something about them.

I can't think of anything else right now. But yes, despite people patting my back that this is good for a first film, I know I should have done a much, much better job. But I'm glad that I've learnt so much from it.

So, after listening to what people have thought about it, would I change anything in the film if I had to make it again? No. I'd probably improve the re-recording and add a little BGM. But I won't meddle with anything else. What I'm trying to say, the content, is as relevant as the form, the way I've chosen to do it. This was never intended to be a fifteen minute miniature version of life where something accountable is happening every second. This is life as how I see it. And like somebody pointed out, since life is like this anyway, why should I watch your film; I can go live my life instead. I can't argue against that.

But this is how I want to live my life. By making films. What a phenomenal boats ride it has been.
Oh, before I forget, I'm working on another short. Been scripting it now for more than a month. Really excited about it. Back then soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Waiting for your next movie chicha - your fan