Renowned Creator and Director of the hit television series, C.I.D, Mr. B. P. Singh, conducts a seminar on Film and Television Direction at Digital Academy – The Film School, Mumbai.

ThreeOn the 5th of June, 2009, the renowned Creator and Director of the hit television series, C.I.D, Mr. B. P. Singh held a seminar for the students of Digital Academy – The Film School Mumbai (Bombay) India, on the topic of Film and Television Direction. Mr. Singh, who holds the Guinness record for the longest television episode shot in a single shot and a single take (an astonishing 111 minutes) spent a large portion of his lecture talking about the importance and responsibilities of the Directorial role, as well as a few tips and tricks that one needs to keep in mind to be successful in the elusive film and television industry.

“The admirable post of the Director,” he said to the students, “has the unique opportunity to translate one’s thoughts onto the stage and onto the screen, and truly there could be nothing greater.” Needless to say, Mr. Singh’s deep motivational speech had the class’ rapt attention as he continued to urge the students to learn and understand other types of art as well, in order to truly have a mastery of the medium of film as a Director.

By insisting that the Director is the one who has a vision that he intends to put on film, Mr. Singh made it clear that the Director has the prime responsibility for calling the shots. His entire thought process goes into the film, and so it is very important for a Director to be able to relate well to his team members. This includes the Editor, the Set Designer, the Cinematographer, the Scriptwriter and various other artists. This ability to communicate with one’s team is what will ultimately result in putting his ideas across in the right manner. Using a lot of real-life examples from his own multitude of work experiences, Mr. Singh effectively drove home the point that teamwork is the backbone of any successful movie and different artists with different talents, temperaments and styles had much to bring to the working board.

Apart from the differences in Directors, one value that they all must hold in common is the art of good story telling. Films that win Oscars are the result of extreme hard work. It is thus very important to utilize what is being taught and transfer all of it to the script and ultimately the screen. “The more time spent on a script,” he stated, “the less time would be wasted later on. The foundation of the movie is its script, which therefore, needs to be firm and well written.”

On the topic of screenwriting , he then explained the importance of gripping the audience right from the first scene itself. T.V programs are generally no longer that half an hour and there are too many of them on air. As a result, how then can one grip the audience and make them want to watch the program till the end? Mr. Singh answered this question by explaining a strategy by which filmmakers could use their script’s structure to establish a hold on the viewers from the first scene itself. In order to do this, one must give the viewers a glimpse of the story in the first scene without revealing it in its entirety. Every story, he stated, has three main parts: the beginning, the body and the climax. Once again, he emphasized that the beginning must be dramatic and grab the attention of the audience. This would arouse their curiosity and thus make them interested in the scenes to follow. Next, the body of the program is where the story unfolds, finally coming together in the climax, which can most aptly be described as the point of no return. If all of this were to be accomplished in the right manner, one would have created a gripping show. Mr. Singh ended the screenwriting portion of his lecture with the powerful statement, “A bad Director can spoil a good script, but a bad script cannot be much improved by even the best Director.”

He then gave the students a lesson on time management and its implications when it comes to the film and television industry. Typically, a large number of lights and instruments need to be set up for every individual shot. Sets need to be created, lights need to be adjusted and so on. Thus, a 2-minute scene may take 2 hours if it has to be shot well. Therefore, one must be realistic in allotting time and the number of shots that one decides to shoot in a day.

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