Seminar by MILIND KAVDE, Film Director and ex-student of DA

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December 15th saw Digital Academy – The Film School open their arms to welcome their beloved ex-student Milind Kavde, who now is a proud Producer and Director, to share his experience and knowledge with their students. His Marathi movie Yedyanchi Jatraa won the NBC Newsmakers Achievers Award for Best Film in 2012 and nominations for Zee Marathi and Maharashtracha Favorite Kon Awards. Not being the first movie that he’s worked on, 4 Idiots, a Marathi movie to be released next, was always first on his cards.

Bringing back his enthusiasm as a DA student, he first shared with the students how they can overcome issues when making a movie. “Be thorough with your subject, be clear with your vision!” quoted Milind Kavde. Talking about a situation he faced while shooting with Bharat Jadhav, he brought to the students’ notice how every Actor was asked to remain in the skin of the character they played.

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Speaking about his journey as a Director, he recollects his struggle of six years before dealing with the cameras. He recollects how he got his first placement with B P Singh – CID through DA when he was into an office job, scripting and ideation. Here, he formed his base. He played second assistant to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, where his job dealt with all the nitty-gritties of the production unit. This was driven by his constant need of learning new things. Gradually, getting an opportunity to work as an assistant director with Girish Mallik gave his journey a new turn. He then launched his own company named Out Of The Box production.

Every day, there’s something new to learn for this young, fervent Filmmaker on the block. For him, going back to movies like Tintin and Avatar inspires his Filmmaking style. At times it’s all about the location that brings the rustic feel to the movie, which he discovered while shooting in Wye (Satara district of Maharashtra) for Yedyanchi Jatraa. In his opinion, that’s not it! With these kinds of locations becoming immensely popular through movies like Gangajal and Dabang, the benchmark set for him was pretty high.

The elements of the movie need to be crafted, keeping in mind the viewer’s choice. And yes, when it comes to songs, sometimes they act as a break, so it becomes necessary for the audience. This 90-lakh-budget movie that went on to make profits of three crores, was completed in 27 days, including the first print marketing. He still recalls pitching this movie with just a two-page script and reminisces how it moved on to a 120-page solid draft.

When asked about difficulties he came across while making this movie, he said, “Being a comedy, it was easy because he enjoyed doing it.” Also, he got the signing amount, with just 2 pages in hand. What more could he have asked for at that point.

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Difficulties grew with the huge number of people and the star cast, like bringing together Actors such as Vinay Apte and Mohan Joshi. Apart from this, being a newcomer was always the biggest challenge. However, he came to terms with the fact that if your script is in place and the character has something to give; even the veteran Actors will be willing to work with newcomers.

Bringing light to a sensitive practice while pitching the movie, he said, “If you make a movie keeping in mind a particular Actor, you need to pitch the movie both to the Producer and the Actor.” After all, the Actor needs his space in the movie and the Producer is out there to give him that. Once the Actor believes in the character of the movie, s/he starts to live that life.

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Milind ended on a note about his experience as a student in DA. He beautifully put in words, how DA has been the Grammar for his Filmmaking language. With the exposure he got here, he just had to follow his heart and select the genre he enjoys most – comedy. He aptly quoted, “If you can’t enjoy, you can’t execute!” He believes, if you create noise in industry, the industry is there to absorb it. If you say you can, they believe you can!

 

Sound… Bigger than visuals for new age filmmakers

“Films are 50 percent visual and 50 percent sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual,” says David Lynch. And anybody who has seen the ‘Lynchian’ handiworks of this Academy Award winning director would fervently agree.

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Sound in films encompasses the dialogues, background score, ambiance sounds, music etc and is a very crucial component of storytelling. In many films, even before the visual has registered in our brains, we have already been introduced to the premise of the scene by the sound. All of us have jumped off our seats with creaking of doors in horror films or pressed our ears for those unsought footsteps of the killer in those Slasher films. That is the impact of sound in films. The sound conditions and color

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Even for a movie like Avatar, which will be known in the history of cinema as a visual phenomenon, sound design played a huge role in making the world of Pandora believable. One of the biggest challenges for the sound team on the movie was creating sound effects that would match the brilliant imagery created by Weta Digital. Every creature and environment sound that was originally created or recorded using real animals and environmental elements had to be manipulated so as to make them sound unique to the world of Pandora.

Though most of the ‘sound script writing’ happens in post production, the process of sound design begins even before the film goes on floor. A sound designer should read the script of his film with sound in mind and try to imagine the sounds as he goes through the scenes. This helps in developing the acoustic landscape of the film. Although the complete sound scape cannot be developed with the script with this approach, you still get a starting point to build on as you go ahead with the shoot.

This initial design takes it full form with tremendous inputs from the atmosphere of the visuals, which either enhances your original idea or force you take a completely new direction. Also important is capturing the highest quality audio while shooting on location. The best way to ensure your film sounds professional is to get the best quality sound from the source.

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The latest sound recording, mixing and reproduction technology has made it possible for filmmakers to have a greater dynamic range of sound. Now we can create soundtracks with more precision and intricacy. There is more control and one can do more in the cutting room. But this has brought in with it the risk of being too loud, which in some cases borders on being vulgar. And with so much control over detail, you need to work even more accurately than before and make sure all sound bites are aligned to the design you are aiming for. The true beauty of sound comes out when it is used with subtlety in perfect balance with the visuals.

Unfortunately, viewers might not notice when the sound design is good. However, poor sound rarely goes unnoticed. The trick is to use the sound as a character in the film and not noise.

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