Guest Lecture by Mr. B. P. Singh

Adventure, Thrill, Crime! A workshop aimed to teach the students all the nuances of Direction was conducted at Digital Academy – The Film School by Mr. B. P. Singh. Being the owner of Fireworks Productions and producer of hit horror series Aahat in 1996, Mr. B. P. Singh is also the creator and director-producer of the Indian TV series C.I.D.

Commencing with providing his expertise of what determines the story, he expressed that the first scene of the shot is the most determining factor.

Honing his career with state TV-channel Doordarshan in 1973 as a news camera-man and moving on to handling the camera for another 10 years, he mentioned “Experience as the main key in shooting a scene”. When asked by a student about his interest development in this detective based serial, B. P Singh claimed his interest aroused when he started visiting the Crime Branch of police, and befriended Inspector Jayant Wagle. It was in this process that he developed a lifelong interest in detective based work.

Talking about his contour of work; it is ‘Story telling’ that is imperative, especially when it comes to crime or detective based story. A story cannot always be on the same chord. It’s like reading a book with a new chapter at every end. A story too consists of various scenes divided into segments, and then into shots. One can start with a long shot or short one depending on the criteria of the shot. It is not easy to make a serial marathon revolving around the same concept, same story, and same phenomenon. However he achieved this with his serial CID. Apart from being the longest running TV series in India, On October 8, 2004, a special episode, “The Inheritance” / C.I.D. 111, marked the completion of seven years of CID in December. It was shot in a single continuous shot for 111 minutes (one hour and 51 minutes), which landed the show in the Limca Book of Records as ‘TV show – longest continual shot’.

Amidst the understanding of what a story consists of, how does one know what is a good scene or bad scene? Throwing light on the whole debate he claimed “A good scene needs a good script, good dialogues, good lighting and then so on”. Giving an example of Vicky Donor, the latest Bollywood movie that moved the audience with its script, for him this one was a win-win when it came to good script and good movie. It managed to talk about a very different issue so skilfully. For this fiction – director some of the best scenes comes to an individual when he has experienced an analogous situation in his life.

Exposing oneself to good writing becomes of a paramount value to write a good script, because a good script will always be good even if the direction is not. When a student asked about how diverse emotions can be packed together in one scene, Mr. Singh enlightened them with his theory.

When you get script in hand you need to think of the emotions that will come in the scene. Special lighting, camera, trolley are just the means to enhance the scene. The whole scene cannot be shot at one time, you need to cut and decide how to combine the scenes and which ones to enhance.

No two directors can direct the scene similarly. Their thinking is different, their inspiration is different. What inspires one may not inspire the other. The same shot can be taken by two people in two different ways.

At the end what matters is ‘What the director does to transfer the scene on the frame’. Chop chop chop….

A Guest Lecture by – HOLLYWOOD ACTOR & PRODUCER MR. TOM MALLOY

Actor, Writer & Producer MR.TOM MALLOY is known for wearing many hats for his movies The Alphabet Killer(2008), The Attic (2008), Love N’ Dancing (2008). For this critically acclaimed actor, his passions do not end just here. His skills include Dancing, Martial Arts & Boxing, Singing, Street Magic & Juggling.

Known for his motivational speaking skills for students of all ages, he shared his experience as an Actor and Producer with the students at Digital Academy- The Film School.

Commencing with a short visual introduction of his movies ‘Love N Dancing’ followed by ‘The Alphabet Killer’ and ‘The Attic’ he spoke about his experience while filming the famous horror sequence in the movie. Even today sometimes he goes back and watches the scenes from the movie to learn and understand the details.

He then brought to light how Filmmaking is different in various cultures. Every country has it’s own aspect that can be captured in the movie. For him Slumdog Millionaire broke the trend of stylized Cinema and even ‘Crouching Tiger , Hidden Dragon’ for that matter. Slumdog Millionaire being a dramatic movie enveloped the assence of a thriller, a movie made from the prespective of the audience, what they would have liked to watch and yes they loved watching it.

Talking about his career from Acting to Production, and onto Writing – three different roles in Filmmaking was not an easy job. To give a better understanding of how Actors and Producers manage their roles, he stated “Filmmaking is like driving a car. You learn something about it everyday, on the journey”. When it comes to dialogues he mentions emotions being the key.

When it comes to globalized films, in the end a story is a atory. There is a lot of history in films which ever country you come from. John Cassevetes being the pioneer of American independent film gave new meaning to cinema and Film Making.

Moving onto important aspects in Filmmaking, he claimmed 5 rules to live by:

1. Killer script – Make a script which wakes up the audience. Best part of a good film with a good script is that you feel you are on a journey with the movie, you feel being a part of it. In his past ‘Star Wars’ was one such movie that made him feel like that. Writing a mind boggling script comes from reading good scripts. Try and make them your models. If a movie blows you away read its script rather than only watching the movie.

2. Pitch- Pitch of the movie… Pitch to yourself! Pitch your movie in a way that it cannot be rejected. Even if it means pitching it to your Actors, Producers. If you cannot sell it to them you cannot sell it to the audience. Have a strong Pitch of yourself. Which means knowing what you want to do and how to would want to do it. Especially for a Filmmaker, as he needs to be very confident about himself and his work.

3. BRBD- ‘Be realistic but dream’. As a Filmmaker you may have certain dreams to achieve, but yes they have to be realistic. Realistic in terms of it’s happening, financing, possibility and deadlines. It is very important to complete what you have started. When you start something finish it because if you do not you will never learn how to. You may have a mind set to achieve your goals and reach them one day. Let that one day be everyday.

4. Film financing- Film financing is like catching the wave of the economy. You set the budget and you are out there to reach it. The figures you might set may change your lifestyle. For producers it may seem merely like a business plan, however reality is what is needed.

5. A plan overall- Everything needs to be planned. Chalk out your plan. A fantastic actor will always say to himself ” I am awesome and it will happen”, to make things happen, and he eventually does. You can control that inner voice in you and programme it to be the best Director, Producer. Giving a classic example of Charlie Chaplin in the days when he lived hand-to-mouth. he still believed he was the best actor and thus it happened to him finally.

Ending on a lighter note, Malloy cited the biggest challenge one faces in Film Making is the word ‘But’. To be successful you need to change the word ‘But’ to ‘And’, and Filmmaking is your world!

Expert Workshops In All Courses

At Digital Academy – The Film School (DA), our education & learning philosophy comprises two elements that we believe are needed in equal measure to impart a holistic Film education; theory and practical learning. So while the theoretical classes instill important knowledge about the history and techniques of Acting, Direction or whichever course it may be, it is only upon practical application that students can truly put their learning to the test.

 

Furthermore, practical hands-on experience, through workshops conducted by experts from various departments, gives students real-world insights and tools to become more effective Film-makers. For example, it is one thing to read about editing techniques in a book or study in a class, and quite another when a real workshop is conducted by a well known industry Editor. Minus the workshop, the student will be knowledgeable, but armed with the workshop he will have the chance of trying out techniques for himself, that too with invaluable inputs and advice from a successful Editor.

 

In keeping with this firm mandate we, at Digital Academy – The Film School, organize regular workshops in a variety of courses. Renowned Sound Engineer and Producer Mr. K J Singh, winner of several Sound mixing awards for his work in Films like ‘Rang De Basanti’, is just one example of an industry heavyweight and a technical master who has held a workshop at DA. Like him, there have been and continue to be many others who regularly lecture and take workshops at DA. Mr. Kiran Deohans, one of India’s top Cinematographers with Films like ‘Jodha Akbar’, ‘Aks’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’. Famed writer of Films like ‘Parinda’, Mr. Imtiaz Hussain. Ace comedy Director Mr. Sajid Khan of ‘Hey Baby’ fame. All these people and many more illustrious Bollywood personalities regularly hold workshops and sessions at DA, in every subject, from Acting, Direction, Writing and more.

At Digital Academy – The Film School, we do not just put students in a classroom and give them theoretical know-how. We prepare them for the real world of Film-making in Bollywood and abroad, by imparting education that is full, complete, thorough and all-round. It is unlike any other in the country. Now the only question is, will you take this education and fast-track your entry into Bollywood?

The Life and Times of Anand Bakshi

Digital Academy – The Film School recently organized an interactive session to discuss the Life and Times of the late Anand Bakshi , one of India’s greatest lyricists where his son Rakesh Bakshi and the noted historian and lyricst Vijay “Akela” gave the students insights on Anand Bakshi’s life.

Anand Bakshi achieved fame with the song from Brij Mohan’s film titled, ‘Bhala Aadmi’, 1958. He became a star in 1965 (Jab Jab Phool Khile) and went on to work as a lyricist of over 3500 songs and 650 films in the course of his life. His hits touched the cords of the masses – right from ‘Sawan Ka Mahina’ (Milan – 1968) to ‘Taal Se Taal Mila’ (Taal – 2000). Some of his other noted work in the later part of his career included songs of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’, ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’ & ‘Pardes’.

(Image Courtesy: http://bit.ly/vt15K0)

Vijay ‘Akela’ who’s written a book on Anand ji, called ‘Main Shayar Badnam’ comprising 151 greatest lyrics of Anand Bakshi, spent a long time with the great lyricist and got to know him very closely. He and Rakesh Bakshi shared many interesting incidents from Anandji’s life. He said that once Anandji sat with a Producer to narrate the lyrics but before starting he asked the Producer to make the Actor wear a hat and only then did he start the narration. Once the Actor did that, Anandji started narrating the firstt stanza, “Tirchi Topiwale”. Anandji used to insist on listening to the whole story, because he used to make lyrics out of common everyday situations. Many times it so happened that Producers used to like Anandji’s creation to such an extent, that they would create situations and modify their movies especially to accommodate his songs.

Rakesh Bakshi nostalgically narrated “When Anandji used to write, he used to whistle. That whistle used to be the tune that he’d prepare in his mind for the song that he was writing,” Another incident that he shared was that during the India-Pakistan partition, Anand Bakshi had to flee Pakistan overnight and come to India. The only thing he brought with him was his mother’s photograph. Looking at that, his father got angry and asked him, why he didn’t carry any clothes, food or money. Anandji replied, “We can earn money, gather food, buy clothes, but from where will we get mother’s last photograph, once lost?” Anandji used to miss his mother and motherland when he moved to Mumbai, which is why he wrote a number of songs about his mother and his native land.

(Image Courtesy: http://bit.ly/uXHYrf)

Vijay Akela perfectly captured the extent of Anandji’s great work spanning generations in the following lines: “Anandji wrote songs for Rajesh Khanna, his wife Dimple Khanna, his daughter Twinkle Khanna, his son-in-law Akshay Kumar. He wrote songs for Raj Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, he even wrote songs for Raj Kapoor’s grand daughter Kareena Kapoor for the movie Yaadein.”

Rakesh once asked his father as to when he realized for the first time that he had made it big. To this, Anandji replied, “I was once travelling by train. The train stopped in the middle of the night at some small town. I looked out of the window and it was pitch dark. In that darkness, I saw a beggar singing a song and begging for alms. He came close to me and I realized he is singing a song that’s written by me. When I heard my song being sung by a beggar who doesn’t even own a radio, in a village that doesn’t even have electricity, I realized my songs are now famous. The beggar didn’t know me, but he knew my songs.”

(Image Courtesy: http://bit.ly/w1oBVl)

Anandji’s brilliance doesn’t lie in what we say or think about him, but in his words, his lyrics and his songs which speak for his genius . Such is the greatness of this man, that even after his passing away, his words will always be with us in our hearts and on our lips, for generations to come.

Why should you join a Film School?

Why should you join a film school? Is it not better to buy your own camera, arrange for a few actors and a location, and shoot your own film? That way you can learn the art and craft of Film making. This can save you both time and money. If we consider that even the shortest Film school education takes up a few months to a year, the consideration of time makes sense. But can you really become a Film maker by making your own film? Without a mentor? Without the support of a Film school? After all, it is about your career and your life.

A Film school is a training ground for an individual to observe, collect, discuss, plan and apply. Under the supervision/mentoring of guides, students find their goals and the paths to reach them. They can have the creative freedom to choose their ideas and can experiment under controlled situations, which may not be possible in the real world. A Film school is a lab to discover the limits of our expressions and the validity of our ideas. Thus, when a student sees that a personal Film fails to connect to anyone but himself, he or she might reject that approach.

More specifically, what do Film schools teach? They talk about training in techniques and aesthetics. What are they and how mutually exclusive are they? Let us explore this issue in detail.

Film schools can ideally be viewed as conservatories where teachers play a mentor’s role. A Film school encourages all kinds of activities related to cinema – a Film club, a critics’ society, a testing ground for techniques and talents and a simulation of the industry outside. A Film school prepares the student to take up any or all of these communicative roles in professional life.

In literature, the tool is the word; in music, notes and beats and in painting, colours. In cinema, it is the image, video and audio. However, a mastery over images does not make one a Filmmaker. It can, at best, make you a good craftsman. The basic goal of any medium of communication is to express. What is in your mind should be laid out in a concrete form for others to see, connect and comment. For cinema, the mode of story as a form of communication works best. Unlike painting, Films gradually unfold in time. So the mould of story, which also works in time, fits them best. Hence, a Filmmaker must know how to tell stories.

In Film schools, the budding storyteller learns this art very well. Storytelling is an inborn tendency but needs finesse. Through comparing of world’s best stories with yours, you can see the path you must take. For the comparison, a mentor is necessary to guide you through the labyrinth of a million and one nights. Just to cut the time of learning short.

A teacher’s role is to show the relation between things. It may be possible for you to learn the relations yourself. But that takes years. A Film school, with its material and cultural resources, helps you to acquire a creative eye, under the mentoring of people who have found their paths. At the same time, you can interact with a variety of fellow travelers, searching for a similar goal. You can learn the most important ideas and skills from your friends in a Film school, things which may never be possible to learn the same way in the industry.

In this regard, Film schools are more like business schools. Unlike literature or painting, Film making is essentially a collaborative activity. This does not deny the fact that solo Film making is possible now more than ever before. One could make a short duration fiction or non-fiction film. However, it takes a lot more time and energy to finish a full length feature Film that way. You need Actors, sets, costumes, lights to design the space and many other accessories. No single person can manage all this at once. Quite obviously, it calls for a hierarchical collaboration, a focused domain knowledge, leadership and a good working knowledge of the human behaviour. All these come from years of experience in the field. However, in a film school, this can be encapsulated through intense programs and by using other peoples’ experience as guide.

Film schools are a good starting point for building professional contacts too. You can make your future team here, just like the Lucas-Spielberg duo. Also, you can meet the industry professionals in the comfort zone of your space. They regularly visit Film schools to conduct workshops or to give lectures. Quite often, big production companies look for freshers from Film schools. One personal encounter can lead to an internship, or better, a collaboration. And then who knows? Only the sky can be the limit.

A Rewarding Journey

Digital Academy – The Film School was founded as a result of a dream – to provide world class Film education in India. Since our humble beginnings in 2002, the journey we have undertaken and the standards we have achieved are a matter of immense pride for everyone associated with DA, its students and its management & faculty. I would like to share some details about our exciting journey so far. 

We began our journey with a handful of students, who we proudly call friends and associates. Our mission was never to churn out mere technicians, but to equip an individual to think beyond the ordinary. After all, creativity cannot be restricted within parameters. Our courses are structured to give hands-on training as well as an in-depth knowledge of the cinematic spectrum. Our strength lies in the fact that we conduct quality short-term courses, a feat that remains unparalleled in the industry. 

Over time, we have constantly reached higher to better our standards, to improve infrastructure and facilities, to broaden our curriculum and to have the best of the best to teach at DA. Today we use cutting edge technology, like Professional DV, HDV, Sony DSR 450, Sony D55, Beta, Red, 16 mm and 35 mm Arriflex cameras, Beta Recorders, FCP and more We also use both Protools and Nuendo recording suite using Yamaha DM1000 Digital Audio Workstation and also have a state of the art 5.1 surround studio among others.

Our student teacher ratio is an average of 1:12, which is remarkable as it gives you room for interaction with your instructors on a personal level and regular basis. Add to that, students coming in from all over India as well as globally from countries, such as New Zealand, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Korea, Spain, Holland, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Morocco, Sweden, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan, Nepal, Cameroon and Nigeria, to name a few. The academy provides a diverse and multicultural learning environment.

Our Faculty, both from India and abroad, comprises of some of the most respected and experienced professional across the Industry. Many of them have won National Awards ( Including the Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009 for the best short).

We firmly believe in going the extra mile for all our students and hence placements are an integral part of our program. Our well-placed network has enabled us to set our students in ace Film and Television production houses. And it is pure pride that we feel on seeing them succeed. Ours has been an exciting and rewarding journey that continues to scale new heights. And we would love for any of you, who are passionate about Films, to come take this journey with us. 

Regards

Kartikeya Talreja – Director



Director Speak – Realizing Cinematic Dreams

 Cinema is a visual art form that has captured the collective imagination of people across all stratas of society. Be it as a medium that entertains or a forum to deliberate on society’s issues, to the viewer and the budding Film-maker & technician, the allure of Cinema has always been immense. In India especially, this fascination is a national obsession. From the average person on the street to people living in palatial homes, Cinema is all-embracing and all-encompassing. We have a rich history and heritage in Cinema, with Indian Film Industry being the largest in the world, by numbers and also because of the global interest in our Films and culture. 

Art imitates life and life mimics art. And in Cinema, this is truer than anywhere else. But while we have a rich tapestry of Cinema, what we did not possess is a platform to teach the art & science of Cinema. The nuances of Film-making that are on par with a global standard and sensibility. And it is this realization, coupled with a burning need to provide the millions of aspiring young Film-makers, artists and technicians a chance to learn the craft at a world class level, that led to the formation of Digital Academy – The Film School. 

Our Film school is a sprawling 40,000 sq ft one-stop shop for your next ‘Big Picture’. Right from conceptualization to digitization, we house all the facilities under one roof. Backed with new age equipment and age-old experience, Digital Academy – The Film School is the place to be. With an impressive faculty, both in-house and guest, the expertise of Film-making is rendered through a balanced curriculum over classroom instructions, periodic practicals and intensive workshops. 

At DA, it is our constant endeavor to produce free-thinking creative individuals, with a unique Film sensibility, rather than mere technicians. And this is something we strive towards relentlessly; to give India and the world the best creative force there can be in the world of Moving images .

The DA experience will change the way you view Films and the way you view the world. We welcome you to our proud institution and are eager to transform your lives to make you the best possible Film-makers you can be.

Regards

  
Kartikeya Talreja – Director

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