Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog
Saturday, April 16, 2005
The mystery of the mistaken midriff
Being very polite as I think I should always be to my director, I was trying to not notice that she has been putting on a lot of weight lately. I presumed it definitely had to do with the local chipshop and pub. We usually have a tendency to eat a lot during our production meetings as well.
I just found out that she is five months pregnant! So before our film is released, the team should have our first production baby. This revelation meanwhile has dramatically modified my approach to team meetings and technical consultations with her.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Sound Design blog
Remember, I had promised to try and blog the MA production I am involved in? I have finally found something to write about.
We are right now well into pre-production due to go into production in a matter of weeks, so this is the time to thrash out "issues".
Now as my course is designed, there are six major roles in each of the films: Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Production Designer, Editor and Sound Designer. Now I am Sound Designer; and on paper, my role has as much importance as any of the other ones, but reality is slightly different. You see, in the history of filmmaking, the role of Sound Designer is fairly new. In my case, it combines the roles of two technicians: the sound recordist and the sound editor, plus, to give it an air of respect, I am to take on the creative aspects of sound, which originally used to be in the domain of the director.
Now, understandably this is something that is very difficult for a director to come to terms with. After all, the director envisages the sound as one aspect of the film to work in synch with the rest of the storytelling. But if that role is given to another person, the fear of losing aesthetic and narrative "unity" is not unfounded. (Well this is apart from the "ego" issue of losing creative control)
Naturally, my director, in order to avoid that problem chooses to instruct me on what sound I should use where, and how, in very good detail. And consequently, I get very pissed off, because deciding on the sounds is my job to do. After all, aren't we all supposed to be "equal" members of crew? With "equal" importance and "equal" responsibility?
Somehow in these situations, a deep breath does the trick. By the time the air slowly rushes in and out of your lungs, your mind has had enough time to reflect on things pragmatically. It is only obvious for each one of us to think that the other person is a complete arsehole, and therefore try and pre-empt that by making our own ideas prominent. This is because we do not respect each other's intelligences enough. We have a strange feeling that the other person can only fuck things up for us by doing something that is going to stick out like a sore thumb while consequently making the film lack "unity".
How to overcome this? The key here is trust. If we trusted each other's abilities and intelligence enough to know that he or she is not going to fuck things up, then we are not going to step out of line to throw instructions at the other person. So if I went ahead and told my director to shut up and let me do my work, I would actually confirm the fact that I am untrustworthy arsehole. This would make "interference" even more pronounced. Especially in the case of the Sound Designer, where the tendency is still to consider the person merely as a technician who carries out the director's creative decisions.
Contrary to that, if I let my director say whatever she wants, and then I go ahead and do my thing and show her (effectively prove to her that I perfectly understand what she has in mind), then the hope is that she will finally respect my abilities and let me do my job in peace. One can definitely argue Why should I go out of the way to struggle and "earn" the respect I rightfully deserve? (I did, initially). I also thought Would she not want to finally take credit for an idea that is rightfully mine to have come up with?. While the second argument is something that is rather touchy, it is also extremely childish. After all, a film is the most collaborative of all creative products. And this confluence of ideas is what gives most film professionals the kicks.
So by the end of my deep breath, I think I am wiser and certainly more professional. On a flippant note, I can now take the argument to the next logical level: I can attempt to show others how I am more mature and humble than they are :p
Monday, April 04, 2005
Last Evening on Radio & Television, or While the Pope Lay in State
I hardly do any media reviews on my blog. A good reason for that is probably because I am a media person myself (What they say about taking up residence in an outfit fashioned out of Silicon Dioxide - never mind even if it is double-glazed), while the unconscious motive might have something to do with a fear of having to shut my blog, and then get an online petition signed afterwards.
In Britain, there are a few media institutions I really admire and respect. Two to be precise. One is Radio 4 and the other is the Guardian newspapers.
On Radio 4, A World In Your Ear, last evening had a bit about podcasting. Me being in the sound business, found it very interesting. This program was followed by Word of Mouth - bloody funny! Then to top it all, Analysis discussed blogging with interviews with some prominent people including Instapundit Glenn Reynolds and even Iain Duncan Smith, who seems to know quite a bit. <aside>Lessons for our netas and thalaivars? (Ok thalaivis too!)</aside> There were also some liberal speakers on the program, mostly other British MPs. Here is a complete transcript.
Then, I settled down to watch Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket and switched on the TV. Right then, the program on Channel 4 was 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches. I came all the way from Madras to study film in the UK, and one of the biggest motivating factors was British TV comedy. So I promptly put Joker and Private Pyle on hold while I watched some 'telly'.
Now, almost all reports on the listing tend to say something about the Python's "Dead Parrot" sketch "Ceasing to be", "Having expired", and being an "EX number 1". While the Little Britain "Andy and Lou" sketch was fabulous (the current number 1), I was very interested in the number six spot. Goodness Gracious Me's "Going for an English" was rather bittersweet considering that I too wait tables in a "curry house".
<aside>I'm glad that at-least some of the best of British television comedy was available in India while I grew up, either through satellite television, or on video and briefly, and very briefly through a short-lived resurrection of DD2.</aside>
Now why the hell am I doing a TV and Radio roundup now? What was so special about last evening? Well, the fact is that the Pope had died and I heard a lot of people complaining that there was nothing else on the air! Here's proof!
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