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Tag Archives: marcus stern

Lull After the Storm

So a scene spread over 3 nights is over. Everyone was sort of dreading it and it all went off very well. There was yelling and ego hurting but it’s over and the results seem good. So, there it is – the business of filmmaking. After that intense time today felt a little, dare i say, dull. I’m craving that chaos again, minus the tongue lashings of course. It’s no secret that I don’t think very highly of myself but i think i did well. Sometimes all you can do is be a trooper. Actually, that’s possibly the only way you can do this work.

Oh! I got to act too. Again, not very impressed with myself. My professor would be so disappointed. I don’t know if anything will make it to the final product but if it does I hope it never looks like an AD was asked to “go stand there.”

Only 10 more days till the last day of shoot. 4th is a holiday and I’m really looking forward to going home. Then, I’m looking forward to going somewhere far and sandy and perfect.

hope to post something again on the 4th.


The Yedi AD


Day 38 – Parents

Been working to ensure that our Ajju isn’t an orphan in the film. Found some good actors who could probably fit the bill. Shout-out to our Delhi actors for helping me out with numbers and recommendations. @meenal_ is coming to Delhi tomorrow and work at the main location will begin. Location recce includes a trip to Manali. Not for me. But I am wondering if that’s a proper job, suitable for me to pursue as a career option.

Marcus, my professor at Harvard SSP emailed last night to congratulate me and wish me luck for a big interview that’s lined up soon. He’s so very gracious. Just getting a vote of approval from someone like him is such a confidence booster. I have to say, even Munish and Melvin have been so very encouraging. They have far more faith in me than I do in myself. My father’s already convinced it’s a done deal and planning what I should do before the big move. “Holiday”, he suggests, “3 months in Europe”. Do i love him or what. The exact opposite of Amrish Puri in DDLJ. I can totally see him saying, “Life’s too short, Mickey. Jaa! Jee Le Apni Zindagi.” (Go, live your life). Although all my money’s on the odds that he hasn’t even seen the film.

Anyway, now I’ll get back to finding a mother for Ajju. And then we continue with the Oscar Weekend. Till now I’ve caught Bridesmaids, Tree of Life, Moneyball, Carnage, The Artist (in that order), and tonight I watch The Iron Lady. Meryl is my hero. If i ever met her in person, I know i’d turn into Raj From TBBT.

I don’t know how i missed Tinker Tailor, Albert Nobbs and I can’t find anyone to go watch My Week with Marilyn with me. But The Help I consciously passed on. I got swept away by the vehement and unanimous reviews of my African-American friends who trashed it for being yet another film where “a nice white lady comes in to solve every n****’s problems”. I think i’ve missed out on a great performance by Viola Davis and I am a fan of Bryce Dallas as well as Amy Adams. So maybe i’ll stop being narrow minded and watch it as just a movie.

That’s Day 38 in Yedi Ad’s life. Tomorrow will start very early to catch the Oscars from the red carpet itself. I tweet incessantly on such occasions. So if you’re into that, great. Otherwise you might want to unfollow me or you’ll wake up to a TL that’s been hijacked by my tweets. Don’t say you weren’t warned.


The Yedi AD

Ankhon Dekhi se Ab Tak Seekhi

These are things that I did not learn in my very expensive classes last year and probably never will in the trust fund-breaking MFA course I’m desperate to get into come fall. They teach you so much and I’m super proud of the education i had but some things you’ll only learn on the job. They seem basic later but I’m mentioning them anyway because they didn’t seem obvious to me. It’s second nature after a few days on the sets, but before that it caused me unspeakable amounts of grief. For now this is mostly to do with continuity because that’s all I’m taking care of. But as I’ll learn more, I’ll share more.

Carry a camera or a cameraphone. There will be handy things like an assist, someone covering the making-of and what not around. But BELIEVE ME, it’s a million times better if you have the pictures of the layout and prop-location in your hand at all times. The assist has so many people around it, you’d think it’s shooting out candy. And by the time you find the stills/video guy the next shot will be ready, and you WILL BE screwed. So be Type A even if it ruins you as a person – Do it yourself. Don’t depend on people who are not dependable.

Be idiot-proof. Not because others are idiots but because writing down everything makes your life easier. My brain’s like a sieve. And I learnt from my professor, Marcus Stern that there’s no shame in that. So i write down everything. Even if to the veterans it looks like a child has written this, it’s fine. It has been written by a child. But all the info is at hand. Unless told otherwise I err on the side of caution and always will.

Be a sponge. Learn as much as you can by just soaking in all that’s going around you. It’s the quickest way to learn, though it’s easier said than done. First day, I didn’t know all the things i’m supposed to carry around. And now I see Ankur do something, before the next shoot I’m doing it too.

Let go of grudges. The same people who refused to help you on a particular day will ask to meet your doctor father for a consultation on the next. You can politely and smugly tell them to “fuck off” because yes that’d feel so good. But you can also just help. Even if it would feel bloody good to give them the same patronising eye roll that was handed to you just a few hours ago, don’t do it.

What happens on the set cannot and will not define the girl my grandma raised.

You know nothing. So you’ve learnt some stuff and you think you’re getting the hang of this now. But everyday something new will pop up to remind you that you are still as green as Captain Planet’s coiffe. Maybe a lighter shade of green, but green nonetheless.

Be afraid. This bit sounds like I got it out of a self help book but it is something that works for me and I do not know if others should follow this. Fear makes me work harder. Fear of not being the best I can be; of getting yelled at; of letting down my mentors. In essence, the fear of getting a ‘B’. I’m told it’s a tad unhealthy and my sister, the shrink, would strongly disapprove. But till now it’s worked for me. Go with what works for you.

Mutate. Nothing will help you more than growing an extra set of hands, two to be on the safer side. So try that. And do let me know if you managed. No joke.

Don’t work with douches. I learnt this in advertising and has nothing to with just filmmaking. It’s a high stress environment. But if someone’s a plain jerk, don’t work with them. It’s not worth it. Your education, and life, will be richer if you work with good people who know their job. Just because someone screams a lot and plays the part of the intense artist, doesn’t mean they are one. The best, most talented people I ever worked with were gentlemen to the core and respected people around them. @munishbhardwaj, @mrrajatkapoor, @meenal_ and many others who are not on twitter are all like that. I’m very glad that this is my first team, they’re very similar to Marcus and a lot of the good CDs who mentored me. The reprimanding and the stress shouldn’t be unwarranted and for effect. Don’t work with people who play that game. Really. I have. It’s not worth it. You stress out a lot, only to learn very little.

Beyond this all I can say is, trust your own Ankhon Dekhi.

Ciao for now.


The Yedi AD

Oh! A big tip i forgot to share: Every chance you get to pee, take it!

And a little something i read on Nigel Lythgoe’s twitter feed – The best way to forgive life’s disappointments is: Cry a river, build a bridge & get over it!!!