Being an Indie director is fun. You get to do a lot of things for very less pay. Which other profession gives you that pleasure. That is why I love this medium, I think. Even in the IPL, they forcibly pay you a lot of money just for sitting in the dugout and clapping. I don’t like IPL although I like cricket. Another reason that I’ve been avoiding IPL is because my labour of love for the last 2 years, my debut film, “Love, Wrinkle-free” is releasing on the 25th of May when the second Semi-final of the IPL takes place, you know what I mean…I have this feeling that if I don’t watch it, I can call this season of IPL a flop, and then more people turn up to watch my movie….you know what I mean…
So fellow assholes, sorry what are we, oh ok, so fellow students of life, according to me, Independent Films in India should be broadly divided into two categories – BigIndie and SupaIndie.
1. BigIndie: Independent Films produced by Studios. Usually with good budget. (BigIndie needs to be pronounced like Bhiwandi)
2. SupaIndie: Independent Films produced by individuals with micro-mini budget. I have named these kind of films as “SupaIndie” since the Director gets a chance to act like Superman and take on multiple responsibilities in them(Supaindie is inspired from that famous character from the Children’s magazine ‘Tinkle” – Supandi. So pronounce it that way).
“Love, Wrinkle-free”is a SupaIndiefilm – a fun-filled, light-hearted, refreshing take on Urban India’s obsession with good looks, smooth skin and youth. Staying in Vikhroli West, far away from the maddening “filmmaking is only my birth right” Bollywood crowd, I’ve managed to make a film with the help of some friends. Exactly 2 years back, I finished writing the final draft of Love, Wrinkle-free. Things looked very bleak, even for an indie-spirited never-say-die guy like me. But I followed a few crazy rules and now my debut movie is ready for release on the 25th of May. If a simple middle-class guy like me could do this, I am sure you can too…wherever you are in the country.
You should make your own rules, don’t listen to me if you don’t want to, but still sharing whatever worked for me.
“CRAZY WISDOM RULES FOR SUPAINDIE FILMMAKERS”
1. Don’t keep a beard. This way, you won’t think of yourself as the next Anurag Kashyap or Dibakar Banerjee. You will also retain some originality since you won’t be trying to be someone else. These guys are amazing directors because they have their own unique vision, and you don’t want to be second-rate versions of them. Better be a first rate version of yourself. So start saving, invest in a decent shaving razor and shave daily.
2. Stop smoking like a Chimney. Instead have Beer once a week. Since you cannot smoke Beer, it doesn’t cause passive smoking related illnesses in others, you don’t feel guilty, and more importantly, beer brings that “strange-silly” grin on your face, which is extremely critical if you want to be a Supaindie filmmaker.
3. You should shoot a minimum of 8 scenes a day. Your actors might want to murder you, but that “strange-silly” grin from Rule 2 will help you here. Before going to Rule 3, try that grin now. Just like in filmmaking or “making out”, the more you do it, the better you get at it.
4. 75% of your crew members should have acted in your film. Use them only for the roles of Junior Artistes. At times, it is important to show them their place. At other times, respect the hell out of them.
5. Directors should never travel in a car during the entire duration of the shoot. A Kinetic Honda or a two wheeler is allowed. (This way, the crew remains grounded and doesn’t ask for a BMW to transport them from the hotel to location)
6. No Vanity Van should be used for the entire duration of the shoot. Vanity and Supaindie don’t gel well, if you know what I mean…
7. You shouldn’t use a Track longer than 3 metres during the shoot. This rule comes in because that is all what he had in “Love, Wrinkle-free.”
8. You shouldn’t use Jimmy Jib, Crane or Steadicam for your shoot. Same reason as Rule 6.
9. You shouldn’t take more than 22 days to shoot your movie.
10. You should be the writer and director of the movie. I don’t know why, but it looks good when it comes in the title ‘Written and Directed by….”. Supaindie filmmakers should learn to enjoy the small pleasures of life.
11. Your marketing/promotional budget should not be more than 1/10th of your production budget. It can be lesser too, if your producer insists. Producers are the guys with the brains, and they might be having a reason to slash the budget, you know what I mean…
12. Your Editing machine should be in your home and not in some studio. That way you don’t have to buy too many Director-type T-shirts to wear to go to the Studio. Save that money to buy a Razor as mentioned in Rule 1. Don’t add this expense at any cost to your Post-production budget. Supaindiefilmmakers are honest people, and honesty gives them the strength to hold the beer mug high, remember that.
13. You should do the Casting in your movies on your own. That way, actors will be thankful to you and not some Casting Director who disappears before the shoot.
14. You should not use any Assistant Director for the entire duration of the Post-production, which would mean carrying the hard disks yourself to Pre-mix, Mix and D.I Studios. This way, you know what a 1 Terabyte Hard disk means or weighs and brings you literally in touch with your film on a daily basis.
15. No frontal nudity is allowed in a Supaindie movie. The only exception is when you are filming animals since they don’t normally wear clothes. Censor Board is getting more and more progressive these days and allows these nude animal shots, you know what I mean…
5 Bonus Tips for Supaindiefilmmakers:
1. A Supaindie director should be able to talk about any topic for a minimum of 5 minutes. Do intersperse your sentences with “you know what I mean…” after every 25 seconds, you know what I mean…
2. Supaindie directors should use these magic words “It’s required” to actors who offer too many suggestions while shooting. These words have a magical effect on them and they are charmed into letting you shoot peacefully.
3. A Supaindie director doesn’t differentiate between actors. Because all of them are Gods, and you should genuinely worship them.
4. A Supaindie director should have a wife/husband/parents who allows you to use the living room as a Pre-production office, with a few Assistants and Production guys roaming around, and making a mess of your already messy house.
5. A Supaindie director should do Surya Namaskars daily. This will keep the beer belly to a manageable size, and makes you look reasonably fit when you go begging for funds for your next Supaindie movie.
Love, Wrinkle-free and all the best. These are humble suggestions. Me no expert. Make your own Rules. Do push yourself to go and watch India’s first Supaindie movie “Love, Wrinkle-free” when it releases on the 25th of May.
If you don’t want to a take a loo break right now, take a look at this trailer, and have some fun.
Sandeep Mohan is an independent spirited writer-director. Love, Wrinkle-free, which releases on the 25th of May, is his debut film as a writer-director.