VR offers exciting possibilities: as a dynamic new storytelling medium; as a rich narrative device within conventional film; and as a practical, time-saving pre-production tool. What are your views on the same?
What excites me most is how from telling a story in frames, we can now build worlds. VR's distinguishing feature of offering an immersive experience - of discovery, of 'being there' - makes it a dynamic, lush, even rich storytelling device. Still in its early days, VR is quickly gaining a lot of traction globally. In nascent markets like India, the medium still needs to streamline before it becomes cost competitive - from the point of production to consumption. But this is the journey we're definitely moving towards - a significant hint in this direction is how all content on YouTube is already VR enabled, making it the largest repository of VR videos! In fact, I've been invited to attend a very exciting forum on 'Alternate Realities' at Sheffield MeetMarket (London) next month, where I'd be meeting global industry experts, filmmakers who are already using the inherent raw power in the technology to tell their stories. I'm looking forward to bring this experience to create new narrative adventures in India.
Digital communication has made film-making a smaller, more efficient space that allows the director to draw on the best resources around the world. To what extent do you agree with this statement?
That's very true. For instance, on a feature documentary I'm currently directing, I'm working with a musician who is based in Los Angeles, an animator based in London, a sound designer based in Helsinki and a colour grader based in Mumbai. Not to mention, co-producers based in Canada, Germany and France. And my story is being shot in the heart of Uttar Pradesh. Clearly, the digital revolution has shrunk the world and broken barriers to technology, making resource sharing and collaborations both, a cost-effective and exciting proposition.
As a creative studio, the reliance on sharing and managing files between multiple users working on one project means an increased dependence on software, which can be frustrating at times. What expectations do you have from Software companies in making the collaborative workflows hassle-free?
I find the format-mismatches and render demands while working between softwares a colossal investment of time, something which I'm sure technology and software companies can save us from! Resource sharing and collaborative workflows have evolved by multiple generations from just 5 years ago but seamlessness is still an elusive dream - it would make workflows really easy to manage.
What will you do in the near future in terms of attaining skill sets and using technology so as to take the industry to new heights?
I'm interested in collaborating with professionals who're pioneering immersive technology experiences. I'd like to use that in my storytelling. For instance, 'Displaced' by New York Times and Michelle Obama's VR video promoting healthy eating and exercise are particularly engaging work that stands out. Of course, for the whole spectrum to come together, it would be fantastic to have clients who have the vision to take a risk with VR and allow creatives to design, literally, an out-of-the-box story for their brand!
A piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you started your career.
'Sometimes, what the hell, go all out and be totally outrageous'. (George Lois)