Thursday, August 13, 2020

Head of the Department

Day 6

Woke up early. I have a bad headache. Should I skip office. Shirts are not pressed. Found an iron box in one of the boxes in the guest house. The iron box has square pin. Will have to go to office shabby.

The college couldn't even provide an iron box in the guest house. It's sad. Is this a temporary makeshift college. 
I decide to rectify this for the next person who takes the room. There are no autos. The uber rates are high. Decide to book an uber. It's 45 minutes away. Decided to walk. Can't walk 4km. 

Had pazham pori. Car arrived. The office staff room is full. I am late by 30 minutes.i have no personal machine and I don't have a laptop. The college hasn't given me a laptop yet. Or a mail I'd. Or a chair. I think system is in its nascent stage. The HR acts stern but if a new recruit has no chair then she is simply not doing her job. The new building is being made. 

I go and sit in a sofa somewhere in the campus.

Day 7
Woke up late
I feel like I have fever. Yes, the temperature is high. I eat paracetamol. I decide not to go to college. 
VarunX has sent a task for the team on Whatsap. I don't want to skip the task. 
I take a share cab and go to office. I have  a feeling I might not last. Sreeju explains the task in a clear and precise way. Sreeju is a painter. Dheeksha and Sorsing helps. 

The task is a piece of cake but I also understand details in Visual research. I need to map it to help my skills. I have a severe headache. Syama comes in the evening. I am looking forward to seeing her. Hopefully she will be in a good mood.

Day 9

Woke up late. Syama seems to be in not so great mood. The academic head had asked me to go to another institute and help the coursework. It seems the institute is owned by the current owner of this college. I don't like this idea. This is what my mother does. Sometimes when an electrician comes to repair the fridge she asks him to help her repair the gas stove. I couldn't sleep proper since the thought that the whole institute might be run like a 'parallel college' of the eighties. I negotiated money with the Academic head. that didn't work. Today I am in a bad mood somehow. i completed photography syllabus and checked out wonderful photographer like Moises Saman. I have a headache.

Day 13

 I would say today is one of those days where pain makes you kill yourself. My disc is hurt bad. I can't walk. Ajit came to help, Rahul got me food. I informed Mohan Singh the academic head. Today I wanted to be in office. I am getting a hang of the system. Even though the management does not give much shit about how we are not provided with a seat to sit or a machine to work on I feel this is a system where I can contribute. That too a lot. 

Not only for the money but because I like it. Because it comes naturally to me. But I can't lift my leg. Sorsing helped me a bit with my task yesterday. I am still unable to understand the excel sheets. There is no one who will walk help us Walk through the sheets. VarunX gives only feedback. He is doing the same thing I was doing at Sacred Hearts. Only worrying about output and not helping the team to find the path by being with them or showing the way. 

At least in this task. He is getting paid for the task and he is doing that. He has a vision in design learning. However I am not as efficient in documentation like Sorsing. Or academic lingo like Dheeksha. Or smartly playing smart around with the system like Jino. The pain killer I had is playing with my head. Hopefully this won't show up on my blog. If it does ... It does. I will stay at Ajits house or not. 

Day 60

Another day in ISCAx college goes by without a proper seat to sit or a workstation to work on. Now i am used to this. Everyone who is responsible to  give me a seat or a workstation is as trifling as me. Naga sir offered me his machine 30 days back. Diplomacy won't help me. 

Another guy (Jason)  came and acted like he will solve my problem some 50 days back. Everytime I see him I laugh in my head He won't/can't do shit. Poor chap. Ann (our HR manager)  is sorry. 

It is embarrassing sometimes to call ourselves international. The only thing international is European closet in our dirty wet bathrooms. 

_------ the rest of the notes are missing. They still owe me money

Day 86

Yesterday I was a given a new machine. for the past twenty days the college handed me a laptop that I could use. I was using it whenever i could since the same laptop goes into class. 

I was asked to exchange the high config machine that I got to a medium config machine used by another faculty. However later I figured out that it was Sreeju sirs machine and he doesnt have a machine to work. I feel bad.

My machine doesn't have internet. The college lacks basic facility.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

IFFK Competition section

My phone stopped working around morning and I didn't bother to find the perfect angle for the charger. I can skip a few calls and a few people. Makes me feel better and normal.I have classes all day. The college i teach sometimes get me on my nerves since there is classes in the morning and evening.  Its hectic and makes me want to quit.My Academic head comes and ask me to send him a passport size picture. I open the desktop go to my mail and see a mail from Kerala Chalachitra academy. I imagine roughly the content of the mail. "your film is good ..blah ..blah ..blah ... but we cant select your film...better luck next time" I don't open the mail. The academic head stands next to me as i send him my passport picture. The one i took before leaving for Thailand. The one in which I look like a wild animal catching a beam of light whhile crossing a road. I open the mail again. 

"We are happy to inform you that your film Vrithakrithyilulla Chathuram has been recommended for screening in the International Competition Section of the 24th International Film Festival of Kerala to be held from the 6th-12th December 2019 at Trivandrum, Kerala.   ". 

I am silent. I turn around to my academic head and tell him. He asks me to send another passport size picture for some other thing. I am not excited. I should be.

I try to find the perfect angle to get charge onto my phone. i remember vaguely wishing if i had a good phone. There is enough charge and I started getting calls from my team mates. I am still not sure if the news is authentic. To be in the international film festival of kerala and that too to be in competition with jallikattu (the film of my favorite Malayalam director Lijo ) I should be excited. I am not. This happens to me. I am never in the moment. I am on a random trip in a good moment. Then i celebrate the memory.
Vysakh Reetha my associate comes to see me as we prepare for something related to post production of our film. I start to get calls from a lot of people. My wife had ordered a new phone. I will pay her back the money. Now  i can receive calls. i feel a lot better. How a small thing like a mobile phone empowers you. Then after 4 days and answering to some 25 calls it struck me. This is big. i am excited and overwhelmed. I am so excited I am shivering. This is a high. 

VC poster 1

Vrithakrithyilulla Chathuram poster 2 

the premiere

Director kamal speaking about our film 

To be in context IFFK 
The International Film Festival of Kerala (abbreviated as IFFK) is a film festival held annually in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, India. This film festival started in 1996 and is hosted by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy on behalf of Department of Cultural AffairsGovernment of Kerala. The festival is held in November or December every year and is acknowledged as one of the leading cultural events in India.[
Several national and international films have their premiers at the IFFK each year. Competition section is limited to 14 selected films produced in Asia, Africa or Latin America.[2] The festival also has a section devoted to Malayalam cinema

I am suddenly a filmmaker even-though I have been making content for the past 6 years now. This is a niche local circle. This is where malayali filmmakers want to belong. I am in it. We are in competition. There should be bliss but the excitement soon turns into a nightmare of depression and paranoia as it always happen with me and my mental state triggered by the slightest inconveniences. 

The fear of inevitable death had creeped in a few years back.  My associate director once said 'we need to keep ourselves alive till iffk". As a film lover and resident of trivandrum Iffk had opened up world cinema to us. I remember crowding around theatres to watch great films, engaging in conversation at indian coffee houses, secretly admiring filmmakers and their non-chalance. 
On the day of screening our 5.1 dcp didn't work - we had given dcp making to an idiot and he screwed it up and we didn't have budget to check in a theatre. The chalchitra acadamy also was not prompt in checking our files. We all felt bad. The film was well received and academy helped us rectify the sound. 

At the festival our film was greeted with joy. There was an overwhelming response. We had our international premier at the best place possible. T V channels were speaking to us continuously. Some said it was fluke while others said it was well deserved. Some loved the film ,some loathed.

We didn't win any awards. We were just in the moment. In the high. With the flow. 

Me and My associate director - Vysakh Reeetha

our team meeting the press

Syama our costume stylist and art director

me and Vysakh reetha at meet the director

Dignitaries on stage before meet the press

With channel 24

Pur cast and crew few minutes before screening

edtor Rakesh chherumadam at screening 

I got a momento for the film - memento 

Between technical malfunction we answer the crowd

Vishnu Prabhu . Nikhil, Shyamin, Sreelakshmi, Shreya

Syama's fangirl moment with Oorali martinand writer Unni and Zhinz 

Rakesh (editor) and Shyamin (second unit director)

Answering questions 

Zhinz Shan actor at IFFK


Our lead actress S Kukku and associate Director Vysakh R eetha 

Amma and Pirapancode Shantha at the Show 

With Doordarshan 

Interview with Athira from Indian express 

Interview with Athira from Indian express 

Meet the director event

To be in a competition - shooting a film with minimal resources (sony alpha and vintage lenses) on a minimal budget - to tell a compelling story - we have infact validated ourself as resourceful, creative, compelling storytellers and could compete with grand big major films. To be on a podium with all these big fishes itself is a kickass feeling.  We know what we did to get there. There is no IMPOSTER syndrome, There is no Dunning Kruger Effect - there is exhaustion from all the exerting and pushing oneself. Without a programmer , without any mentor from the festival, without any help some of us outsiders are here to represent our art. chalachitra academy deserves a big round of applause.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Design Things

Design thinking is a tricky area. There is more to understand and less to talk. More to do with thinking aspect and research than decorating stuff. For masters student at ISCA decorating is everything. My first task was to work on this area. Content over form. Tough as it may sound students were too hard on me. 

The truth is most of this students are in the wrong place. They have been told that they will be taught design but they are learning 'business aspect of design'. The management decided that this is better for the future of students. Its not completely communicated with them however a lot of students are finding it hard in that college.

Roughly I carve out certain things that should be part of any design thinking course

Empathy and Emotional Design

Research methodologies in Design

Design Process and Methodology

Human Centred Design

Design Entrepreneurship

However mapping this too theory would only make it further boring for the students. I decide to incorporate practical problem solving approach. Tried to find examples that relate to my field of filmmaking, VFX.

As part of the course I invited my friend and stand up comedian Vivian George to speak to students regarding comic timing and joke iterations which in itself is a design process.

The second stage included bringing my best friend Saira Fabian who is design consultant /UX designer/ universal designer to speak about challenges in designing for everyone.

The student feedbacks were quite good on this.

There were a few students who didnt want to learn this. Some of them who thought tha they are talented and inborn prodigies. I wanted to say first of all, "if you were prodigies you will figure out that all this is a sham. This glass class rooms. This mediocre learning facilities. This marketting gimmick is all a sham. You haven't figured that out so SHUT up genius" However I dont do that. I don't get angry. We say in films. "SHOW- Don't tell". In time some of these students will remember some of the process I spoke about. They wont thank me becase if they really understood it they will have a feeling that they figured it out. That's what I feel.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


When you want the film to sound in a certain way. 

The instruction were given to sound designer and sound mixing engineer
The sound mixing engineer did a wonderful job.

For MIX and folley
ONLY music and no sound

In this scene whenever
the car is shown only music. No atmosphere. (if if there is atmosphere) it should very feeble -as in one should have a good speaker to hear it. Very feeble. Sound. Music should be loudest thing.
Not for this screenshot
but the entire scene
When we go 5.1 we
should have a
disturbing buzz
prakambanam - 
Whenever the car inside is

“chakravarthini ninaku
njan ente “ or old
“subalekshmi song”
in a broken radio.
Loud car sound.
Whatever the old man s
peaking should be feeble
and inaudible.
The whole car sound
can be muffled.
It's a distant memory
and not clear.
No need to fade in.
JUMp between music and t
his. The music can slowly
encroach the car broken
and inside car scene
(if in case duration is long)
Muffled sounds.
Like a dream

A little bathroom
kind of treatment.
The room sound
should be clean. 
The entire background music will be changed. Ajmal will compose a new sound.

Priority is for the audio.
Next priority is folley.
Ambience has the least
Till he reaches the image2
on the left where music
will have least priority

Music should appear
as if it is ambient.
Maybe it heard from the shop nearby. Loudspeaker inside the shop. (image1)

Image 2 music
should be loudest thing.
Here it is BGM and not ambience . (the ambient sound needs not priority - it can be left unheard or feeble - folly wounds can be heard -but the music is loud and will cover everything)

Again in image 3 -
the music should
become ambient sound.
Like heard
from a shop behind
him or street.

His narration need not
have any treatment and
should be treated like the next shout. It's just that sound is overlapping in this. (Now it sounds like it is on a phone or recorder which is not required) Ambience is fine. No bird sound required. 

The ambience of the
train should be sudden.
No need to crossfade or fade in. It should be abrupt. (This is the language we follow - anytime there is a sudden ambience jump we won't make it easy for the audience. We jolt them, with an ambience jump ). Mani sound need not legible. Train should should be distracting.

The phone sound
should stop when he
picks the call

Once he keeps the
phone the ambience should become louder. The ambience should be disturbing. This will again jump and disturb in the next shot. Where the ambience is kickass. (somewhere in between i feel like we have used a clip sound. Replace it just in case you have used it)

When this sound comes
the loud ambience
should slowly start to
muffle and fade away.
Music begins in this shot
Music is the only
sound by the end
of the shot

No ambience required.
By the end of the shot
small ambience at a
distance can creep in.
(only the person with
good speaker should get the ambience) it should be low. Only music

The ambience
should be less
but it is ok here for
the ambience
Priority - Music > Ambience
> folley

Replace the static
buzz of the AC.
it is disturbing in
good speakers.
Ambience need
to be as less as possible and music is the scenes most important factor

Distant ambulance
fire engine sounds
he says “ Achan Marichu “

The ambience
should slowly
fade in as the
Music becomes the
only important t
hing in the scene.
The ambience
should fade in
half of next shot.
Foley remains same. 

Remove the birds. 

Remove birds.
You can put some
Korean k pop as
distant ambience
from one of the
All k pop has rights.
So choose wisely. (
This is not important
and the most important
sound in the scene is
again The MUSIC)

Jump transition.
Ambience > Music is

No music only ambience.
Use the part of the pilot
record where there are
people talking in Korean.
His part is actually nice.
It's also ok
if you don't change anything except switching off the music

TV should be louder

TV sound missing.
It should not be changing
channels and hence you can out an english film played on TV

JUST perfect.
Don’t change anything

CUT the ambien slowly.
Next shot in the plane
have some ambience.
In the drone shot in kerala
have little ambience
That aerial shot after

this showing landscapes of
Tvm, add flight landing

Put an old malayalam
song ‘sanganmam
sangamam triveni
sangamam - inside car.
It should be feeble -
if u have redfm Rj sounds
then that too) priority -
Dialogue - car interior
sound -  radio

Remove the bird
Remove the cuckoo

Treat dialogue in the
same way the last shot
was treated (inside the car )
- This is tricky 

The drivers dialogue is
Mani dialogue is not.
The song inside the car
(should as less as possible)

Remove the bird

Keep the crow.

There should be a
disturbing BUZZ

No  need for music in car. 

Door closing sound.
The vomiting and
everything should
appear from a distance
When u view the
wide angle one sound
of Mamen is missing
her “ILLa” second time. 

MUSIC more important
than any other sound

The hiss (digital disturbance) of the walkie talkie - NO NEEDED - remove it completely`

The typewriter sound is
there continously - it
NEED not be there 
Remove all BIRD
sounds from here
A small room echo treatment for the police station. Like it is a widespace
CRying - there is a delay -
can u pull that and
ut it exactly when he starts crying (dubbing mistake)

Remove bird - 
Put occasional crow sound
You can out a jeep
starting sound here

Remove buzz

Use a cleaner
ambient sound - it should be from a distance
MUSIC >> ambience
Mixing take care
should be loudest
-ambience can
be very very feeble
Level in mixing
The cuckoo sounds
can be removed.
Use distant dogs barking.
SOme house TV playing.
Dogs barking goes with

Jump the ambience
Use HENS or
pomeranians barking

Remove bird - 

There is an error in
sound here.
Use only Drivers and
Cousin’s sound.
Mute cousins sound
when driver is speaking.
(this was a pilot for the driver given by cousin during dubb)
Remove the birds.
Give water flowing sound.
Use crows

Remove birds. 
(discussed with Ajmal)
USe distant cow sounds

Change ambience -
u can use crows and
distant dogs here - discontinuous dogs 

There are two bikes travelling in this shot. They should pass (in sound)


Remove crickets
This should be treated
as sunset time.
Broken vocal
The vocals should have an echo as if coming from a room inside. Them singing
Like the talk show on
tv running behind.
But in a good theatre
if one listens can hear
the loop.
(twice same sound appearing).
Also there is a car
in a distant taking reverse.
(red light falls on the
character )
that can be added.
Crickets should be very less. (i am ok even if there are no crickets)

Gate latch sounds missing
He wakes up on a door
bell sound.
Remove all birds here


AMbience should be feeble
or not there
The music should be louder

Use prakambanam SOUND
Residence association
person sitting in chair
no sound of chair.
No sound of gate opening

MUSIC > ambience

Uncles instruction
should be unclear and
at a distance

Remove birds
This entire sequence
is a sound designers
The entire disturbance
should be conveyed
via sound.
Music is just backing
the sequence.
Information is also
Finally when the cycling
starts it becomes a
musical sequence.
Overall feel becomes high.
No birds or room sound
disturbance required.
Small ambience to cover
digital silence required
When we mix. We have taken extra dubb files which both Rakesh and Sam has not used. Lets sit on it.

Also Ajmal might compose a new set for this
We need cycle sound
and bell sound -
from a distant of course
and the wind sound
just works -
Ajmal needs to give an
up music

Jump in ambience 
Louder ambience

Jump in ambience
and different ambient
music song sound required 

Crickets not required.
As he pass there is a
building a sound comes
from the building -
then house- serial
coems from house -
then some other sound -
kind of
Mostly this is mixing
BELL missing.
Cycle keeping on stand
Here crickets sound
should be less

There can be some
television sound.
(malayalam late night show)