Picture from yesterday, in Aram Nagar, Versova. Where we met director ANURAG KASHYAP and line producer HARISH AMIN. All of Mark’s BFFs, no big deal…we were tired and loopy when we met them, I feel sheepish that we didn’t know how crazily important they were…
Location: Whistling Woods International Film School, “Cyber Cafe”
All of us are currently sitting in the Cyber Cafe (such a rad name) typing up our blog posts. I figured that most of us will cover what we’ve done yesterday and today, so I’ll just type up a sort of stream of consciousness type post if that’s alright.
Today was our “first day of school.” We took a bus here, but Reni, one of the people helping facilitate us at Whistling Woods, gave us directions and instructions on how to get there on our own…because after tomorrow, we’re going to have to get to school on our own. Doesn’t sound like a big deal if you’re thinking of the context in America–I mean, I lived less than a mile away from my highschool and walked or biked nearly every day; in college, I live on campus and walk 10 minutes to get to classes (in the frigid snow, though). We’re going to have to flag down rickshaws on our own and tell the driver to take us to Film City. Stand on the left side of the road, make a left, make a right, make another right and enter the highway, pass 3 landmarks: exhibition center, the Hub mall, and some other big building–then get off the highway, make an immediate right, then make another right at the “airtel 3G” billboard and head down the road towards the entrance to Film City. Show your ID to the security at the gate, and then tell the driver to go in, make a right, and drop you off at the gates of Whistling Woods.
Insanity. I’ve repeated this word multiple times in my previous blog posts, but it’s really the only way I can describe it. But it’s insanity in a good way, because I’m excited for everything. There are smells, there is poverty, there is dirt, there is rubble. There is staring, there is limited Wi-Fi (WE’RE SURVIVING!!), there is only drinking bottled water, there is eating foods with insane spice. It’s a lot to take in (also, it’s only been 2 days), but it’s a lot of good things, too.
Update: 10:07pm, Sai Palace Hotel
Welp, we had to leave Whistling Woods to go get dinner together so I wasn’t able to finish the blog post, but like TG says, “simply adjust.” We went to the Oberai Mall and ate at a fancy Indian restaurant called Maharaja Bhog. It’s so fancy there’s a location in Houston, Texas, Bangalore, Dubai, etc. We ate a style of food called thali, where everything is on a big golden fancy plate and you eat bits of pieces of different flavors. The concept reminded me of Chinese Dim Sum. Which I wouldn’t mind having right now…
Anyway. I’ve been very gung ho and excited about everything that’s happened so far, but I’m starting to lose a little bit of steam—I think the adrenaline is dying down a bit. It might be paired with the fact that I haven’t been home since January, and this is by far the longest I’ve ever been away from California (oh no, how will I survive?)
We learned a ton today about Indian narratology style (I think that’s a word but I’m getting squiggly red lines) and the rough, brief history of Indian cinema. We went over the basic strategy of storytelling, basically all the stuff we’ve learned at school—but it’s so interesting to learn about it from a perspective that’s not Western. We Americans are so internally focused 24/7 that we don’t notice the beauty, art, and culture all around us. I find the differences between Hollywood and “Bollywood” (or to be more correct, the Hindi film industry) incredibly fascinating. Once we got a hold of the Lumiere brother’s technology, we learned how to work with cinema to make it everything it is today. Through trial and error, we created structures and guidelines by which to crank out an industry standard film—3 act structure, tragedy and comedy, beginning middle end, conflict and resolution. The great thing about India is that they already had 5000 years of storytelling behind them—so naturally, what they did when they got a hold of cinema was recreate and retell those stories. Cinema helped preserve and even shape the culture of India. We talked a lot about the differences between Hollywood and “Bollywood,” and thinking about Hollywood got me thinking about home and the fact that I’m interning at home the very next day I get back. It’s a non-stop adventure in the “woods…” Hollywood, Bollywood, Whistling Woods. #punsonpunsonpuns.
The three lectures were given by Som, Anjum Rajabali, and another WW faculty member who’s name I didn’t quite catch (I will edit this post and paste it here when I find out)! Anjum is a faculty member and prominent screenwriter, and everything he said resonated with how I feel about cinema and story. His words captured my full attention and inspired me to really push myself as a storyteller. Still undecided about what I want to do because I love everything, but here’s a quote that he dropped that he quoted from someone else:
“You can make a bad film out of a good script, but you can’t make a good film from a bad script.”
I repeat, this is day 3. Insanity. But in a good way. I’ve been taking TONS AND TONS of video footage—I should probably upload and already start cutting this ish before I lose steam.
‘Til next post,