Keep the script bank full: Watch out for the No-Man's Land!

By Amey Nadkarni, posted 4 June 2009

Every filmmaker considers all his own films as supremely important but the first one is extra special. It is even beyond the preciousness that a first salary or the first child or the first kiss etc commands because unlike all of the above which we think off only after a certain stage and that too on and off, the first film is something that a filmmaker thinks off from the moment he realizes that he is a filmmaker. In fact I am not sure whether it is the film maker who thinks of the first film or the thought of the first film makes an individual - a filmmaker.

As such a large amount of time is spent between the filmmaker's first film idea and the filmmaker. Long hours of dreaming and criticizing and agonizing pass before the filmmaker himself accepts the idea fully. It is a time when along with the freshness of mind there is abundant unexplored energy and passion which is eager to convince the world about the strength of the script.

There is the persistence to knock on doors and most importantly there is humility to face rejection before pulling up the socks and moving on until the right door opens.

Then the film gets made! Oh yes what a feeling!

A long process wherein all your sessions with your mind and your script are put to test against the dry technicalities of actor dates and equipment problems and budget constraints etc etc…amidst which you maintain your creative calm and complete your first feature film! Yes!

The dream is now eternally printed on film. Then begins the post production- Editing, dubbing, effects, sound match, and mixing. A couple of months go by since you last stepped on the sets and its time to make another film BUT where is the script?

You have not got the time in the last 6 months for all that you did was nurtured your first baby! In other words there are cobwebs in the workspace of your mind and more importantly your stamina is much lower than what it was 6 months back!

You have convinced yourself and some people around that you are capable of making a good feature film…and now it feels weird to knock on doors and sell yourself all over again and if you have got to sell yourself on the basis of the feature film that you have just made then you have to wait for another month as there are still processes to complete!

This is the phase that I call – NO-MANS LAND! It's a phase that every first time film maker has to watch out for. For it can suddenly pull you down to your knees! You have experienced the euphoria of being the film director and to vile away time at home or in a café- something that was routine before- suddenly seems daunting and exhausting!

HENCE, the way to counter is - keep a bank of at least three scripts ready before you start your first film. During the phase before the first film when you are staring at the wall, looking at the sky and wondering WHY ME? Or simply being persistent; take your mind back to the dreamland of ideas and capture the ones that'll have the legs to walk you through your successive projects.

As a result when your first films goes into post production you can immediately start the pre-prod for the next project. You have some people who have just believed in you and you have delivered. The feeling of seeing a dream take shape at the editing table would have got them excited enough to take one more chance on you…a lot of your team will be around and in touch as such if you have the script ready, you can begin right away. They too will be relieved at your consistency and will stick by you in the long run.

This will not only make you feel better but most importantly will keep you busy and on your feet for it is a nightmare when you are in the latter stages of post production and desperately looking for the next script.

Remember it is a blessing to get started…don’t make it a curse by stopping or pausing so soon!

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