Thoughts and other trivia...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Show me the money!

There was a time when I got really close to making my film. Of course, I wasn’t getting to make it myself but there was this great consolation that the Best Indian Actor Ever (BIAE) had requested to direct it. I looked upon it as a great opportunity to work with the great man, thinking that, at least, the film would get made. Besides, it was hugely flattering that BIAE had chosen my script to make his film. Out of the proverbial blue, finance, which is usually unavailable to lesser mortals like myself, fell into our laps. Well, almost...because the self-appointed producer, another big name in the Indian film world, offered to give it to us when we went to meet and discuss the film with him for the first time. So, clearly, money was the least of our problems at that time. To cut to the chase, as they would say in some films, after two and a half wasted years, that film never got made. We won’t go into the reasons because that is not the purpose of the post.

Around the time that it was beginning to get clear that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, in a manner of speaking, and that the film wasn’t going anywhere, my friend and working partner came up with a brilliant idea to get the film made.

Although we’d been around for a while, as far as full-length films go, we were, and remain, nobodies. It was too much to even expect that somebody would fund our dream. Not because the dream itself was/is far-fetched but because the film business operates on a very complex and arbitrary plane, which completely discounts the one factor that should be the very basis for a good film, i.e., the script. In the Bollywood scheme of things, and I don’t care if they contend otherwise, the script is almost always incidental. Although technique, look and style seem to have acquired some importance lately, it’s still the star system that drives the Bollywood wagon. If you have a star, you have a film...other things can follow. And, which star worth his salt was going to agree to act in a film that had no sex or romance, very little music, little violence and in which what-we-call the “heroine” was going to die in the first 30 minutes? And, oh, nothing also of what passes for humour these days? Having said that, and knowing that without a star the film would never get off the ground, I tried my luck with a few people. Needless to add, I have nothing to show for the effort except long meetings with some big “heroes”, two of whom, I must confess, showed genuine appreciation for the script. So, if we were going to make it work, it was obvious that we’d either have to get lucky or get smart. In the end, we were neither but that’s another story.

It was around this time that the Internet was starting to spread its tentacles far and wide, reducing the world to a global village, or so the hype went. So, my friend suggested tapping the Net for finance. To start a website for the proposed film. To put up a part of the script on the site and to ask people around the world to read the script and, if it seemed remotely like something they might want to watch, to contribute to the fund. To be part owners of the film. He proposed a very elaborate and transparent system, whereby all contributions would be listed on the site and in the end credit titles of the proposed film. The idea was for people to send in whatever amount they thought fit, if any at all, directly to a bank account that was to be opened specifically for this purpose. All accounts were going to be audited (or whatever it is that fancy accountants do) by a CA and posted on the site. It was a great idea and I thought it could work.

Hmm...I wish we’d seen it through and pursued the idea but, obviously, we didn’t. There’re many reasons why we didn’t but that doesn’t matter now, does it?

I believe many people did, and are still doing, what we’d thought of back then. And, with some luck too, or so I’m told. And, that makes me want to kick myself...really, really kick myself for not seeing the idea through. However, it also fills me up with what I think might be a new give it a shot. To try this avenue before I completely give up on the script. To know that I have done all that I could’ve possibly done before I finally consign it to the metaphorical flames. Sure, my chances aren’t so bright now but, I think, I owe myself another shot. If all goes to plan, then, I hope to give myself that chance by the end of the year.

Besides, BIAE is still as keen on the acting job.


Blogger Salil said...

Ouch. "What if"s are painful. I hate looking back upon the past and seeing ideas or decisions I had the chance to follow through on, but never did for one reason or another. It's even worse when I realise someone else did the same thing, and was successful. Definitely give the script a go.

I'm not a big movie buff - although the script you described does sound interesting. In the last few years, I've been quite turned off by the way so many films these days literally run off templates for either romance-based movies, action/dramatic films and the like. I'd be quite interested though in seeing something that breaks away from that sort of norm - little violence, little music, 'heroine' dying early, etc. Give it a go. And keep me/us updated on the progress.

9:55 pm  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

why not?!

10:39 pm  
Blogger Prerona said...

looking back at opportunities not taken up is always painful

i wish u had too. might have been a great movie ...

who knows, there might be other chances?

would you take them, recognise them this time?

12:43 am  
Blogger Prerona said...

looking back at opportunities not taken up is always painful

i wish u had too. might have been a great movie ...

who knows, there might be other chances?

would you take them, recognise them this time?

12:44 am  
Blogger kundalini said...

you should def give it another shot. you've got lots of well wishers here, so all the best. :)

8:04 am  
Blogger Fingers said...

Ghost, you know good ideas never go away. If it's been with you for so long, it's time you gave it a shot.
Goodluck amigos!

9:14 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Salil: You're right about the quality of films although,it must be said, little violence, little music and heroine dying early will not make for a good film in itself :-)

TR: Yeah, man...why not!

Prerona: I hope to goodness that I take up any chances that may come my way. Of course, I can't claim it'll turn out to be a great film...because it won't be an easy film to make.

Kunadlini: :-) Thanks. Hopefully, I will give it a go

Fingers: Sure, good ideas don't go anywhere. That's also a part of the problem, isn't it? If they don't work out, they just sit there and stare at you :-) But, thanks :-)

10:38 am  
Blogger km said...

Dude, if you build it.....blah blah.

BTW, I've seen some "web-funded" film projects. The problem with them, at least in America, is threefold: the money inflow is not predictable and takes too long, accounting is hell (esp. explaining why someone has to pay a quarter of the money before BIAE even utters a single line of dialog - and later, why a film is *slightly* riskier than a savings account) and third, without the necessary "attachments" (star, script, music etc), no one wants to come forward. I am not sure if Factor #2 is applicable to India ;), but the others are, I am sure.

We need to talk on email, Ghost.

P.S.: If the heroine has to die in the first twenty minutes, please ensure she dies from a werewolf attack. After being struck by lightning, after her boat is capsized in a crocodile-infested river. OK, budgets shot up by 400%. A rusty steak knife will do.

6:30 pm  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

I agree with everyone else. Don't give it up. Good luck!!

7:16 pm  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

i think we need a new thread on how the heroine should die.

i vote for scrambled eggs.

9:36 pm  
Blogger km said...

TR, is that where the heroine gets splattered to death with a ton of liquid-y scrambled eggs?

And I second that thread. In fact, this may be that thread :)

(Sorry, Ghost, you have awfully presumptious readers.)

9:38 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

KM: Factor #2 is very applicable to India as well but, I know, you're right. But, I guess, desperate times call for desperate measures. I think there are a few other problems associated with web funding but it all depends on how the plan has been designed and structured.

And, about the e-mail...sure, but you don't have an e-mail address on your blog!

M: Thanks :-)

TR & KM: Both of you are most heartless creatures, I say...when you see her die (in whichever manner), I'll bet both of you will sob noisily :-)

11:04 pm  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

Any way we can get a peek at a page or two of this script?
Also, you always struck me as being a bit too principled for the commercial film industry which is, ow you zay in zee Englees? - 'crosseur comme une armée de frères'.

11:27 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

MT: Sure, I'll be glad to send you as much of it as you want to read but, as TR and I once discussed, I don't want to put it up before taking the necessary precautions. So, let me know.

About the film world, I don't know about the principled bit but, you're right, I'm not cut out for it in many ways. But, what to do...that's what I most want to do :-)

11:41 pm  
Blogger Sonia said...

hey, keep the faith! even though it must be AWFUL to wait So long and faith seems imPOSSible!

BESTTTTT of luck!

And i just read thru the comments, and i'm thinking, I'M SO BORING! heroine being mauled by warewolf who mistook her for scrambled eggs (:D) is SO much better than what i first thought when i read your post!
I thought she must've died of a car accident! bet you're thinking, "sheesh! how boring!"

4:06 am  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

i promise to sob. i bet the werewolf put ketchup on the eggs.

6:55 am  
Anonymous Silvermoon/GEL said...

As an artist who was pushed into a science career (another story), but has been practicing as an artist for the past few years ( finally:joy!), please pursue your dreams! Wishing you the best of luck and happiness.

Thank you for your kind words and visiting my blog. I love to write poetry.

11:09 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

SONIA: Thanks :-) Amidst all sorts of deaths that have been proposed/fantasised about for the poor "heroine", I think I may have forgotten how she is actually supposed to die :-)

TR: You closet crier, go on, make fun...we'll get you one day :-)

SILVERMOON: Thanks a lot :-)

1:15 pm  
Blogger km said...

Sonia, wait, it gets even better! Werewolf licks his lips, leers hungrily at the heroine who's now standing with her back against a securely bolted door, walks up to her, pours some ketchup* on her and then head-butts her to death.

*ketchup: a self-parodying device that will instantly remind viewers that while they are indeed watching a tragic, horrifying situation unfold, it is still a lie being told at 24fps.

Ghost, saw your email addy on the profile. Something wicked your way comes.

6:04 pm  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

closet crier! i like that. bring out yer mothballs!

(ps. km: that's sheer genius on the headbutt.)

11:06 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

KM & TR: Hate to have to tell you this but, guys, you've been had! And, here's how...

You see, the "heroine" doesn't fact, she is not even a she. She is actually the hero in disguise, out to get the ketchup spewing werewolf and, looks like, his move paid off! Ha ha ha...


2:10 pm  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...


11:09 pm  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

With every lost opportunity comes a new one. Silvermoon makes a great point--follow your dreams. Visions should be realized. And thank you for your visit. I plan on reading more of your blog--I think we deal with similar issues.

7:19 pm  
Blogger km said...

Grrr...Ghost's going all Shyamalan on us.

9:03 pm  
Blogger cactusjump said...

sunil doshi did that for rajat kapoor's film - his company is called handmade films, but am sure you knew that already.

9:12 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

TR: *Trying to seem unproud* Thank you!

Enemy of the Republic: Welcome! This is actually a dream carried over from a long time...let's just see where it goes.

Your blog is really nice and I intend on becoming a regular there! :-)

KM: Hell, no! Not M N Shyamlan!

CactusJump: Yeah, I knew but had forgotten :-) Thanks for reminding me. :-)

10:16 pm  
Blogger sattva said...

ghost, just DIVE into it. my baby and i are crossing fingers for you...and if u do it, u can treat us to your terrible scrambled eggs :)

ps- does yr movie need a mommy-to-be-with-orange hair? maybe as an extra? i know someone who may be get her thrills out of it :)

4:12 pm  
Blogger the-think said...

Who's BIAE?? I mean who is the person?

6:56 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

The-think: Now you know :-)

Sattva: :-) That's very sweet, thanks :-)

Sure, you can tell that 'someone' that she can be in the film. But, I'm afraid, the rate at which things are moving, this mommy-to-be may be a grandmommy-to-be by the time the film can even begin :-)

You'll have my scramble eggs? Without onion and tomato? "Yeh kya bakwas hai!" :-) But, I guess,that's a pretty good motivation to get the film made, no? :-)

12:16 am  
Blogger Blue Athena said...


Chase that dream till the end of the world if it comes to that.

Been fine?

10:30 pm  
Blogger sattva said...

ghost, :) :)
bon chance with the film.

2:11 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Blue Athena: I hope to :-) Thanks :-)

How've you been? Fine, I hope.

Sattva: Thanks again :-)

11:13 pm  
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