I have been much of a rebel my whole life. But I mostly rebel with courtesy or omission. two years ago when I had just got out of Art college having majored in History of Art and seemingly underemployed, I chanced upon an opportunity to go to the Himalayan Mountains and help film a mountain biking race. From Bangalore to Himachal is a great journey, one that I took three days by a combination of train and bus, hauling my personal luggage with a lot of warm clothes in a backpack. A tripod and a home made portable aluminium 4ft Jib in another roll of a cotton bed cover and the highlight of the trip, the steel trunk!
The trunk that later on turned to the liquor cabinet/bar table
Customized grip handle with wrapped cloth. Simply because, it is just so damn heavy
The race was a meeting of many minds. There was a team of film makers coming in from Delhi and equipment rental there was so expensive that I had to haul equipment they’d need as well all the way from Bangalore. Hence the money spent on the steel trunk. Once I got there, tasks were assigned, equipment was handed over and I issued a huge word of caution since all the equipment was registered under me and was never all going to be used under my supervision.
I was immediately hit by the fact that everyone else around me was able to have fun and I was the only dud who was climbing the side of a cliff, running around with the jib and its counter weights not to forget, my most loved camera in the world for DSLR film making then, THE CANON 7D trying to get not just usable footage. But footage with that little extra narrative in it, a little bit of environment in it and not just shaky footage of a racers face who zoomed past while I fiddled with focus.
If you have read this far, you know that this is a rant. But, what I did not do then was precisely this. I did not rant. I did my work the best I could and the rebel in me stopped adding my footage into the pool and I did declare that I will make a stand alone film with what I shoot myself. You must understand that by doing this, I am denying myself footage shot by two other teams with a total of four people, one 5D mark II, an ENG style camera and most importantly a GoPro camera. Call me cocky, but I knew that the footage I gather will be enough for me.
The organizers agreed and I returned home to find myself in the shittiest job market for a creative who won’t sell out. Not only did I not convert the footage for editing, I deliberately ignored its existence, all 500 odd Gb’s of it shot over the 10 day race and I moved around to fins sustainable sources of income.
Some day it struck me that I might after all be sitting on a gold mine here and began looking at the footage I had. I started piecing it together. I even found a great band to write the music for it, I made its first teaser. I called it Meeting Mountains and then, I lost faith in the people who were throwing me work all this while and I parted ways only to get into more lack of a job. And hence, the film stopped developing again. Then my computer paralyzed itself . Then I felt that it has already been a year, nobody wants to see this film. I won’t make any money out of spending hours looking for shots and piecing them together and never be able to render in anyway because of the computer situation. I don’t have the money to pay for recording the music. I can do the voice over at my house, but the music? And yet again, the film finds itself sitting in a dark corner of my hard drive.
The year of 2014 started with a bang. I was on fire. I ran my first 10K. I started looking incredible, (simply by virtue of not being lazy anymore) felt amazing and yet was still underemployed, but I managed to get my hands on a kick ass new laptop and decided that the first thing I do with it will be to churn out the film! And I did. Entered it in precisely one film festival. Because, still broke.
The experience of filming this event in the mountains has been a giving tree. I have seen so many sights and met many people and learnt so much more about them. I wrote my first ever documentary, narrated it (I was never meant to be a vocal person) edited it and this is where I even learnt editing and what it can do. Remember, I do not have any film school gyan to begin with. I’m just someone who picked up a camera and shot a few short films before I started doing this full time.
This film is what I am proud of now. Still broke and not having enough money to buy my father a present for his birthday. I decided to launch the film online on his birthday. Tomorrow, Meeting Mountains is going to be online on Youtube and I will be done with this film and I can finally move on.
There have been only a handful of people who have seen this. Even fewer who were able to identify mistakes and provide feedback. I know I might get some 5 views when this film hits the internet. I only care to know that I did even a remotely good job with it. ii simply have butterflies in my stomach. I have been so tunnel visioned with this film that I have forgotten if I have done some of the basics on it. As much as I am excited for the film to be out there. I have that feeling that John Carter has, that he left a light on after he left home.
When you watch this film, all you need to know is that it was made out of random footage from the race with no story or script in mind until after post production began. I have a shitty voice for narration. This is the first time I have done things like editing, sound levels and color correction and that as much as I’d like to hate this film, I love that I’m done with it. For now.