Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 195: Turnaround

Today was one of those days that I wouldn't hug and kiss out of love. It was strictly average. Work was just way too much at office and life wasn't really hunky dory, especially since I don't see the work diminishing in the near future. So I struggled through the day and then realized, "Damn...what the hell do I write on the blog?! Every day is supposed to be beautiful for God's sake!"

Then of course two things that never cease to make a day beautiful, flashed before my eyes. The two things are: 1) Exercise 2) Film work.

Exercising always rubs the ego on the good side. If you sweat it out a little bit, you end up feeling good about yourself. You think, "See? I am not a loser. I Exercised! Muhahaha!" So that's exactly what I decided to do. I wanted to hit yoga but didn't feel like ditching the mother folks at home. So opted for swimming instead. Well, my performance in the pool was honestly nowhere near the best-in-class number of laps I had achieved earlier, but I still felt like a winner.

After swimming and dinner, I sat down on 2) Film Work. The film work today specifically was editing. I completed the edit of an entire scene. So that was a good feeling as well.

All in all, I managed to turnaround an absolutely lousy day to a pretty decent one in the last minute.

805 more to go.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 194: Phuket Planning & Badmaash Company

Another no-shoot day in the weekend, and I decided to make the most of it. I woke up late and kept eating one thing or the other throughout the day. But the highlight of the day was how we made plans for Phuket. The ladies in the house, i.e. my mom, mom-in-law and myself have booked flights to the tropical Thai paradise of Phuket for a short getaway next week.Am so committed to my film work that I am taking leave from work and traveling during the week, instead of the weekend and how good that feels! We are all very excited about this idea of a all-female holiday trip and are almost feeling like the happening babes in Sex & The City (none of whom I like by the way, but still they are supposed to be happening).

So the whole day was spent on making plans for the getaway. Where shall we go, what shall we do in Phuket. I zeroed-in on my favourite activity of snorkeling much to the distress of my holiday partners. They felt looking at other snorkelers from the boat or even better, make it up with dipping their feet in the hotel swimming pool is the maximum relationship they wanted with water outside of the bathrooms. After much debate, they finally agreed to hold on to the ladder from the boat and just peek into the water for 30s. Upon liking what they see, they will then let go off the ladder and wade into the ocean. Fair enough.

After that was settled, we decided to catch a Hindi movie called 'Badmaash Company'. The movie had fared poorly at the box-office inspite of decent reviews. And I was so pleasantly surprised watching it! The movie was excellent with a really good story, screenplay, outstanding performaces, and great entertainment. Loved it.

It was a thus a cool day with holiday planning and watching a good movie which always makes me happy.

806 more to go.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 193: Location Scouting

Today was a no-shoot day. Instead I went location scouting. A friend offered to drive me around in his car to all the pretty places in Singapore to make my choice for a suitable place for shoot next weekend. The hubby, my mom and his mom also tagged along. I didn't want them to miss out on all the potentially pretty places we were to see!

And man, what pretty places! :D We went to Labrador Park, Mt. Faber and Changi Beach Park. All beautiful places. Especially since my friend seemed to know the best spots in each of these, it was quite a stunning excursion I must say! All of us had a ball, really. My mom in law especially, was overjoyed. At Changi Beach, she literally squealed in delight when an aircraft flew just above our head, very low down, just a couple of seconds before it landed on the Changi airport runway. It was cute!

Even though I've been in Singapore for 11 years, I have hardly been to these places before. So it was a really fun sightseeing trip. And yes, it was not just about the sightseeing. I did get my location after the so-called scouting, so it was productive as well.

807 more to go.

Day 192: A Good Flight, Home and Shoot

28 May, 2010

After that tedious research trip to Japan, I was determined to enjoy thoroughly on my flight back to Singapore. So I readily gorged on all the food provided, had a glass each of white wine and champagne and a cup of mocha, watched 'From Paris with Love' (which I quite liked), the Tamil film Thenali (which is simply hilarious) and about 20 minutes of 'Alice in Wonderland' (which I found extremely boring).

And it felt good to be back home. Now mom is also around here, so that more fun as well. But couldn't really get to sit and chat around until late at night because I had to get into shoot within a couple hours of my arrival. We had a pretty good shoot...I was quite happy with the footage. We wrapped up the shoot by around midnight after which all of us sat together and chatted random stuff for a while. The random stuff mainly centered on the hubby's always-discussed-but-never-executed diet and exercise plans.

So all in all, a good day. Rather enjoyable!

808 more to go.

Day 191: A Good-Ending Research

27 May, 2010

I had been working on a major project over the last few months at work and was in Japan for the final leg of the research that would then "qualify" the work we have done. It basically simply means that we confirm whether the consumers would see the work and appreciate it as much we do ourselves, via a research. Considering that this project has been going on for months with several round of revisions and meeting impossible deadlines at many stages, I was really hoping and praying that the research in Japan would go off well. if it didn't, well... I would be in hot soup, to put it mildly.

But the research was fabulous! The consumers accepted the work way better than we could hope for (which in turn even surprised me) and a big load was lifted off my chest. Now at least I can move on to other things at work! Phew!

809 more to go.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 190: High Flying Idlis, Vadas and Executives

Anyone who bothered to read my Facebook/Twitter/Gtalk messages the past few days would have realized that I was about to embark on a business trip to Japan and was not in love with the idea at all. The not-in-love part was mainly due to a) I miss out on a public holiday, b) I won't be at home when my mom arrives, c) I would have a ton of piled up work, d) It will be one hell of a hectic trip thanks to overnight flights and long meetings, e) I have to do a night shoot as soon as I get back and f) General laziness.

But as fate would have it, am actually enjoying myself thoroughly in Kobe Rokko Island in Japan currently. Of course, all the things above for not loving it still hold and on top, I did have a rocky start to the trip. I missed my bus from the airport to Rokko Island and had to hang around at the airport for an extra 56 minutes. Upon reaching the hotel finally, I realized that the room was not ready and hence had to hang around in the lobby for another hour. Thus two precious hours for a shut-eye before the meeting marathon, were completely lost.

But several other things made up for these undesirable start to the trip. Firstly my night flight misery was overcome by a plate of hot idlis and vadas on SQ. I had requested for Indian Veg meal and picked breakfast over supper. And that's what they served me - Steaming hot Idlis, Vadas and Sambhar! That unexpected treat did a lot to cheer my sullen spirits up and I couldn't help gazing at my meal with utmost love!

Then I realized I actually really like business travels. It makes me feel like I am an important person on a very serious mission. All the business class travel, the 5-star hotel stays, the important meetings I have to attend, the good clothes that I wear (for some reason, I save all my great outfits for biz travel), the catch-up time I have with far flung colleagues, the new places I get to visit, the new food I get to eat, the highly intelligent comments I contribute.... all of it make me feel like I am some high flying executive! This is in spite of being one of the smallest fries in the company and in spite of how much I earn, mind you! Yet, it simply feels awesome!

So I actually enjoyed the day in spite of feeling dreadfully sleepy throughout. To top my high-flying-executive-headedness, I had a lunch of 5 huge slices of different flavoured cakes (yummmm!) and the day ended with an amazing Korean meal recommended by a colleague who, with her daughter, took me on a small trip out of Rokko Island. Really, nothing to complain of now!

810 more to go.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 189: A 'Romantic' Lunch

Today I did one of the most romantic things I had done for a while.

Here's the background. The hubby and I had hardly been spending any quality time together. I had been busy with all the film work and both of us are super busy with office work. On top of that he was in Korea almost the whole of last week and once he got back, we spent the weekend shooting for the film. Which was also what was happening for every other weekend in May so far and will be happening for several more weekends to come. And this evening, he has flown out again, this time to Kuala Lumpur and I will be flying to Japan in a couple of hours and wont be back until Friday evening. Which also means that we lose out on one of those rare long weekends when we are together (Friday is a public holiday in Singapore but I will be spending most of it on the darn flight).

So today, out of the blue, both of us were overcome with a sense of "Oh I haven't spent enough quality time with my spouse and wont be able to do so for a while". Since this feeling sprouted only at about 12 noon today, we decided to do the only possible thing to do at that point in time. Meet for lunch.

And thus we met. At Juggis. And over a 40-minute lunch of rotis, chicken curry, butter chicken, mixed veg dish and aloo gobi, we had a heartening, long-overdue conversation of how much our work sucked, how overwhelmed we were with the humongous quantity of deliverables and whether it was really worth the $$ we were getting, how tasty the food was and his weekend plans of meeting his friends and mine of getting some editing done.

After this romantic conversation, we felt a lot better. It was just what was needed to recover from the work stress we were under and the much awaited "quality time".

So now I can fly off to Japan in peace.

811 more to go.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 188: Afterglow

Today was a super hectic day. I had meetings all the way from 9 am to 5 pm without a break. My mom-in-law very sweetly even packed lunch for me, because I wouldn't have had time to get lunch otherwise.

But in spite of the fact that there was an horrendous amount of work, today I was smiling.

The smile came on when I took the bus ride this morning to office. I plugged in my iPod and repeatedly listened to this song called "Afterglow" by INXS featuring Sona. It's one of those lovely songs that make me feel really good. But as I was listening to the song, I also started thinking about this whole film-shoot process. Several scenes from the past couple of weekends flashed in my mind and I just kept smiling at the thought of how much fun I was having.

The team, in spite of the occasional pain they cause me, is just incredible. They are a bunch of high energy, spirited young individuals and I am really enjoying working with them. I realized just how terrific it feels to be the director and the cinematographer. It is totally surreal... this feeling of looking through the lens and weaving a story on screen that I had only imagined till now. I know I have been overusing the word fun... but that's just what it is... pure, unadulterated F.U.N.

Even after I reached office and was no longer listening to any music, I still somehow continued to smile. Then I realized that it was because I am somehow reveling in a sort of "Afterglow" myself. Just that this was the afterglow from the shoot and the wonderful experience I had over the weekend while shooting. And the smile continued through the day. Every time I felt a bit stressed with work, I just had to take a 30 second break to think of something fun that happened during shoot and I was back being ready to work again.

I guess I should be talking about such feelings only after the film is done. That's when usually people look back and talk about the journey they made and feel elated at its completion. But then I thought, there is no point waiting for completing something to start feeling good about it, is there? If this current moment in itself is what feels so wonderful, then why not?!

so there. Here's to the "Afterglow".

812 more to go.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 187: Hot Office, 12 People, Fun Shoot!

What a fun day! Like, seriously!

Today I had to shoot a scene in an office with about 12 people around. It was my first group scene ever and honestly, I was rather tensed about it. I even had a thought that maybe I am not ready to shoot it and it would be a good idea to postpone it. But then so many people had already committed their time for this date, so I didn't want to make any changes last minute.

Hubby's boss had kindly given us permission to shoot at their office and so we set out with the whole shooting paraphernalia at 10:30 am. A few of my colleagues and hubby's colleague and friend's friends had come over for the shoot, for the fringe roles. Since it was a Sunday, there was no air-conditioning in the office. However, it is on the 29th floor with an open window which let in a fair amount of breeze at times as well as giving us a breathtaking view of Singapore and the sea around at all times.

And then we began the shoot.

And man, what a fun shoot that was! The fringe cast was just excellent! It was a delightful experience watching them dishing out dialogues on their own, based on merely a situation drawn out by me verbally. I had no script for them, yet they managed to keep up conversation on the camera alive for several minutes at times! It was just so much fun!

Once the breeze outside stopped, the temperate inside the non-air-conditioned office soar but it did not affect the high energy and the enthusiasm of any of the cast and crew. So after 6 hours of shoot, we were almost soaking in sweat but it was so totally worth it! :)

813 more to go.

Day 186: Day & Night Shoots

22 May, 2010

First day when I had both a day shoot as well as a night shoot. And i had an amazing time in spite of the hectic schedule we had! The morning shoot over ran by a few hours but we still started on time for the night shoot, after taking a quick nap in the afternoon. One of the cast members, who did not have a part to play in the night shoot, still came down just to help me out with the set ups.... I thought that was rather sweet of him. I shared the edits I had done so far with the cast members and was happy to note that they are as enthusiastic about the progress as I am! I was very happy that they didn't at least think they have been wasting their time, which was always one of my worries. It always feels great to have people feel the same way about your work as you do!

Overall, a very fulfilling day and am all smiles.

814 more to go.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 185: The Tent

After a hectic day at work, I decided to skip yoga that I had planned to go for and just come back to get some rest. There is a hectic shooting schedule this weekend and hubby was also returning from Korea after week's trip, so spending the evening at home seemed like a good idea. However after he got back, we changed our minds and instead went out to Clarke Quay for dinner, together with mom-in-law. The choice of restaurant this time was The Tent. Apparently it is Mongolian.

The fun part of eating at The Tent is that you can mix and match all that you want to eat. There are carbs like different types of rice and noodles and there are several options of vegetables, meat and sauces. You can also opt for soup and salad if you like it, but usually I don't have such healthy choice in food. So I skipped that.

You can personally choose whatever we want from the 50-odd different ingredients kept there and put them all together, including the sauces and they will be cooked and served to you, with any further customization if necessary. If you are clueless about what the flavour would be with all the different ingredients, you can just ask the chefs to get one of the pre-designed options made for you. So of course, clueless me opted for one such pre-designed option called Ogada's Fave which basically had Black Pepper sauce and some other stuff which I no longer remember now. I had this with bee hoon (thin noodles), hor fun (flat noodles), red peppers, prawns, chicken, eggs, carrot, onion and tomato.

And I LOVED it! It was an extremely delicious meal and it was a pleasure watching mom-in-law all excited about picking her own ingredients and getting a highly personalized dish made!

All in all, a great evening. Now begins the weekend shooting saga, once again.

815 more to go.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 184: Music Therapy

20 May, 2010

Today was an interesting day.

In the morning, the rosiness from yesterday continued to occupy my head. So I was feeling pretty smiley and beamed with a genuine cordiality at the world. I even proudly tweeted "Wait... did I just catch myself feeling realyl good at work?! Now, that's strange..."

But of course, Mr. Fate needs his entertainment. So he made sure that as soon as I felt my work life was perfect, I find myself overwhelmed with work very badly. Which later led to the not-so-proud tweet "At 1pm today I told myself that I my job couldn't get any better. At 1:05pm I was kicking myself for jumping into such silly conclusions.

It dawned on me that I really (and I mean really really) have a ton of work to do and I was no longer feeling at the top of the world. I am going on a few business trips soon and I really needed to buck up and start crossing out my never ending to-do list. So I did something which I had not done for a long time now.

I plugged in my iPod and started to work. It was awesome. I dunno when and why I got out of the habit of listening to music while working, but today I decided to get back to it. And it helped! I could feel my brain clicking on the right button and focusing its attention completely on the Everest of work ahead of me. I sat in that hard-working position at my desk for almost 5 hours at a stretch ploughing my way through some documents.

After 5 hours, I looked up from my laptop and at my to-do list. A grand total of TWO things were crossed out with some 14-15 more remaining.

Alright, so I didn't exactly make any numeric achievement there but thanks to the great music (which was a combination of A.R.Rahman & Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy compositions mostly) I still felt like a super achiever. I patted myself on the back and went back to feeling rather good about work and life in general. This my friends, is called Music Therapy.

816 more to go.

Day 183: Beautiful, for no reason.

19 May, 2010

Some days I feel like crap. Like serious crap. For no particular reason. For an outsider it would make no sense. Things would be well at work as well as in my personal life but still I could and sometimes do feel like everything is wrong with the world.

Then there are other days when I feel absolutely elated. For no particular reason too. Nothing spectacluar would have happened at work or in my personal life, yet I would feel like life can't be any better.

Today, luckily was one of the latter. I am unable to point out what really made me hop n skip today. But all I can say is that I found every single thing beautiful. I think I spent the day smiling more than my average and just felt pretty excited overall!

The bus ride to work in the morning was beautiful.
The fact that I completed an utterly pointless novel called "An atlas of impossible longing" was beautiful. (Yeah the title is super mushy and I bought it only coz it was by an Indian author but I guess I should have judged this book by its cover).
Somehow office and everyone in it was beautiful (now, that is something that has never happened before.)
The business documents I wrote were beautiful. (At least in my eyes. My manager did not share the enthusiasm though).
Redoing the film production schedule for the umpteenth time was beautiful.
Yoga class was beautiful.
Booking "Indian vegetarian" meal on Singapore Airlines for my upcoming business trips was beautiful.
The second day of enormous thunder clouds that lingered around without really giving any rain, was beautiful.
Spending 3.5 hours on editing one horribly shot scene was also surprisingly beautiful.

In short, it was one kickass beautiful day for no particular reason.

817 more to go.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 182: Thunder Clouds

Today is one of those perfectly "holistic" days (as we would love to call it at P&G) when I happen to get a lot done. I made some fair amount of progress at work, I went for yoga, I watched one of the cutest movie made in Bollywood "Wake up Sid" with my mom in law, I worked on some script revisions based on some ideas I had recently but hadn't gotten them incorporated to the script yet, I got through a long-pending late night work meeting, I edited 50% of yet another scene from Mausams and last but definitely not the least, I took some time to admire the thunder clouds and enjoy the breeze that accompanied it.

Just as I had gotten through my last meeting for the day at office, I happened to glance out of the window and saw a sea of massive black clouds hovering above the city. It was a brilliant sight. If I were a poet, I would have sat there and quickly jotted down a few flowery lines describing that irresistibly magnanimous sight. But since I am not a poet, I just quickly packed my bag and went outside to simply take in the sight. It was extremely windy outside, it was almost as if a storm was brewing up. I stood there for a few minutes just gazing up at the sky and enjoying the wind. It had an incredible therapeutic effect and I felt like everything about the world was just perfect.

Sure, the thunder clouds then moved away without making much of a thunder or rain but that didn't dampen my soaring spirits.

818 more to go.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 181: Pics, Blogs, Edits and a Walk!

Man, what a day!!! Now that the shoot has started proper on the film, I wanted to share my excitement with my friends and family. So yesterday night I put up some behind-the-scenes pics on Facebook. My publicity manager for the film also decided to start her publicity work and put up three very entertaining posts on the Mausams blog. And today, the whole day, I was just receiving and replying to responses on the pics and blogs! So many people shared their enthusiasm and encouragement and it felt absolutely wonderful to get all that support!

Later I completed the first cut edit of a scene from the film as well, which is quite an achievement considering I had to labour through 50 mins of footage for that 3 min scene.

I was exhausted after the shoot during the weekend and all the excitement following that but still wanted to get some exercise, since I had been happily leading a sedentary life for the last one week. I felt rather weak for hot yoga so instead decided to go on a walk. So mom-in-law and I set out for a 4 km walk. We talked all the way and then had a great dinner of Minestrone soup, Spaghetti Aglio Olio, Root Beer and Chicken Cheese Toast. Perfect!

Now am feeling really really good! :)

819 more to go.

Day 180: Footages!

16 May, 2010

We had another round of shoot in the morning, that lasted for about 4.5 hours. It was also a successful one and I felt very good about it, even though my back was literally breaking from hanging around behind the camera for hours at end.

Later in the evening, I decided to go through the footage from the shoot. And I was so relieved to find some good quality stuff! The scenes have indeed come out the way I had imagined and I couldn't resist but start editing.

Really enjoyed the day! We have canned about 3% of the total film only but I already feel like I have made huge progress!

820 more to go.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 179: Successful Shoot!

15 May, 2010

I can almost cry with relief! After that horrendous shooting experience last weekend, I had my fingers and toes crossed for today! I had prayed to all the possible Gods I could think of but was also preparing myself for the worst. The issue was that if it didn't go well today, then I would really be stranded without a suitable camera and/or a suitable cinematographer. So I was praying that the camera would work, that I am able to deliver on my new responsibility of being a cinematographer well, and in short, the footage should come out well.

And it did!! Man, it did!! Phew! I am quite happy with what we have. Sure the shoot for a single scene lasted 8.5 hours instead of the 5 hours max I was expecting but it was totally worth it. At least the film has a chance of going forward and that is such a big deal for me !

Not just that, it was a great experience as well! Today there was the camera, there were all the Ikea lamps that we bought yesterday, the stylist of the Mausams team who had come down to help with the cast members' make-up, the publicity manager who had come down to take notes for some behind-scene blogs etc. In short, it was feeling like a REAL movie set. And the footage came out very well too! What more can I ask for!?

Thank God. Thank God. Thank God!

821 more to go.

Day 178: Lights!

14 May, 2010

Tomorrow we are hoping to start shoot for the film. I mean, for real. I am hoping and praying for a good shoot. One that would bring some progress to this film vs. making it look as if a really distant dream. After the disastrous shoot last weekend, if tomorrow doesn't go well, I would really have no other back up idea. I am taking up working the camera now as well to ensure shoot progress and have done thorough homework.

Now one last thing I could think of before tomorrow is to get some extra lighting for the indoor shots, which was one of the main opportunities in the previous weekend. Of course, I don't have the cash to get major film lights, but considering that I believe in the principle of "work within your means", hubby, mom-in-law and I set out to Ikea. Yup, Ikea. No better place than to buy some really cheap lights! We got a few table lamps with multiple lighting and height options and generally had a merry time in Ikea. I am already feeling like a lighting expert!

While there is a fair bit of nervousness about what would happen tomorrow, I am also pretty excited. Let's see how it goes.

822 more to go.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 177: Three Conversations

I believe I have mentioned this before but let me repeat myself - I love great conversations as much as I love great food. And today was a day of great conversations. It started over lunch with a friend from work. Considering that it combined good food from Lakshmi Narasimhan (their South Indian Meal/Thali is to die for) and a very interesting conversation, it was a very satisfactory lunch. Then I had another round of thought-provoking soul-searching deeply-insightful conversation over tea with another friend from work. Then last but not the least, I had a pool-side conversation with my mom-in-law over my favourite drink of apple-grape juice. We discussed everything from the Big Bang theory to Indian mythology to Bikram Yoga.

It was a refreshing change from all the film talk and I feel relaxed and rejuvenated. And now the weekend is almost here with the promise of another exciting couple of days of nail-biting, nerve-wrecking but hopefully-fun film work.

823 more to go.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 176: Mom & Chess

Today Vishwanathan Anand won the World Chess championships for the fourth time. And it had repercussions all the way to my home in Kerala, which then later made me feel like I am back to being 10 years old. Believe it or not.

One of the key reasons why I have done as well as I have is because my parents support me in anything and everything - be it dance, guitar, reverse writing, drawing, painting, writing, acting etc. They even used to get me to do things that I would never have thought I was capable of like poetry recitation, extempore speeches and cartooning. They always had this idea that one should at least try before thinking that something is impossible.

Now the downside of that is sometimes they get really excited about something but I end up not matching the enthusiasm. And one such thing is Chess. When I was younger, my mom always wanted me to play chess but I never had any interest in it.

And today I had a super interesting (borderlining "cute" even) conversation with my mom regarding Chess. Here's how it went.

She: Hello
Me: Hello
She: Vishwanathan Anand won world chess championship for the 4th time!
Me (knowing exactly where this conversation was heading): Uh Oh.
She: Chay.... I should have made sure that you took up chess!
Me: Too late now.
She: Not really. I already checked. There is no age limit. You can start now.
Me: Right. So in this old age I've to pick up chess?!
She: 27 years and 9 months is not "old age".
Me: That's not the point.
She (trying another angle altogether): He won 1.2 million Euros!
Me: So?
She: That's 6.75 crores!
Me: So?
She (realizing that the conversation is not yielding the results that she wanted): Chay... I should have made sure you took up chess long time ago!
Me: Right.
She: How about tennis then? (Yet another of mom's more recent obsessions thanks to that Mirza girl).
Me: Well, that does have an age limit physically.
She: Oh no.
Me: Well... what else is going on? I didn't call to talk about this.
She: So you won't be even considering chess?
Me: Nope.
She: Tennis?
Me: Nope.
She: Maybe tomorrow?
Me: Nope.
She: Alright. (Sighs rather dramatically).

Even though I didn't share her enthusiasm about Chess, the conversation made me smile and think of all those times when she was such a strong encourager of my activities. For a while, I was her 10 year old who needed to be told what is best for her and that felt good.

824 more to go.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 175: Souls and such

One of the kind regular readers of this blog told me that these days, some of my blogs seem to lack the soul it used to have. It's like I am writing it for the sake of writing something and moving on vs. really putting my soul into it.

And I told him that he is very right. My soul is not in it and I know that.

I took some time to think about why that is. And here is the reason - it is because all my darling soul can think about these days is my film, Mausams. My soul is having an overdose of Mausams-ness and it is unable to think about anything else that's happening in the world.

And that's not a bad thing. The fact is, it is exactly the film and everything connected to it that makes every day beautiful for me these days. But sometimes when I am neck deep in all kinds of obstacles that come my way in its production, I don't really genuinely feel the "beauty" of the process as much as I would like to.

So when something rather shitty happens, am like "Bah! Of all the things one can possibly do, why the hell do I have to make a film?! Why can't I just like cooking or something simpler like that?".

When things get really ugly, I'll be like, "That's it. After this, I will never ever attempt to make a film in my life again. Enough is enough!"

And when things go way beyond ugliness, I will be like, "That's it. I quit. I don't want to make this anymore."

But a couple of hours later you will catch me meddling with the film again and sometimes even thinking about my next film. So it all gets back to normalcy rather soon. However, when I try and write a blog during these nerve-wrecking times, I can't get even a tiniest bit of soul into it. But the beautiful thing is that the next day, whatever happened previously becomes an anecdote and am ready to face the next one.

So yeah, the recent entries might have been bland and called for some enormous yawns from the readers but for me, this excercise of trying to find that silver lining in midst of the blackest clouds is still a good healing process.

But hey, this highly insightful self-realization is not what made today beautiful. Today was really interesting because I could get to use my make-up and styling skills on one of my cast members and make her look absolutely stunning! Yeah! I am shooting with her this Saturday and she came down for a styling session. After fixing her costumes, I tried my make up and hair styling mastery on her with very impressive results. I am still patting my back in appreciation. We then did a mock shoot and are overall very pleased with our work. Working on this movie is a lot more exciting and fun than I had imagined!

825 more to go.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 174: Slow and steady progress

Now that I have taken up the cinematographer title up officially, I have begun to do the homework as well. Today I spent some time both in the morning before work and in the evening after work, figuring out different settings in different environments. I am figuring out the tricks of the trade, slowly but steadily. Maybe I will not be a an ace cinematographer but I would hopefully be good enough for a film that is being made on a close to zilch budget. In any case, am really enjoying working the camera. There is something really fascinating about making a subject look good beyond the lens.

826 more to go.

Day 173: Being the Cinematographer

9 May, 2010

This shoot is turning out to be more interesting and challenging learning experience than I thought. That is the most positive articulation I can give this eventful process.

After a very colourful first day of shoot on Saturday, this morning both my cinematographers didn't turn up for whatever reasons. I had a couple of actors lounging around in my house, waiting for the shoot to begin and so I decided to make the best of the situation. I took my own handycam and did a proper shoot of the scene I had in mind. Thus I turned cinematographer for the day.

The good news is that, the scene came out pretty well in terms of the performances, the feel and the flow etc. I could imagine how nice it would be post editing because the raw footage in itself was satisfactory. The news-that-could-have-been-better is that my camera is not really the best one around. While it is super suitable for short films, I am a bit hesitant to use it for a feature film. To shoot the whole thing and then see that it's crap on a bigger screen some day, would be a waste of effort.

While I was contemplating these issues, one of the cinematographers who didn't turn up called me up and apologized for his disappearance. Then as a patch up gesture, he offered me his camera (a very good one) to be used as per my own, and has offered me lessons on how to use it so that I can take up cinematography as well. Since I am my most reliable option in terms of time commitment, this would be the most perfect solution. On top of that, in spite of a last minute notice, another friend came down to support during my distress period and gave me some tips on cinematography as well.

So at night, I started messing around with this advanced camera and took some shots in different angles and different lightings, and I must say I am beginning to produce some decent results. I am definitely not as clueless about cinematography as I was when I started out and it looks like something I would really enjoy. Yeah, I need to re-shoot pretty much everything from last weekend but I think all this is happening for a reason.

So here's to me being a cinematographer.

827 more to go.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 172: The Shoot Begins.

What a day. The shoot for my first feature film 'Mausams' began today. It was quite an experience. The morning was spent canning some outdoor shots, only to realize at noon that there is something wrong with the camera and all the shots that we had already shot are useless. With no option in sight, I was almost about to give up on the film. But by evening, my cinematographers managed to fix the camera and we proceeded with an indoor shoot, which turned out pretty well. So looks like the film is going ahead after all.

828 more to go.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 171: Time to hit the floors!

What a day! :-D :-D :-D... I am all smiles (as you can see from the number of emoticons at the start, just to drive the point across stronger)!

Today is the last day of official pre-production work for Mausams and I am so excited! The work actually lasted 8.5 months! The concept sprouted in my brain exactly on August 14, 2009. I remember the date because that was the day the movie Kaminey was released and I couldn't focus on that film because I was weaving the story for my own film!

From then to the scripting to the casting to the styling to the scheduling to the shot breakdown to the storyboarding to location hunting to prop hunting to getting permissions for shoots etc. etc. has been a long but very interesting journey and today was the finale of this stage.

Today we did audio and video tests on my new iMac that my hubby had bought for me, just for my editing purposes. Our old desktop is old and is dying and can't even process a 4 minute video, let alone a 90 minute one. So we had finally decided to invest in an iMac and hubby was quite the darling and gifted me one!

So today, my crew members came over and we tested editing and dubbing on it and it was fantastic! I am more confident of the technical aspects of the film now! Sure the editing, dubbing and sound design would still be back breaking work but at least there is hope that what I desire can be acheived.

So here's to Mausams going to "hit the floors"!

829 more to go.

Day 170: Calm before the Storm

6 May, 2010

I am writing this blog one day later for a reason. May 6th started with another 6:30 am yoga class. After that I had a ton of work in the office and ended up working late in spite of having grands plans of leaving early. I had more scheduling work, prop preparation and costume work for the shoot. In short, it was a very busy day.

As I got done with everything by around 8pm, the realization dawned upon me that the film shoot was to begin in a day's time. Which means I will not be able to have a breather for a long time to go. And I am really OK with that. I mean, I am really looking forward to the shoot and I am not complaining at all. But I still felt that I should just do nothing for a bit. Just enjoy a bit of calmness before the storm.

So in the evening, I just came back home and relaxed on the couch, chatted with mom-in-law and hubby. I enjoyed a pack of my favourite grape-apple juice, had a good dinner made by mom-in-law and then hit the bed early. I didn't want to switch on the computer - it would mean more work somehow and I just didn't want any work-related thoughts related in my head - be it office work or film work or even blog work. I just wanted an empty brain.

And it was successful. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and felt very much at peace. Now I am very excited about the shoot. I say, bring on the storm.

830 more to go.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 169: Yoga at 6:30 a.m.!

Muhahahahahaha! Such feats can only be celebrated with such hearty, self-appreciating laughters!

Before going to bed yesterday night, I had planned to go for 8 a.m. yoga this morning. No matter what. I had not been for yoga for almost 1.5 months now, thanks to all the work and travelling that was happening. So I was really determined to start again and decided 8 a.m. would be a good time to go. However, it so happened that at 0515 hours I found myself awake. Having realized that I was way too early, I decided to go back to sleep. Just as the thought got processed in my brain, my hubby who was obviously having a colourful dream, punched me in my eye.

After I tended to my red and teary eye for a few minutes, I realized that I was in no mood to go back to bed. I kinda figured that my hubby was merely a messenger conveying the universe's plan for me, which was to make it for 6:30 a.m yoga. Today was to be the day when this great event takes place.

So there. I went. And I almost died.

Looks like yoga on an empty-stomach when you are not-hydrated-enough in that freaking-hot-room at such insanely-early-hours especially when this is the first-class-in-1.5-months isn't something one can do for fun. Unless of course fun means horrendous dizziness and nausea during the class followed by a splitting headache for the rest of the day.

But as you can see I only almost died. Which means I didn't. Instead am feeling pretty proud of myself. This is something I never ever in my wildest imagination thought I could pull off, even for 1 day. So inspite of the dizziness and nausea and headache, I still feel it was worth it!

831 more to go.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 168: Morning Book Talk

I love reading books. Even though he wouldn't admit it, my hubby hates reading books. But his mother loves reading books. So this morning, while I was going through the routine of waiting for hubby who always takes more time than me to get ready, mom-in-law and I struck up a conversation about books. It was wonderful to share notes on what we love to read and the different authors that we like, especially since we seem to have very similar tastes! She is the head of the English department in a university in her hometown, so her knowledge on the subject is pretty vast. And I felt like a winner because she was looking for Booker Prize winning books that are either written by Indian authors or is inspired by India. I gave her my copy of the 'Life of Pi' which she was not aware of before and which she is absolutely loving now. Brownie points for me!

Since the rest of the day was just marathon working until I felt like a superwoman who knows dandruff shampoos inside out (I work for Head & Shoulders, in case you are wondering), the early morning conversation was definitely the best thing that happened!

832 more to go.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 167: A Fun Holiday

3 May, 2010
Today was an in-lieu holiday for Labour Day. So hubby and I were at home with mom-in-law and brother-in-law who came over. In my books, the key to a great holiday involves the following: a) Great food (duh), b) Great conversations (if one isn't alone) and c) At least some productive work (so a whole day of sleeping and watching TV doesn't really count).

Today scored really high on point (a) above. Mom-in-law cooked lunch (and I washed dishes, if you are wondering) and we had a sumptous spread of breads, rice, daal (lentil dish), pickle, potato and tomato curry and "postha". Then we had my favourite McCafe Himalayan Tea Latte in the evening and dinner at Sankranti, an Andhra restaurant which has kickass Thali (which meaning rice with some 12-15 different dishes to go along with it). So full marks there on point (a).

It was quite a productive day as well since I managed to complete more than 60% of the final shot breakdowns for June as well. That is a significant amount of work to go through within a single day, so I scored pretty well on point (c) above.

And point (b) was definitely another success story. I had some nice chatting time together with hubby and the in-laws. A lot of anecdotes and laughter. Since there seems to be quite a few readers who think my hubby is hilarious, I think this nugget from him is worth repeating here.

Me (in a very philosophical mood): You know something... it is so incredible that in this whole vast, never-ending universe, the earth is just a dot. And on this huge, absolutely massive earth, I am just a dot...

Hubby (interrupting): And on this huge, massive you, you have SO MANY dots on your face!

Yes, he is a funny guy and today was a fun holiday.

833 more to go.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 166: Mom-in-Law in Town!

Pretty fun day! In the morning (rather, early morning), went to pick up mom-in-law from the airport with hubby and bro-in-law. Since the flight (Air India) was duly late, we had a good breakfast while we waited for her. Soon she arrived and after a bit of chit-chatting over Gloria Jean coffees, we came back home. Sis-in-law too came over and we went through 6 (out of 10) DVDs from bro-in-law's wedding. I had written several days about this wedding in the beginning of April and reliving it all via the videos were really fun!

After the fun marathon DVD session, we slept off for a while. It looks like siesta is being a big part of my life what with two occurances in two weeks! After that MIL, hubby and I set out for an awesome dinner of Chicken Pepper Rice at MIL's favourite place Pepper Lunch.

What makes the day even more beautiful is the fact that tomorrow is a Monday and it is a holiday! Yeah, baby!

834 more to go.

Day 165: Final Rehearsal

1 May, 2010

Today was the final rehearsal for the full team before we start shooting the film on May 8th. Then on, there will be shooting every single weekend for the next 3.5 months, with rehearsals on some weekdays as well.

I would have expected myself to be very jittery and nervous about the shoot that is so close now. I am still continuing to fine tune shot breakdowns and storyboarding etc. but the "pre-production" stage is officially coming to an end and the film is just about to go "on the floors". This should technically make me all tensed and anxious because a million things can go wrong but I am surprisingly calm.

I had a lot of fun at the rehearsal today and all I can think is how much fun the shoot would be. So am really looking forward to that now. Finger crossed.

835 more to go.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 164: Skyline

30 April, 2010

Being back home from a trip overseas feels bad only when it is back from an enjoyable vacation. I don't think my business trip to China can be put in that category, so I was very glad to get back home.

Also, seeing the Singapore skyline from the flight was such a pleasure, because I think this is the first time I have really caught a glimpse of the city from that angle. Usually I don't take the window seat for ease of getting in and out and even if I did, the flights usually take another route I believe. So this was the first time I caught the skyline so clearly, complete with the new "Integrated Resort" they are building near Marina. It was visible behind a thin line of clouds with the sunlight washing over . There was something about the sight that was simply beautiful!

So yes, am back and am feeling awesome!

836 more to go.