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Learning Filmmaking From A Transformer-Nischal Basnet

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Nischal Basnet first went to Australia to study 3D Animation, but instead ended up joining hospitality courses. After realizing that hospitality was not for him, he started to research/study on movie making on his own.

He started studying about films online while in his stay there itself. And, seeing no progress on his stay there, he made a mind to return back to Nepal and get involved in the film making here itself.

After returning Nepal, he wanted to practice making a feature film. But, there was nowhere for him to look for work. There was no place to study and learn as there was none whom he knew in the industry. But he didn’t lose hope and continued in the sector. After numerous failures and obstacles, he found a place to work.

He made ‘LOOT’ as his first project. Though he had not expected much from that movie, it turned out to be a blockbuster and a trendsetter movie that played a vital role to transform whole Nepali movie industry.

The movie ended up the most successful movie that year.

Sharing if there was any such formula to make a hit movie, Basnet says that had there been any such a formula, none of the movie would have been flopped. People might have invested more on such a formula than in the movie itself. “It’s all about people’s thought on what sort of movies to make and how audiences watch movies. Everything is a thought process. And, how we take everything out, and apply in the movie, making it more appealing to the people. One also needs to know to walk with time and make the movies that touch people. Moreover, everyone has their own way of presenting a film. It’s all about the story and how you present it,” he shares.

Basnet is going to conduct a Film Making Workshop organized by Glocal After School(GAS) on December 18, 2016 onwards, at King’s College premises, Babermahal. Here’s a short interview with him taken on the backdrop of the workshop on how it will help the attendees, tips to the aspirant filmmakers and more. Excerpts:

How is the present scenario of filmmaking in Nepal, among the youths?

It’s going great! When I go to film schools, and see the environment, and know about the stories, I think we are doing pretty good. And, for today’s youths, the industry has started to give a feeling that film making can also be a career and a profession. It’s a very good thing that film is also a part of professional life that one can think of, unlike the earlier time when everyone who were into the sector were questioned on what they are thinking for their future. If successful, career in film not only gives one with wealth, but also name and fame. So, the sector is highly placed these days.

To those who are heavily interested in moviemaking, how fertile is the movie industry in Nepal. How much of opportunities does it provide to them?

There are no such things that the industry gives you a platform. But, it gives you work. How you utilize the work and prove that you are excellent in your work is everything that determines whether you become successful or not, it may be the work of film, music or any other works in office. It’s about you, and what you can do being in that position. It’s about performing efficiently and effectively, in a short time. It’s all about how you deal with that job.

You are going to conduct a film making workshop from this December 18 at Glocal After School (GAS). What can the trainees expect form the workshop?

The workshop will of 12 hours in a duration of 2 weeks. Along with the basics of film making, the participants will themselves experiment what they have come to learn. They will try it on their own. The session will just be a catalyst for one to move ahead in the work they are possibly doing already. So, I’m simply going to talk about the major things that they need to focus on. It’s a great opportunity, and this will surely help them to take their level of understanding, and personality to a next level.

Will they get assignments to carry out on their own, or you will interpret and show them on how things are done?

They will have to do everything on their own. I will simply give them guidelines on how to do better on whatever they have learnt and done. They will be given assignments to make movies of a short duration. For that they have to prepare the story, and write scripts and develop it in a way that it can tell a story. One doesn’t need to have a professional setup to shoot that. You can document short films using your mobile phone camera itself. After making of the short film, we’ll see how’s the reaction, how’s is it made and what message it gives. If a normal viewer can understand the message, then it’s okay. They will do these experiments on their own, and I will be guiding them in their path.

Will they also be uploading the short films they have prepared in various video sharing platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and other similar platforms?

It all depends on the participants themselves. But, in the final class, they will be given an assignment, and asked to upload in the social networking sites, or may be even on the page of GAS itself. I will go through all these videos and give my feedbacks about their work so that they can themselves feel how they took my lessons in the workshop. That will surely help them to move forward.

To those who want to come to film industry professionally, and to those who are just moving here and there as a hobbyist film-makers, what do they need to do for professionalism and skills development?

It’s a norm that all those who have watched movies feel that they too have a good story for a film. But, as a filmmaker, you need to know how to filter stories and choose which one is suitable to make a film. What determines if you can be in the industry or not is all about your interests and dedication. If you want film making as a career, you need to be able to give it full time. If you want to become one of the most successful writer or director, I don’t think that’ll be quite possible by becoming a hobbyist only.  Making films appropriately is also a social responsibility. You need to understand every do’s and don’ts in filmmaking.

To those who are seriously into film-making, how able will they be able to choose story, script, location, environment, character and similar things by attending this workshop?

It just depends one’s interests, capabilities and what they can take from the class. In schools, we mostly study just to pass the exam. But, in film making, it is necessary to try to gather more knowledge on the field and film-making process. Teachers are there only to show you the path. But, workshops like this will be very helpful if you really are an aspiring filmmaker.

Movie making is more like a creative industry. It demands everything new. Talking about the contemporary techniques of developing stories, presentation and bringing originality, how can one bring such thing, so that every movie is different from one another?

Everything is about research and understanding of your surroundings, where you are, how you are and what things you have access for. You need to get updated to all the things that are happening in your society as well as the world. You also need to think out of the box. If you do that, there will be more things with you. You can take out one from these lot of things. Our brain is limitless. You can also think about something that has never been tried in Nepal, or even those things that have never been tried in the world. For that you need to have enough resources with yourself. I think all creative things come out from those kinds of things. Some bring it from experiences while some bring from research, it’s all about the person who is involved in it.

What are the most basic things required for filmmaking? (Camera, knowledge to handle the tools, direction, team-work, script, shooting, editing, post production?)

These are the technical parts. You get used to it after you start working. For filmmaking, you only need one thing that all might not have: story telling capacity. How capable you are to tell a story matters the most. One needs to be able to tell a story with audio only, video only and with both of them present. It depends upon how you do it, but you need to be able to tell a story. It’s all about presentation.

In the workshop, I will be sharing my experiences and whatever I have accumulated in my brain. I am sure it will help those who will be part of the workshop one way or the other. Though it might not end up making all the participants as successful filmmakers, but if it helps one for their life, I will feel the motive of the whole course to be accomplished.

Photo Source: ekantipur.com