Cinema is an art; And like every art, it requires depth….

That depth is Filmmaking:


Forging an idea is a show in everyone’s mind. Everyone's got an idea they want to make into a film/series. Thus, to pick up a right concept that is also a need of an hour is utmost priority.
Writer’s room
A single mind creates a path, a team creates a landscape. Studies have shown that 3 - 4 heads working on a problem are more likely to find a solution than one individual head. Thus, once an idea is ticked, a set of minds discuss the scale, progression, choices and the framing of the whole concept. Sagar World develops Indian History for the screen, which is extremely vast; thus, there is a need of finding a core theme of the show/ film; a singular concept around which the whole series will revolve. Therefore, noting down those major events is what a writer’s room is for. For e.g., if Shiva’s story has to be shown on the show, then the core theme can be Shiva and Parvati’s union, and thus the precursor and successive stories related to the event can be built around it.
Research & Development
Once the core of the potential spectacle is designed, a depth in the writing is required; Hence, the most important area of the whole writing process - R&D. This department looks into textual evidences, web information and timed cinematic pieces to gather as much information as it can that can be helpful in providing a true to the source and a true representation of events. Pictures, paintings, lost texts, major and minor holy books are scrapped for the source material of the storyline.
Sagar World dwells into Hindu History, which unlike Greek mythology is still celebrated and prayed to on living Gods. Therefore, within a mix of history, myth, legends, religion, symbolism and holy texts, people generally have a popular perception of the characters settled by their attached emotional and religious sentiments. So, keeping that in mind, while researching, Sagar World team maintains a separate file for all the deviations from norms that they are going to incorporate in the story - “The lakshman rekha.”
It’s not wrong to quote that the very soul of any visual piece is its story. Mythology as some say or the Indian history, captivating stories have been told since ages in our culture. But now in the flood of western content, a need for an engaging tale that surpasses the already set norms of storytelling with purposeful entertainment sets a daunting task for any creative studio. Thus, to take the detailed idea and twining it with factual events so as to draw a series of events in a smooth way creates a good story.
A story is the most difficult thing to write, even more than a screenplay as it is something that is built from scratch. However, it also is not so original; There is a famous saying that there are only 2.5 original stories in the world (In Hindi, dhai kahaniya) from what all the other stories develop. So, finding a story that is original is extremely difficult. Also, in traditional mythological texts, the stories are narrated by a narrator, i.e., a story within a story within a story. But that conventional means has been there for a while. So, the team always looks for unusual ways of storytelling that are somewhere within existing perceptions but are still different and unique.
An idea can be expanded as well as contained. If it’s contained, then we know who is going to be the main character and around whom the story will revolve; It makes the process of another character’s arc a little easy. However, if the idea is broad, for e.g., Ramayana or Mahabharata, then the number of primary characters is more and everyone’s contribution to the story is equivalent; here the story moves forward with more than one protagonist. Therefore, the characters are noted down, their journeys are distinctly grouped and each major event of the character’s growth is classified for the next step.
However, what is most important in the character development process is assigning a Point of View (POV). There has to be a character whose journey is what drives the show/ movie forward; that character is the hero of the story. Everything that happens around that character may/ may not be super influential, but that very character’s decisions and how he looks around at situations is the most prominent one to change the course of events. Finally, that character’s POV becomes the audience’s POV.
Show bible
A story runs on two factors – The interactions within characters and the relations between them. Hence, a character tree is developed and every character’s actions and decisions are noted. Also, what are the moments that lead to a significant event in the story forms the basic layout of the screenplay.All of these bring up the foundation of family trees and relationships between characters. So, basically a show bible is all about what will be shown on the screen; the visual concepts of the show, characters, their interactions and the environment.
A story is the basic plot through events, but a screenplay is a detailed action within the story. Every major and minor event is described in a detailed way, the whole act of character and its minutest behaviour is written, a flow is created so that one scene transitions into another and the benefits and repercussions of each event that change the course and decisions of characters is designed. All these things take the story forward and forms the screenplay. Well, this is done by the infamous Three act structure - Setup, confrontation and resolution.
When a story is told in a continuous pattern, then the screenplay is called linear but when the events are convoluted and the timelines are not continuous, then the screenplay is non-linear. It is generally done for either suspense or the flow of repercussion of any past event.Hence, an engaging screenplay is something that is loaded with unpredictability, continuity, true results and breathing space - something that is necessary for the audience to sink in the already played heavy action or intense scene.
Well, the action is there, a flow of events is there; and now the only thing that remains is the dialogues. There are some scenes that just need visual presentation and nothing to be said, but there are certain elements where dialogues are a necessity; whether it’s about how
Mythological shows certainly fall under the category of shows where there is an immense need for dialogues. For the purpose of providing the audience a way of living, characters in the mythological shows, especially the protagonist or the Gods pass basic knowledge to the viewers. Also, in these shows, characters interact within each other a lot, thus providing ample space for dialogues. So, effective, informative, important, sourced and connected dialogue writing puts in the last feather to the writing board.
However, unlike other regional creations, Mythological shows contain layered dialogue writing. This is because there is a certain algorithm set within different languages so as to develop a dialogue that is true to the dialect and language of the true history; also, something that can also be understood by today’s audience. Hindi-Sanskrit, Hindi-Urdu and other ancient languages and cultural nuances are combined to make smooth palatable dialogues for characters. Speaking of characters, the dialogues are supposed to be true to the nuances of the characters, i.e., how the character talks and what are his/ her boundaries of choosing the words. For example, Lord Ram would always be polite and would choose wise words, whereas his brother Lakshmana would use hard hitting and rageful words - As they say, each word one says shows the emotions within them.
Final script
We have action, we have dialogues, we have sourced information and we have strong effective characters. Now all that is needed is a thread. And this very thread is not something rigid but just abstract. It is a way of telling the whole sequence in a flowy and smooth manner. This is what makes a solid punch of writing known as the Script.
Narration to Graphic Designers
Sagar World as well as the production houses that create fantasy from thousands of years ago depend highly on graphics. Therefore, the process of designing is a little elaborate in this sector. And the first step in it is creating a team of visualizers, graphic designers etc. and narrating to them what the characters are, what the environment is and what is the screenplay palette of the show/ film, i.e., how and what the director wants to show to the viewers.
Character Layout
Each character is lined up and is designed on paper for how it will look on screen. This is purely premature and is just based on the screenplay and Director’s visualization. Character layout thus is basically about who the character is, what are its antics, what all will he/ she carry, what should it be looking like and what are its vitals and measurements.
Research & Development
It happens again. To bring an authenticity and truthfulness to the living gods, celebrated characters and most true to the history antagonists, proper research and learning is necessary. Therefore, a set of minds bring out facts to how the characters were when they were written in history. Under this comes Weapon design & Costume and jewellery selection. Visiting different temples, scorching through texts, going through earliest sculptures and drawings, talking out with pandits, brahmins and sages help in formulating the characters.
The costume and jewellery however changes in presentation according to newness in technology and taste of the audience; But still, it has to be true to their real picturization. Weapons also play a major role in mythology. Thus, their design needs three postulates - Real layouts, their powers and their alignment with the character’s vices and powers.
Finally, a complete sketch of each character is drawn on paper or in software, and the final representation of how they will look on screen is finalized. It includes their height according to ancient times, as then people and gods were taller than present generations, weight and power, physique, ornaments, clothing and draping and smaller details such as premature-mature wounds and scars etc.
Mood Board
How does a director want his show/film to be seen on screen? What visual theme would it follow? What colour schemes would go with what sequences? As each scene and emotion require certain mood in the environment to convey symbolism as well as the sentiment within the situation; for e.g., earthy tones are set to showcase tension build-up and grandeur/ complementary tones are used for normal light hearted scenes and warm hues are used for battle scenes etc. Setting a mood board is an answer to all of these questions.
Scene Division
Throughout the screenplay, scenes are divided depending on various factors; setting, director’s choice or a dialogue. However, for visual needs, action scenes and scenic landscapes that require visualisation are also divided down as scenes. This helps in shooting, as actors, director and the technical team sets the schedule and requirements according to the scene.
Concept Art/Matte Paintings
According to the director’s vision and screenplay, each scene is drawn on paper or in the software according to how it will look exactly on screen. This step is a little premature, as not one but many concepts are drawn for a single scene until THE ONE is finalized that brings out the true emotions of the scene. These concept arts are developed for the smallest things. For e.g., logos, weapons, powers etc. and for the broadest concepts such as inter cosmic scenes, realms showcase, action scenes etc.
Every frame in the show/ movie is a painting in itself; Thus, each frame is looked upon individually and is designed for the screen. This process is helped by frame-by-frame composition. In composition, the setting, the objects and the characters are shown from the audience perspective. When a story board is composed, the final tick is decided on what is shown to the viewers shot by shot. In software such as Studiobinder etc., the position of the camera on set/location, the arrangement of actors, props, camera lens, camera angle and movement, set dressing and shot type constitute within composition. For e.g., In mythological shows, a rule of ⅓ frame is used that is generally applied when something enlarged or giant is being showcased. Thus only 1/3rd area of the giantized figure is kept at the edge of the frame to create a perspective.
Animatics & Graphics Design
With the amplification of technology in film making, there has come some simplification in pre visualization to the table of the heads. Therefore, especially in action sequences, the whole scene is created through animations and 3d animatics; hence an amateur presentation of incomplete effects and non-existent shooting is in front of the makers. Battle sequences, army projection, power show, Inter-celestial scenes require utmost pre-thinking; hence 3D animatics can help in tracing the movements for the final shooting.
Team Selection
For a great product to see the light of viewer’s affection, the process, the flow of creative ideas and team work should be equally great. Thus, the makers of the show, i.e., either the director or the producer sets up a team for technical aspects. It includes DOP (Director of photography/cinematographer), editor, sound engineer etc.
Director of photography is the one person that holds similar value to the makers during the production process. He needs to work with other aspects such as lighting and pre-production, and also subordinate with the writer and the vision of the director. Hence, the screenplay is narrated and provided to the DOP so that he could enlarge the canvas by giving his vision to the scenes and break down how he has to shoot.
One more sector is responsible for making the movie/show beautiful and accurate to the environment; the Art department/ Production designer.  Thus, the same is done for this team. This department then breaks down the screenplay, read between the lines and derive all the props, setting items and articles that are needed to fill in the frame.
Shot Division
The screenplay is broken down in scenes; this time with respect to shot taking, props used, camera used, and framing. These divisions go each to the director, the AD’s, the art department and the DOP team.
Location Recce
This is a simultaneous process where the director along with the writer and his team go finding sites where they can shoot the scenes and provide justice to the screenplay and the vision. These sites should match with the description in the screenplay as well as maintain truthfulness to the historical facts and figures. It is a daunting, tiring yet a very important process that serves as a foundation for the visual treatment of the product.
Set Design
A major portion of visual treatment of grand shows/movies is Sets. They are basically the backdrop and depth of any scene. Thus, making lavish, relevant and beautiful Sets is an unsaid necessity in mythological shows/films. The process that starts with moulding, miniatures and drawings proceeds to a stage where life sized explorations are created, mostly non-living that can be just a backdrop, decorative or interactive. They are generally budget efficient as well as reliable in the long term, made up of different materials depending upon their liability, relevance and brittleness, such as PVC, Wood, polystyrene etc. A typical set is made up of what the industry calls “flats” made from plywood.
Actors are the ones who fill life in the characters. Thus, to select actors who fit in the role is an important yet daunting process. Actors from all over the places, new talents, settled performers from all age groups are brought in for audition for specific roles either online or offline. And the ones who satisfy the look (look tests), the brief, the movements of the characters and the director’s choice topping with great acting are selected to play the roles.

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