For all those who harbour a passion for cinema, the new social media platform Clubhouse, is paving the way for unfiltered and raw conversations around filmmaking in Tollywood. With several young directors taking to the app to share their journey and adventures in the industry, many aspiring filmmakers and students of cinema are making a beeline to Clubhouse to participate in these discussions. Directors, who usually limit themselves to promoting their films on social media, are enjoying the opportunity to speak directly to their audience, sharing their experiences, mistakes and victories. The app has also enabled people to build connections, network and clarify doubts about cinema with professionals from the film fraternity.
Film writer CR Hemanth, who has been active in Clubhouse and has participated in several rooms which had interesting discussions on the trends in cinema, says that these conversations go on for hours. “Generally, there is no clear path for anyone to enter the film industry, whether they want to become directors, actors, writers or any other field. It mostly happens through references. In such a scenario, when the film fraternity is slowly coming to Clubhouse and becoming accessible in chat rooms, several aspirants are using the opportunity to ask questions and clear their doubts directly by interacting with industry people,” he says.
He adds that the platform is very convenient for question-answer sessions, allowing multiple people to open up and speak. Moreover, the responses of the speakers are unscripted since the questions come at random from listeners. Since there is no time limit for these sessions, they go on for however long people want to discuss a certain topic. Sometimes, the conversation also turns into a debate.
In one of the rooms recently, Munna, director of 30 Rojullo Preminchadam Ela, said that direction is not only about the ability to make a film but also about management skills, especially when on the sets. A few other directors opined that before venturing into filmmaking, aspirants should familiarise themselves with the technical jargon used on the sets, to make things less complicated.
Directors who usually give interviews only to journalists or YouTubers, are getting on Clubhouse to discuss their films even before the release. In one such discussion, Venu Udugula, director of the upcoming film Virata Parvam, starring Rana Daggubati and Sai Pallavi, revealed that the movie is part fact and part fiction. He added that a lot of research has gone into the film and that many characters in the story are inspired by people he has seen in real life. Venu had an interesting piece of advice for aspiring filmmakers. He told the listeners that they should first get to know the stories of people in their own families. “It’s important to know about your own families first. What they used to do, what made them cry, what were the reasons for their struggles and so on,” he said.
In another discussion, Deepak Reddy, director of the short film Manasanamaha, and his team held a question-answer session during which they talked about the reverse filmmaking technique used in the film. The unique way in which the film has been shot has earned Deepak and team global recognition and it has been selected for multiple screenings across the globe. Interestingly, Deepak said that he has been on Clubhouse since August 2020 after he got an invite from his contacts in the US.
“In other countries too, Clubhouse is mostly being used by filmmakers. They are using the platform for interviews, casting calls, and having private and open discussions about films. I have also benefitted and learnt new techniques by being part of their filmmaking groups,” he said. Deepak further advised aspirants to have a demo work of good quality ready to show possible collaborators what they are capable of doing.
Clubhouse is also helping filmmakers vent and get their frustrations off their chest. In one such discussion hosted by Telugu Tribe, some budding filmmakers spoke about how everyone on the sets tries to give suggestions to them, disrupting their vision for the film. However, they acknowledged that much of this was with good intentions, and that it was important for filmmakers to help the cinematographers, editors and assistant directors understand what exactly they had in mind to avoid confusion.
Other technicians like editors and cinematographers who usually operate away from the limelight are now on Clubhouse, talking to listeners about the world of cinema. If not for the pandemic, such conversations may have happened on the sets of a film or when they met up for a coffee. But for now, Clubhouse is the new hub.
Clubhouse chat rooms for Telugu cinema are mostly set up at night, with more listeners tuning in during their leisure hours. Depending on the speakers and the topic, these discussions see anywhere between 50 to hundreds of people gathered for the chat.