THE GUILT FACTOR:Making and Response
The posters informed of a faceless man and a title card ”The Guilt Factor”, to be released on April 17th, which was just 2 days from the day these posters started appearing in all the common areas and hostels. All of a sudden, every WhatsApp group of the institute was bamboozled with a publicity material of the same. This was merely the 3rd project from the club, in the year of 2017-18 to be published from their page. While the buzz was created in a short interval of time, but the rampant publicity, both online and offline prior to the days of release, made sure that an audience was in place.
It was scheduled to be streaming from 5 pm, but some sound issues forced the makers to pull it down and re-upload the short film by 6 pm. In less than 24 hrs, it fetched as high as 2.2k views. After almost a month after it first went online, it stands at 4.8k views. Team Monday Morning analysed the nuances of the making of this project, the reception of the audience towards it and the line of future of the Cinematics club of NITR.
In the first meeting of Cinematics for the year of 2017-18, all the new inductees were asked to pitch in their stories or ideas to the entire strength of the club. It was there that ‘TIME’ (which would later be renamed ‘The Guilt Factor’ weeks prior to the appearance of the poster) was pitched as a story of 3 scenes and it interested everyone and was decided to be worked upon as the next project.
The shooting of the first screenplay began in the spring semester, with Tanay Kumar as the only actor/character but, it couldn’t be done due to financial concerns. Thus, a semester passed with no fruition. It was in the beginning of the autumn semester that a fixed team comprising of a director, cinematographer, actors/characters and core crew members was decided upon the suggestion of a senior member of Cinematics -’Yuvaraj Geeta Vel’. He highlighted the importance of the team being on the same page and thus became an integral part in the role of an advisor of the team which brought the story alive on the screen from a scribbling on the paper. The screenplay was reworked over a weekend to accomodate a new pivotal character and a few more dialogues, all of which served to enhance the screenplay and the story in ways the team had not anticipated. It was then that Kiran Dev (Cinematographer), Joel Jacob Thomas (Sound), Rohit Dash and Waheeb Rasheed would brainstorm and bring in new ideas. All of these ideas stemmed after Waheeb Rasheed (the director, cinematographer, editor, sound designer) pushed for certain script edits to make the shoot more cost-effective yet intimate.
The shooting began once the screenplay was locked. The team was entirely first-timer, except for Waheeb Rasheed who has been at the helm of some of the best edited year summary videos.
As quoted by the team members,
Waheeb Rasheed practices his craft quite religiously and is very structured and meticulous about how he approaches a project. He saw some new vistas to explore(visually) through this project and hence was enthusiastic about it. It initially began as a project to be shot over a weekend (Diwali weekend) but went on to be a project that was shot for over 2 months. All of this, cuz the process wasn’t planned well and problems weren't thought of initially.
Adding to their views, the team further added by contrasting as to how professionally such projects are done
First off, professional projects have all the right equipment , and here, we were shooting with a single camera which meant that for multiple angles, we would take multiple takes. Moreover, in a professional project, a lot of planning goes into how, where and when a particular scene would be shot. One doesn't simply go to the location and start shooting. A lot of work goes prior to that. Through and through we got delayed because of these unplanned-mess but nonetheless , creating something as amateur as ‘The Guilt Factor’ with friends is super fun. After all, every frame in the final project bears a number of memories of the moments and efforts that went into the making of the piece, and every second has 24 frames, so that's a lot of memories (winks).
One of the major challenges faced was- acquiring a budget. The initial script was rehashed because it would cost about INR 2000 for just one major prop and there was no proper way to get it from the club’s budget due to certain SAC norms. Quoting Waheeb Rasheed
The initial script was simpler and delivered the message as good, if not better. But in the process of shooting, we eventually complicated things so as to accommodate the entirety of the project within whatever resources we had.
Thus the entire project was done with the help of a lot of friends and the populace of NITR in general. There were 2 scenes demanding a car and the team was lucky enough to have their mentors and friends helping them with the same. It won't be wrong to say that “The Guilt Factor” had a certain amount of luck attached to it as well, as during any crucial day of the shoot, somebody would turn up like a messiah and help them out in managing the shoot.
A Word from the makers & Reception of the audience
Although a part of the audience admitted to not having understood the message that the short film was trying to convey, the reception was largely positive. The soundtrack, as well as the unique storyline, garnered a lot of appreciation.
Waheeb Rasheed , the Director ,holds the project very close to his heart owing to the fact that this was one of the gems Cinematics has produced by having a properly structured plan, a set cast and a crew. He believes it to be his best projects so far.
Speaking about the mistakes and what he would have wanted to change, Waheeb said
Initially, we had created a script that was extremely simple to understand. But while shooting the film, we increased the complication altogether. Also, the biggest issue we faced was with the audio. While I was uploading the video on YouTube, due to some technical glitch, the volume was lowered in specific scenes. So we had to fix that which led to a delay in the release of our film. But overall, we are very happy with the audience reception of the film and it has been a huge learning experience working on this project.
When asked about whether the film portrayed the message as planned, he stated that the team decided to keep the ending ambiguous.
We wanted to keep the ending of the film open for interpretation to the audience so that they could understand it as they wanted to.
One of the actors, Tanay Kumar, stated
This was the first time I acted in front of a camera so I was really nervous. Also, Waheeb bhai’s skill and creativity were sorts of intimidating. But the whole team was extremely supportive and encouraging. I enjoyed working with some of my closest friends and I’m proud of the way the film turned out. It was an excellent learning experience for me.
The inspiration for the short film came from a real experience of the scriptwriter- Rohit Dash.The team also would like to extend their gratitude for the support and inspiration from their mentors- Abodid Sahoo and Abhishek Kuthum.
Overall, despite the mistakes and tedious production process, ‘The Guilt Factor’ (which the team still refers to as TIME) has been a success and most importantly a learning curve for the club as well as the team.
Cinematics plans to produce as many projects as possible in the coming year. Quoting the President Waheeb Rasheed :
We at cinematics seek for one thing and that is creating content where every project we do ups the quality of the preceding one. Also, we wish to be as inclusive as possible, everyone has a story to tell and if anyone wishes to do it visually, Cinematics is always ready to help.