Posts filed under ‘Media’

What are the different jobs in Films and television?

If you want to get into films and television, there are umpteen things you could do:

Actor: How many of you have dreamt of becoming the next Shah Rukh Khan or the next Rani Mukherjee? If you are one of them, then this is the place for you. An actor or actress has simultaneously the easiest and the toughest job in films and television. The easiest because there’s virtually no technical knowledge necessary there are people like the director to tell the actor what to do: move this way, stand like that, speak clearly, etc. On the other hand, though it may look easy when you’re watching a film, acting is incredibly tough, because altogether the actors shrug off their own personality and become someone else. While there are many methods of acting ( the one used most often is where the actor almost literally gets into the character’s skin by working out his personality, thinking like he would, behaving, like he would, speaking like he would, in every respect in accent and all, and soon, according to actor Rahul Bose),it all boils down to one thing: can the actor convincingly become someone else?

Director: A director is literally the captain of the ship. This involves a tremendous amount of visualization and imagination. Imagine a story that revolves around a family consisting of four people: a man,woman,teenage boy, and a teenage girl. The director has to say what each of these four characters is like, how they live, what their house looks like, what their offices are like, what their schools or colleges are like, what their friends are like, what their servants are like… every single character is given a personality by the director.”And these characters have to be worked out not only from the point they enter the film, but from way back, when they were born,” says Rahul Bose. After that, the director has to work with the actors to make sure they get into their characters’ skin. The director has to work with the cinematographer to create the ‘look’ of the film. After the film is shot, he has to work with the editors to keep the film on track and make sure his vision is finally reflected in the film the way he wants it to be. Some of the famous directors of India are Subhash Ghai,David Dhawan, and the new emerging ones are Karan Johar Ashutosh Gowarikar, Farhan Akhtar. Speaking for the film-makers, New York-based director Mira Nair aid: “Exciting new voices have emerged in the last few years. Their budding success speaks as to where we are today, how we look at the world around us, and the roads we are taking.”

A few other aspects of Films and Television:

The producer: Is the person behind the scenes; putting together a television show involves a thousand details. From the script to the actors, from the costumes to the lighting, from the sound to the props,who has final responsibility? ‘He’ does. He’s the producer. Television producers are responsible for each and every phase of a programme, from the original idea to the final product. There are two kinds of producers. The first is involved solely in finance. They’ll sit with the director and work out a budget and hand over the cash. The other kind of producer is what’s known as an executive producer. He’ll be on the set while shooting is on, makes sure every thing that’s necessary for the shot is available, handles all the people involved in making the film (or television serial) and makes sure everything is organized to the last detail and that the film or serial is not over budget.

Casting Director:This is the person who’s in constant touch with artists of different calibers and styles. He’ll arrange auditions and camera tests, workout fees and dates, and, in the case of extras, schedules. He, therefore, must have a huge database of actors of all types that he can draw on for a film. So, if you want to cast Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan in your next film, you know whom to contact.

Lights Technician: The lighting guy makes sure there’s enough light for the camera to pick up movements clearly, or not so bright that it reflects off the camera lens. The responsibility is a great one, particularly because you have to know and understand the quality of light. All this is important to a film, because the film needs to be as realistic as possible. If there’s poor light outside and yet the scene demands a bright sunny morning, the light technician will set up his equipment in such a way that what you see in the final film will be a bright sunny morning.

Scriptwriter: The script writer is the person who has actually written out the story that will be made into a film or a serial episode. This involves creating the characters, creating the plot, writing the dialogues, and soon. He also has to be some thing of a visualizer because he has to see where the story is going and how it must get there. He could even adapt a favorite book for the screen. Writing screenplays is one of the highest paying jobs a writer can do. In the 1990s, Joe Esterhaus made headlines when he earned $3 million for writing screenplay for Basic Instinct.

Sound Technician: The sound guy is a very technical person. It’s his job to make sure that there are no outside sounds interfering when a film is being shot, that dialogue and music is picked up clearly by the mikes, and soon. He can stop the shooting when the sound goes bad. For instance, if there’s a plane flying over head during an out door shoot, he will hold up shooting till the plane has vanished completely. That’s because his equipment is so sensitive that it will pick up even sounds that the human ear cannot hear.

Editor: Do you think the film that you see is the same how it is shot? If you do then you are mistaken. After a film or TV serial is shot and wrapped up, the editor takes over. He has to take the huge amount of film shot at various times and various places and, working with the director, cut it down to the required length, complete with commercial or interval breaks, in a cohesive manner, so that the story flows like it should. Since films are not shot on a continuous basis (the shooting of scene 1 is not necessarily followed by the shooting of scene2), it’s the editor’s job to make sure that the continuity is maintained (that scene 1 is definitely followed by scene 2). This can be difficult, because if scene 2 is shot at a different time, say at 3 p.m. while scene1 was shot at midnight, the editor has to use his skills to make sure the lighting stays consistent (so that scene 2 is not brighter than scene1). The editor also gets the graphics into the film (that’s the opening and closing credits, the titles, and so on).As someone who hasn’t been involved in its production, he’s in a position to see which scenes work and which don’t, where the film is losing focus, what needs to be cut out because it’s useless to the story, and so on. So, in a way, he becomes the second in command.

Cinematographer: Have you ogled at all those terrific locations that films usually show you? A brilliant view of America or the sunset or Aamir Khan dancing… well, the locations are beautiful but to show them just as they are or to capture them in a more beautiful way is the work of the camera man or what the industry has named him-the Cinematographer. The qualified cinematographer is greater than a mere cameraman. He knows and understands his equipment to such an extent that he’ll be able to tell the director what his cameras can achieve in making the vision of the film real. Basically, the cinematographer translates the director’s vision on a film. He works with the director to create scenes where his camera picks up long shots, close-ups, and so on, all of which contribute to the impact a scene can have on the audience. A lot of cinematographers have gone onto become directors.

Choreographer: Have you ever wanted to dance like Madhuri Dixit or dreamt about dancing like Hrithik Roshan on stage, moving your body to steps that are so amazing? Well, they don’t dance on their own- they have a person who teaches them those amazing steps that you always copy. A choreographer is required for the myriad songs that are necessary in Indian films. Typically, the choreographer will work with the director to understand the reason why

there’s a song at a certain point in a film (though the trend these days seems to be to scatter songs through out the film without any reference to the storyline). The choreographer should know and understand different kinds of dance genres from all over the world, and should have trained in dance. Some of the famous Indian film choreographers you might have heard about or maybe your idols too are Saroj Khan who choreographed the famous ‘Bhumro’ in ‘Mission Kashmir’, which was picturized on Preity Zinta. Then Farah Khan, who has choreographed the all famous ‘Chaiya Chaiya’ song from ‘Dil Se’, filmed on Shah Rukh Khan dancing on the train.

Costume Designer: A costume designer is necessary to the film or TV production because she/he understands how the characters should be dressed. For historical or period depictions, the designer has to do a great deal of research to find out how people at different levels of society were dressed at the time and create those costumes. For futuristic films,the costume designer has to figure out what kind of clothes people are likely to wear in 3005, for instance, and create those. For example, ‘Lagaan‘ had a costume designer who had to design clothes for the villagers set around the independence period.

Set Designer: The set designer, also known as the art director, is a very vital part of production because she/he is the person who creates the actual physical surroundings of the characters. If the scene is set in a slum, the set designer will have to make a slum, if it’s a fancy night club, the set designer will create a night club. When it comes to Indian films, you’ll find that a lot of sets are ready-made, particularly at large studios such as Mumbai’s Film City, where you stumble across temples,railway stations,log cabins,and soon, that you can hire and use (which may explain why certain scenes look so familiar in different films). These days, there are films where an entire set is designed and built to give the film the right feel. For example, the whole set for ‘Devdas’ was designed and built to give it that period feel of opulence.

Music Director: The music director works with the director to create the music for the film/television serial. This comprises not only music for songs, but also background music for various scenes in the film. Those amazing songs that you tap your feet to, sing along with the actors, some emotional, some wacky, some devotional, some romantic, expressing such emotions that it gives the movie a totally different feel. These days there are films like ‘Kaun’ and ‘Bhoot’, which work entirely due to its background score. Music has become an important aspect of television too. You have serials like ‘Kyunki Saans bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ having a set of songs in between the serial, and care has to be taken for the compositions of the title songs, as now they have become an important part of the serials itself. Music directors like Jatin-Lalit, Nadeem-Shravan, R.D. Burman, Anu Malik are some of them who have made this profession some thing to be reckoned with.

Fight Master/Stunt Director : The amazing stunts that Akshay Kumar performs, or Sunil Shetty’s ability to fight with so many people at a time is nothing but the efforts of the stunt director that have made it possible. The fight master or stunt director creates the fight scenes or stunts necessary. While a lot of stunts you see on screen are clearly masterpieces of editing, a lot are physically performed and the people doing them are directed by the fight master or stunt director. These days, stunts and fights are revolutionized by using special effects. ‘Matrix’ is a good example of this.

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March 20, 2009 at 7:07 am Leave a comment

Public Relations

A Typical Day in PR

This depends on where you work. “A typical day for a PR person starts with getting to know the clients, as well as the means to do it. Sending out press releases to the media which also have to be written, following up with the press regarding the press releases sent to them, organizing press interviews with the clients and providing information to the press. And tracking all the stories that appear in the press”, says Parul Gosain.

If it’s a corporate or a PR agency, you definitely have to dress and speak formally. They are busy places, work schedules are irregular and frequently interrupted. They answer calls for information from the press and public, work on invitation lists and details for a press conference, escort visitors and clients, help with research, and write brochures.

For example: When you have a sports day in school, your coach is the person who takes care of organizing the whole event, from setting up the sports ground, clearing doubts of the parents and students, to inviting the chief guests. She also takes care of the events, talks to the participants about their performances. After the day is over, she sees to it that the participants and winners get their certificates and trophies. She also encourages the others to participate the next year, congratulates the winners and at the same time, consoles the others.

In the balance:

The good and not so good things about a career in public relations

The good bits:

# You always know the true picture of what is going on in the company you work for.

# You’re responsible for managing the way your company is perceived.

# It can be quite glamorous, because you meet a lot of people at the very top of their professions.

# The PR fields can result in very satisfying careers. There aren’t many jobs that allow your strategies to come to life, to be observed by thousands or even millions of people.

Keep in mind, however:

# A company can sometimes expect the earth from a PR person in terms of the company’s image. And if the company ha s been involved in a scam or something unsavoury, and the press is constantly pointing that out, a PR person’s life can become very difficult indeed.

#Competition for getting into PR jobs is intense. There are many more candidates than the number of positions. You must be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up.

# Public relations people operate against deadlines. Under such high-pressure conditions,9to5 schedules go out the window. Public relations executives are not tied to their desks for long periods. Meetings, community functions, business lunches, travel assignments, special speaking and writing commitments, and unscheduled work on ‘crisis’ situations often mean long hours.

# You develop an analytical mind, far-sightedness and the ability to handle crises. The job demands an alert mind for planning, defense and guarding the image of the firm, person or product.

Training required to get a job

To land a job in media relations and internal communication, a basic Bachelor’s degree in any field will do, and a mass communications degree or diploma will help. For the strategy part of the field, companies these days look for an MBA. Though public relations is a relatively new field, many colleges and universities offer a public relations course. Most public relations programmes are administered by journalism or mass communications schools or departments.

Technical skills required

Public relations demands the creativity of advertising, but the business savviness of management consulting. Excellent writing skills, speaking well and an ability to use all the research tools available in today’s information rich, Internet-driven world are pre requisites. You definitely need to know how to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

March 9, 2009 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

What are the different aspects of publishing?

There are various aspects to publishing as a business. To begin with, its a business and have to be managed as such. Therefore you’ll need to understand management practices. Publishing begins with the processing of the manuscript.

Editorial: Editing plays a big role in this business. The Chief editor guides the team of editors and oversees the complete running of the publishing house. They contact authors for writing books on selected topics. The editorial lays down the policy of the publication, manages the staff and co ordinates all the related work. There are two types of editors:

Commissioning Editors:
If you’re a commissioning editor, its your job to find new authors or work with established authors to come up with new books. This means you’ll have to know a lot of writers so that you re able to suggest ideas and themes to them. Once the author accepts the idea, you have to work with him or her and help structure the book properly. This is especially important if you’re working with a brand new author. You’ll also have to know everything there is to know about publishing, including costs of production, because you’ll be the person to initiate new books. Generally however, you will not begin your career in publishing as a commissioning editor, because this is a job that requires tons of experience and understanding that can only come from having worked at least eight to ten years in the profession.

Copy Editors:
As a copy editor, your job will be to work with the text that the author has submitted to the publisher, to make sure that the style is consistent throughout the book and that there are no factual, spelling or grammatical errors. You can begin your career as a trainee copy editor and work your way to becoming a commissioning editor, and could wind up being editor in chief.

Production: Editing is carried out on the computer and the type face and page layout adjusted. The illustrations, appearance of the book, book cover, paper quality, etc, is decided by the editor as well as the production in charge. The design department does the art work for the book. A number of publishing houses work with freelance artists on their rolls, who are commissioned for artwork, such as illustration, cover design, photographs, etc. Production staff manage the technicalities of the printing process, the pricing and marketing of the product. They purchase the paper, coordinate the printing and binding of the books. In the newspaper and magazine segment, the production department deals with purchase of newsprint as well as the printing and dispatch of the newspaper of magazines to the marketing department.

Sales and Marketing
: Publicity, promotion, sales campaigns are a major responsibility. Distribution of books entails under standing the market where the books may sell. Distribution to libraries,schools, organizations is often done directly or through local book suppliers. The on line book sales is the latest technique in marketing and sales.

Literary Agent:
A concept that still doesn’t exist in India, though opportunities do exist now that publishing is taking off in a big way. A literary agent is basically the middle man between the writer and the publisher. In fact, the literary agent is almost the writer’s first commissioning editor, because she/he will read the manuscript the writer has submitted, decide whether it’s worth publishing and if it is, will show the manuscript to various publishers so as to get the best possible deal for the writer. Abroad, publishers will only accept manuscripts submitted through a literary agent. As a literary agent, your educational qualifications do not matter since you’ll be working on your own. But it will help to have a background in publishing because you need to know the business and you also need to know people in the publishing industry because this job works on contacts.

Merchandiser:
You could also work for a major book store such as Crossword as a merchandiser. A merchandiser’s job is very exciting because she/he gets paid to read. As a merchandiser, you’ll have to decide which books the store should buy from the publishers that can be sold to the public. Not only which books, but how many copies of a particular book. For instance, when the next book is finally available, you will decide how many copies should be in stock so that all the copies don’t get sold out the first day itself. You’ll also be in a position to guide people’s taste in reading, because you’ll be responsible for buying books by authors that the Indian public may not have heard of yet. Most bookstores will train you in the actual aspects of merchandising because this is an area that is new to India and there are no courses available as yet.

March 3, 2009 at 7:40 am Leave a comment

What are the different jobs in advertising?

Advertising people create ads, which help sell an idea or product. Broadly speaking, an ad agency has two main work streams of which you can choose the one that interests you. The creative section, has people who visualize and conceptualize an ad, including the copywriters, art directors. And the client servicing section, has people who interact with the industry and are an interface between them and the agency. Let us look at each part so that you will have an overview of what each department of advertising is involved in to create a communication.

There are four aspects to advertising:
Copy
Art
Client Servicing
Media Buying.

Copy writing:

This is the world where art is sold through the magic of words. If advertisement is the heart of marketing,then copywriters are its soul. It is an art through which the consumer psyche is translated into words. Technically speaking; the copywriter is the person who crafts the wording of the advertisement whether it is a print ad (what you see in a news paper or magazine) or a radio or TV commercial. She/he comes up with the head line that grabs your attention and the text that tells you more about the product being advertised. Remember the commercial for Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’? It’s supposed to be so good that you don’t want to
share it with anyone, even someone you love. That was the idea. The words and pictures were crafted later. Nike’s ‘Just do it’ and, ‘There are some things in life which money can’t buy. For everything else there’s Master Card,’ are not only brain children of copywriters but are also words that reflect the go-getter personality. Copy writers are on perpetual deadlines-which are always ‘yesterday’. Most copy writers complain that it is an extremely pains taking task to come out with catchy lines on a regular basis, especially, if they are suffering from a ‘writer’s block’. So, when Aishwarya winks and declares to the world how cool it is to drink Coca- Cola,don’t go thinking it’s her conviction, although she makes it seem so,it’s the copy writer talking.

Ad Filmmaker:

He makes the commercials that we see on TV. The ad film maker examines the script written by the copy writer and the art director and also contributes suggestions. The Coke, Hutch, Pepsi, ads are made by ad film makers.

Commercial Photographers and Illustrators:

They are the people who take snaps and pictures or illustrate graphically the products or elements used for print advertising. They work with the art director to give the ad its look and personality and to make it look appealing.

Art Direction:
The art director (known as the visualizer at junior levels) works with the copywriter to come up with the big idea. Then she/he takes the words written by the copywriter and decides on how to present it to the buyer. This involves not just the way the ad looks (colors, photographs, drawings), but also the font the text is printed in (which should be eye-catching and easy to read). The art director is also wholly involved with the ad; she/he must follow it through right from the stage when the layout begins,to the stage when it is ready to be distributed to news papers and magazines for printing. For a commercial, the art director works with the copy writer’s script and supervises its filming and final production.

Client Servicing:

The client servicing people generally have a marketing background. These are the people who, together with the client (the company that wants to advertise a product), come up with a plan for how to present the product to the buyer. Once the client servicing person’s strategy for advertising is accepted by the client, she/he will brief the creative team of copywriter and art director on the product. The creative team will be told about the product (for instance, Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’), its pricing, its target audience (the set of people the company wants to sell ‘Temptations’ to), and the aspects of it that the client wants to emphasize. After the creative team comes up with the idea(s) and put together a rough layout,the client servicing person takes the idea to the client for his approval. His job now is to sell the idea to the client and therefore make money for the ad agency. Once the idea is approved, he returns to the creative team and gives them the go ahead and then follows the ad through production till it is ready for publication and broadcasting, and then present the client with a bill!

Media Buyers
These are the people who buy space (half a page, a quarter page, two inches of a column) in newspapers/magazines or buy airtime (30 seconds in which to show the commercial, or 60seconds) on television channels or radio channels for the ad agency’s clients. They are also responsible for part of the advertising strategy, because they have a clear idea how to reach out to the ad’s target audience. If we look at Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’, we’ve seen it’s a chocolate meant for people who are into fine living. This kind of person will read a certain kind of magazine, watch a certain kind of television channel, listen to a certain kind of music. So, to get the ad across to this kind of person, the ad must be placed where the target audience can see it and hear it.

March 2, 2009 at 5:35 am 3 comments

What do Journalists do?

Reporters
write assigned news stories covering accidents, political elections, holiday parades, fires, crimes, or events in their city. They research, organize, write, and report stories on location, covering or breaking news stories. They are the people who are out in the field, interviewing people and following stories to write when they get back to office. The word ‘story’ in a journalist’s jargon, is the news item, or the interview or the piece of work that a reporter has worked on.

News correspondents
cover news events in large cities here and abroad. They may have to do the job of an entire newspaper staff like report stories, take photographs, layout pages, edit, write, and run the office.

Photo journalists
report stories through photographs. They are generally in the midst of all types of events, taking pictures. Photo journalists are reporters who use pictures instead of words to tell a story. Camera people can also be regarded as photo journalists.

Presenter or Anchor
The TV and radio media also have a fourth kind of journalist-the presenter or anchor. These are the people who you see or hear reading the news. While some anchors are also reporters, some are just presenters. But they too are journalists because they often have to interview people on air and ask relevant questions of the reporters when there is some event being aired live.

Magazine feature writers
Often interview and write stories about a person, event, or topic chosen by a magazine editor. These are in-depth studies rather than late-breaking news.

Editors
Are the people who stay at the office, edit or modify the stories (referred to as ‘copy’) turned in (or filed) by the reporters. At the junior level, editors are referred to as sub editors. Editors are also responsible for layout (the way a page or a news programme looks or sounds) and, depending on their experience, decide which stories go on page1 and which piece to be placed as lead article, page1 anchor or which piece to be placed as lead article (the most important according to its news value) or which stories begin a news programme in case of a news channel. “Trainee editors tend to spend most of their time typing,” says Kushalrani Gulab, a journalist of 10years’ standing. “When I began, I’d be doing television listings physically typing in the TV schedules in the required format so that our readers could check out the programmes the next day. But
after that, things can get very exciting.”

February 26, 2009 at 6:12 am Leave a comment

Public Relations

The following query was received from a student:

What is Public Relations and what are the career opportunities available in this field?

Shruti (Mumbai)

Reply by Futuremap counsellor:

Dear Shruti,
Public Relations has been defined as the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and the public. The aim is to put across an image or a message to which people can relate and to which they can respond favorably.
There are two types of operations namely, public relations consultancy and in-house public relations department. A public relations consultancy will work for a variety of client organizations; consultancies vary from a one person operation to large companies in their own right. They are also known as agencies. The in-house public relations department works on policies and programs suitable only for the parent company or organization. The department might also be called public affairs or corporate communications, with PR officers known as press or information officers. Corporate communication as assumed an important place in any company structure today. Corporate India is going to see a huge demand for corporate communicators in the near future.
All kinds of organizations and groups use PR- government, public services, business and industry, manufacturers and retailers, charities, trade unions, trade and professional associations, lobbyists, arts organizations, etc.

January 15, 2009 at 6:35 am Leave a comment


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