Passion to Profession

Brian Tellis, Director, Fountainhead Promotions & Events Pvt Ltd, a Dentsu Aegis Network company, conducted a Masterclass for the students of WWI School of Media and Communication at Whistling Woods International. During his career of an extensive 20 years, he has left his mark on the Indian entertainment industry and has worked in the fields of radio, event management, and music retail. His event management company has worked with various subsidiaries across India like Insignia Tourism Marketing, Oranjuice Entertainment, The Production Terminus and Hot Box. During the session, he shared stories about the experiences that brought him professional success and personal satisfaction. His words encouraged the students to spend time learning and exploring their passions.

Here are a few thoughtful insights shared by Brian Tellis:

Go on a journey of discovery:
Discovering yourself is a crucial process where you get to know your passion and pursue it. Firstly, in order to be the best version of yourself, you need to know who you really are, what you value and, in effect, what you offer. Understanding what you’re good at and are interested in takes you one step closer to your goals. It’s a matter of recognising your personal power and potential yet being open and vulnerable to new experiences. While you may think you are self-aware about your goals, it’s important that you evaluate your passions and skills.

Learn to chase success while accepting failure:
The process of achieving greater things has its own pace, and you need to be patient. It takes days of hard work to achieve the smallest of goals. You just need to believe in yourself and never fear failure, as it proves to be a serious obstacle. Switch from thinking about missteps to thinking positively and strive for self-improvement. As long as you continue making an effort, there is no room for failure. Once you conquer your fears, nothing can stop you from achieving success in this world.

Discover your passion and make time for it:
“Follow your passion” is a common idea thrown at you, but it is important to know what exactly you are passionate about. For beginners, it is vital for them to know their passion before they are stuck in jobs that they don’t enjoy. It’s easy to fall into a routine. Find time for yourself and keep trying things that interest you. Open your mind towards new literature, art, or something related to your profession. Take your time and let your passion produce efforts, as continuous efforts reap effective results.

Staying a student for life:
Living life as a student just does not end with college or your education. Too often, convinced of your own intelligence and knowledge, you live in a comfort zone that never lets you challenge yourself to learn. However, you should try and learn from everyone and everything, wherever you go. Gain knowledge from the people you don’t know, even from your supposed competitors. At every step and juncture in life, there is the opportunity to learn; never hold back from acquiring new knowledge or skills. The key is to always stay curious.

Never lose the hunger for success and achievement:
We all have different beliefs about success; although, we must keep in mind the hard work that goes behind it. The goal of life is to learn from experience and stay true to your values as it keeps you focused. You must always embrace the fact that success is bound to follow when you put all your sincere efforts together. Staying hungry each day to achieve something new is what keeps you consistent on your journey.

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Comedy, a serious affair

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Tanmay Bhat is a well-known Indian stand-up comedian, script writer, producer and the co-founder of the popular comedy sketch group AIB. He has earned his fame with his revolutionary take in the comedy world, keeping things real and authentic. He conducted a 5th Veda session with laughter and immense enthusiasm with the students of Whistling Woods International, sharing his journey into the world of stand-up comedy along with his insights on how to pursue a successful career in comedy.

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  • Start Early

If comedy is your instinct, a stand-up career is your way to go. The new generation is exposed to the limitless world of pop culture, which makes it even easier to find your focus point. Tanmay tells us how he started early in school, stating “I became funny so that people would like me as I did not like myself for the longest time.” That’s when he discovered his inclination towards comedy.  

  • Keep it honest

Instead of focusing on how to follow the right path, it’s better to start following a career with honesty and love. Tanmay said “The decisions that I made, have never been money or strategy driven. I follow what I am most excited and passionate about.”

  • The art of being professionally funny

“The script is the soul of a comedy act”, Tanmay states as he explains the importance of in-depth research and observation involved behind the creation of a comedy set. He supported his statement by citing examples from his highly recognised roast comedy show – AIB Knockout and his other written works. He advised the students to focus on the aspects of structuring a script, creation of multiple video-breaks and the process of sketch writing.

  • Content is the King

“The content and the flow of the script is what creates the real magic”, Tanmay suggested, stating that it’s a good idea to be strongly opinionated with your words. He also expressed, “One can keep the audience engaged by discussing relatable experiences, sharing nostalgic memories and bringing in a positive ethos.”

  • It’s the story that matters

Tanmay quotes that “Comedy is no longer about a joke, it is about the story.” It’s the stories that we stitch with the right words and feel that makes all the difference. One should reflect their own stories with confidence, using the right medium, and you shall surely be on the right path.

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Rajkumar Hirani Shares 5 Useful Tips on Filmmaking at Whistling Woods International

Rajkumar Hirani is a National Award and Filmfare Award-winning director, screenwriter and film editor, best known for the films Munna Bhai MBBS and 3 Idiots, earning him a well-respected place in cinematic history. The filmmaker led a 5th Veda session with the students of Whistling Woods International, sharing some tips on filmmaking and beyond.

1. “Filmmaking is not just a passion but an obsession to reach to millions.”

Rajkumar Hirani is known for making films that break barriers and address some of India’s major social and cultural issues. He talks about combining passion with obsession, saying, “Passion is something you desire and obsession is the effort you put to fulfill your desire.”

2. “Advertisement is like 30-second storytelling. Speed and pacing are what you learn from ad-films, which in turn, is essential for movie-making.”

Rajkumar Hirani spent the early years of his career working in the advertising industry, even featuring in a Fevicol commercial. He discussed how his experience in advertising helped him become a better filmmaker.

3. “Observe life and human issues from a different angle — from a humorous perspective.”

Filmmaking is more than a profession, Rajkumar Hirani believes, elaborating on the learnings he has gathered because of the art. He shared how his perspective on life has helped him craft some of the most successful stories, from 3 Idiots to PK.

4. “Filmmaking is a collaborative effort. One can never make a film alone.”

Rajkumar Hirani’s first directorial venture was Munnabhai MBBS, which is now considered a cult classic. It broke all formulaic conventions associated with Bollywood films, skyrocketing his career. He discussed how his success would not have been possible without a collaborative effort from his team. Every element in filmmaking, be it the editing, the actors, the sound, the cinematography, contributes to the final product and should be done in sync with one another.

5. “Always remember, be dedicated to your work and success will follow.”

Quoting an idea that he used as the ethos of his film 3 Idiots, Rajkumar Hirani ended the session by encouraging the students to not just chase success, but do what they love.

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School of Media & Communication’s Head of Department Shares 5 Tips for Aspiring Media Students

The media and communication industry is a rapidly-growing one, harboring a vast number of creative professions. Here are a few tips for those who aspire to make their way into the world of media and communication.

1. Passion and hard work go hand in hand

I believe that the philosophy of “Do What You Love”, combined with hard work, it can help you reach great heights. You can study your course but if you’re not passionate about it, then it doesn’t matter. Similarly, you could be talented, but if you aren’t hard-working, then success will not come your way.

2. Be a go-getter

Media and communication, as the latter suggests, is more than learning the ropes of the media industry. It’s about the art of communication and storytelling. Performance isn’t limited to being in front of a microphone or a camera. You have to have a love for storytelling and performance that goes out to an audience.

3. Be conscious of what the world needs

They say that with great power comes great responsibility, and media is definitely a great power. You need to be conscious of what the world and the society needs. Media gives you that platform to reach out to each and every one, so you have to be capable; you must grasp the responsibility it carries & be able to shoulder it.

4. Learn every aspect of media

I believe that students should always get a holistic experience. You should have the chance to explore your potential, so I’m always encouraging our students to do just about anything and everything that interests or fascinates them.

5. Be open to collaboration

Every student should get a chance to interact with every aspect of the creative and performing arts, as well as collaborate with people from every part of the industry. I think the level of fluidity you get here is something that no other place can offer.

Laili Dutta is the Head of Department at Whistling Woods International School of Media & Communication. Admissions are now open. You can register for Whistling Woods International School of Media & Communication here.
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School of Animation’s Head of Department Shares 5 Insightful Tips for Aspiring Animators

Animation is an ever-evolving industry and we, at Whistling Woods International, make it our goal to keep up with it. Here are a few tips for those who aspire to make their way into the vast world of animation.

1. You should have a passion for the job

It’s a time-consuming effort, and the output comes in after a great deal of hard work as compared to live-action filmmaking. Rewards are very much present, but if you have that kind of passion, dedication, and commitment, then you will be able to see an output in the end.

2. Your mind is the creative tool

It’s a mistake to think of animation as something that is only technically done with computers. No creative field is done through its tools, whether it’s a simple pencil and paper or whether it is a computer. The creative tool here is the mind.

3. Observe the art of storytelling

In order to be able to tell stories, you should be informed, to know stories. It is very important to read and understand great writers and how they have told their stories; to see great films and how the directors have fashioned and shaped those stories.

4. Know your audience

It is important not to focus on just what you like, but also to understand why you don’t like something. It’s crucial to know your audience. Maybe it’s time to get out there. Try not to be cocooned into your own little world of just you and the computer. That won’t be enough; get into the market, see films in the theatre, and understand what the audience is talking about. That’s how you will know how they are responding to your work.

5. Don’t hide your talent

The opportunities, however small they may be, for putting your work out there is enormous. The internet has opened up fantastic possibilities. There are websites where you can upload your videos and they can be seen by millions of people if they find it attractive. Put your talent out there. You will get recognised and you will be able to see the fruits of your labor along with recognition for your work. 

Yusuf Mehta is the Head of Department at Whistling Woods International School of Animation. Admissions are now open. You can register for Whistling Woods International School of Animation here.
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Imtiaz Ali Shares 5 Useful Insights From His Own Experiences at Whistling Woods International

Bringing his immeasurable experience and vast knowledge of the Indian film industry forth, Imtiaz Ali, director of movies such as Highway, Tamasha, and Rockstar, conducted a 5th Veda session at Whistling Woods International. Every 5th Veda session brings forth invaluable insights and this interactive session with Imtiaz Ali was no exception. During this session, the filmmaker shared some memorable tips for those who wish to venture into the world of cinema.

1. “Embrace failure sincerely, as something better is waiting for you.”

Failure is an integral part of success, and the inspiring session with Imtiaz Ali was a testament to that. The acclaimed filmmaker shared his journey into the world of Indian cinema, conveying how some of his failures led to his success, with the students at Whistling Woods International.

2. “Working on my first movie was more like attending a film school – as I did not pursue any formal education in filmmaking.”

Imtiaz Ali looked back on his first film, Socha Na Tha, which is known as a fan-favorite today. The filmmaker spoke about the struggles he faced in the early years of his career, and how he had to learn certain skills and the know-hows of the industry on his own, as he didn’t have access to a film school.

3. “I juggled between numerous roles to understand various facets of filmmaking.”

Having presented a number of acclaimed films to Indian cinema, Imtiaz Ali spoke about learning every facet of filmmaking, not just direction. He also conveyed that the success of a good film is directly proportional to the rapport that one shares with their team.

4. “Just go for it and see what happens.”

The most important thing about having a passion is to pursue it against all odds. Imtiaz Ali elaborates on this philosophy of going after what you love, talking about the importance of following your passion.

5. “Poetry gives me relief and sustenance while writing lyrics gives me enjoyment.”

While filmmaking is his true calling, the acclaimed director talks about having other creative outlets such as writing lyrics and poetry, that sustain and rejuvenate the creative senses.

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7 Indian Women That Have Broken Barriers in Creative Industries

Even today, many creative fields, especially the fields of animation, design, filmmaking, etc, are led by men. It’s not hard to find and name the best men in these fields. Establishing a space for women who conquer these fields is still a work in progress, and yet, there are those who have achieved excellence against the odds. Let’s honor a few of these talented women that have created an impact that shapes the innovation and creativity in the future.

Alankrita Shrivastava
Filmmaker

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Alankrita Shrivastava made her mark in independent filmmaking after the success of her most recent film Lipstick Under My Burkha. Having worked with Prakash Jha on several projects, her bold and undiluted style of storytelling undeniably captivated the masses.

Anuradha Pal
Tabla Virtuoso

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Anuradha Pal has established her place as the Tabla virtuoso across the globe. Considered one of the most skilled tabla players in the world, she is also dubbed the “first professional female tabla player in the world” by Encyclopedia Britannica. As a disciple of Ustad Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain, she has performed at the most prestigious and varied venues in the world, including the Woodstock Festival.

Rupi Kaur
Poetess

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Twenty-five year-old Rupi Kaur is considered one of the most renowned modern poets today. This Indian-Canadian poet, writer, illustrator, and performer already has two published books under her belt and has used social media as a tool to explore and share her talent with the world.

Shivalini Kumar
Graphic Designer, Illustrator

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Not many graphic designers or illustrators can say that they have been recognised by a name such as Photoshop on an international scale. Shivalini Kumar, an India-born and Denmark-based graphic Designer and Illustrator, is one of the few who can acquiesce to that. She was featured in the brand’s 25 Under 25 list, and for good reason. Having worked for brands such as Warner Bros and making her mark in the world of design through Chumbak’s idiosyncratic stylization, she’s an incredible example of how skill and success can go hand-in-hand.

Nimrit Kaur
Actress

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Model-turned-actor Nimrit Kaur has had an interesting journey, having played several groundbreaking and strong female characters. After starring in the critically acclaimed films Peddler & The Lunchbox, she went on to act in the hit American TV show Homeland.

Masaba Gupta
Fashion Designer

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Masaba Gupta is known for her quirky and creative collections, taking inspiration from unusual muses, for instance, Roman Payne’s novel, The Wanderess. Her style is a mix of contemporary and traditional, which she blends together with utmost finesse, resulting in her growing popularity among present fashion lovers. Her unusual taste in fabrics and design makes her stand out from the many famous fashion designers in India.

Anupriya Acharya
CEO, Publicis Media India

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In the male-dominated industry of media and advertising, Anupriya Acharya, CEO of the Indian sector of Public Media has made a name for herself. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, she’s known as one of the most remarkable women in advertising. Her work, as well as the work of the other women on this list, is a source of unending inspiration to every creative professional in India and beyond.

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