e4m PLAY Streaming Media Conference 2020: 'OTT is opening up various storytelling formats'
Panellists shared behind-the-scenes insights about writing for OTT and delved into the inevitable discussion of COVID impact on the streaming industry
The first edition of e4m PLAY Streaming Media Conference held virtually put spotlight on a star-studded session titled, “Behind the Scenes of Streaming”. The session was graced by eminent members of the streaming fraternity, including Sudhir Mishra, Film-Maker & Writer, Hostages, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Ye Saali Zindagi, Chameli, Dharavi & more; Karan Anshuman, Director & Screenwriter, Mirzapur, Inside Edge & Bangistan; Rasika Dugal, Actor, Mirzapur, Out of Love, Made in Heaven, Delhi Crime; Shriya Pilgaonkar, Actor, Mirzapur, Gone Game, Fan; Anupria Goenka, Actor, Criminal Justice, Sacred Games, Asur, The Final Call, Abhay, Padmaavat, Tiger Zinda Hai along with Frezad Palia, Head, VOOT Select, Youth & English Entertainment, Viacom18 (Session Chair).
Palia kickstarted the session by quizzing the panellists about their transition towards OTT platforms. Mishra remarked, "In India, we entered suddenly with Sacred Games. OTT was just a change in the delivery system but the buyer already existed. The west had origins a long time ago ". He added, "Organically what you want to do and the story that you can think of is what makes it so great. I'll do what I think works and that's the great thing about now.”
Palia added, “OTT is opening up the various storytelling formats".
Responding to the question, Rasika said, "I was a part of TV shows which didn't have high TRPs. I did a show called Powder and had a limited number of episodes. Now it is on Netflix, so I haven't been a part of mainstream shows With Mirzapur, Delhi Crime, Out of love, I've had an opportunity to work with many platforms. This is broken a fixed trend and the success of shows like Mirzapur and Made in Heaven is testimony to that."
Shriya too added by saying, “It's been a good experience to try and engage yourselves at a point like this. It's not easy doing everything by yourself and shooting remotely. The gratitudes have increased exponentially".
On being asked if she is open to working in languages other than Hindi, Anupriya replied, "I am open to doing various kinds of regional work if the content is good.”
Taking the conversation forward, the session chair quizzed the panellists on their views on the COVID scenario and how has safety been taken care of. Shriya acknowledged the importance of safety measures. She said, "We cannot entirely be selfish. I know we are dying to go back on the sets and commence work but considering the scenario with growing numbers, we really need to stick to the ground rules.”
Mishra pointed towards the two aspects for film making. He emphasized, “Apart from making shows and movies we should realize that it is also living for many people. Daily wagers, per day payments, are something many people survive on so we really need to be considerate ".
"People are finding different ways to make sure the content goes out. And the quality will get better over the time", added Palia.
He asked the panellists their views regarding what audiences want to see on OTT platforms. In a light-hearted tone, all panellists agreed on the thought that the audiences too don’t know the answer.
"What's interesting about OTT is all sorts of options are available and that's the wonderful thing about this platform. You can watch anything at any point in time", added Mishra.
Talking about his personal preferences, Anshuman said, "I want to push the boundaries to every kind of genre. And experiment with unexplored ones. The platform is not restricted to time frames anymore. You can make a short film, a feature film or a web series."
Citing an important aspect, Goenka added, "Writing should be given more time. Layered writing is required to produce a good concept. It should not be unidimensional. “
Signing off, Palia added, “It is a very fact content development which was asked within 2 weeks now gone to 4 month-8 months or a year sometimes it is a great sign. It is effectively going to drive the way made content gets made and quality of it.”
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