The script that was handed over to me, read: Montage of shots
show the Cleartrip customer experience on the website, the mobile app,
wallet, collections, UX screenshots.
Filming this sequence would have been no brainer. In fact, if we had stuck to the original script, this sequence could have been filmed in a jiffy, as part of B-Roll.
We did not do that!
I read the script again and again. That's when, a spark of insight flashed in my mind. Before that happened, the question that really triggered the spark was: How can I make boring data interesting?
I remembered reading a newspaper article on the importance of data. I fished out the article. Bingo! A great insight was born. The data the world is obsessed with, is not just numbers. It's not some mumbo-jumbo! It's in fact about people. It's in fact about how people behave. It's about how people make a decision.
Armed with this new insight, I rewrote a part of the script. Graphs, pie charts, mobile wallets became people driven.
I briefed my team about the properties needed for the shoot. I had given clear instruction that we would need a bin filled with numbers and equations denoting data. The shot was, a model would walk around, speaking about data. And as she spoke, a person would get up from his desk and dump on her numbers and equations filled in the bin.
On the day of shoot, Mariia, a versatile and smart production executive, came up and asked, Are you sure you need a bin for this shot? The bins at the office, are dirty and look big. It will not look good on camera.
I looked at her for a while and said,
But I need a bin, I told you! What she pointed out was totally valid. But then, I was not ready to compromise! I walked about in silence, looking around. My eyes fell on a cute, colourful popcorn tub, bought for some other sequence to be filmed later that day.
I picked it up and filled it with the numbers and equations. We went about filming that sequence without a glitch! Thinking on one's feet, is an integral part of being a director.
According to the script I had rewritten, I had suggested that we use human hands to form the famous tick mark of Cleartrip logo. Everyone tick marked the idea!
The place we identified to film this sequence had an excellent background. The foreground, unfortunately, wasn't broad enough to accommodate as many people, crouching to form the tick mark with their hands. It would have looked clumsy to say the least!
Again I went around the office, discussing with Jerrin, the talented DoP and Miles the versatile AD, trying to figure out an alternative. I saw an employee, sipping a steaming cup of coffee, with the logo embossed on the cup. Eureka!
We decided to use several cups to form the famous tick mark! Guess what, the cups were not of the same size and they were in different colours. Still, we decided to go ahead! We planned to arrange the cups on a table and push it. It should be a top angle shot, affirmed Jerrin. Let the table, on cue, enter the frame, suggested, Miles. We identified a large table that was lying in one corner. We walked up to the table and started to move the table. Holy Moses! That damn table was fixed to the ground.
We could not film that shot on the same location, because, we had planned this shot as part of a long-take!
My mind was racing like 20 horses tied to a chariot!
I called the Production Manager and told him to make Cleartrip logo with a vinyl measuring and cut out the tick mark in the middle. The idea worked like magic!
I remember reading somewhere about 25 best tips for directors. And one of them is, "Confidence is essential, but ego is not."