Saturday, August 18, 2018

No Love Lost?

This is for my students who are learning to analyse and write film reviews.

I came across an article in The Times of India online edition about box office collection of two films released on Independence Day - 'Satyamev Jayate and 'Gold'. I have copied a paragraph here for reference:

John Abraham's film clashed at the box office with Akshay Kumar's 'Gold' but there is no love lost here. Speaking about the clash in a previous interview, John told PTI, "Akshay is an actor in 'Gold', and I am an actor in 'Satyamev Jayate'. It's a producer's decision on both sides. So I have no say in that at all. As far as competing with Akshay is concerned, I want to make it clear that he is my senior in the industry."




Pay attention to 'but there is no love lost here'. I was surprised by the use of the idiom, because I haven't come across any article that show any animosity between John Abraham and Akshay Kumar, and nor do his words reflect anything but respect towards Akshay.

'No love lost' means dislike or hatred. The idiom has been wrongly used.

Here's a link to the original article (as on 18th August, 2018):

John Abraham's film clashed at the box office with Akshay Ku .. 



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Pandit and the Boatman - Theory and practical knowledge

I suppose everyone knows about this story of the Pandit and the Boatman from Kashmiri folklore. No? Well, here it is...

Once a Pandit hired a boat to cross a river. Bored, he asked the boatman whether he had read the Upanishads. When the boatman replied in negative, the Pandit said that he had wasted his life. With every such question, the Pandit kept saying how the boatman had wasted his life.

Suddenly, the boatman asked the Pandit if he knew swimming. The Pandit replied that he had read all the books about swimming. The boatman replied, "Then you better put what you read into practice because the boat is sinking!" The river water had risen and it was raining heavily by now.

Needless to say, the Pandit started drowning. The boatman said, "You have wasted all your life by just reading about swimming. You should have also practiced."

(Image Source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/jc8XyK2bPgI/hqdefault.jpg)

Though theoretical knowledge is immensely valuable, it is useless if you don't put it into practice, at least in the media profession. And that is so true in all forms of media. Simply knowing how a camera functions, or how to make a film is just not enough. You need to practice what you learn. The more you write, the more films you make, the better you get.  Sadly, media education today is more about theory than practical training. As a media educator, I have been trying to make changes in the teaching-learning methodology.

Today, at MET Institute of Mass Media, I have been able to put together a syllabus which provides more than 75% media training in an intensive, hands-on practical format. We have also made sure that the marks our students get during these practical exercises are their final marks. This makes us devise newer ways to make our sessions more fruitful and also puts an onus on the students to do better.

How does that benefit students? By the time they complete their course, they are employable and industry ready. Learn more about our courses. Visit our website, or visit our campus, or call 02239554277 / 02239554275.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Why India having only 25% of it's population on the Internet is not such a bad thing

There was a well-written article recently about how only 25% of India's adult population use the Internet, and how it is among the lowest in the world. The article, quoting Pew Research, was not only critical about Digital India, but also had a little negative tone in reporting.

Well, let's look at it from a different angle. When 25% of India's population uses the Internet:

  • The numbers are more than the entire population of US of A 
  • It is almost 3 times that of South Korea! (The article compares our Internet usage with that of Korea)
  • Even with 25% of India's population on the Internet, we have the largest number of Facebook users in the world.
  • From 13% in 2013 to 25% in 2017, the number of Internet users in India has almost doubled

So is the 'only' 25% a limitation? Let's look at it from a perspective of opportunity. Think of the numbers that are not yet on the Internet. India's population is getting younger. The census figures show that 45% of India's population is between 18 and 35 years. It is also true that most if this population has made mobile phones their medium of choice. We are already looking at a trend of the younger generation using the Internet and the mobile phones for - well, almost everything they do. So many of my students have said that they hardly ever watch the television, and prefer watching even the TV shows on their mobile phones. With increasing reach of mobile phones and content being increasingly available in regional languages, it is probable that this 25% will change dramatically over the next few years.

(Image source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/255146/number-of-internet-users-in-india/)


We need to think of the opportunities that organisations will have. Why else are the Amazons and Walmarts so keen to invest their millions here, calling India the next investment destination? Digital Marketing organisations are having a field day, with most businesses jumping the bandwagon to promote their goods online. The digital medium has also created opportunities for small investors, women and home makers to become entrepreneurs, and they have been quite successful.

In conclusion, if ONLY 25% could open up so many opportunities, what would 100%, or even an increase of 10% be like? Remember, we are talking of 10% of INDIA's population!

Friday, June 22, 2018

BMM Graduate? But are you industry-ready? Employable?

What does it take to be job-ready, to take on the media world? Most academic programmes in media in India, offer several courses in all forms of media. Most courses are good, following a standard syllabus, mostly as per the guidelines given by UNESCO. Many institutes, however, lack the basic infrastructure and equipment required to train students in the modern form of media content creation. I have many friends across the country who can vouch for that.
It is always a struggle for institutes to keep adding the latest infrastructure and equipment, simply because whatever we buy is already redundant in this technology driven sector. However, the fact remains that equipment and curricula need to be revised as and when required, catering to industry needs, to make our students employable. It is sad that in many places, curricula are designed based on the capabilities of the faculty involved, rather than what is needed.
Today, after taking a feedback from the industry, it is clear that our media students lack in basic PRACTICAL skills in writing, film making, news reading, editing..... in general in CREATING content. Most have been taught the camera without being allowed to touch it. Institutes do not have the basic video editing software, and if available, there aren’t enough editing suites for students to practice. Writing skills are almost nil - not because students are dumb, but because our education system has been largely ignoring language skills.
So what should the students do?
Create content. As much as you can. Put it online. Start a blog, make one-minute films, make documentaries that show off your story telling skills, writing skills, and film making skills. The industry requires PROOF of what you can do.
Also you need to get trained. Get a training in an institute where you are given intensive, hands-on practical training, and your practical assignments are themselves your examinations. Go to an institute where you learn to create content for all forms of media.
Get ready for the industry folks, because this industry does not tolerate mediocrity. You will be booted out in no time if you are not a professional, or remain in the abyss of extras and low paying jobs.