Production Service

all the world’s a stage, as long as you have good producers.

everything we’ve learnt by producing for global projects in the motherland.

India is attractive. 👄

With a history of having produced films for the past 113 years (the second oldest film industry in the world) and producing the highest number of films in the world in a variety of languages and formats, India is the WORLD’S NUMBER ONE FILM PRODUCER. 🔊 (source)

It is obvious that this title’s effects have trickled into the veins of the country. Producing films creates jobs, and for the vast population of India, where films are a passion to billions, it is an answer to many prayers. 🙏

That itself is enough attraction to why the world would want to come make movies in India, but here are a few more convictions:

the land: 🏔️

India has every kind of terrain, culture and weather a filmmaker could dream of. From the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the sandy dunes of Rajasthan; from the lofty hills of Arunachal to the waving palm trees of Kerala – India has a suitable backdrop for every story.

The beauty of Indian weather and seasons is unmatched. Monsoons and the great Indian Summer are the seasons that are associated most with the Indian tropics. They’re also a mood that many filmmakers have attempted to romanticize. Springtime comes alive with vibrant and varied flora and fauna that seems to explode out of central India with growth and fertility. Least to say that there is more than enough opportunity to give center stage to India’s climate.

The way light reacts to dust and waterdown is magic of its own kind – both of which are naturally available for filmmakers to experiment with in India. Coupled with balanced occurrences of daylight and night, there are many effects that can be achieved without much manipulation.

the incentives: 🤑

Under an incentive scheme by the Ministry of I&B, a foreign film shooting in India will now be able to claim up to 40% of the expenditure incurred (in India) with the maximum limit capped at INR 300 million ($4 million). An additional five percent bonus will be given for “significant” Indian content. This is a huge deal for independent filmmakers and film houses alike, when they want to bring their project to India while still saving some major $$. (source)

the crew that keeps giving: 🧑‍🏫

It is no secret that some very well-known movies were shot in India (The Bourne Supremacy, Slumdog Millionaire, Eat, Pray, Love, Life of Pi, to name a few). This also means that the local crew that helped create these globally acclaimed movies is more than professionally capable, and not to mention abundant, to make any vision come to life. Indians are also known to be thrifty (read : jugadu), often coming up with solutions to complex problems within limited resources and time.  

all kinds of people: 🤼

No matter what kind of people you need to show in your film, India’s cultural diversity can fulfill them all, and more. In our experience, it is fairly easy to find the right face to represent a variety of cultures, looks and even beliefs, all in one place.

a supportive infrastructure: 🛣️

India’s large and growing infrastructure is expanding at an exponential rate and is supporting films for both commercial and experimental purposes. This makes for easy accessibility to tangible solutions that satiate all kinds of creative needs in a professional, scalable way.

That was the macro, now let’s delve into the micros. As a ‘small’ film agency, we are always looking to collaborate to gain exposure to the type of films we’d want to create ourselves. When global brands and filmmakers hire us for production service, not only do we get to understand global standards up close and personal, we also get a much deeper understanding of what can be done in what budget, preparing us for an array of situations.

the coign of vantage

Being a production house partner to global projects extends its advantages beyond what meets the eye. Let’s have a look at some of them:

first hand exposure to global standards: 📈

While India may be producing the largest number of films in the world, we still need to catch up with the global standards of filmmaking, especially in the marriage of skill and budgets (movies like Interstellar, Batman, Dune were created in the US because of accessible top-notch technology and expertise). Working with globally acclaimed brands gives us an insight into the mindset that is needed to come up with work that has an elevated sense of creativity without having to break the bank.

expanding connections and networking: 🤝

Collaborations equal growth in any industry, but maybe a little more in this one given then every gaffer, line producer, DP and Best Boy is something of a brand unto themselves. Making profitable connections with global players gives us access to even more global players – because – as we all know – the best advertising tool is ‘word of mouth’.

thriving local businesses: 🧳

The place where a film is produced often extends its benefits to the local community. Foreigners who come to India also explore its culture, its local arts and crafts and its resources – benefitting many beyond the crew themselves.

Here are some of the brands Dot has provided production service for:

Artgrid:

They needed India led stock footage creation with a cinematic approach. We were able to pass all of their strict quality checks and bounteous scenario shots. 

A project to mention under this was their cinematic stock Indian pilot that they brought us on board for our taste and execution. The brief needed us to capture a series of clips for the theme of ‘gully cricket’ so we went all in to get as authentic and rustic as the dusty-eyed spirit of gully cricket truly needed.

Storyblocks:

Much like Artgrid, Storyblocks needed India led stock footage to diversify their current bank. Every YouTube channel’s favorite stock website Storyblocks wanted to create a stock-footage set, the theme of which was ‘the modern Indian kitchen’ and we were brought in for the execution, but not without deploying our own  Neo-Indian cinematic lens.

We set up a moody dinner scene to get the most drama out of our lighting and planned a massive set of rushes which brought together a family of 5 to the table but the majority of which stayed in the kitchen around a somewhat overworked mother. We like to think the set came out well-seasoned, balanced and usably authentic. 

RECKITT:

Dot Films undertook the Indian leg of global content production for both film and photography for their employee branding campaign. We did the entirety of film production and some portion of stills, including the HoD work for the sets for them, while being in tandem with the global technical and creative requirements of the brand and this campaign.

Meta:

Dot films served as the full-service line production unit for film and photography for a bucket of internal asset library that Meta needed to produce in India with Shutterstock. They had some very specific requirements for casting, location and other finer details, but we delivered, all the while expanding the palate of the US team in New Delhi.

Bloomberg:

In another episode of the Shutterstock project, we were now facilitating Indian still content production for Bloomberg.

Kama Ayurveda:

Kama Ayurveda, after an ownership rejig under French heavyweight Puig, needed a fresh batch of film and photography content for their products and corp-comm to be shot in India. Doubling as tourism ambassadors for the great Southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, we undertook the entirety of the line production over a span of about 15 days, taking the French team and supermodels from houseboats to Elephant Sanctuaries and some pit stops in between. 

Femisphere:

Dot Films collaborated with Florian Reittner, an up and coming prodigal director from Austria for a personal project of his under Filmakademie Baden Wüttemberg (Germany). In a refreshing turn of events the script was a hard-hitting metaphorical vignette-piece with women empowerment as a theme. As a work of pure art, existing outside the requirements of any brand, but also without the budgets of a brand, our resourcefulness was stretched far beyond what we’d done before but not without its reward.

So what do you need to be able to call yourself a good Production Service provider?

people skills: 👯

You need to be able to talk and communicate with people across borders, cultures and mindsets. It is important to keep an open-minded welcoming attitude and an inclusive disposition to be able to cater to film makers across the globe.

management skills: ⏲️

When global (or local, for that matter) filmmakers come to India to make films, they are often pressed for time and come with budgets that have little room to breathe. It is imperative to them that their partner production house manages time and resources optimally.

networks & connections: 🛜

A solid and dependable network that makes things possible will be your best asset. To be able to connect and collaborate, you need networks and connections with people whose work precedes them, and those that come with tons of experience.

a creative mindset: 🌈

Being a Production Service provider also means that you and your team need to be in the intellectual capacity of understanding creativity and the vision of a director, DoP, producer or a photographer, while also coming up with tangible, local solutions to turn said vision into reality.

a welcoming & hospitable attitude: 🫶

You need to bring out the Punjabi hospitality in you, welcoming, pleasant and appropriately extra. Looking out for the needs of your collaborators and fulfilling them without having been asked to is definitely a skill that people remember and talk about as well. 

a love and understanding of home: 🤍

India is a large tapestry of complexities within myriad complexities, from bureaucracy, to language to landscape and it’s all a little too much to navigate as a foreigner. For this reason alone you need to operate as something of a custodian and expert of your bit of the land.

No matter the level of skill set, the challenges are obvious while traveling this tricky road called production services. Here is our list of challenges in order of level of mind-bogglingness:

technology:

Figuring out the equipment requirement and sourcing it can often be tricky given that Indian and foreign markets operate under varying degrees of lag. 

permits:

Applying for required permits and at the same time intuitively predicting the permits that might be required for supplementation is something that usually one finds out the hard way.

living proximity:

The Indian traffic and far off locations can throw a project off track and can also be off-putting. Arranging for standard living situations around shoot locations (especially if the location is off-beat) can be tricky.

having a jugaad for everything that might go wrong:

Your collaborators depend on you to think creatively for things that might not be possible one way and give tangible native solutions.

time management:

Planning, planning again and planning some more is the only thing that can get you through a project while optimizing resources across time zones. As painful as it may be to keep looking at a production sheet and keep making changes that save a minute here and two there, it is also something that keeps the project smoothly running and is of paramount importance. 

If you’ve come this far in reading our experiences, we know that you too wish to take this leap of faith, and we don’t blame you. Production service is still an upcoming market. FCC South Asia talked about film production in India at length in a live stream on March 11, 2024 (see it here) which has helpful insights of what our industry is currently capable of and what it is gearing up for. It is for certain that there is great value in Film Production Service in India and a Film Agency has scope to make itself known for providing niche services and add to it their own special flavor.

Ours is spicy with a hint of umami. 🌶️

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fin. period. kham. the end. full stop. iota. bas. kham. fin. period. kham. the end. full stop. iota. bas. kham.
  fin. period. kham. the end. full stop. iota. bas. kham. fin. period. kham. the end. full stop. iota. bas. kham.