Behind the scenes

on the web
Last Updated 18 February 2017, 18:43 IST

It may be consumed purely for entertainment purposes as an attention span-fulfilling act that has been exaggerated for comic effect. But that does not mean that one presumes there is only frivolity behind the scenes.

When it comes to entertainment on the web, it must be explicitly mentioned that it takes a defined method and process to fully manufacture a video. Tracy Dsouza, creative head, and Shruti Madan, senior writer at Girliyapa, the YouTube channel that dishes out women-centric content, let me in on a few things related to the realm of entertainment on the Internet.

First things first. What does it take to make a video, and what is the thought process behind it? Well, it seems like there is typically no one method that works as a formula. Sometimes, a video is made around a particular event (say, such as Valentine’s Day or Rakshabandhan). Or, in certain instances, there is a one-liner which works as a focal point, and is juicy enough to give birth to a video, while simultaneously making a point as well.

“Sometimes, it is just one writer whose idea it is. We sit together, jam on it, make it better. When all are satisfied, we go ahead with it,” Tracy and Shruti say. “As for the time taken for one video, it depends on what we are doing. For certain projects, we have taken about a month. Smaller sketches take lesser time, with limited characters and one location as requirements. Longer scripts take about a month.”
Once a script is ready, then begins the task of seeing who can bring it to life.

Casting is the singlemost important part of script execution. “As a writer, often, when you are writing, you see who can fit into this role or who can add the most to characters you are building. Of course, it helps to get popular faces, because, then the reach of the video is amplified. Keeping in mind what benefits the video most, more popular people either from the theatre or web circuit are cast,” Shruti explains.

A slight variant of such videos that can now be seen becoming popular are musicals — an original number, adaptive cover etc. Of course, the major difference with these kind of videos lies in the production. It definitely means more people, dancers, choreographers, resources, and layers of creatives, thereby making it much more challenging.

Speaking of resources, producing a video (with an average running time of 10 minutes) can cost anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 80,000. And of course, if there is a brand involved, the budget is higher, prompting the production scale to go higher as well. Of course, with brand integration, the concept has to fit in organically with the video; else it might end up looking like advertising.

Similarly, one other element that has to effortlessly blend in is language. And as is the case with most series, Hindi (which uses English as a crutch on occasion) seems to be the common consensus when it comes to the mode of communication. The idea behind this, they tell me, is to keep it simple and relatable. ‘Let’s show it like it is’ – is the tagline.

With a rising abundance of good content on YouTube, one often wonders what or when the tipping was, when viewers switched from television to web. “Well, content was being discovered for the last few years. It has always been around. It is only now that people are being loyal subscribers to channels. Of course, it is a great way to help us in creating a wider reach. Also, it is a quick and sureshot method of judging how your content has fared as well,” Tracy and Shruti sum up.

(Published 18 February 2017, 15:31 IST)

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