Online content creator traces his success story

Online content creator traces his success story

Engineer B Puneeth on how he pioneered short Kannada videos and increased the pace over 10 years

Engineer-turned-actor B Puneeth was among the first to tap into the online potential for Kannada content. After a decade of creating short episodes in the entertainment space, he talks about his experiences and challenges.

You began your career as a child actor...

I was a hyper-energetic and enthusiastic kid, seen at all competitions and events in school. Right from painting to creative writing to performing arts, I would be everywhere. It was only after I joined the children’s theatre troupe, Bimba, that I was able to structure my creative process and shape my sensibilities. I got opportunities to explore acting, scripting and directing. I used to write blogs about the Kannada entertainment industry during my college days. I later moved to create exclusive digital content, designing social media campaigns, and creating characters.

How did you come up with the idea of your poster venture? 

I happened to read a post online about minimal posters in Hollywood and Bollywood. I wasn’t a trained graphic designer, but I thought I should give it a try. Probably because there weren’t many players back then, I was lucky enough to grab the attention of film buffs. I just got super motivated once the appreciation started coming in and got crazy enough to create more than 800 posters in a short span. A lot of people who followed my work called me ‘Poster Boy.’ So, when I decided to start a production house, I called it Poster Boy Art Studios. My first project was ‘The Kathe Project’ which was a series to bring back the concept of evening stories. It featured stories of personalities like Prakash Rai and Ramesh Aravind. It got 1.3 million views on Facebook. We later brought out a digital brand called ‘Ideeria’ to run original and partnered campaigns.

What inspires you to create content online?

The kick an idea gives me... that is the only trigger. I usually like working on topics that are extremely niche and untapped.

What has been the most challenging project so far?

I think it was the ‘Unkal’ series. It was an experimental pop series where my content would be social commentary. To keep this character intact and yet make the episode engaging was challenging. There used to be no formal script. I would simply stick a big moustache and act in one go.

Tell us about the fictional character that you created to interact with people working from home?

This was a total surprise. I just made a small fun video on how conversations would be if the work from home meetings were honest during the lockdown. It went viral overnight. It probably clicked because it was highly relatable. People have suggested that I build on this character and do more of it.

What was the series that you worked with Sudha Rani?

It was #BreakTheSthreeOType for which I produced and directed two short films on gender inclusivity featuring Sudha Rani and Bhoomi Shetty in lead roles. I liked how Sudha Rani used to bring in her vast experience and without saying much, give us our space for learning. It was the same when I collaborated with Prakash Raj and Ramesh Aravind. I personally feel when I interact with senior actors, their eyes tell big stories and I love capturing them.

Is there a dearth of Kannada content online?

I don’t see any dearth, having followed the trend for 10 years. At least the insecurity and inferiority are almost gone and there is abundant content. It is also well-segmented and the audiences are in place. But I see a big vacuum in niche content. We have to create more original content and tell stories of this land and culture and pin ourselves up and say “This is us!”.

How do you keep pace with the online competition? 

It’s only getting tougher with every passing day. It becomes very critical to identify who your audiences are, know them really well, and create a niche market for yourself. It’s just a matter of one scroll or swipe for your content to make a mark or lose it. So, I make sure I am updated with what’s happening around the world, about formats being tried. I also make sure I connect with content creators to discuss, learn their perspectives and share best practices.