A Director is an Actor, Creator, Writer & Producer of HER Life, ask ME anything – Jyoti Bajaj
Jyoti is working as an Associate Director in the film industry. She worked on both fiction and non-fiction formats and finds Ad Filmmaking is very fascinating.
She has an incredible short journey, as she comes from a corporate background, where all the parameters are defined and an employee should perform accordingly.
Thereafter, she just stops thinking, switches off from her corporate environment and jumped into the magical Film Industry. Now, she is eating, sleeping and drinking movies all the time.
Now, she is working almost 18 hours a day but she loves her job. Jyoti just finished writing the dialogues for a Hindi Feature, which will go on the floor pretty soon. Shortly, she will start directing short films.
In an exclusive interview with The Professional Times, Jyoti talked about her journey and experiences into the film industry.
TPT: How do you see the competitive world and how do you manage to deal with it?
JB: All of us are professionals, we know our job well, so there is a healthy competition. There is work for everyone and it is all about going out there and grabbing that job, provided the setup is professional.
Previously, girls were apprehensive about joining the Film Industry because outsiders looked at it like one big bad world. There are so many myths about the industry. Women would join with a premeditated mindset.
So the approach itself was defensive. It would take a while for them to realise that it was not true at all. A lot has changed in the last few years. There are more women working in the industry. I am here for work, I am getting good work and getting compensated well.
TPT: In your views, what should be the qualities to become a successful Film Director?
JB: Most important qualities are planning, commitment, integrity and always be prepared for the unexpected. There is a 90% chance of a scene being rescheduled according to the availability of actors or locations.
On any film set, if the director is looking stressed for reasons other than thinking about the next scene with his actors, then the Assistants are not good enough. We have to shield him off the production issues if any, else it will be a disaster for the film.
Personally, I would like to make every technician sign the “No Phone” on the set clause, but that usually doesn’t happen. I always pray that the technicians don’t receive Breakup calls from wives and girlfriends or boyfriends (laughs).
TPT: What were the failure which converted into a success?
JB: I don’t want to sound cliched but I accept failure in the same way that I accept success. I am not too ambitious and like to be in reality. I am happy with whatever small or big I have achieved and thank God for this beautiful thing called life.
TPT: Given an opportunity, how you would have started ten years back?
JB: Every step, every decision in our life depends on the situation that we are in, at that moment. I am lucky to have some real people around me, who always showed me the real picture. They keep me grounded all the time (laughs). I don’t regret any of my decisions – in the past or the present.
TPT: What is your most courageous decision in the shoot?
JB: We received a call from a producer about shooting a web series abroad. I was on the moon because I always wanted to shoot a film abroad. The problem was that we were already shooting an ad film in Mumbai.
I had to work out the logistics for the direction team. I realised that the shooting dates were not working in our favour and told my director that we should say no to the web series. I always believe that we should first do the job in hand rather than dreaming of what is yet to fall in our lap.
TPT: Every person has strong and weak domains, how do you see yourself in this domain?
JB: I am very blunt and no-nonsense by nature, so the people, who claim to be my friends (pun intended) see me as this arrogant girl. I am ok with it because with most people it is not OK for a woman to comment or speak out, even if they are wrong. I prefer to speak up. (smiles)
I absolutely connect with people who understand and respect me for who I am. This bluntness has actually helped me at the position that I am in.
So if I see a problem in the script or logistics, I immediately bring it to the notice of the production team. I believe if the issue can be sorted out by altering the location or dialogues then it should be done on the table or before the shoot because time is money. Now after every narration my Director always looks at me for my comments and suggestions. (Laughs)
TPT: What challenges are you facing & what is stopping you to move ahead?
JB: I wish we had a system in place where one finishes the job and immediately gets paid for it. (chuckles).
I mean, as a freelancer, I usually join the director at least a week before the shoot, but get paid for only the actual shoot days, which is funny and defies all logic. The union is not doing enough.
I am sure every assistant faces the same problems in their projects. But I am not complaining because, once I am in the film location, I see only smiling faces. Rain, fire or non-payment least bothers us. We are just passionate about our job and will go to any extent to get it done perfectly and on time.
TPT: How well do you connect and listen to others?
I have always been a good listener and this quality is actually helping me do my job easily without any complications. I have to listen and understand the script thoroughly and then do the logistics. Else the whole shoot schedule can go wrong.
In life outside movies, if I don’t connect with the person, then forget listening, I don’t even participate in the conversation. (laughs)
TPT: What motivates you to start every new day?
JB: I have set goals for myself. If I am not shooting, then I am writing. The best part is, I am thinking movies all the time, so negativity and negative people stay far-far away from me.
I like to narrate stories, so most of the time I am narrating stories to friends who are not even connected to movies. (laughs)
TPT: What is the favourite part of your current job?
JB: (Her eyes lit up) Everything…everything about movies, every aspect of filmmaking. There may be differences of opinion at the creative level, but together, we all go out there to execute the story writers dream lines into a visual reality. Incredible..isn’t it?