AISFM Inaugural Session 2017, A Great Start!

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Bright smiles and eager faces of our new set of students said it all! The AISFM Inaugural Session of 2017 welcoming the students and their families into the AISFM fold, was celebrated at N Convention Hall.

The session started off with a flourish with a montage of all the nine Grad Films of our graduating batch which proudly showcased their learning, hard work and finesse!

The Chief Guest for the session was renowned film director Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, popularly known as Krish, known for his Telugu hits like ‘Gamyam’, ‘Vedam’, ‘Gautamiputra Satakarni’ and Kangana Ranaut’s Hindi historical ‘Manikarnika’ which is under production. Lauding the students’ choice of school, he said, “all you students have chosen a very strong and good film school that has high level of expertise in cinema & backed by Annapurna Studios; no other school is better than AISFM.” Appreciating the grad films that he saw, he regretted that he did not have a chance like these students to learn at a film school. Reminiscing about a chat he had with our founder, the legendary Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, he said, “ANR garu had said that cinema is an amalgamation of multiple arts and crafts and the synthesis of all these elements form a beautiful art called cinema.” He recollected his journey of becoming a filmmaker and how he would sometimes wait outside Annapurna Studios to get a peek, and how later a long & hard determined journey brought him to the same studios as a working director on Manikarnika recently.  He encouraged AISFM students, “If I can do it, you can do it.”

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Krish then advised the students, “be passionate in doing whatever you do and absorb as much as you can from your classes. You have a great chance to learn and experience here in the live studios, be open minded and a team player. Hard work is more important than talent, and of course endurance.” He ended on a thoughtful note, “if we are failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail, so work really hard and be passionate.”

Renowned Hollywood business expert, author and President of FilmProfit, Jeffrey Hardy who is our Academic Advisor sent in his wishes for the students along with a message. He said, “I feel honoured, to be asked by the Dean, to be a part of the group that is advising particularly MMBA students. I think the business side of business is what I focus my life on and it is the business side of business is what makes everything run well. You can’t just think only about the creative side, you have to do good production, you have to have them well-managed, you have to do good distribution, you have to look for every opportunity in the market, you have manage it well, manage relationships with exhibitors and distributors and everyone else.”

Bob Brown, popular Hollywood Action Director, known for blockbusters like Transformers, Mission Impossible, Terminator, xXx , sent in his message too and said, “AISFM is a state-of-the-art international film school and is a great place to learn.”

Reputed Hollywood writer, Paul Guay who has penned titles like Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar, Little Rascals and Heartbreakers congratulated the new batch of AISFM for getting into the school. He said, “When Dean Bala Raj invited me to be an Academic Advisor for their Screenwriting program, I took time to study the school. I was impressed with all aspects of AISFM. I haven’t seen any film school that’s located on the studio lots like AISFM. You’re going to have a great learning experience and a fun ride.”

Iconic Indian director S.S. Rajamouli who created the prestigious grand epic ‘Bahubali,’ too sent in his words of advice and best wishes for the young and enthusiastic students and said, “absorb, learn, get exposed to life in the AISFM campus itself and work hard.”

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Our Honorary Director, Amala Akkineni, while officially inaugurating the new academic year 2017, shared her thoughts about how the school came into existence, “the legendary actor and AISFM Founder Akkineni Nageswara Rao would have been proud to see you all here, especially with our current students covering the event on video. It was his dream to start a school. He had said, ‘It is not enough to create a place of work but a place to train and educate is needed’ and that is how this school started. He didn’t go to any film school but he learnt by working hard as a trainee, as an apprentice. He felt that most Indian youngsters could not have access to international film & media schools, hence he started AISFM right in Hyderabad, with international standards.”

Her words of advice for the students were, “Take the plunge into learning, be passionate and become a learner for life. Don’t forget to play, have fun and enjoy. Nobody succeeds if you do not enjoy. Make friends and build a network and create wonderful work together. Your critics will push you forward, take criticism constructively and positively, learn from them and grow with them. Learn to observe, silence the judge in you and observe. You will learn every aspect of film and media here. Technology is changing every day, so create your own unique niche and remember you are special. I believe that we have the future ANR, Christopher Nolan and Rajamouli amongst the students’ right here.”

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Our Dean of Academics and Faculty, Direction & Screenwriting, Bala Rajasekharuni, addressing the students said, “Give your best in one area of your passion, then you will do good in other areas too. It is the time of meeting points of arts, education, commerce and technology. AISFM is a liberal arts school and its curriculum reflects the nature of the world today. The school is relevant to today’s times, because it has a unique structure of specializations, areas of passion and areas of technical expertise which is a craft for survival that gets ready jobs in the industry. Value interdisciplinary study in integrated phase of your degree, since today’s world is an integration of audio & visual media whether it is film, television, internet, or cell phones, all of them are at a meeting point, which demands multi-talented professionals.”

He further congratulated the parents who have allowed their children to pursue their passion and added, “To call ourselves an international school, it’s not enough to just have an international syllabus. AISFM is a true international school because; we have a global vision, and are building a strong international advisory board for all departments by the end of this year. Already three Hollywood experts are on board and many others are on their way in.”

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Padma Ramesh, Faculty, Liberal Arts & Business Communications, spoke of the importance of short and long term goals, positive attitude, creative thinking, teamwork, commitment and briefed them about the rules and regulations of the school and urged them to be good brand ambassadors of the school.

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Alumni Meher Kilaru and Preksha Trivedi spoke about their learnings at AISFM and how it made a difference in their lives. Meher, who is a student from the 1st batch, recollected his journey at the school and how Nagarjuna Akkineni called him to talk about marketing strategies for the movie Manam and how his words of advice of ‘Think big, what’s stopping you?’ still ring true to him in every aspect of life today. After working on Manam and Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu, he is now working with Radio Mirchi 98.3; he advised the students to “never lose the fire within to pursue your passion, never stop educating yourself and never lose the ability to watch a film as a common audience.” Preksha echoed the same thoughts and said, “I joined AISFM because I love movies and I had an opportunity to learn, what followed were two years of brilliant learning experience. So do everything you can and keep learning.”

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The students were then addressed by our in-house counsellor Diana Monteiro, who spoke about parenting styles and how it is important for children to have hard experiences for a life education.

The event concluded with ice breaker group activities organized by Faculty Amit Prasad, Sai Gokul Ramnath and Dr. Vijaya Raghava with freshmen as the participants.  The impromptu skits were received by the crowd with laughs, cheers and applause.

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Graduation Ceremony of FFM & Animation

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Our short courses are very popular for a reason; they are a practical way for working professionals in the media industry to upgrade their existing skills and knowledge, keep up with the ever-changing technologies and learn new talents that can help their professional development and growth. Another reason that makes them popular is that they help non-media professionals try out the world of media and pursue further by joining our degree program if they enjoy it.

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Another set of 30 students graduated on July 14th amidst much excitement at Mayabazar in our campus. The Graduation batches were people who joined our Fundamentals of Film Making and Advanced Diploma in 3D Animation & VFX course. The chief guests for the event were famous music composer, singer, actor and director R P Patnaik and well-known actor Ravi Prakash.

R.P. Patnaik while interacting with the students emphasised on the importance of the story, character design, music and background score in a film and shared some acting tips for the acting students who attended the session. He then also spoke about marketing strategies and how it can help a film, with the FFD students.

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Ravi Prakash stressed on the importance and benefits of studying in a film school and how it will make them better equipped to face the film industry. He also shared a few glimpses on how the present work atmosphere is in the industry.

Our Dean Bala Raj, CAA Dr. Raghava and FFD anchor faculty Dr. Kiron were also present at the event. Along with the graduating students the Fundamentals of Film Direction and Acting short course students also attended the ceremony to gain some valuable insights. The students then engaged in a lively interactive session with the chief guests and asked many questions, while learning and understanding the workings of the film industry.

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Our Fundamentals of Filmmaking course provides hands on training in professional filmmaking at an introductory level where students explore the complete process of digital film-making during the course period. The Advanced Diploma in 3D Animation and VFX course with an exclusive intake of just 13 students helps master the art and science of animation and visual effects in the one-year course.

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AISFM Film Fest Showcases Students’ Splendid Work

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It’s that time of the year again, when Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM) is ready to proudly present to the world, the brilliant work of their graduating students. A festival of films in the truest sense of the word, the films were shown to an eager audience that comprised of celebrities, students, friends & families, at its preview theatre over a period of two days.

The two-day festival opened with the premiere of films made by graduating final year students of BFA, MA & MMBA degrees and the films dealt with nine diversely entertaining and thought provoking topics.

It was definitely a celebration time for all the students since it was the finale of their years of hard work. Behind the arduous and fascinating process of filmmaking were various phases like selection of stories by a faculty committee, meticulous screenwriting, production planning, shooting, post-production work with the support and guidance of their dedicated faculty.

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Films by Bachelors students included “The White Field” by Karthik Parmar, “Nitya” by Abhimanyu Kumar, “Maut ka Kuan” by Prithvi Chahal and “Understanding Moksha” by Sameer Kumar.

The films by Masters Students comprised of “Preme Madhuram” by Anil Kumar, “Bhetala” by Rohit Krishna, “Kadivalama” by Ananya Ayachit, “Talaari” by Degala Sai Akhil Yadav and “Chetak” by Gandhapuneni Nandan.

The festival was attended by industry luminaries Akkineni Nagarjuna, Founder of AISFM, Amala Akkineni, Hon. Director of AISFM, veteran actor Tanikella Bharani, famous director Indraganti Mohan Krishna, young heartthrob and actor Akhil Akkineni, well-known actors Srinivas Avasarala, Adivi Sesh, director Omkar, reputed writer Gopimohan, veteran writer and actor K.L. Prasad and Bala Rajasekharuni, Dean of AISFM.

AISFM Founder Akkineni Nagarjuna lauded the students’ efforts in making the brilliant short films and added how short films were now no less than feature films in terms of the expertise they need, and he added, people can look at options beyond Pune for film education today. “I am confident that the kind of talent that I have seen here today is no less than that of any film professional.”

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AISFM Director Amala Akkineni, congratulated the graduates and said the purpose of the festival was to create a premier environment for the students as a way of celebrating their achievements in filmmaking. “We all are very excited and eager to watch the wonderful films that will be premiered over two days by our talented graduating students. The purpose of this festival is to create a platform for the students as a way of celebrating their achievements in filmmaking. Such festivals not only recognise exceptional student work but also allow insightful feedback from the jury and variety of film professionals that enhance student skills,” she said.

Dean of AISFM, Bala Rajasekharuni, lauded the students’ efforts and said “Through this grad film festival our school is committed to linking films, filmmakers, audiences and the industry. AISFM Grad Film festival provides an opportunity for the talented filmmakers to share their work and engage with working industry professionals and gain valuable advice from the experts, which helps them shape their careers in the film industry”. He further added that apart from artistic merit, AISFM also equips the student filmmakers with the commercial realities of the industry and market expectations, in order for them to succeed in the industry.

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Veteran actor Tanikella Bharani said that in the past, “the only way to learn about the art of films was either through theatre or by watching old films. After FTII in Pune, this is the only other well established vibrant film school in the country.” He added that film schools now do the job that Telugu dramas did back then which is an opportunity to discover yourself. Eminent screen-writer K L Prasad added that he is now in a role of an educator but wished someone had educated him before he entered films. Akhil Akkineni praised the students’ work and stressed on the need of film education.

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Mohana Krishna Indraganti, an FTII product himself and Srinivas Avasarala emphasised on the importance and requirement for more film schools and the need to nurture right awareness before they enter feature films. Adivi Sesh recollected his Kshanam memories, a part of which was shot at AISFM premises and congratulated the students on their outstanding films.

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Oscars Nominations for 2017

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Come January and the entire entertainment fraternity, of course with fans included, around the world eagerly await the Academy Awards. Interest levels are high and it reaches a crescendo up to its telecast in February, when millions of movie lovers worldwide tune in to watch the glamorous ceremony.

Considered the highest form of recognition, The Academy Awards or ‘Oscars’, recognizes excellence in cinematic achievements. Did you know that the awards ceremony was first broadcast to radio in 1930 and televised for the first time in 1953 making it the oldest entertainment awards ceremony in the world.

The much-awaited and coveted list of nominees for the Oscars 2017 is finally out! La La Land is the leading contender for the 89th Academy Awards with a record-equalling 14 nominations. This includes nominations in each of the big four categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Damian Chazelle, Best Actress for Emma Stone and Best Actor for Ryan Gosling. Only All About Eve and Titanic have been nominated as many times in the past.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 22. Check out the list of nominations in the popular categories below. Who do you think will win?

Best Picture

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight

Best Director

Denis Villenueve – Arrival
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Damian Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Kenneth Lonegan – Manchester By The Sea

Best Actor

Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor  

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell Or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By The Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester By The Sea

Original Screenplay

Hell Or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester By The Sea
20th Century Women

Original Score

Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Animated Feature

Kubo
Moana
My Life As A Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film

Land Of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

A dozen tips on how to get a job using social media

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Social media has made it all the more easier to find a job, and the right one at that! It connects you to the right people who can help you get your dream job. Of late, more and more companies are hiring people using social media and so are young professionals using it to find ‘the’ perfect job.

Sure, most people know how to use social media in their personal lives, but not many realise that it has a lot of power to make or break your job search. Studies have shown that most (92%) companies are using social media for hiring and hiring managers will check out a candidate’s social profiles.

To compete in this new talent marketplace, you need to understand who you are, what differentiates you and also establish your personal branding online. Searching for jobs ‘the right way’ on social media should be a big time part of your job search strategy.

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So, how should you tap into the power of social media to make searching for jobs easier? Well, worry not. Here are all the tips you need to use on every platform out there to your advantage.

  1. Establish your social presence
    Before you start searching, put your best foot forward and the first step is to identify your goals and objectives. Make sure you know what you are going after, before you start posting, ensure you know how each platform works, what you are posting and what your objectives are.
  2. Get relevant online
    Now that you have created your amazing social profiles, it is time to start creating a persona that will showcase who you really are and help you get more out there.  Putting up the right information is much more difficult than creating your profile itself. You can have the greatest looking profile in the world, but if it’s not relevant, there is no point.  blog_2
  3. Start searching
    Nearly all companies are using social media at some point in their hiring process. Visit the popular job portals, sign up to receive emails alerting you to new postings that meet your criteria, such as location or keyword and save time by focusing on sites that list openings exclusively in your area of interest.
  4. Reach out to people
    Many job-seekers waste their time networking with people who can’t really help them. Instead have a target list of companies likely to have jobs you are interested in based on your industry and job function and focus your networking activities on reaching the decision-makers in those companies. Send an intro email that describes how you met the person, describe your background and career goals and request for help. If you don’t get a response within three days, call that person and follow-up on the email you sent. Stay in touch with them and as you keep reaching out to and meeting with more and more decision-makers your network will grow larger and larger.
  5. From online to interview
    The key to landing a job is turning your online connection into a real-life interview. It would be ideal if you had the interview in person and not by telephone or on Skype or FaceTime, because a face-to-face meeting will give the interviewer the best chance for getting to know you and you will too. blog_1
  6. Make sure it is squeaky clean
    We hope you know this one already but nevertheless we will mention it. Make sure any public information on your various profiles is super clean. This definitely does not just mean profanities; you should also consider removing articles that are politically divisive or could be considered offensive and the like.
  7. Don’t be out there on everything
    Do not have an account on everything, being active on social media doesn’t obviously mean opening an account on every platform possible. It is much better to have an up-to-date account on one or two platforms than have many that you haven’t even looked at in years. It would help to have a LinkedIn account for obvious reasons, and a Facebook or Twitter; beyond that, see what is important for your industry and make one. blog_5
  8. Your real name
    Much as tempting as it may be, do not pick a punchy nickname or handle when making your profiles. Keep it simple and use your real name. This is not just professional but will also help people find your profile when they search for your name. If you have a common name or go by a nickname, make sure to choose a consistent name you will use across platforms and have your real name somewhere on each account.
  9. Keep your image consistent
    It would be good if you have a friendly, clear, latest and professional image across all platforms. If you are not sure, what ‘professional image’ looks like, just take a look at what the people in your industry are wearing and do the same. It will do well for your professional image too.
  10. All accounts in one place
    A personal website, professional blog or landing page is a good option or you could link them all from your LinkedIn profile, to create a central hub where you can collect all your presences around the web.  This will help hiring managers or potential contacts search for you on social media for potential jobs, and they can easily find all the profiles you want them to see. blog_3
  11. What’s your plan?
    Just like you check your Facebook and Twitter accounts; it is a great idea to check LinkedIn every day in the same way. To help keep yourself on track, come up with a plan for how often you will interact with LinkedIn. Keep checking and updating your profile regularly with the latest.
  12. Connect with people you know
    To increase your chances of getting a job faster, send people requests to connect on LinkedIn if you’ve interacted with them in some other way before; met at a networking event or sent an email back and forth.Follow people who work at your dream companies, it will help you get more information, when they tweet about job openings, helping you find them before other people do. It will also help you stay in the loop about the company and give you an edge during interviews. And maybe you can develop an actual connection by interacting with them, giving you a better shot at getting a job at the company.

Editing decoded, from the master himself!

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National Award winning film editor Akkineni Sreekar Prasad visited us for a Guest Lecture at Prasad Labs, to address our students on the topic of film editing. It was an honour and our pleasure to have him amongst us! He shared many an anecdote about his experiences while working on his award-winning films and interacted with the students.

Known for his works in Indian cinema he has worked on Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and English films and his last National Film Award for Best Editing was for his work on the feature film Firaaq. He has won the National Film Award for Best Editing seven times and owns one Special Jury Award, throughout a career spanning over two decades. Some of his notable editing works are Yodha (1992), Nirnayam (1995), Vaanaprastham (1999), Alaipayuthey (2000), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), Okkadu (2003), Aayitha Ezhuthu/Yuva (2004), Navarasa (2005), Anandabhadram (2005), Guru (2007), Billa (2007), Firaaq (2008), Pazhassi Raja (2009) and Talvar (2015).

AISFM Honorary Director Amala Akkineni and Dean Bala Rajasekharuni welcomed the guest, who needed no introduction. Sitting down for a long discussion with the students, he said that he was as nervous as he was as when editing a film. He got nostalgic about the place because he recalled that every time they finished editing a film, they come to Prasad Labs and view it. “That’s the most interesting part of a film when you see the first copy of a film and you know if it’s working or not.”

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Recollecting how his journey began in the industry he said, “It happened by chance. Dad and uncle were in the film industry. I was fascinated by books and thought journalism would be a good option. While that was yet to happen my dad asked me to come help out in the editing room and just watch and observe. During that process I got involved in working and then it became exciting because every day, every scene was a new story. I don’t know if I should regret not having a formal training but I think it is very important to have a formal training also, it’s a way of getting exposed to the techniques but it’s not the end of it. You will need to do an apprenticeship maybe but you will be much better trained than a person with no formal training.”

Students of different batches attended the guest lecture and trying to understand his perspective on various topics they asked him many questions and gained insights. Here is the excerpt of the session:

With over 300 films in your work record, what according to you is film editing and how has its definition changed over the years?
Film editing to me itself has changed over a period of time, from when I started off and today. If you go back in history, editing was started off mainly to join two strips of film, to make a video clip bigger so that they can see more. Slowly they realised the possibilities of how joining these film pieces into different forms could make it much more interesting. Then they tried to juxtapose a close up and slowly over 100 years, it slowly evolved. Initially editing was more functional and film was shot to a very bound script. As time passed they saw more possibilities in it. When I started, I was looking at it excitedly as a concept of storytelling and really never understood that editing can be much more than just joining those shots that the director wants to join to make it a scene. Slowly it sunk into me that a scene can be shown slightly in a different manner and you can withhold information, which was possible in editing. I should thank all my directors, for each one of them passed on some learning and a different perspective to filmmaking. Many people have asked me if I have a particular style but I have never felt it necessary to create a style and consciously I’ve never tried to create a style for myself. I would always try to get into a personal equation with the story and try to move with the story. Whatever is best for that story for those visuals I edit, we are not here to question what is been shot. Initially it was not possible to collaborate, but now it is easily possible to do that for the films I do, where I see the rushes immediately or two days later so I am able to give a creative input where it can still be corrected. Earlier that was not possible and whatever was given, we would try to make a structure out of it and polish it.

Editing impacting cinema as a tool for storytelling, where does it stand in the conventional workflow of filmmaking?
The whole concept of films is that you are trying to tell a story so that’s of paramount importance for the audience who is getting glued onto a scene in a particular story at some point. In our Indian ways of film, we have a lot of items inside a story and the audience has got used to it, like the leeway of songs etc. But if the story is not gripping for you at any point of time, then you would probably lose interest in the film. So the editor’s job directly is to make the story seem interesting and see to it that the story keeps moving all the time and it doesn’t become redundant or static; even with constraints like having breaks like songs or fights. The editor has to be conscious of his contribution and ensure that the story is moving in every frame of the film.

Is it a misconception that an editor comes only in the post-production of a film? How important do you think it is for an editor to be involved in the pre-production and production stages of a film?
I think it is very important for an editor to be a part of a film in preproduction itself because there are various things which he will be able to help in. In the story itself, if an editor is equipped enough to judge a story, he can suggest changes. What happens is that when you write a story most of it gets translated, 100% of it is never translated due to various problems. So even if 75% of what a director has visualized has been put on screen, then it is a huge effort. Some people don’t even visualize 50% of what they’ve written on paper. When a story is been written, there will be a lot of things that will not flow in the story and they may not be able to realise it sometimes. An editor’s insight will probably make him imagine how it will transition from one sequence to another, from one mood to another and can be corrected. And if computer graphics are involved, then it is better if the editor is involved from the beginning so that the whole system is smooth and there are no problems later in post production.

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So does editing start right from the development of the concept?
Yes, that is how it starts for me right now. But it is not fair for me to say that that’s how it could start for everybody. It didn’t start like that for me initially. Over the years I made it a point that it was not just cutting and pasting, and I started involving myself involuntarily also into the process with the director. You need to have a very good rapport and wavelength with the director. About 30 years ago lot of people would not have given importance to editing, and were very clear that this is the way it will be shot and edited. As time passed, filmmaking evolved and they realised that you could shoot more and get the best out of all the angles shot. Also with the advent of latest equipment there is a chance for us to experiment on a number of variations.

Editing starts during the shot division stage itself. Could you please explain how important editing is even for directors?
For a director also, it is very important to have an idea of editing in some way or another, maybe not in finesse or in totality. But if he knew from where it would be cut then it would be much easier for him. For a newer director it is always good to sit with the director and see how to break down the shots; why a close shot, why a wide or top angle one etc. The younger directors shoot with multi-cam and shoot all the angles for the whole sequence and then mostly leave it to the editor to decide. Just because we have all the shots, it doesn’t make sense to use all the scenes.

What are the misconceptions about editors that you have heard over the years?
Editing is not about lot of shots, editing is more about the shots that make an impact. It’s not about the number of cuts in a sequence. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of working on a digital platform. Advantages are endless because you can cut on any number of options. In the olden days they were editing on a smaller platform and they never watched it only on television, they watched it in places like this lab, so people would have an idea of how much would an expression register for a person.

Sometimes we change the story in the editing stage, can you please narrate any from your own experiences?
Once the shoot is done, we are editing in sequences and the overall flow is not seen. Once you put it into a story form you realise that there is repetition of information or obstructions, which need to be solved. 80% of the screenplay does change in the editing stage which will be in the interest of the film moving at a brisk pace. You need to show it in a concise manner. But when you write, not everyone can write like that. An example is a film called Kaminey. It had a peculiar problem which was that there were two characters and one was that of a person in action sequences and the other was of a love story. So in the parallel narrative when we put more time in the love story, the other action part was getting lost, so we had to strike a balance where it was almost uniformly similar in length. Another thing was that there was a wonderful 4-5 minute sequence in the beginning which had a great impact but at the same time what was after that was losing its impact so I had to tell the director the bad news that the scene had to go and he was shocked because they had spent lots of money on it. But as a director he didn’t buy it. In Bollywood there are screening for focus groups and their opinions were similar to mine. Then we took out that scene and showed it in other places to other groups and they liked it in terms of narrative of two brothers, so we had to remove the whole scene.

Another example is Firaaq, where there are five parallel stories and we had to maintain the rhythm of the five stories equally so that no one story got prominence. So we had to restructure the timing in such a way that the scenes end in almost a similar length. We also had to move a large chunk of the story form the middle towards the end to give it a climax for the theatre audience. Screenplay does change at the editing table to a large extent.

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What according to you makes an amazing cut?
Editing is not about showing off cuts. Probably there are situations and scenes where you show off cuts to make a point. But when the audience is watching he is seeing a movie not cuts, he does not know about cuts. We do use cuts when you want to jerk the audience into something or frighten them to create a certain effect. Predominantly you should not feel a cut and it should just flow with the story.

When our students saw Firaaq, they were surprised with the seemless editing for a topic like riots?
It also depends on the director because she was not trying to sensationalise the topic. She was affected by it and we tried to be sensitive to the issue and not sensationalise it in any way. It was her idea from the start which was to be an emotional experience. It needed that emotion to be carried forward.

It is said that an editor orchestrates the emotional rhythm, how important is the rhythm?
The rhythm is set by the story. So if that is clear to me what is that you want to convey then it helps. If you are working with people like Mani Ratnam, then he is also trying to convey an emotion even in a song, it is not an escapist song. There will be a balance of romance and story and it will not look just like a song. The amount of duration of a particular moment is important to convey a particular emotion. I follow; for every action and reaction there is a particular time. It cannot be a staccato type of editing, it will not seem real. So that amount of time you have to judge and leave. How to make it real and not synthetic is what you can set. If it is a retort, it has to be immediately etc.

In the Talvar climax conference room scene, how did you maintain the cuts?
There is a slight humour in the scene and it is a very unconventional scene for a climax where each team feels their investigation is right. So as a filmmaker we slightly have a tendency if you notice, although it seems objective, to make it look like Irfan Khan’s investigation was probably the real one. So when he was saying his lines ridiculing the others it always required the underline of the others reaction to make him look like he was making fun of them. The fun was the reactions of the others, if not it would not have lifted the scene to the level it did.

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How tough was it to show the same scene so many times from different perspectives?
That was the biggest challenge in that film for me, to start the story at the same time. Although the screenplay had the structure in place, as an editor the challenge was how much to show and how much to rewind because it shouldn’t get monotonous. So we slowly filtered out the monotony as the edit went on. If you realise the third is a short version because we realised it will not hold good. We just highlighted the points of difference or contention.

What are the job responsibilities of an intern and what hierarchy is followed once a student joins the industry?
The intern should know how to handle the equipment. Probably he/she might not know how to handle an assistant director or director, so he/she will have to observe. If he/she is becoming an editor then he/she has to make his/her own game plan. But if he/she is joining an editor as an assistant, then he/she should watch their workflow. It requires a year at least for them to get used to it.

You rarely use transitions in your films?
I don’t generally see it as a requirement, so I don’t use transitions because I feel it becomes unreal unless I am really trying to tell something. But for pure film viewing I don’t feel the need unless it’s a specific purpose like denoting a passage of eight years. Usually I am able to convey what I want to convey without these effects. For example, the jump cuts in Dil Chahta Hai.

What is your advice for budding film professionals?
Be passionate about what you are doing, whatever discipline you are going to take. In editing you need a lot of patience. You should be aware of where you are going to operate and create a market for yourself. That’s very important, so work towards that and explore that. You definitely have to experiment and try to do something different, so that you can make a mark for yourself. The most important thing is that you have to be clear where you are getting into in the industry, which market and be aware of that industry before you enter that industry.

See the rest of the photos here: http://bit.ly/2baHkgt

 

Khwaish’s dream coming true!

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Khwaish, a short film about ‘a man chasing his dreams’, has been nominated for film fests this year across the country. Khwaish has been nominated for Manhattan Short India contest, Navi Mumbai International Film Festival, Slaman Farsi Film Festival, Tehran, Iran, Jagran Film Festival and All Lights India International Film Festival.

Khwaish is set in 2002 when India played against England for the title of the Natwest Trophy and is the story of Karim Khan, a small town guy from a village named Kashti. Karim unlike other small town guys is very different and still hopes of achieving his dreams at any cost. Karim being a big fan of cricket desires to go to Lords to watch the match. ‘Will Karim make it to Lords? Can Karim achieve his goal ever?’, is the rest of the story.

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Strangely similar to the storyline of the short film that shows how destiny plays a role, is the real life story of the writer-director of this short film and how destiny brought him to AISFM and how Khwaish was no more a dream, but a dream fulfilled!

Pushkar Vishwasrao, the man behind it all, the writer and director and MA 2016 student of AISFM, writes about the short film, how it came into existence and how it became his graduation film project. Here it is in his own words!

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“This was not just another short film for me. It was my graduation project and it was also my passport to get into the industry. So I had to think of the story which was very different from what my colleagues were making, so that I could stand out from it. Being from a cricket background there is always a special place for this game. The story of this film revolves around an old man who is a big cricket fan and wants to go to Lords to watch India’s cricket match. This story didn’t strike me overnight.

Frankly speaking this was the dream of my uncle, who is a 70-year-old neighbor and is a big fan of cricket. He always discussed cricket with me because he saw me playing professional cricket since my childhood. So one day when I was thinking about the project and what story I should work on, this story idea came up. This was very close to my heart and I thought of working on this story.  

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Even though I had made short film,s before I was a bit nervous before going for the shoot. This was our Graduation Project and our future depended on this. This film gave me and my team a lot of confidence and it also showed us where we stand after two years of studying filmmaking at Annapurna International School of Film and Media.

We faced a major hiccup when on the first day of the shoot in the early morning at 5:00am we came to know that our actor who was coming from Bombay has been hospitalized due to some medical issue. We had been given only five days for the shoot and the first day was cancelled due to this problem.

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Now we had only four days in hand and we needed an actor who could speak Marathi, as my script was in Marathi. Finally our Acting Faculty Yashraj Jadhav agreed to do it as he is a Maharashtrian, but on one condition that he should be left by 4:00pm as he had acting classes. We agreed to it and started shooting the next day and by God’s grace we completed the shoot in four days time.”

Pushkar had worked as an Assistant Director on ad films in Mumbai and also as a freelance casting director on ad films for a couple of years in the industry. And it was while working with his seniors in college that he was swept away by this art form. Says he, “I too wanted to be a part of this form and tell some stories about human emotions, that people can relate to and empathise with. Hence while chasing my dream, my destiny got me here to AISFM and today I am doing my graduation film which follows the theme of “Chasing Dreams”. Being a student of AISFM I was exposed to how the industry works. We also got an opportunity to meet stalwarts from the film Industry and their inputs have really helped us and are still working as we consider what each person has said and how different their point-of-view is from ours.”  “I’m currently working on a screenplay for a Marathi feature. Let’s hope for the best and I hope it will reach the public very soon,” he signs off.

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Grad Film Fest 2016 photo for keepsake! The crew of Khwaish with Chief Guests for the evening;
(Standing L-R):
Swaroop Naini, Pranav Ramani, Nidhi Doshi, Sudeep Patil, Pushkar Vishwasrao, Rachna Deshpande, Akhil D Manu, Mustafa Yusuf.
(Seated L-R): Dean of AISFM Mr. Bala Raj, famous actor Mr. Sumanth, young star Mr. Akhil Akkineni, famous actress Ms. Lakshmi Manchu, popular story writer Mr. Gopi Mohan and well-known director Mr. Kalyan Krishna.

Rangmanch’s Holi, a colourful triumph!

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AISFM’s theatre club, ‘Rangmanch’, staged the Hindi adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar’s ‘Holi’, an iconic Marathi play at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Basheerbagh. Over 400 people turned up for the play and the student event was a huge success.

Harshad Dinkar Fad, representative for ‘Rangmanch’ – An AISFM Theatre Club and an AISFM MMBA III student in his own words jots down the journey of the stage play, from conception to finish, capturing its every essence in its truest form!

Witness this wonderful drama unfurl; pre, during and post, in front of you with his words!

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When the clubs were revamped at AISFM last semester before the summer break, the newly elected representatives for Theatre Club, that was me and S. Venkat Narayan Murthy, had a clear vision of starting the new academic year with a grand theatrical performance. Our vision was supported by other clubs and most importantly Dean Bala sir, who suggested on staging a play that included various performing arts thus involving several clubs in the production. As exciting as it sounds, all the clubs agreed upon taking up this challenge. The theatre club was named ‘Rangmanch’ and we were set to paint the world of theatrics!

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After a lot of brainstorming the club representatives decided to adapt a critically acclaimed film into a theatrical play. Unfortunately, the producers of this film denied us the permission citing the reason that they themselves were in the process of adapting it for stage. By the time this notification came we had already adapted the first act. With such little time left to prepare, Dean Bala sir came to our rescue and suggested we stage Mahesh Elkunchwar’s ‘Holi’. An iconic Marathi play from an iconic playwright, our responsibilities were multiplied to showcase a quality production. It was difficult to find the English or Hindi adaptation of this play and hence I asked my parents to send the original Marathi script from Pune. It took a good three days’ time to translate and adapt ‘Holi’ into a Hind-English play. The adapted script for ‘Holi’ was finally locked. It was time now to build a team.

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From just me and Venkat at the beginning, ‘Team Holi’ eventually went on to be a 42 member troupe! ‘Rangmanch’ conducted its first auditions, where we found some actors with great potential. Most of these actors were completely new to stage acting and excited to explore the medium.

‘Holi’ is a play based on a hostel where everything was as paranoid as any other hostel till something beyond paranoid happened. A group of college students gather at a hostel room to express disappointment over not getting a holiday for Holi. What begins as a fun-filled hoopla amongst friends slowly turns into a revolt and then into something outrageous.

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In all there are 19 characters in the play. The backstage crew, sound team, lights team, costumes and makeup team, finance and marketing team together took the number of cast and crew to a whopping 42 members! To manage these 42 people for three weeks and maintain co-ordination was the primary challenge we faced. At times, to maintain discipline we had to take harsh decisions like replacing the actors. A few contretemps here and there but talking about issues freely and finding solutions collectively was key to keep a healthy environment during the rehearsals. It was wonderful on the part of all the cast and crew members to do rehearsals for three long weeks after six to seven hours of a gruelling college schedule. On our side, Venkat and I tried to keep the atmosphere as fun-filled and enjoyable as possible. We all danced, did some funny exercises, meditated and laughed together. Everybody’s graph of performance in all departments only showed an upward mark.

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Meanwhile, the Dance Club choreographed an energetic performance that would open the play. ‘Aarambh’, the Events Club was constantly co-ordinating between various departments while maintaining the finances. Rohit Tkar from the Music Club was going to be the lone ranger giving live score to the play. Photography Club covered the practice sessions and also took the responsibility to cover the entire event on the D-Day. The marketing team put up posters across the city and tickets were up for sale on BookMyShow.

AISFM funded the auditorium fees and equipment. Our academic co-ordinators Ms. Abhigna, Ms. Lyzandra and Dr. Vijaya Raghava were of utmost help throughout the process. We partnered with ‘Ksheersagar Sweets’ as our associate partners and Aayat Productions as our printing partners. Everything set; ‘Rangmanch’ was ready to go on the ‘manch’ of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium!

19th of August, 2016. Nervous excitement. Stakes were high. First ever theatrical performance by AISFM. First ever Rangmanch performance. First ever grand event in the presence of our Dean and AISFM Director Amala ma’am. It was a day marked with the most appropriate use of nervous energy by 42 individuals collectively. Without any frenzy, the crew and cast reached the venue with all the required properties and equipment. After the lights and sounds settings, we did a final rehearsal and the team was ready to deliver!

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To our delight, more than 400-strong audience turned up for the show. Mrs. Amala Akkineni, our Chief Guest for the evening and our very own Dean Bala Raj sir arrived. It was encouraging to see some of our lecturers and officials from administration sitting in the first two rows. With such a massive turnout for the show and fire to give a memorable performance, Holi was performed. All the hard work and penance of three weeks was seen in every action and reaction on and off the stage. The play had three change of scenes where the complete stage was changed from one location to another. As the lights went off the crew had just 20 seconds to change these settings in complete dark and they, unbelievably, were on point every single time. Practice indeed makes a crew perfect! We were blessed with a wonderful audience who were responsive to everything that went on the stage. Listening to their applause after every scene was thrilling!

It was an emotional moment when the play got over and the entire cast and crew stood there to bow in front of the audience. Surpassing all hurdles and striving for the best at every moment, we finally delivered. And the audience loved it. What more does an artist want? To see the smiles on the audiences’ faces, to see them delighted, to see the effect your performance has caused in their eyes, is all the accolades and love won. Dean Bala sir and Amala ma’am presented us Directors with a shawl. It will remain as one of the highlights of my life and Venkat’s too. Truly humbled by this beautiful gesture! It was a shawl that not only recognized the efforts we put into bringing this entire act together from scratch but also a reminder of the responsibility we shouldered into making things only better and better from here. There’s always scope for improvement and we will only go forward from here. There is one thing I always told the cast and crew, which we again proved at the end of this performance, “Success is easy, all you need to do is hard work!”

As for ‘Rangmanch’, we are not a club anymore. We are family! 

Don’t miss the action! See more photos here: http://bit.ly/2bLgzia

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Welcoming a new batch at AISFM

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A new dawn, a new beginning, a new set of enthusiastic students ready to learn and grow here at AISFM. The AISFM Students Orientation 2016 was held at N Convention, Madhapur. AISFM Director Amala Akkineni gave the inaugural address and urged students to work hard and realize their dreams. Mr. Shobu Yarlagadda, film producer and the co-founder and CEO of Arka Mediaworks, a film production company known for its works exclusively in Telugu cinema, was the Guest of Honor. Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, Secretary, Information Technology, Electronics & Communications Department, Government of Telangana, was the Chief Guest.

Welcoming the students into the folds of AISFM, Amala quoted our former President of India and renowned scientist ‘You have to dream before your dreams can come true’, and said “each one of you today have had a dream and you have taken a step towards that dream. And here at AISFM we have only one objective, to help your dreams come true, whether it is becoming the next generation screen writer, sound designer, editor, cinematographer or any revolutionary new age professional in film and media. We are here to support you. ”

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Talking about how difficult it was earlier to get an entry in the film industry she said that it was either a privileged individual or a person who joined as an apprentice and spent decades learning about the profession on the job; later on these courses were available aboard and only those who could afford could have access. “Our founder Late. Akkineni Nageswara Rao brought together Annapurna Studios and Film and Media Education Society to start AISFM with a mission to be a global leader in media education, because he understood and recognized the need for this education,” said she sharing thoughts on how AISFM came into being and added, “Driven by collaborations with world-wide studios and an increasing global audience, there is no better time than now to be a part of this industry.”

AISFM Dean Bala Rajasekharuni said that traditionally a school is supposed to be a place of learning and realizing and pursuing your dreams, but the conventional education system, knowingly or unknowingly has done the opposite. There are passionate teachers and passionate students but there has not been until recently a platform to share the passionate subjects in school. “Your generation is blessed with a major shift in the educational world, that arts and media have occupied the center stage. Make a promise to them and you, that you will do beyond your best and realize the value of your foster parents, your teachers, here who will equally care for you and listen to them, so that all of us can facilitate a fantastic learning experience for you and you will go out and make AISFM proud.”

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Shobu Yarlagadda, who has produced the path-breaking and brilliant movie Bahubali: The Beginning, which recorded the highest grossing Indian film within India, addressed the students and shared his thoughts on how important it is to give your best always. “You are definitely at the right place and at the right time. Everything is changing rapidly including the way we produce films. There are a lot of opportunities, a lot of possibilities being thrown up for all of you to express your creativity and find your place in this film and media world. I say you are at the right place because you have come to the this institute where I see that there is very committed management, experienced faculty and the unique thing is that is, that it is connected to one of the big studios in the country, which means that you will get a lot of exposure to practical work which will prepare you well for real-life scenarios,” he said. He added, “Nothing comes easy, you have to give it your best shot, that’s when you walk out a winner. Wish you success and make this institute proud.”

Jayesh Ranjan too echoed the same thoughts about students been at the right place and said, “You are very very lucky in some ways. There are millions of young people in the country today who have been denied such opportunities. The opportunity to reach this level of education, the opportunity to come to a world-class institution, to interact with the best in the profession is an opportunity that very few people get. So, let us use this opportunity to not just enrich your own self by learning new things, by excelling in your craft; but at this time in your life itself, start thinking of how you can contribute back to the society.”

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Later alumnae of AISFM, Keerthika Rajaram, HR Manager, Firefly Creative Studios and Sasindhar Pushpalingam, who are realizing their dreams in their chosen fields shared their learning and how AISFM helped them get closer to their dream.

The orientation session continued with an ice-breaking session for the new students who had a good time getting to know each other, thanks to the activities. Parents of the students then interacted with the faculty and got to know about the school.

See the photos of the day here: http://bit.ly/29FGQKE

Watch the complete video of the interesting session right here:

New-age career options

New generation, new choices, new gadgets, new learnings and new career options. What was amiss until a decade ago or what didn’t even exist until recently is now the latest and newest career options for this generation’s young and charged individuals who are gung-ho about anything that catches their attention.

Something that has changed the world drastically was the internet and now is the social media; adding a whole new world of possibilities and jobs. These modern jobs have now spread and become a part of the upcoming trend in the job market. What’s more, these top-tier careers offer great salaries, low stress and great job growth!

Here is a mix of some of the newest, popular and trending career options; the world has to offer, right now.

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App developers
Who doesn’t own a smart phone nowadays, forget the regular one? Everyone! Considering the surge, mobile revolution is huge and the wave of app development with innovative and creative ideas is on the rise. App development companies now exist within the country and so do talented and quality app developers, churning out the newest of ideas, oops app!

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Web creative writers
This is one profession that has the highest potential to reach the highest exposure and wider audience. The best part, it need not be within the confines of an office. There are people who work from home for this, people who freelance and people who regularly go to work, for putting their wordsmith skills to the task. All one needs to do is write well and the world is but a virtual one here!

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Wedding photographers
Weddings have, are and always will be the most extravagant, eye-catching and memorable affair in the country. Gone are the days, when the guests wished the couple and stared blankly into oblivion while the photographer stoically took the photos. It’s now the age of candid wedding photography, theme wedding photography; you name it and you have it.

Reviewers
You have an opinion, you share it and get paid for it. Many companies, especially the online ones, pay people to review restaurants, hotels, gadgets and other things. Because it makes a difference in their online rating and because people like to check the reviews of anything before they buy, eat or indulge themselves. 

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Social media handlers
The virtual arena of the internet is yours as much as you can take and social media has the biggest and brightest chunk of it all. The most trending, happening, attention-grabbing things, all happen to be in the social media sphere. Everyone who wants to be someone or someone who wants to let everyone know are on social media. This growing popularity has led to the rise of social media handlers who are in high demand for marketing products, companies and much more in the digital space.

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Digital marketers
Digital marketing is another area that is fast emerging as one of the popular options in the age of the modern corporate era. It helps companies stay ahead and above the rest by utilizing the commercial perspective of modern digital media. Borrowing a lot from the functions of traditional marketing, this platform continues its upward trend. With more and more companies shifting their focus to digital marketing strategies, there is lots of scope in this industry.

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Ethical hackers
Ethical hackers do it the right way, legally too. They are paid to hack company accounts legally so that the organisations can identify the flaws in their systems and take necessary and adequate measures to rectify them. Ethical hacking or internet security is a job for those who love to spend hours on computers and have a penchant for software.

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Website designers
The whole wide world now exists in the web, too! Everything is taking a digital form and practically everyone wants their presence on it. That’s where web designers come into the picture, creating the perfect ‘space’ for the customer depending on their needs and of course the price!

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Bloggers
It’s one of the latest and most popular, erstwhile hobbies, jobs on the corner that is growing. It is a hobby no more, it is now officially a full-fledged career option and the next big thing in India too. Not just restricted to popular topics like food and travel, it can be about anything you think should be out there in the blogosphere. All it needs is originality, ingenuity, creativity and of course credibility. That’s the power of the written word!

Image consultants
Image consultants do everything they can to keep the image the way it is supposed to be. They work for people in the show business and offer guidance in everything to make the public image absolutely spotless. You need to have a knack for the finery of life to take up this as a career path.

Stand-up comedians
This one’s for the comedian in you, albeit the great one and a professional one at that! No pun intended! These professionals are not just tickling senses and offering a hearty laugh with their witty jokes but are also pocketing good money. Although at a nascent stage, they do have their share of audience. Who doesn’t want a good share of laughter?! 

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Graphic designers
This one is a classic example of combining art and technology perfectly! This art and creativity job has found popularity among job seekers since graphics today are a part of practically everything we see, buy or sell, be it a commercial advertisement or buying a product.

So, these new-age careers may not come with set guidelines but they definitely have the perks and added advantages of independence and job satisfaction. So, identify your passion and hit the road less travelled!