Ms. Radhika Lavu

Film and Web Series Producer

The Perfect SCORE : Understanding and Acing the world of Digital Entertainment

Regional language markets (in content business) are gaining momentum and Hindi market is already and adequately discovered. Experimentation is much larger within the regional space. Films like Bucket List (in Marathi), Baahubali (in South India) are great examples of good content transcends language barriers.

Post Baahubali, the expanse, reach, budgets, teams are getting bigger for regional content, riding upon the OTT platform proliferation. There are also many sub-cultures in a specific language market itself and exploration of regional sub cultures (not only major cultures) is becoming an imperative. 

Realistic stories that are cinematically rich, often raw and gritty in their approach/treatment, experimental (non-formulaic) in structure and many times autobiographical in genre, finds great traction with OTT players.

“How do you make a character non-redundant, more relevant and progressively clear (mull) in a 400 minute series?” is indeed challenging for most writers.

For instance, the exact character development and associated characterisation in the Web Series “God” was done keeping in view how each epic character like D.N Reddy,  Pratap Reddy, Venu Reddy, Swapna Reddy, Chalapthi,  Saroja etc. impact the overall narrative flow. Accordingly, the entry and exit decisions of characters were thought through by the entire creative team. This also influenced the decisions related to character arc, character complexity and character development for subsequent episodes and season(s) as well. Thus aligning with the mantra of “Give respect to what you have written (Script) and shoot exactly what you scripted”.

OTT platforms are increasingly trusting the vision behind the narrative. For example, for the Web Series, G.O.D”, the OTT platform partner- Zee5 trusted the process, the overall executive production acumen and supported the creative decisions taken with respect to violence, characterisation etc.

Today Web Series producers work with tighter deadlines as compared to Filmed Entertainment. In some cases (such as G.O.D), the post-production was akin to undertaking the post-production activities for three major films in Telugu Film Industry (TFI). To deliver within these tight deadlines, producers need to leverage split / distributed work teams, parallel work flows and apply other time management hacks.

When a crew needs to repack equipment in one location (load out), and travel to another location where they can unload & rebuild (load in), it’s referred to as a company move in producing parlance. As one can imagine, this can be a lengthy process, especially on big shoots like G.O.D which was spread across many locations Anegundi, Hospet, Hampi, Bellary, Hyderabad and etc.

While producing a Web Series, one can face many line producing challenges – working with a large 100+ member crew on select days, harsh weather conditions, long and extended work timings and planning the shoot across multiple locations. Managing these roadblocks is possible only with a robust pre-production plan which itself takes six to seven months.

The inputs for this blog are based on insights shared by Ms. Radhika Lavu during Webinar on Production and Music Production(G.O.D web series) at Annapurna College of Film and Media, Hyderabad

Expert Bio:

Ms. Radhika Lavu is an established film producer with over 12 years of experience in the field. She promotes a production house under the banner Ellanar Films. Her recent accomplishment is Gods of Dharmapuri (GOD), a Telugu Web Series streaming on Zee5 digital platform, which she has produced.

The author of the blog and Annapurna College of Film and Media makes it abundantly clear that the knowledge being shared by the expert(s) is for informational and educational purposes only. The questions are designed for students to listen to personal experience(s). The blog is written to capture those experience(s).

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