The Creators’ Den with Vaishnavi Giri

Vaishnavi is a children’s illustrator and a mompreneur. She is the founder of Wildpaper, a venture that creates nature-centric learning products that help children develop their cognitive skills. She talks about her journey as an illustrator,  how being a mom gave her her business idea, learnings from the pandemic, and more.

Tell us your story— how did you decide to pursue a career in illustration? 

I feel I have always been an artist. It was my passion, so couldn’t think of a career that did not involve art in it! I used to work as a UI/UX designer. Illustration is something I started concentrating on in the last few years while creating my own brand. Since I was already an artist and had a background in communication design, it was an easy transition but there was a  lot of learning involved. 

What inspired you to start your venture, Wildpaper?

My children of course. Having them made me realize the beautiful world that I wanted them to know, but there was a big gap in the Indian market to teach nature to kids. I remember not being able to find the right products for my children. They were not available in the Indian market or were overpriced. I realised not many people were creating such products in India which was a shocking revelation to me. This is when I created my first card game which became a success. Post this, I worked on a couple of more products. When I realised that there is a need for these products in the market, it made me realise this is something I’d love to work on. That’s how it led to a full-fledged brand. 

Growing up, which were your favourite books and authors? 

I have always been a fiction reader. So growing up, my reading largely bordered around Dan Brown and John Grisham. But as an artist, I loved the Marvel and DC comics. Before I entered the world of children literature, these comics were my source of art. I’m a huge fan of graphic novels because of their ability to convey powerful stories, which takes you to a whole new world. I started reading these novels for their intricate visuals and storylines. Eventually, as I grew and studied design, it was about understanding how these ideas were interpreted visually. 

I think my favourite illustrator/author  (non-children) today would be Osamu Tezuka. If I have to pick from the children world literature, they would be Oliver Jeffers and Quentin Blake

We know your kids are an important part of your creative process. What’s the kind of feedback you usually get from them? Are they harsh critics? :p Any memorable stories you would like to share?

There’s a genuine honesty that comes from them, which I cannot ignore. Children are not conditioned to respond in a specific way. Usually, if I’m trying to draw something and if my son isn’t able to recognise it irrespective of the visual style, then I feel I lost it. If my son, who’s exposed to a vast collection of children’s literature, doesn’t relate to my work,  then I feel I’m going wrong somewhere. My children’s ability to connect to my work is usually a benchmark for me since my target audience is children. 

What’s the best compliment you’ve received for your work so far and from whom?

There are a few that come to mind., especially from parents (and it wasn’t about their children). I remember parents who wrote to me that their love for nature was revived because of my products. When their kids get curious and ask questions about nature, they feel my books give them a second chance to rediscover this learning experience along with their kids. 

If you could illustrate any classic children’s book, which one would it be and why?

I think I would love to illustrate Little Red Riding Hood. I like to interpret things in a different way. Lately, I’ve been working on a series where you see the world through the eyes of wildlife. Little Red Riding Hood had a lot of duality in terms of its story which is something I would love to explore by using a very limited colour palette. 

Any tried and tested tips you would like to give to parents of young kids on how they can make their lockdown-life easier? 

After a year of lockdown, one thing I’ve learned is to be patient, to slow down. We have so many ways to cope with everything that’s going around us but we can’t expect our children to react in a similar manner. So,  this is a reminder for us to be present and listen to our children because it’s the need of the hour. 

What’s the one thing you’ve learnt through your entrepreneurial journey that you would like to share with artists aspiring to start their own business?  

Be patient. You cannot become recognised for your work overnight. You have to put in a lot of hard work and keep learning. The learning should never stop because it allows you to grow. All good things come in due time. You cannot rush a creation process. So, take your time and pace yourself. Don’t create something out of FOMO (fear of missing out). Although Wildpaper was started in 2018, it’s the compounded learning that I gained over the years that helped me immensely in my journey. 

Which are your favourite accounts to follow on Social Media and why? 

My favourite accounts to follow on Social Media are artists and authors due to their positive outlook on life. Some of the accounts I follow are: Brain and hear, green humour, Alicia Souza, Gemma Correll, Fowl Language Comics and Awkward Yeti

Where can people get in touch with you? 

Email id: [email protected] 

Website: https://wildpaper.in/ 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/makingwildpaper?utm_medium=copy_link

Instagram saves are the super likes

Over the years, Instagram’s algorithm has undergone several changes to give its users the best user experience while using the app. It has stopped showing posts on the feed in chronological order, offering only the content they think users will love the most on their feeds. For brands and content creators relying on organic interactions, it has become a challenge to gauge the kind of content their users want. However, there are certain elements of the Instagram algorithms that help brands to determine their success in engagement. One such metric is the Instagram ‘saves’.

Saves was given the super-like term by James Nord— Fohr CEO. He says, “Saves has become an incredibly powerful way to see how engaged an influencer’s audience actually is.” Instagram saves are a key signal for knowing how the Instagram algorithm works – the more the saves on your post, the more people it will be shown to. That’s why focusing on getting more saves is a great way to grow your Instagram account. 

What are we talking about? 

Instagram changed for a whole lot of people a while ago! But not for all, as most of us are not even aware of this new algorithm. What are we referring to?

It’s the SAVE feature a.k.a super LIKES!

Let us dig deeper!

Instagram ‘saves’ have been around for a while, helping us save posts for revisiting later. They are no more just a bookmark icon below your posts. Instagram has promoted ‘saves’ to a new; very important position. 

In our last blog, we spoke about the 6 key factors Instagram algorithm uses to rank posts on feed. Although not one of the key factors yet, ‘saves’ is said to be the 7th one soon.

Currently, according to the algorithm ranking, the more saves your post gets, the more likely it is to be shown on the explore tab and higher on your audience’s feed. 

Why are ‘Saves’ bumped up to a higher position?

Saves are a strong indicator that your content is relatable to your audience. So much that they find it valuable enough to save it. When someone saves your content, it tells Instagram that it’s high-quality content and that it should probably be sharing it with more people so everyone can benefit from it.

Along with that, Instagram is experimenting with removing likes on posts in many countries. As this new change is being considered, other engagement metrics like comments, shares and saves are gaining more focus.

The new engagement rate calculation has also changed.

= (Likes + Comments + Saves) / Impressions x 100 

Let’s get to the “How to” factor.

Are you looking for ways to get more saves on your post and save it from falling prey to low ranking? Our research says that these are the following reasons audiences are currently saving posts.

  • IGTV videos, long-form video content they want to watch later
  • Reel challenges, to hop onto the trending challenges
  • New/Creative post types
  • Review/Recommendation posts to remember 
  • Inspirational/Motivational quotes

How to tap on these reasons and gain ‘saves’?

#Tip1: Infographics

If you have information that sparks people’s curiosity, they may want to save it for later viewing. Thus infographics! Heavy on information, infographics make it to the ‘saves’ list as users want to check back on it or save it for later use.

#Tip2: Captions

When you’ve got the image right, it’s time to get the caption right. The best thing to do is to write a long-form caption that truly encapsulates the spirit of the post whilst giving out genuine information. Writing a caption with new and valuable information gets you ‘Saves’ from your audience.

#Tip3: Quotes

You can easily turn quotes into visually compelling content that gets saved again and again. Make sure you choose quotes that are relevant to your business and industry. Don’t go crazy with your content strategy, consider mixing it up so your feed looks intentionally curated. Instagram is a great place to find inspiration.

#Tip4: Videos

Long IGTV videos with a product review or a movie recommendation will definitely make it to the save list. You can repurpose videos you’ve posted on YouTube and Facebook into IGTV videos. Short tips and listicles are always great for sharing, so share your blog posts into the video as well and let your audience save them.

#Tip5: Reminders

Sometimes, your users may forget to save the posts they like. Simply add a reminder on your image/video or in your caption reminding them to save the post for future reference. If you’re not sure what to do with the likes and comments, include a call to action in your post caption. It serves as a pleasant reminder to your viewers that your information is worth saving when done right.

Track your Saves!

You obviously want to know whether your efforts have reaped the benefits. Won’t you?

Saves are not reflected on the post. However, there is a way to check them – The page insights!

Follow these steps:

Insights > Content tab > Feed Posts > See All > Filter option > Saves.

There! You have it.

The secret to getting more saves, among other things like replying to your posts’ comments or building a relationship with your users, is to create content worth revisiting and convincing your users that it would be useful in the future.

In the Spotlight – Pooja Sharma

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week is Pooja Sharma, a celebrated dancer and choreographer. She’s an accomplished Bollywood and belly dancer, who talks about her early training, her inspiration and exploring the world through dance. Read on to know her story.

Tell us about your journey; how did you get introduced to dance? 

Dance comes very naturally to me. I grew up in a family which encouraged me to dance. Television was my only source to watch and learn dancing. When I was in 6th grade I got my first opportunity to dance on stage. That’s when I realised my passion for dance, which has only kept growing ever since. Over the years, I performed every chance I got. During my college life, I decided to start training professionally and joined a few classes. It was a life-changing decision for me because I got the opportunity to understand the technicalities of Dance. After a few years of training in different styles, I got introduced to belly dancing and fell in love with it instantly. I was smitten by the ease at which a Belly Dancer moves and wanted to dive right into learning it.

I started taking lessons on belly dancing in the year 2010 and the journey still continues with the same amount of passion. Bollywood and contemporary also remain very close to my heart because I believe dance understands no boundaries and being versatile is my biggest strength. It not only allows me to move with a sense of freedom but also opens up my mind to infinite possibilities in the world of creativity. 

Share the story of your most memorable performance. 

I miss stage performances. Although social media has become our platform today, performing on stage has always been a special experience. Every performance I’ve given on the stage has been a memorable one for me. 

As a dancer and choreographer, what excites you the most about the digital medium? 

Being inspired constantly, watching people’s art on digital platforms, looking at creators and their lifestyle, new ideas and concepts, all this excites me a lot. Even an amateur dancer can teach you new things. I get my students and clients from social media, and they keep me inspired in different ways.  

Who is that one artist you can’t wait to work with? 

I think there are so many if you ask me. There were different phases in life where different people inspired me. So, it’s difficult to pick a person. From my friends to even a stranger, anyone can be an inspiration for me. My inspiration keeps changing and is different for different reasons. So, it’s difficult to pick a person. 

If you had to pick just one dance form to do all your life, which one would it be? 

I just want to dance. I want the freedom that doesn’t ask me to pick just one dance form. I like to lead a life without restricting myself to one dance form. I have always been creating fusions with my choreography so that I do not have to stick to any one form and restrict my expression.   

What kind of brands do you like to collaborate with, as a Social Media influencer? What are some of your considerations when a brand approaches you? 

I like brands, big or small, that are respectful with their approach. If I love the cause behind the brand, I’ll collaborate out of my love for dance. Transparency and kindness are also important factors for me to be able to say yes for a brand collaboration. 

Name the top 3 things on your bucket list.
I do not have many, but there’s this one thing I’ve always wanted to do.

Travel, dance and teach. I’ve been trying to do it for years now. Keep moving to different places, keep dancing and find myself in that journey. Hopefully, I’ll embark on this journey soon.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be? 

Nothing. Let it happen the way it has and have no regrets. I would say, I’m grateful for how I have evolved to become what I am today.

Where can people get in touch with you? 

Instagram

YouTube 

Gmail

I teach Belly Dance, Bollywood and Creative movement for kids. Available for one on one sessions as well, currently online via Zoom (Due to the pandemic)

In the Spotlight – Suchi Vora

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week we have Suchi Vora, an architect, interior designer and the force behind SVAC- a young design studio with a unique aesthetic. Suchi shares with us her perspective on blending creativity and pragmatism through her design practice to build spaces responsibility. Read on to know her story.

Tell us about your journey – what inspired you to become an architect? 

Interestingly, I’ve always known I wanted to be an architect. I grew up thinking I wanted to work in a profession with a positive impact. Having a creative push growing up, I also needed a strong practical aspect. At that time, I thought architecture was the most interesting and sensible combination. 

How would you describe your venture, SVAC? 

We are a young design workshop. We are young, we are experimental, we are a design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, urbanism and art. We think of design as a research vehicle to pose and respond to complex, urgent questions in the built environment, engaging in the wider context and also the climate of a project– social, ecological, or political. What you build needs to be relevant for a long time, and I cannot escape responsibility for what I design.

What do you love the most about your job? 

I love that each project is completely different. Every client is unique and with personalities and ideas that define a project in the most unique way. Design is all about people. I love that I can see the world with a new set of eyes with each client and to be able to tell their story with my perspective of design.  

What is the biggest challenge of running your own architectural firm and how do you try to overcome it? 

I was quite worried about being able to have the right design culture for my firm, but I think I have been able to build a space for our workshop where the culture we are looking for automatically thrives.

What’s your dream project? (It could be one you’ve already worked on, or something that you would love to get the opportunity to design)

Hopefully, a new solution in materiality or planning that can be applicable to more than just one project; something that has a positive. climatic impact.

Which city, would you say, has the best architecture in the world? 

I am certain that there are several. Picking one would be unfair since this is like picking out a city for the best food in the world. Having said that, Barcelona is close to my heart. 

In the last few years, what are some of the most exciting trends or changes that you’ve experienced in your industry? 

I think, live architecture. Live facade essentially is one of the coolest trends that is here to stay.

How do you like to spend your free time? 

I try to spend a lot of time learning new adventure sports every chance we get to be out of town. I’m learning paragliding at the moment, and let’s not forget sleeping. I love sleeping.

What’s the first thing you want to do once this pandemic is over?

Throw a party. I think I will host a gig at our studio, I’ve been wanting to do it for a while.

Where can people get in touch with you?

Check us out on Instagram or Facebook, or just drop by our office for chai. We are always looking for interesting conversations on our katta. [email protected] 

The Creators’ Den with Viraj Pradhan

Viraj is a screenwriter, stand-up comedian social media consultant and content creator. He is the founder of Generic Tall Guy, a meme page that has garnered over 35K fans on Facebook. From writing comedy scripts to creating content for some of the biggest brands, Viraj has done it all. Read on as he talks about everything from writing for animated shows to finding his true calling— stand-up comedy.

Tell us about your journey – how did you decide to pursue a career in comedy?

I did my first stand up gig when I was 11 years old. Not really, it was a building function all the other kids were dancing & singing Kal Ho Na Ho songs. I didn’t possesses any such talents, so I mugged a few jokes from Champak and nervously recited them on stage. When I received a writing pad and a Camlin Geometry box as a prize for my jokes, I knew that I wanted to pursue stand-up a career.

No. Not really. Whether it’s an embarrassing drunk story from the last weekend or a story from the time I bought a replica of the Shaka Laka Boom Boom pencil and was heart-broken when I realized it wasn’t a magic pencil after all, I have always enjoyed telling stories. My colleagues and friends would find a lot of these funny. I loved seeing them react and I loved the attention. So I’d try to make them funnier by adding impressions & character act-outs. There were pauses, set-ups & punchlines. I would almost treat it like a comedy set.  And I didn’t even know it was called a comedy set back. I’d even have a whacky-quirky take on almost everything that happened in the world and people enjoyed them. This is when I realized that maybe ‘body fat’ is not the only thing I possess. Maybe I am funny.

So long story short I decided to give comedy a shot in 2015. And by shot I mean saying “Next month pakka” to all the “So kab hai tera pehla show?” questions.

I never wrote a set. I kept running away. Why? Because this was the only thing that I thought I’d be good at . And if I found out that I actually suck at it, it’d have broken me.

So I did the only sane thing I could do. I procrastinated. FOR 5 YEARS STRAIGHT.

I even joined East India Comedy with hopes of finally being motivated enough to try stand-up.

But no. All the jokes & ideas I had continued to nap in my small joke book.

But in 2020, I quit my full-time job & decided to take some time off. I signed up for a stand-up comedy workshop impulsively. I ended writing my first ever set. It was a surreal feeling as jokes flew through my mind onto the book. I performed it for the first time. I loved the thrill. The claps & the laughter made me happy. Genuinely. And I was nervous for only 90% of the time.

I was so freaking good during my shows that the government decided to stop them immediately by announcing a nationwide lockdown. I miss the stage. I hope I can get back there soon. In the few months that I did stand-up I did feel like this is what I meant for. I am still not sure about how good I am but I made a few people laugh and that makes me happy.

As far as content creation goes, I have always felt like I was a little camera conscious so I never tried video content creation. If I ever had an idea, I’d try to execute it with a meme. But in 2020, when I saw a lot of creators explode with their reels, I decided to finally take the plunge. I am so glad I did because the satisfaction I get after seeing shares and comments on a reel is priceless. I have been very impulsive with them though. There are days when I post 2 reels a day and days when I don’t post anything for a week. A lot of it depends on my stock-market-like mental health.

I try to put my own unique twist on every trending format and I love it when people notice that and say “Best video on this format”. Why do I love reels? Because I am a lazy person. Now I can take the creative liberty and do things like using an air-freshener as a mic or an AC remote as a phone and it completely works. People start tripping on that. I love the fact that I can come up with an idea at 7 PM, shoot it at 7:15PM and post it by 7:30PM and get a response by 7:45 PM. As a man with ADHD this quick reward mechanism works well for me. Sometimes, it works against me, because I also get put off when a video I was excited about doesn’t do well. In my mind every idea I come up with deserves 1 Mn views. But unfortunately only 1 in 10 apples will let you discover gravity, the remaining 9 will only keep the doctor away. I am not sure if it made sense but it sounded cool na? Thanks. I also love the fact that reels / tiktok have made content creation an equal ground for everyone. All you need is a good idea and a phone.  But yes, I want to do more. Create more formats. Create more characters. Experiment a lot. And do this regularly because I love it.

So please go support me ya and share my content. What the hell? GO NOW.

What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on so far?

I wrote the first tele-feature film of my career recently. It was a crossover film featuring Chhota Bheem & Krishna which is as big as Avengers: Infinity War for fans of the laddoo-eating-superhero.

It was challenging because I underestimated the sheer persistence one needs to write a 60-page screenplay. I am used to writing 11-minute episodes so I went in with the same approach. There, you can sprint through the day and finish the script in a day sometimes. But trying to do that on a film is like trying to climb Mt. Everest in a day and I suck at climbing stairs, so this was way out of question. Everyday proved to be a new challenge because with a film there too many moving puzzles. Every small change, be it in a scene or a dialogue, affects the overall continuity of the whole film. So it was lot of writing and re-writing even before I sent my draft out because I’m toxically self-critical of work.

But it was also exciting because I had a lot of liberty on this project. All the hours I spent nerding-out on every superhero film ever came in handy as I wrote down my own action sequences. I learnt a lot of lessons about my own abilities & writing process. It took double the estimated time but I was happy with what I had created and so were clients. So good day at the office I guess. I hope I get to say “I wrote my first Netflix show” or “I wrote my first feature film” very soon. In the words of Inzamam Ul Haq, “Inshallah! Boys played well”.

Who’s the one artist or creator you’d love to collaborate with and why?

Too many.

Kusha Kapila. I love her screen presence & comic timing.

I think we can create some fun content together.

Rahul Dravid. He is technically an artist with the bat & also a great indiranagar ka gunda. He’s been my idol since I was a kid and I’d love to work with him on something someday. Issi bahane I’ll get to have a conversation with him which will last longer than 30 secs and hopefully I am not a nervous-shaky-mess this time.

Zoya Akhtar, Vikram Aditya Motwane & Anurag Kashyap are film-makers I absolutely adore and I’d love a chance to work with them.

Ranveer Singh & Shah Rukh Khan. Two actors who’d kill at stand-up comedy if they ever tried. Working with them on literally anything would be a dream.

MAKE IT HAPPEN UNIVERSE.

What’s the best compliment you’ve received for your work so far (and from who)?

Since a couple of my reels have exploded on Instagram I’ve been getting a lot of these.

I am not used to receiving compliments so it’s very overwhelming. Most times I get so excited that my responses are longer than the person who’s just complimented me.

But one such comment was done by fellow creator on a video that I thought wouldn’t perform that well. He said ‘I love the fact that you have maintained a good balance of massy content and intelligent jokes in your content’. This made me feel like a lovechild of Anurag Kashyap & Rohit Shetty but it felt great that somebody noticed what I was trying to do.

A lot of people DM me with things like “I have just discovered your content and it’s made me laugh on a day I was feeling off”. There can’t be a better compliment than this. And people keep saying how I deserve more views, more followers and that I am underrated.

Yaar! Fir bana do over-rated. Content share karo. Kara do mere 10K Followers so even I can ask people to swipe up. 

As far as my stand-up goes, I received one of the best compliments from a fellow-writer, who I respect a lot because she is brilliant at what she does. She has always pushed me to try stand-up. One fine day, she happened to be at one of my shows. She saw me perform for the first time. After the show, she hugged me and said “See, I told you, YOU WERE MEANT FOR THIS. Please keep doing this, you are going to kill it”. I was at a loss of words and I usually have like way too many words to say so that was fun.

My late Nani was my best friend and my biggest supporter. I get my talking skills from her. It’ll always be a big regret that she never got a chance to see me perform live. But I did record one of my zoom sets to show her. Seeing her reaction while watching me perform was one of the best feelings ever. She didn’t get all of the jokes, but she did repeat the ones she got & told me she loved them. However, my mom just said “Wear a better shirt & shave next time”.

Describe your experience of writing (screenplay or dialogues) for animated shows.

In one word ‘Fascinating’. I especially love the fact that now all the cartoons I grew up watching are proving to be research material for me. It’s been challenging and fun at the same time. Challenging because the content I consume is very different from the content I am creating right now. When it comes to kid’s shows you have work to within a lot of restrictions but at the same time you can let your imagination run wild. For example, I write Simmba, a cop show in which we never show a gun or a knife. There’s another famous cop who wears a holster which has everything but a gun. So I have to get really imaginative and creative with my fight sequences. Laughing at slapstick gags is easy but choreographing them can be tough sometimes. I try to push the boundaries when it comes to funny dialogues and comedy tropes in the scripts that I write though. My limited knowledge of comedy comes in handy here. I love wordplay and puns. Dialogues with wordplay fly in such cartoons.

According to me Swat Kats cracked one of the best puns ever. As a kid, I thought the names of those cats were ‘Bade Miyan & Chhote Miyan’. It took me 20 years to realize that their names were ‘Bade Meow’ & Chhote Meow’ because they were cats. My mind was blown.

I was a kid who was obsessed with Pogo TV Cartoons. Bob: The Builder, Noddy, Oswald, Pingu, I saw it all. I am writing for a show called ‘Simmba’ which airs on Pogo TV.

Life has come a full sweet circle and I’m diabetic so not sure if that’s a good thing.

My generation grew up watching some of the best animated shows ever made, I’d like this generation to have the same experience at least with the few shows I write. One such show is Simmba. It’s based on the Rohit ShettyRanveer Singh film. I feel iIt’s a show that an 8 year old and a 28 year old can enjoy at the same time because it is that entertaining. I love writing for Simmba the most because I practically become him when I write the dialogues.

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list? 

My list is too big ya. But to name a few.

Doing a Netflix stand-up special.

Writing a show or a film and seeing it release on a screen whether big or small. 

Also acting in a show / film / Ads.

Becoming a full-time content creator who does vlogs, reels & comedy  sketches.

To start off, I’d like AT LEAST 5 of my reels to cross 1 Million views, so please go share.

I’m a Sukhbir Song when my video performs and an Arijit Song when it doesn’t.

HOSTING A SHOW. Whether it’s a podcast, a travel show, a food show, not a fitness show. I love talking and being in front of the camera. I think it’ll be fun. I feel like I am on-screen talent just waiting to be discovered. Seriously. Where is my contract?

If your life were a web series, what would it be called?

Scam 1992: The Viraj Pradhan Story. Mainly because he was born in 1992.

But that’s too big a title na? Let’s just call it ‘A Generic Show’ for now.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Mostly doom-scrolling on Instagram & then feeling guilty about how I didn’t do any work.But this also helps me in coming up with my own reel ideas, so it’s okay.

Obsessively watch a new show and then getting sad that it’s over.   

Re-watching the Office, Schitts Creek, Kim’s Convenience, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara or Wake Up Sid.

Reading a book. But, like Aamir Khan. Only once a year.

I love cooking but I hate the prep & the cleaning.

I make awesome Butter Chicken & Chicken Ghee Roast. ALSO POHA. UFF!

Taking care of my plant buddies.

Re-arranging, re-organizing & Marie-Kondo-ing my house is actually one of my favorite activities.

Which are your favorited accounts to follow on Social Media and why?

To me, Akshar Pathak & Jose Covaco will always be the OG Content Kings.

I think Danish Sait, Kusha Kapila & Sristi Dixit are a riot in their videos.

Kenny Sebastian, Chaavay, Md Anas, Pulkit Kochar, Karan Sareen make extremely funny reels.

Just Neel Things, Focused Indian & Saurabh Ghadge are the holy trinity of marathi comedy.

I love Awwnchal & Kullubaazi for their killer delivery.

I love ThatIndianChick for her brilliant joke writing & delivery.

I love Avanti Nagral & SingWithVani for their magical singing.

Shade Zahrai & AwkwardGoat3 for content on mental health. AapKaJuggs for parodies.

Satshyaa is her own genre of informative, sweet & funny content.

Faye D’Souza, Andre Borges & Andheri West Shitposting to keep myself upto date.

I love memes by Poop Culture India, Huncho Nacho & Just here to ruin you day.

I love pop-culture edits by Tea Rex Edits, Binge Factory & Sukoon Ghar.

Notwhyral for rare bollywood footage, 90Overs for interesting cricket stories & FinCocktails for content on personal finance.

I ALSO LOVE KING ULHAS KAMTE FOR HIS WHOLESOME CHICKEN LEG PIECE EATING. 

Some of the smaller creators who are still bigger than me but their content deserves so much more: TheYashHegde, Raghav_Sharmaaaaa, Brewkenstein, TeaWithTiwari, BigMaauth Laughing Buddhi just to name a few.

I am sure I have missed out on a few. I am sorry. This is so hard. That’s what she said J

Internationally, I love JayPlusSharon, JoeZvonar & Lukas Arnold for their reels.

On YouTube I follow Matt D’avella for self-growth, Emergency Awesome for film breakdowns, The Take for video essays, Breakfast With Champions for the best cricket interviews & film Companion for film interviews.

Where can people get in touch with you?

You all should follow me @GenericTallGuy & share my content *angry emoji*

I’m always looking for freelance work. I can help you with script-writing & social media.

You can email me at [email protected]  

Some of my work links:

Unfortunately all shows I write only play on TV.

Simmba plays on Pogo TV. Golmaal Jr plays on Nickelodeon.

Taarak Mehta ka Chhota Chashmah will start on Sony YAY.

Some of my personal favorite reels that you guys should SHARE & SAVE:

Brand Films:

An exciting project I’ve worked on was a comedy sketch for Disney Plus Hotstar. I cracked the idea as a joke in our meeting when I said “ What if we do a video where Yuvraj Singh is looking for a job now that he’s retired?” My team asked me to script the video and within two weeks we were shooting with Yuvi. It was crazy.

I also wrote a Better Call Saul parody style promo featuring Pankaj Tripathi. Seeing him act in a video I wrote was just surreal. The man is a king of his craft. I didn’t get a chance to click a photo with him though. So I don’t have an option but to write a show / film & hope that he agrees to star in it.

For stand up, I don’t have any recorded videos yet. But you can come for one of my shows.

The TalkOver – Fastrack and Bhima Jewellery

Pride Month, a time to honour the struggle of the LGBTQ+ community for acceptance and equality, takes us back to the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. LGBTQ patrons of the Stonewall Inn, who were mostly people of colour, fought back against the police after being harassed and targeted, which resulted in four nights of rioting. Over the years, as the importance of the movement grew, brands too began coming out in support of Pride, through creative campaigns and messaging to promote awareness. 

We are in the middle of Pride Month, so we decided to review a couple of our favourite ad campaigns in recent years. Urmi chose “Come out of the closet” by Fastrack while Rohit selected “Pure as love” by Bhima Jewellery. Both these campaigns embrace the plurality of gender, in their own unique ways— one with an audacious punch, while the other through a moving narrative.

Fastrack: Come out of the closet.

For many years, discussions on the LGBTQ community were forbidden in the Indian advertising industry. Today, however, certain ground-breaking initiatives in recognizing the community exist, one of which is the Fastrack advertising “Come out of the closet & move on.”

We liked this commercial since it was the first time in India that a television advertisement featured a lesbian pair. Inside the closet, the Lesbian duo is altering their clothes, and viewers are forced to speculate what the ladies were up to behind closed doors. The message “Come out of the closet” encourages users to leave their comfort closets. It all comes to a close with Fastrack’s now-famous byline, “Move On.” We’ve seen a strong brand interact with and tap into a variety of taboos for advertisers to consider. It had piqued the public’s interest and sparked a discussion. Fastrack’s Facebook page, which has 6.8 million followers, and YouTube, where the commercial has been viewed over 100,000 times.

It’s a terrific place to start for folks who want to think more progressive. It was wonderful to see corporations take a stand for homosexuality, and we can use advertising to educate people about such social standards.

Bhima Jewellery: Pure as love

Pure as love: Bhima Jewellery

People who do not comply with society’s norms have been despised and marginalised throughout history. Transgender persons are an example of one such community that continues to face ostracisation and abuse. 

The ad “Pure as Love” by Bhima Jewellery depicts the transformation of a young adolescent into a joyful, confident woman, thanks to support of their loving, caring family. The simplicity and sensitivity with which the storyline is portrayed effectively conveys how love and support can nurture a person to stay true to themselves.

While some may argue that what the ad depicts is utopian and that our society is still a long way from becoming as welcoming as the young woman’s parents in the commercial, I believe this is a wonderful start.

In India, jewellery advertisements are all about promoting femininity, or more specifically, the society’s sanctioned definition of femininity. As a result, Bhima’s ad stands out, and it does it beautifully.

As one might expect, the ad received a lot of positive feedback and acclaim.

Do leave a comment to let us know your thoughts.

In the Spotlight – Ashwin Bapat

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight we have Ashwin Bapat, a lover of football, movies and all things music! A professional santoor player, Ashwin lets us in on his musical journey, as he talks about his origin as a musician, his aspirations and his experience of teaching the craft.

Tell us about your journey – how did you get into music? 

My mom’s side of the family is into classical music so I was naturally drawn to it right from the time I was born. I formally started learning the tabla at the age of 5 and I learnt it for 13 years. When I was 12 years old I heard the Santoor for the first time and instantly fell in love with the sound of the instrument, but I started learning it at the age of 18.

Where do you draw creative inspiration from? 

My inspiration comes from basic things in nature or whatever emotions you experience in life. I’m not a very emotionally expressive person so my music is generally an outlet for whatever I’m feeling. It also originates from spirituality so most of my inspiration comes from turning inward rather than from any external things. 

Describe the experience of performing for All India Radio as a child artiste.

 I think I must’ve been around 8 or 9 years old when I auditioned for the All India Radio. At that age, everything was just fun and games so I never took it that seriously. Luckily I got selected after which I performed a few times. The whole world of studios and recordings was very new for me. Till then I had only performed live on stage so I remember being fascinated by the whole process. Funnily enough, I never actually heard any of my recitals when they were aired because I was either at school or something. 

Share the story behind your most memorable performance. What made it special?

I would say I have 2 equally memorable performances, one was at the age of 12 or so when I performed in front of tabla maestros like Pt. Suresh Talwalkar Ji, Pt. Vijay Ghate, Satyajit Talwalkar and many more. The other one would be when I performed at the Suburban Music Festival in Mumbai. This one was extremely memorable because it’s a very illustrious festival for around 75 years and the greatest legends of Indian classical music have performed on that stage. So just to be associated with that was an extremely proud and memorable moment.

Who’s the one artist you’d love to collaborate with and why?

If I ever get a chance, it would be the biggest honour to perform with Ustad Zakir Hussain. It’s every musician’s dream to one day get a chance to share the stage with him, so I guess it would be my greatest wish to come true if I get that opportunity.

What do you think the future of Indian classical music looks like? 

The future of Indian classical music is very bright. As any music or art form does, even Indian classical music is evolving as it always has across centuries. But currently, more and more young people are getting drawn to it. They’re learning it or at least listening to it and respecting it. And there’s a huge number of extremely talented young artists in vocal and instrumental music as well as dance. So I think Indian classical music has a very bright future and is in very good hands. 

What has been the biggest challenge of having to teach music online during the pandemic? 

It’s been extremely difficult. Most of my online students are between the age of 4 – 12. In a face to face class, I can physically explain the hand positions and movements and if required even adjust their hand positions by actually holding their hand. So firstly, it’s very hard to hold their attention online for an entire hour and also to explain various hand positions through a screen. Also many times with the lag and other network issues, it’s very hard to get your message across. It’s very hard because if their hands get used to some wrong technique it’s much harder to unlearn and change that in the future. So it’s been tough but we’ve all learnt to get around that. 

How do you like to spend your free time?

I’m a massive football fan, so I love to watch and study various aspects of the game and almost every other sport as well. I read quite a bit. I listen to a lot of various types of music, which is extremely important for the growth of a musician. And I love watching movies and all the various new shows available today. I never have a problem with spending time actually, in fact on most days I think days should be longer.

What’s the first thing you want to do once this pandemic is over? 

Get on stage! Can’t wait to feel the energy and adrenaline rush of being in front of a crowd. It’s a feeling I relish. No doubt there are nerves involved but it’s the kind I love. So definitely waiting for concerts to start as soon as possible.

Where can people get in touch with you/see your work?

Instagram and Facebook. Most people reach me for concerts as well on these two platforms.

In the Spotlight – Saksham Kulkarni

Postcard Spotlight is an interview series showcasing young leaders and creative minds who are making their mark with their unique talent and drive.

In the spotlight this week is Saksham Kulkarni, a young Marathi actor best recognised for his roles in Pak Pak Pakaak and De Dhakka, among others. Read on to know his story.

Tell us about your journey— what inspired you to get into acting? 

My family has always been an art lover. So while growing up, I was exposed to many good films, listened to eminent singers, and watched good plays. And I was totally fascinated. Since childhood, my family always encouraged me to take part in various extracurricular activities such as elocution competitions, fancy dress competitions, and I used to love it on stage. There was no stage fright. So we figured if I feel confident on stage, how about giving auditions for the camera. I gave a couple of auditions and got my first acting part when I was in 4th grade. My family always supported and encouraged me to improve my acting techniques. I attended many theatre and film workshops which helped me a lot. 

 Describe the experience of working on your debut film, Pak Pak Pakaak. 

It was truly amazing. I was 12 years old back then. More than 300 kids had auditioned for the part. The makers liked my audition so much that I was finalised instantly. The director, Gautam Joglekar, encouraged me to give my best in every scene. He gave me good insights while we were developing the character of Chikhloo which helped me a lot. Working with Nana Patekar taught me a lot of things. Many scenes were improvised on the set. It helped me to improve my improvisation skill. Also, since we were shooting on film, I got to know the production side as well. We used to rehearse a shot many times until we thought it was ready to be captured. I still remember Nana kaka and Gautam dada telling me, ‘Keep on rehearsing until you think it is good enough.’ Everyone on set truly believed that we were making something unique and which will be cherished many years down the line. 

Share your most memorable ‘Behind the scenes’ story from a film/series you were a part of. 

The scene in Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho where Bharat Jadhav accidentally hits me with a bat; was pretty late in the night when we started shooting that scene. Everyone was really tired and sleepy but we knew that this scene was the most important part of the film. Mahesh Manjrekar called Bharat kaka and me and told us that this is the room where we will be filming the scene. He told us that he wanted the scene in one shot to maintain the intensity. He told us to improvise the whole scene, and the camera was to be placed according to our improvisation. It was an amazing experience for me to improvise with Bharat kaka and Mahesh kaka. I feel blessed that I could work with such experienced directors and actors at a very young age. It has always kept me motivated to improve my craft. 

If you had to choose between films or theatre, which one would it be and why?

This is a tough one. But I would say theatre. I love the adrenaline rush when the 3rd bell rings. The reaction of the audience is instant. You get so much energy. Overall the process of setting a play has always fascinated me. You can explore so many things. I did a play Mirad- A Boy From Bosnia, in which I had to play 11 characters. We started rehearsing 2-3 months before we performed for an audience. We worked on every character minutely. How a character would walk, talk, sit, etc. And when I finally performed on stage the feeling of satisfaction was just great. 

Who’s the one director you want to work with and why? 

There are so many I look up to, who really inspire me. To pick one of them, I would say Christopher Nolan. I am really in awe of his storytelling. All of his films are unique in their own way. He is so passionate about his work that I remember in an interview, he had mentioned that many producers had rejected his debut film Following, so he paid from his salary and made the film anyway. It took him a year to complete it. But he never gave up. 

Which actor (male or female) would you consider as your ultimate inspiration?

Daniel Day-Lewis. He is a legend. The detail he brings to each character he plays is amazing. He manages to reach the depth of the character flawlessly. In the film Gangs of New York, it was his idea to have an eagle in the eye. He is truly an ultimate inspiration. 

If your life were to be made into a web series/biopic, what would it be called?

I feel I have to work a lot, learn a lot, explore a lot and achieve a lot. After that people can decide whether my life could be an inspiration for others to be made into a biopic. But for fun, let’s say ‘Saksham- The Capable.’

What are the top three things on your bucket list? 

  • Direct a film
  • Do a film in any language other than Hindi and Marathi
  • Learn to dance properly😂😂

What’s that one piece of advice you would like to give to people who are looking to get into acting professionally? 

Glamour is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of hard work needs to be put in. It’s not as easy as it looks. 

Where can people get in touch with you?

I am not that social a person, but you can get in touch with me on Instagram.

5 eye-opening environmental documentaries you should watch right now

It’s undeniable that we’re facing the biggest environmental challenge humanity has ever seen. Climate change is real and it’s happening at a pace faster than we can imagine. The first step towards doing anything about this environmental emergency is recognising its existence.

This World Environment Day, we recommend watching these five documentaries that will inspire you to take action.

  1. Seaspiracy

Where to stream: Netflix

Ali Tabrizi, a child who loved the seas, the oceans, and the life beneath them, grew up to learn about the conspiracies that impact their health. The documentary shows his journey of discovering the human impact on marine life. With heart-breaking and real visuals, Ali has exposed the ill practices of the fishing industry, a major cause of the extinction of various marine species. Their extinction not only destroys the aquatic life but the life on land as well. Watch the ninety-minute documentary to learn how human existence depends on marine life and what is the only solution to help prevent their extinction. 

  1. Before The Flood

Where to stream: Disney+ Hotstar 

“Climate change is real and is happening right now. It’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species.” These words from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar-winning speech resonate with this 2016 documentary that unfolds the darkest truths of climate change. Produced and presented by Dicaprio, it follows his three-year journey attempting to document the devastating impact of the environmental crisis. His collection of interviews – from Barack Obama and the Pope through climate leaders from India and China – will help you grasp the magnitude of climate change and how we all can come together to reverse its impact. Highly recommended!

  1. The Year Earth Changed

Where to stream: Apple TV+ 

The Year Earth Changed is an AppleTV+ production and is one of the sweetest documentaries for animal and wildlife lovers. Filmed during the pandemic of 2020 and narrated by David Attenborough, this documentary beautifully captures the positive changes in wildlife behaviour across the globe due to reduced human intervention during the lockdown. The stunning visuals and the breathtaking locations make this a must-watch while leaving you with a lot of bittersweet thoughts.

  1. Kiss the Ground

Where to stream: Netflix

An optimistic climate documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson, that chronicles the healing power of the soil, which could offer a solution to the climate crisis. A beautifully made movie that teaches and reminds us of the fundamentals of life. Kiss the Ground will fill you with the hope that uniting with nature and its creatures will transform our world for good. One noteworthy takeaway from this documentary: Heal the soil, heal the planet! 

  1. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet 

Where to stream: Netflix A Life On Our Planet is a powerful first-hand account of humanity’s impact on nature told by Sir Attenborough himself. It tells the story of how much the planet has changed during the 95-year-old naturalist’s lifetime – and how the clock is ticking for the planet. This moving documentary, however, also brings hope about the positive movements happening around the world and inspires us to care for the planet a little more. A must-watch!

Top 5 Video Editing Apps for Instagram Reels

Short videos have become a rage in recent years. With Instagram Reels becoming popular, the demand for video editing tools is more than ever before. So, if you are a budding Reels creator looking to crack the code, here’s our pick for the best video editing tools to create those crisp and engaging videos.

  1.  Inshot   

First on our list is Inshot. It’s among the most popular Reels video editors out there. The ability to have custom ratios, variety of fonts, effects and music, makes it a must-have tool to create those perfect, vertical Reels. 

What we like

  • It has a huge list of video editing features like creating a slow-motion video, time-lapse or flipping videos. 
  • The drafts can be saved. This means you can pick from where you left without the hassle of starting all over again. 
  •  You can add animated stickers, emojis and custom images to your reels. 

 What we don’t like 

  • You need to get a paid version to remove watermarks from your videos. 

2.     Adobe Premiere Rush

It’s another popular choice for creating Instagram Reel or any other short videos.

Why we like it

  • The app has standard video editing tools like trimming, shadow, adjusting exposure.
  • The app has an intuitive UI, options for video aspect ratio, motion graphic templates and many more useful features.

What we don’t like

  • The free version allows you to export only three videos in a month, which can be a bummer if you’re someone who uploads regularly. 

 3.       FilmoraGo

FilmoraGo is another popular video editor app for creating Instagram Reels available on Android and iOS both. It supports various aspect ratios and has all standard video editing features to make your Instagram Reels look professional. 

What we like  

  • It has some great video effects that you’ll not find on other editors.
  • It will give a professional look to your videos.
  • It has pretty good fonts and overlays.  
  • It supports voice-overs. 

What we don’t like

  • It puts watermarks on videos, so you’ll need to subscribe to the premium version if you want to remove the watermarks.

4.       YouCut

If you hate watermarks just like us, YouCut is the app for you. It’s a free editing app that brings you features like multiple custom ratios, fonts, cool video effects – all important for creating high-quality Reels. Additionally, it also allows you to import your own music, or you can pick from their library, which is a bonus. 

What we like 

  • It adds no watermark to the videos, which is a big yay!
  • The app has a library of royalty-free music.
  • It allows you to change the background, play with different fonts and also lets you choose the aspect ratio. 

What we don’t like

  • This app is only available for Android and not iOS.

5.       KineMaster

KineMaster is our final editor on this list. It comes with all the amazing video editing functions you need in an app to make your videos stand out.  

What we like 

  • It allows you to apply filters, add music, voice-overs, transitions, and custom fonts. 
  • It allows you to combine multiple videos, images, and texts. 

What we don’t like

  • You will have to buy the premium version if you don’t want watermarks on your videos.