Filmmaking Updates & Discussions By Faisal Hashmi


Filmmaking 101: Story Is Key

The following is the first in a series of articles about filmmaking from the story to the release stage. Keep visiting the blog for more.

What was the last big budget blockbuster you saw that you absolutely hated? Now try to think of the reason you hated a movie that cost around $200 million bucks to make. Chances are it wasn’t because one scene didn’t have the right special effects or you didn’t like the costumes. Even after being polished and big by all standards, the most likely reason you hated that movie because it had a weak screenplay. And a weak screenplay is directly the result of a weak story.

You Vs. Hollywood

As independent filmmakers, the one thing that we know we don’t have is a lot of funds. It would be foolish to try to compete with Hollywood at a production level, considering that the budget of some of their biggest movies exceed the entire GDP of a small country. They have a crew of hundreds, the best equipment and wizards in the world and a lot of money to throw at their projects. But there’s one thing that they have that you can absolutely compete with. In fact, you can defeat them at it – the story. Hollywood is running out of ideas since quite a few years now, and have been relying on remakes and sequels to run their slate. They are constantly on a hunt for fresh and unique stories that they can make into a film. But whether it’s a short film, a comedy, a horror movie or a mindless action movie – story is key.

But even after their best efforts, most of the time Hollywood movies suffer in the story department because they cost so much. The more a movie costs, the more people’s money is at stake which means there are more people constantly looking over the project and each of them has a say in it. This usually ends up with each and every one of them giving their own notes on the script and the film ending up losing its most original ideas and ending up becoming a generic mess made by committee. And as a result, even after the movie has lots of production values, the audience looks through it and realizes that the screenplay was sub-par. Watching ‘Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides’ this weekend might give you lots of production value and a sense of adventure, but you will also be able to detect that the story was lacking and it played it way too safe. But you don’t have to face that problem. Being an independent filmmaker, there’s no one there to stop you from making the exact film that you want to make. This is the real charm of an independent film and why they sometimes break out and earn even more at the box-office than the big-budget films – they are built on a strong story.

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Our Next Short Film ‘Bubble’ In Pre-Production

After the humungous success that we saw with ‘Perfect Living’, our next short film was decided to be something more dramatic and character driven just like that film. Something that would be based on a universal theme that audiences can emotionally connect to. And with that, our next short film ‘Bubble’ is officially announced and in pre-production. Here is the early teaser poster.

The plot would be kept under wraps at the moment because even speaking about the basics of it would be a spoiler considering how it will end. But it will be a largely dialogue-less film with two concurrent storylines going on with the same actor playing the lead roles of both of those stories. It’s a tough role to handle, and that’s why we are holding our very first casting call on Facebook right here so do join the group if you are interested.

The aim with this film is to also increase the production values of our film by collaborating with a very creative individual, and having another film to enter into festivals internationally and locally. This will be our hardest project yet, but we aren’t ones to give it up.

Once again, follow the step-by-step progress of the film on our official Hashmic House Films Facebook Page.

‘Perfect Living’ Goes To Cannes Film Festival

Those who have been following our last short film ‘Perfect Living’ would be very surprised and pleased to know that it is going to Cannes Film Festival thanks to Abu Dhabi Film Commission.

Abu Dhabi Film Commission revealed in March that they are looking for short films to showcase at the Cannes Film Festival 2011 in Paris, and want to show the films at the Short Film Corner in Marche Du Film category. Noticing that it surprisingly isn’t limited to only UAE nationals, I jumped on the chance and submitted the film for consideration with zero expectations. Next thing I know, I get a reply asking to perform a few other steps and my film is now officially playing at the Abu Dhabi Pavilion.

This couldn’t be bigger news for us and it’s great to know that the little film we made for a competition is being appreciated on so many levels. It’s also great to know that there’s outlets for expatriate filmmakers to enter their films in and get appreciated that way, unlike a few competitions that only keep things limited to UAE Nationals. But more on that in a different post.

Till then, thanks for supporting our films to date 🙂

Welcome to Hashmic House Films!

My name is Faisal Hashmi and I welcome you folks to the Hashmic House Films blog.

You might wonder – why a blog? While our main focus for the general audience is going to be our Facebook and Twitter page, a blog is of key importance in what we are aiming to do. Not only will this blog act as a news event portal of whatever we are up to and our personal opinion about a number of matters, it will be a primary source of knowledge and tips about independent filmmaking in UAE.

Though many don’t know it yet, almost all of us have a story to tell. A story that we always believed would look great on screen or a story that we connect to and is personal. Not everybody is into filmmaking but we are storytellers by birth and there’s no denying that. But for those that were always fascinated when watching movies and always had a dream or even a passing thought of one day making their own film, this blog is for you. Living in the UAE, it’s very understandable why you haven’t done anything about your aspiration yet. The problem with this country for us is that expatriates require a visa to stay here which you only get by working full-time or being a student. This severely takes a toll on your life and usually leaves no time for doing anything else, so you put your dream aside and begin to live life the way everyone is. And while this doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon, all it takes is a story and a camera to go shoot your movie and it IS possible.

But another daunting task that faces most such people is – where do I begin? That’s exactly what this blog will aim to do. We’ve read hundreds of books, watched thousands of movies and DVD’s that teach us all aspects of filmmaking and it’s our short film projects that teach us constant lessons every time. This blog will feature a stream of articles that will deal with every aspect of filmmaking right from the basics. Whether it’s telling a story and how to form it, screenwriting, cameras, technicals and other directorial tricks, Hashmic House Films isn’t just about ‘us’. It’s an initiative to bolster filmmaking in the country and make sure there’s enough support that people take notice. It bums me out to see such a muted response when filmmaking is mentioned here and that’s what should be changed.

Why is Los Angeles a city filled with people talking about film and not Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Do we lack imagination? I definitely don’t think that’s the case after  the dozens of very creative individuals that I’ve ended up meeting in the last year itself. All of these people have amazing stories and great talent to make it, but just not the push and initiative required to actually go ahead and make the damn thing. Our effort here will be to give the average guy that knowledge and crack open that mystical world of filmmaking and make them realize that while talent is innate, the tools are easily accessible.

So keep track of our blog for a number of interesting articles to come and do follow us everywhere else for some very inspirational stuff.

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Hashmic House Films

An initiative to bolster UAE filmmaking including tips, resources and thoughts about the industry.

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