Once upon a time, entertainment in India was limited to a single TV screen in a household of 10 members (We’ve always been a populous nation.) Sob stories, shady time-lapse attempts, and melodramatic writing dominated the prime-time of the primary singular outlet of fiction entertainment on a day-to-day basis.
A few years, sloppy scripts, endless dramatic pauses and comedy queues (They still exist, who are we kidding?) later, the WEBSERA (Web Series Era: Read more here) made it to India! We, the young enough to not care about kitchen politics and old enough to embrace stories for a real perspective had platforms echoing our sentiments, ideas and in internet lingo, basic feels!
Today, bridges of relationships are built on relatability, which have been strengthened by content platforms in the form of reads, memes, quotes and most importantly web series!
So what goes behind making leading content platforms like Filter Copy and Dice Media (My personal favourites) a success? We talk to the founder member, Anirudh Pandita in our curious chat. Read on as he patiently tells us every bit of the story….
Pocket Aces, before, after and everything in between…
The story behind the alliance of us the founder members goes way back in time. Ashwin (Ashwin Suresh, co-founder, Pocket Aces) and I were college roommates. Aditi (Aditi Shrivastava, co-founder, Pocket Aces) is my schoolmate and Ashwin’s wife.
While I was in the States, I saw a flurry of content around me. The content products there, were extremely engaging, platforms like Buzzfeed and College Humour had picked up then and India was still hooked to reality shows. This is when I realized that people in India could consume better content, and when I returned to India in 2013, people were consuming content on the phone and we wanted to offer a discovery platform that would help them unwind during the routine days through relatable content.
Thus with Filter Copy, we began to engage readers through shareworthy content, with Dice Media we took another step towards bridging the gap and offering relatable shows for the Indian youth and with Gobble, we served a platform for all things food.
The secret behind majorly catchy titles like Little Things, What The Folks etc…
*Chuckles* The genesis behind every title is different, each series had its own story. The very first series Not Fit was initially supposed to be called something else, however, we eventually decided on Not Fit because it’s a phrase struggling actors often hear during auditions. Similarly, for Little Things, we expanded on the slice of life theme and named it so. However, with What The Folks (WTF), it wasn’t easy, we had quite of few titles in mind (Some of them then made it as episode titles) but most of them were already taken or had other challenges involved. We decided on a couple of options and asked the entire team to vote, WTF won and we trusted the team!
Thought behind every series….
While there exist out and out drama themed shows, our focus is to tell stories that are real, relatable and reflective of the times we live in. For instance, Little Things is all about the simpler things that are involved when a couple lives together. It is the day-to-day happenings which make up for most of the room.
Curious Question: How much time does it take to pan out a series?
Much like the journey behind every show’s title, the turnout time for every series has been different because it begins with identifying the core audience, who must love it eventually. The ideation of Little Things took place in March 2016, while the episode released only in October 2016. On the other hand, What The Folks panned out merely in 3 months!
W for writing….
There is a myth around writing culture that because it involves creativity, it takes a lot of time. There are certain stereotypes attached to the same, however, the reality isn’t so, writing is a discipline which requires daily work. What The Folks was written by two writers, Ayesha, who hasn’t written a web series earlier, she has written sketches in the past but this was her first time as a web series writer. Anand, who is our recruitment head co-wrote the show.
We believe there is no formula to writing, and it can be best executed when there’s no form of pressure attached to someone. We’ve encouraged the team to share interesting concepts. We already have two-three writers working on season 2 of Little Things slated to release early next year.
Friday is the verdict day for a film, what is it for a web series?
The beauty of the internet lies in the fact that you can experiment, our audience has always been extremely forthcoming in all our new adventures. Yes, we do have our parameters of measuring the results through the rate at which content is shared and viewed at every hour. Similarly, for YouTube, we measure the ratio of likes to dislikes. On certain occasions, I still continue to personally message the users for constant feedback who genuinely reflect their opinions and tell us what kind of content they would like to watch.
Leadership in the entertainment sector
We have always believed that people create products and thus we’ve always focused on people and not the end result. The culture of innovation fosters new talent, we let the young minds take the lead. Unlike earlier times, we want to be a place where young minds across the country see themselves realizing their dreams in entertainment.
Series beyond boundaries….
We’ve witnessed our series have not just been embraced by the country, but it has also managed to push boundaries and enjoy viewership in the States, South East Asia. Millennial values are similar in China as well. (We are not surprised that Pocket Aces’ content will be showcased on one of China’s popular websites, Youku Tudou )
P.S: After reading our curious chat with Anirudh, you’ve sure realised that behind awesome on the internet is an even awesome human being. More power to contemporary leaders like him! Until next time, #StayCurious 🙂