Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tip # 31: Mindset

By Anant Mathur (May 19, 2012)

You may have heard filmmakers claim that they make films keeping in mind what the audience wants. Let me tell you, no filmmaker out there knows what the audience wants. Any filmmaker who claims to know what the audience wants is, in simple terms, "An Idiot". If filmmakers knew what the audience wanted, every film would be a hit. The truth is with every film that comes out its makers are taking a chance, a chance that the audience may like it. When more than 90% of films fail each year it would be a little hard for anyone to believe filmmakers know what the audience wants.

Although our social circle, spouse and family influence the kind of films we watch, most times, our mood or mindset is the greatest deciding factor. There are times when I could watch a love story or a science fiction or action film and then there are times when I stay away from them. It all depends on my mindset.

Have you ever woken up and been in a certain kind of mood - chances are whatever you were dreaming about has influenced your mood - you may not remember what you were dreaming about but it has put you in a certain mood. If you had a terrifying dream chances are that's the kind of mood you'll be in all day and you may not be able to explain why? Similarly, when watching a film our mindset dictates what we watch - if we are not in the mood for a love story but are forced by our friends or force ourselves to watch it, we probably won't like it.

When filmmakers make films they have no idea what mindset the audience will be in. They have no clue what kind of a day a person had. A film may be declared a flop because one of the most respected critics was not in the right mindset to watch that particular film.

There have been times when I've watched a film and loved it, then watched it again 2 months later and hated it. Chances are I was in a favorable mindset or distracted by something when I watched it the first time and when I watched it the second time I was more logical and the film didn't make any sense.

When I watched 3 Idiots, I didn't really want to see it, I had very low expectations from it, but by the time the end credits rolled I was totally taken by it. Even though I was not in the right mindset, the film was so good that it made me forget everything else and pulled me into the story. As a writer or director, you cannot control what your audience's mindset will be, so it's extremely important to give them a good product that they will enjoy regardless of their mindset. 

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

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