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Chinmay Chakravarty | chinchak

How To Make An Indian Television Serial—Part 2

Jul 2nd 2010 at 11:26 AM

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Welcome back to our television serial making guidelines. If you need a recap we had already seen the fixed kinds of necessities like storyline, characters or sets. Now let us move on to moving ones.


The Story and Dialogue Writers: Having just one writer is a risky proposition. You should ideally have a board of writers, if one fails to blow out of his/her mind the others deliver. The never ending storyline needs an equally endless supply of dialogues to carry on the show episode by episode. In a particular scene you will have to create the maximum possible dialogues and for this the board of writers would come as a bonus. If they quarrel over it, that is only natural, maybe you get a new twist-wish idea to put in new angles-triangles or why not even a hyperbola in the story that may again generate new streams of dialogues. You will have to keep a watch on viewers too; boring them now and then is okay, but you must never drive them mad. The channel producers, remember?


The Director: Since you are the director you must be the toughest nut to break. Okay it is your baby and naturally you prefer to be the leader and friend-philosopher-guide. But in actual practice you must be a ruthless dictator taking decisions unilaterally and respecting no one but the channel producers. If a particular character actor is creating problems s/he must get killed in the serial; on the demand of the producers a dead character may have to be brought alive; some others may have to be replaced; ushering in a time transition or injecting one and more absurd characters into the serial; and, so on. All these situations demand your decisions only. We advise you to keep one or two episode directors too as is the case in many soaps. We have good reasons. First, one director is directly identifiable and is a sitting duck for irate viewers, if any. Second, the endless monotony may be too much for you and you may lose your sanity. Third, as for the channel producers the buck will always stop exclusively at your end only.


The Time Pass: This time pass is from the viewpoint of serial makers, not viewers. Making an endless serial is not at all easy. So you must go on creating rooms for frequent time pass tactics. You do it by having merry go rounds of dramatic reaction shots parading all your characters in the hall that may take you over one or more episodes; by having dialogues that never cease; by giving extreme shock treatment to one or more characters who lose their ability to speak and communicate only through loud music that may last up to one or more episodes; by bringing in absurd characters and making their stories count; and, by the like.


Conclusion (?): Since all these guidelines are enforced relentlessly some normal doctrines like <i>good wins over evil</i> get neutralized. Evildoers in serials go on doing evil that may include even murder as law enforcement authorities are never called in, because entry of police may veer the serial to a logical end. You only compensate by creating temporary relief measures now and then. Thus, the antagonist becomes the key to the success of never ending serials. At the receiving end we can only try get used to it.


So, make your serial in India and have never ending fun!


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