The Power Of Storytelling With Apoorva Sankar

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Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I’m Apoorva Sankar, an independent filmmaker from Mumbai currently residing in Los Angeles. I studied for my BA in literature from Mumbai University and found my happiness with storytelling through the visual medium. 

I learned the power of storytelling from my parents when I was three years old. They had a  knack for telling me stories in such a way that had the opposite effect than what they intended. Instead of putting me to sleep, their stories made me crave more! The stories created a new world for me. A world of colors, magic, fantasies and a globe everyone lived happily ever after. A parallel universe with my imaginary friends and situations made me believe that I could talk to them and see them coming to life. It might sound crazy today, but that’s where my visualization of stories began and sowed the seeds for my career as an editor.

Living in the city of Mumbai, the home of “Bollywood,” contributed too. I remember going with my Dad to see superstars’ homes and waiting to have a glimpse of them when they came to wave to their fans. I knew the tinsel town was a make-believe world, but a beautiful story. 

I continued to live in this dream even when I pursued my degree in English literature. I studied some exciting topics like The Victorian Age, Modern Literature, and Gender studies. My visual story skills flashed back at me, and I began writing my own short stories and asked a few friends to shoot them for me. I was no expert, but the collaboration process made me realize that creativity has no bounds. I joined a  diploma course in filmmaking and attended classes late in the evenings after college. Here I learned various aspects of filmmaking, including editing, and I fell in love with it. I realized the value of what Stanley Kubrick wrote “I love editing. I like it more than any other place of filmmaking. If I wanted to be frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely a way to produce a film to edit.” 

I was awed by the simplicity and technical balance that an editor contributes to a film. The beauty of carving a movie in post-production made me realize that this was my way of weaving a story for an audience. I started volunteering with NGOs and helped them with short films. I worked on my friend’s projects and refined the short films they made. I loved the process of finding themes, music, effects, and a rhythm for my work. I was still a new bee in this world, and I began watching independent films to broaden my knowledge about movies. I started applying to various film schools hoping that this dream could come true. I got selected for the Film Production program with Editing Emphasis at Dodge College of Media Arts. My vision opened to an entirely new level. I began my creative journey as an editor and collaborated on several projects with my peers. I understood the dynamics of different creative minds coming together to make a film. I got to edit contemporary work and documentaries. 

Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started doing Editing/film production?

When I first told my friends and family that I wanted to become a film editor, the first question they asked me was, why not a director? doesn’t that have more recognition? Which are the famous editors? I had no great answer at that time, but my parents saw my passion for learning the software and finding my path to filmmaking. Then, when I came into this industry with merely no experience and sat day and night staring at the editing software, wondering if this was something I saw myself doing down the line. I doubted something about editing that didn’t stop me from trying harder. I remember showing some of my rough cuts to my fellow directors and getting constructive criticism, working on sections day and night, and my directors looking at the film in awe. At the same time, we fixed the puzzle of storytelling together. I remember the first-ever project I worked on for an NGO back in India. I had no idea what I was doing. After a time, I was working with ADHD kids, and I had no idea how to make a story about them. I didn’t even know if there was a story I could create with these kids. After constantly re-watching footage and coming up with a story, I crafted this piece and screened it for their parents and teachers. I saw tears and emotions all over the room. It was one of the best feelings ever when people appreciated your work and related to every moment.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?  
Filmmaking and the art of photography have changed over the past few years, and technology has impacted this medium. I love the way we can use technology to tell the story in non-traditional ways. The list can keep going on from visual effects, graphic design,2d, and 3d animations. I love learning new software and experimenting with various techniques in my work. I’m currently working at a Post-production trailer house, called MOCEAN. I work as an Assistant to some credible editors. We are currently working on the latest Doctor Strange Film. And it’s definitely been a very exciting process to learn about the whole post-production workflow. I’ve been able to learn so much from all my co-workers and give insights into these big projects. Along with this, I was working on a documentary for Musco Arts for Kishi Bashi and also assisted in a TV series that will be out on Urbanflix. 
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?  

My journey has been a rollercoaster ride with many steep downfalls but slow progressions too! When I was applying for film schools, I received some rejections that clearly stated that my application wasn’t the right fit. I began to doubt myself and wondered, “Is this something I want to do?” Maybe I wasn’t good enough to be a part of this industry. I had no film background anyway, and neither did I have anyone to guide me with this process. As a kid, I always believed there was a certain age to study, find a job, earn money and be self-sufficient. And this is a myth! My parents helped me change my perspective and asked me to believe in myself before thinking about others! I finally began to find the purpose and contribution that I can give to this industry. It is hard to stay away from your loved ones, and being an international student made me realize my family’s values. The security and comfort are priceless when you compare it to staying alone with people you barely know! It took me a while to adjust to the idea of being away and still being focused and independent. But soon, with time and support, I realized that I am learning to be self-sufficient through this process. It is always heartbreaking to see your family on a tiny screen, but the love and support from them remain constant, which is my driving force towards my goal. My journey is nothing without my struggles, and I’ve learned to embrace them along my way.

Can you please give us your favorite ”Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.

As a child, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho had a huge impact on me. This book spoke to me about karma and the signs of the universe. I believe that if you really believe in yourself and really strive to accomplish your goals, you automatically see all the pieces of your puzzle fixing in together. If I stopped believing in myself and my dreams I really wouldn’t have been where I am right now 

How can our readers follow you online?

mail: ap*************@gm***.com


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