The advent of social media and rapid advancements in technology have altered the landscape for traditional advertising. As an ad filmmaker, how do you keep up?Â
Keeping up with the change in advertising means adapting to new technology, production equipment and latest cinematic techniques. Iâ€™m liable as a filmmaker to stay updated with these trends to ensure I deliver quality content. It doesnâ€™t matter to me whether my film is being published online or broadcasted over conventional platforms. What matters is achieving excellent standards and embracing good conceptsâ€”these could be my brainchild or come in the form of a collaboration. The creative process allows me to push my limits.
In your field, what are the most important skills required to stay on top of the game?Â
While itâ€™s absouletly true that thereâ€™s no success without hardwork, commitment and dedication,Â the one thing that gets you through it all is faithâ€”in your self and the divine power. This may sound clichÃ©d, but my belief in God has made the unthinkable possible. Strong knowledge, staying up to date with the latest and the best and knowing your domain propels you to reach your goals. However, itâ€™s your faith that ultimately gives you the strength to push yourself to that point.
Out of the vast array of ad campaigns youâ€™ve produced, which ones stand out as the closest to your heart and why?Â
As I mentioned before, I embrace good concepts. There are several films close to my heart but theyâ€™re special due to their own unique aspects and every film has some.
My latest commercial was for Mughal Steel, an industrial product with a technical application. This may seem like a product thatâ€™s hard to put out there in an exciting fashion, but challenges like this are exactly what make my job so much fun. We decided to focus on the structural integrity of the product, instead of boasting other physical properties (like withstanding tons of weight), combined it with a relatable and humorous script and a stellar star cast. The ad film was a success the instant it was aired.
There are several other ad films that hold sentimental value for me. Picking one favourite is like choosing between oneâ€™s children. Itâ€™s next to impossible.
â€œMore seasoned and polished actors can deliver with better expression, but this doesnâ€™t mean you stop casting new faces in your filmsâ€
What are the responsibilities that come with being able to influence consumer opinion?
People often believe marketeers lie to promote a product but I believe the audience has matured now and wonâ€™t be fooled. The new generation is tech savvy and is exposed to a vast pool of knowledge through the internet and personal experience. I cannot influence consumers into purchasing a product theyâ€™re not interested in. Instead, my power lies in creating educational content that intrigues the audience enough to find out about its qualities and draw comparisons with competition. How effectively I can deliver this undertaking is what my ultimate job is, and I must admit, Iâ€™m pretty good at it.
Are big celebrity names crucial to the success of an ad campaign?Â
It all depends on your message. The masses know that the person on a screen, regardless of his fame, is an actor playing a role. It is the information he or she gives out that matters. More seasoned and polished actors can deliver with better expression, but this doesnâ€™t mean you stop casting new faces in your films. I will keep on believing that there are hidden gems just inches from you, every time you set out to make a film. All you need to do is choose the right fit for your product and script.
Run us through the process of coming up with an effective ad film.
Research, teamwork, pursuit of quality, transparency,Â charisma,Â strong script, knowing your demographics,Â understanding consumer needs, knowing your product,Â understanding competition,Â making good use of your training and experiences, arguing,Â fighting, convincing others, imagining- I could go on for hours! To cut it short, one needs to come up with the right mix of things to create something effective.
â€œI’m working on an action based romantic comedy. It took us around seventeen months to come up with the script because I didnâ€™t want to rush into making something averageâ€
How do you measure professional success?Â
I am no advertising guru. I actively follow the mentors who taught me all that I know. To be able to achieve a certain goal, and then being able to move on to the next big thing is what success means to me. Â Success is not a destination but a continous pursuit of excellence.
What is the future of ad films in Pakistan?Â
Very bright. Thereâ€™s huge potential in advertising. It is an ecosystem that is going through constant evolution. Our market is thriving with new entrepreneurs who are young, enthusiastic and passionate. The credit goes to them for keeping the advertising industry running at its optimal potential.
We hear you have an interesting relationship with music. Tell us about it.
Well, itâ€™s no secret to the people who know me well that Iâ€˜m crazy about music. I created a few songs and produced some music videos back in the day and am happy to report that the passion still exists within me. Iâ€™ve finally worked on a full album, a project Iâ€™m very excited about.
We know a lot about your professional ventures but would love to find out more about you as a person. What is life like at home and how do you unwind?
I am an obedient son, a faithful husband, a doting father and a loyal friend. I tend to live two lives everyday; one is at work and the other at home. When Iâ€™m home,Â nothing else in the whole world can distract me. Iâ€™m blessed with an extremely loving support system and try my best to pay back with just as much selflessness.
Iâ€™m extremely dedicated to God. Whatever I have is because of him and Iâ€™m eternally grateful for the blessings heâ€™s bestowed upon me.
Lastly, please tell us about your recent feature length production. Is it true that youâ€™ll be directing a film?
Yes, it’s true. I’m working on an action based romantic comedy. It took us around seventeen months to come up with the script because I didn’t want to rush into making something average. While we worked thoroughly on budgets, cast and composition, the real success of a film is dependent on the quality of content.
The initial outline of the script took us around two months, after which we began creating links between the characters and situations. I’m sketching the whole project as a storyboard and am in no rush. I plan to give it as much time as required and will announce it officially only once it goes into pre-production.
Interview: Mehek Raza Rizvi -Â Coordination: Areesha Chaudhry -Â Photography: Ali Agha