Tag Archives: Writing

Filmmaker Shaan Memon celebrates the holidays in commercials for Dickens Fair

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Shaan Memon

As far back as Shaan Memon can remember, his family had a VCR player at their home in Ahmedabad, a city in Gujarat state in India. Every Sunday, he would watch all of his favorite cartoon shows, and his father used to help him record the shows on video cassettes. When his father would travel to Bombay for work, he would return with movies for Shaan and his elder sister. It was then, in his living room in his childhood home, that his love of film was born.

Now, Shaan is an in-demand Screenwriter, Director, and Editor. He first impressed international critics with his work on the horror The Unreal and continued to do so with his films Fitting In and Bullied, as well as the documentary Purpose Driven Study for Dharoi Canal Command Area. He is extremely knowledgeable in every aspect of filmmaking, from pre-production to post-production, and using this knowledge to expand his skillset. At the end of last year, his work on a commercial for the Dickens Christmas Fair showed that in addition to Director and Editor, this versatile filmmaker can even take on the role of Videographer and achieve tremendous results.

“I found Shaan to be reliable, assiduous, hard-working, and intuitively creative – as well as being extremely patient in performing multiple re-cuts of the material. Shaan impressed me so much that I recommended him for other work and hope to engage his services next year on a separate video for the Dickens Fair,” said David Hakim, Producer/Director who worked alongside Shaan on the commercial.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London and is an elaborate party with around 800 of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops. It’s a twilight evening in Charles Dickens’ London Town – a city of winding lanes filled with colorful characters from both literature and history. Enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty foods fill the air. Cries of street vendors hawking their wares ring out above the bustling crowd. Dozens of lamplight shops are filled to overflowing with Christmas gifts. The Dickens Christmas Fair is a treasured Bay Area tradition since 1970 and a splendid way to celebrate the holidays. Thousands of people attend this event every year.

“I had never visited the fair before, so the first time when I visited it, I was spellbound. They have created a different world in itself. One can never imagine what would it be inside until they visit it, and that is exactly I wanted to capture. I therefore insisted on not visiting the fair before shooting, as I wanted to feel like a traveler who is experiencing it for the first time and I captured those moments,” said Shaan.

Shaan is a multi-talented filmmaker with an outstanding about of expertise in writing, directing, editing, videography and sound design. Because he has so much experience in such a variety of roles, he is a one-man army who can execute a project as clearly and as nearly to how it was conceived during the consultation. Having thorough knowledge of different fields makes him a force to be reckoned with and proved vital while shooting this commercial.

“Every filmmaker works hard with his/her sweat and blood to make a project the best it can possibly be and make their name in the industry. I had huge responsibility as Diane Baker put trust in me and suggested me to work on this project. I’m happy that I could reach her and David’s expectations,” said Shaan.

When Diane Baker and David Hakim were trying to find someone who could make a captivating commercial for Dicken’s Christmas Fair, they immediately thought of Shaan and approached him to take the lead on the project. Initially, Hakim had planned on creating a competition to decide who would create the commercial, but after seeing Shaan’s work, he knew he no longer needed to find someone to take over.

Working closely together for the entire shoot, Shaan consulted Hakim regarding what kind of shots, pace and feel would be required. After brainstorming, they decided on getting more front faced shots of the visitors, showing how happy they were and enjoying their time. Getting the best shots of artists performing, vendors selling beautiful products, the decorations, the grandness of the fair and much more. Shaan then attended the fair with his assistant to get as many shots as possible. During the editing process, he consulted with Kevin Patterson, Executive Director of Dicken’s Fair. He edited the best possible 30-second commercial. He is now working on the 90-second advertisement after the success of its predecessor.

“This is what I love about filmmaking. I never get bored of being a filmmaker. I enjoy working every time I have to go through this process of starting a new project, working on it and at the end looking at its result. Every project takes me on a whole new journey. In this one I met around hundreds of artists working together at same place. Watching Dickens’s characters alive and performing in front of you was a treat! This project was great to work on and entertaining also. David was very supportive throughout and I’m happy that he trusted my creativity and I could deliver up to his expectations,” Shaan concluded.

Check out Shaan’s work on the commercial on the Dicken’s Fair website.

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Victor Osorio On Living to Write

Victor Osorio is part of the 0.1 per cent of the general population that suffers from a rare neurological disease characterized by recurrent, severe headaches. The disease is called Cluster Headaches, but sufferers often refer to their condition as “Suicide Headaches” due to the often insurmountable pain that it causes. Osorio, on the other hand, sees his Cluster Headaches as the driving force behind his unwavering passion to write. Despite the massive amounts of pain and suffering that he has endured over time, he has only grown stronger and more determined to enlighten the world with his ideas. For the Spanish-native, writing is his reason to wake up in the morning, and although it isn’t the simplest profession to master, he has done so with ease. He doesn’t write because he wants to share something, he writes because he has something to share, and he has crafted a remarkable career around it.

When Osorio was a child, his parents deterred him from spending too much time in front of the television. As a result, he became an avid reader. He was fascinated by each author’s ability to awaken his imagination in ways they might not have ever intended. He loved learning the various styles and techniques that his favorite writers would use and he was inspired to develop his own unique methods. Today, the renowned writer can be credited as being the successful mastermind behind works like his children’s book, Cosas Que Nadie Sabe (translated in English to: Things Nobody Knows). He also worked for the longest running child and teen magazine, Dibus! Magazine, as a children’s comic writer for their hit feature, Alienados. Osorio’s talents, however, are not limited to writing for children’s publications. When he expanded his reach into the television and film industry, he lent his expertise to the award-winning web series, Hollywood and later earned himself a position working for Origo Media.

 For Osorio, working with Origo Media is unlike anything he had ever worked on in the past. The job requires him to write short commercials and corporate videos for Origo Media’s clients. In addition, he is expected to deliver material on a weekly basis, according to very strict deadlines. Fortunately, he thrives under pressure and can produce high quality content in a very short period of time. The videos that he writes, which appear mainly online and on television in Central and South America, would not be the success that they are today without Osorio’s unprecedented ability to turn a minor concept into a piece of artwork. In his time spent working with Origo Media, Osorio has written over 200 commercials and corporate videos, as well as a spec pilot.

When asked about his position at Origo Media, Osorio would tell you that he felt lucky to expand his skill set and learn to succeed under a different kind of pressure. “Working at Origo Media was a big deal for me because it allowed me to work on a series of projects with the same people for a year. By now, I consider myself to be very skilled at being concise and to the point, without sacrificing flavor, entertainment, and quality writing. Working on commercials really brings those skills to light and being able to put them to use within the context of this job has been extremely satisfying,” said Osorio.

Those who have worked with Osorio, however, would tell you luck has little to do with it. Luiz Santiago, who is the CEO at Origo Media, considers Osorio to be an invaluable asset to his company. “Victor is a very good writer with a big imagination and his command of creative writing techniques highlight his prowess as a writer. He also takes any potential set and post-production complications into account when developing his scripts to make everyone else’s work easier. Beyond that, he writes interesting, dynamic characters for our actors to explore,” told Santiago. Given the fact that Origo Media creates commercials and corporate videos in Central and South America, it is also important to bridge the gap between American and Hispanic culture in their work. Osorio’s life experiences allow him to do so flawlessly, in a way that resonates well with his audiences. For this reason, Santiago went on to say that, “Victor’s Spanish heritage and culture give him a unique perspective into American culture that infuses his work.”

Working at Origo Media has added a new and interesting dynamic to Osorio’s career. His eagerness to write and his passion for spreading his ideas across the world make him particularly open to expanding his horizons into new mediums and genres wherever possible. He enjoys stepping out of his comfort zone and striving for excellence in each new territory that he embarks on. A quick glance into the future of Osorio’s career looks bright. Recently, his children’s book was translated into English and eventually, he hopes to see it on as many bookshelves as possible. He is also working on a second children’s book, as well as a feature film script. He has no shortage of ideas in his brain, and will continue to craft them for success. From the outside looking in, Osorio writes for a living but if you ask him, Osorio simply lives to write.