Filmmaker Friday Featuring Filmmaker Souvid Datta

Each week, Filmtools takes a look behind the scenes with filmmakers around the world

With hundreds of careers and opportunities, the Filmmaking industry can be a unique experience for a Filmmaker. Options include pitching an idea, or a commission through screenwriting, casting, shooting, editing, and screening your project. Filmtools decided to take a deeper look into the world of a Filmmaker. This week, we had the opportunity to speak to Filmmaker Souvid Datta about his work. This is what he said:

What is your name and where are you from?

Souvid Datta: My name is Souvid Datta. I’m originally from Mumbai, India, but mostly grew up in London, UK.

What is your primary role on set?

Souvid Datta:  My background’s in visuals and cinematography, but I’ve been a writer/director for the last few projects I’ve worked on.

Who is a person in the industry that is on top of his or her game in your role?

Souvid Datta:  These are pretty obvious names but ones that I always circle back to – Aaron Sorkin, Roger Deakin, Christopher Nolan.

If you had to impress someone with your work, what would be the most “well known” content that you’ve worked on? – Could be local TV spot or YouTube piece.  

Souvid Datta:  Hopefully, the next thing that I’m working on! But for now, it’d be a 6-part documentary series I shot and directed last year that’s since been picked up by Channel 4, Discovery Asia and Sony BBC Earth.

Best craft service food?

Souvid Datta:  I usually function best on a light stomach so I’d like to say the healthy stuff – carrot sticks, hummus, even protein bars! But truth be told, I’m a sucker for good sandwiches. Good bread, good meat. Won’t resist if I see one.

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on before?

Souvid Datta:  There’ve been a lot of meaningful projects, often with really unforgettable experiences and teams. But in terms of ‘coolness’ probably a recent short concept film I made about superheroes in a Kenyan slum.

What’s the first thing you do on set?

Souvid Datta:  Shake every hand. Get to know names and personalities. Find a space to take a breather for when things inevitably go out of control.

How did you break into the industry?

Souvid Datta:  Kind of by accident. Visuals and stories were my interests. And the work I got gravitated more and more towards film and television by the project. In terms of breaking in, a lot was luck. I’d just say be prepared for lots (and lots) of no’s before that luck comes knocking.

Current TV obsession?

Souvid Datta:  Atlanta. Donald Glover’s a pioneer. I’m slightly disappointedly following along with the new Westward season. And meanwhile re-watching a few gems for inspiration – The Night Of, West Wing.

Do you binge-watch shows or pace them out?

Souvid Datta:  I’m trying to binge less on good shows. They deserve their own time, and space to sink in and build up internal questions. I think that’s something we’ve lost since getting VOD. That said, I’m happy to blast through reruns of Archer while on a treadmill.

What piece of gear do you have your eye on?

Souvid Datta:  I’m trying to find the right balance between run-and-gun work and higher-production values, but still haven’t quite found the sweet spot. Since the recent announcement, though, I’ve been pretty keen to play with BlackMagic’s new 4K Pocket Cinema Camera.

Camera – Should you own or rent?

Souvid Datta:  Owning proper gear’s great if you’re getting enough work that factors in fair equipment rent. But, I think this only makes sense little ways down the road. Any serious commission should have a rental budget.

Lenses – Should you own or rent?

Souvid Datta:  Lenses last for longer, and they seem to be a pretty great investment if you’re in the business for the long haul. It’s probably worth owning some decent glass. It’ll outlive any newer body upgrades.

What is your preferred camera system?

Souvid Datta:  I’m most comfortable when I’m flexible and in control – so generally, gimbal mounted smaller bodies if I can get away with it. The Sony mirrorless range packs a real punch. But, for higher-end results, ARRI’s Alexa line is still unmatched for me.

 Someone that is starting out in the industry, what advice would you give them?

Souvid Datta:  Don’t wait for an invitation or permission. Just get out there and shoot. Know that you’ll mess up, and probably be in the dumps at some point (we’ve all been there) – but trust that your proactivity, resilience, and humility will be key to learning and succeeding. Look for opportunities to collaborate, stay open to others approaches, they’ll teach you just as much, and while throwing yourself into the industry just don’t forget to be honest about what it is you’re really after and what you’re willing to fight for.


Where can people see your work?

Souvid Datta:  http://souvid.space

 Where can people follow you on social?

Souvid Datta:  

Instagram – @souvid

Facebook – /souviddatta

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