It has only been two days since Narcos creator Chris Brancato landed in the country. But, he already seems to have pinpointed towards a loophole in how Indians create content. Highlighting the importance of a writer in the making of a successful show, he says, “Indians need to figure out what is best [for the creation of a good series]. Is it a collaboration between the writer and director, or [the requirement for] writers to learn the ropes of production. They need to be more involved in the creation of the show.” Brancato points towards America’s tendency to back strong content for the success of web shows. “The only person who has any say on the development is the writer. He assumes various positions; ones that only a director or producer would have in another country.” Given that American series include only 22 episodes, delivering contextually strong content is essential, he says.
Carole Kirschner, Siddharth Roy Kapur and Chris Brancato
Brancato’s views are backed by Carole Kirschner, director of the Showrunner Training Program – Writers Guild of America. Kirschner accompanies Brancato to India as part of a workshop conducted by producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, to further his association with Jio TV for the creation of digital content. She points out that a fruitful collaboration with a writer is possible if the director gives up his/her position as king of the product. “The biggest challenge that Indian show-makers face is that the director is the king, while a writer is only a person for hire. America has created successful TV shows since the writer is the king, and has the creative vision that drives the show.
The challenge [here], lies in finding directors who are willing to collaborate with writers. They have to come down from their perch, and writers must step-up to leadership positions.” Given that America enjoys watching content from across the globe, Brancato alludes that Indian subjects may also find place in his creations. “I am excited to see if an Indian show can be taken to the US. Since my favourite topic is related to gangsters, I would love to explore the underworld in India, if I were to make a show here.” Kapur says, “This is a new platform that the creative and business side is still figuring out. It’s good to start on a clean slate. Everyone is discovering an Indian model as we don’t want to take a template and follow it. The style of storytelling needs to be different. Chris and Carole are here to define it and help new and established writers figure out what is similar and different in a web series.”
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