Direction Dreams: ‘CS Amudhan’s sense of humour is unrivalled’
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations and this week it is Gerard Pio
Gerard Pio is an assistant director who has worked with Selvaraghavan, I Ahmed, Francis Markus, Kalees and CS Amudhan in Irandam Ulagam, Endrendrum Punnagai, Oyee, Kee, Tamizh Padam 2.0 respectively. His key responsibilites are editing and CGI.
What do you like about the directors you have worked with?
The most remarkable thing about Selvaraghavan’s school of filmmaking is how he goes about the whole process of scriptwriting. I love how Ahmed brings the team together and extracts work not only from each team member individually, but also as a collective whole. Kalees is a man of razor sharp focus who is very specific about what he needs. I admire how Markus gives room for experimentation. I’ve never met anyone who possesses as much wit and humour as CS Amudhan.
What is the one thing that you’ve learnt from directors you’re working and have worked with?
I have learnt from every director that filmmaking is a process of delivering through the unplanned chaos that occurs in spite of all the precautions. You can only plan for the output and not the process.
What do you want to change about Tamil cinema?
There are some artistes who demand steep financial hikes just after few or in some cases one good stint at the box office. These jumps need to be justified with the consistent market value that they provide or at least the budget of the film.
Have you ever been star-struck?
I have never really been star-struck. However when I started my journey, I used to be awed by Selvaraghavan, out of respect for the quality of his work. I was initially afraid as to whether I would be able to meet those standards.
Which is the best film you’ve worked on so far?
Every film is unique and special in its own way. I don’t come across as a funny guy and even my future scripts reflect my fascination for films with dark shades. In that sense, working on Endrendrum Punnagai and Tamizh Padam 2.0 proved to be a different experience.
What are your future projects?
I love dark murder mysteries. I have penned a few scripts that are intense and belong to this genre.
Debut films are often the result of compromises. What’s one area you will never compromise on? And what’s one area you don’t mind compromising on?
I don’t mind compromising on the cast and the schedules. But I will not compromise on the technical team that I want for a project. This is not only because I know what they bring to the table, but also because we gel well, and they’ll understand exactly what I need. I think that understanding is essential in a team.
Who’s a director you wish you could work with, and why?
In my opinion, every director brings something new to the table, and I have just been intent on gaining experience from each. I never have and never will be specific about who I work with and that applies to actors as well.
What’s the oddest thing you have seen or done as an AD?
Once, we chose a person for a specific role after holding auditions. Although he did a fine job during auditions, he could not nail it on the day of the shoot since he was too nervous. We kept going for retakes, and eventually decided to find another individual to play the role. We asked one of the assistant directors and he agreed. He got the dialogue right and even the director approved it. But he was stiff as a stone throughout the shot and it looked he had forgotten how to breathe. He was rigid even after the shot was canned and all of us could barely resist our urge to burst out laughing.