Gautam Chaturvedi’s Journey from KGGK to MD, Pinetree Pictures
The journey from an actor to an entrepreneur has been extremely exciting. It gave me an opportunity to unlearn, reinvent, and learn all over again. As an actor, corporate life is only what we portray in our shows but when you experience the real thing do you realize that it is a completely different ball game. So yes, learned a lot and I am still learning.
How Pinetree Pictures directed and produced a short film in the lockdown that won 3 International awards and 3 nominations?
Well that was just a moment of reckoning, I guess. We are a film making company and I have a film/tv background. Since the inception of Pine Tree I have written, directed , voiced and produced hundreds of corporate films, TV shows and ad films, but it had been long since we actually dabbled into the drama or short film space. 2 months into the lockdown, in mid-May I just thought of writing a short film which could be produced in these strange times, in which actors can work from their individual homes, yet it should seem like a film shot on a planned, common location. So, I wrote the film and then discussed it with my dear friends Mazher Sayed and Mouli Ganguly. They loved the idea and egged me to go ahead and make the film. Then I spoke to Ridhiema tiwari and Nilu Kohli and they all readily agreed. So obviously there was no going back. Then I sat on the storyboard (which I drew myself) and we started planning the shoot. The storyboard was descriptive explaining the frame, source of light, look, costume etc so that we could match the frames. One actor would shoot the scene and share his/her portion with the other over whatsapp to ensure the other gets the right feel and graph of the scene. Once we were done with the shoot the challenge was to edit the film on remote control, get the music done and to dub. Since the film was entirely shot on mobile it had to be dubbed as well. Everything was done sitting at home with available resources. Then once the film was ready, we started talking to channels and sending our submissions to various festivals. Our film ‘ Work from Home’ is steaming on MX Player and Youtube and has been viewed by nearly half a million people which is a delight for us.
How the team worked to deliver over 400 minutes of the film for TATA Trust and FSSAI?
This was also a challenging project. The contract was to be signed in the beginning of the year but got finally signed during the lockdown. We assigned 4 teams to work simultaneously on the project. The team at Pine Tree upskilled and people who were event experts learnt how to make films. This gave us the flexibility and speed in terms of delivery and since the work was happening under our supervision the quality too was assured.
– While the Events industry suffered a complete shutdown under his leadership Pinetree Pictures innovated and delivered online concerts, webinars, virtual weddings, and a lot more. Please elaborate more on that. When the lockdown happened, there were 2 alternatives: lie low and wait for the tide to turn or innovate and upskill. We decided to take the latter route. We learnt how online events are executed, we created new concepts, be it Kuch Madhur Yaadien ( for our client Madhur Sugar), the positive stage online concert to spread positivity or the webinar series Vision 2020 to look for ways to handle the new situation, we kept moving, kept learning and kept our mind occupied. That gave us a new vertical, Online Events. Today we are working on multiple online event projects for our corporate clients.
How despite being one of the worst-hit industries there was absolutely no staff that was laid off during the pandemic a new revenue generation model was developed. Please elaborate more on that.
It was a conscious decision, that we will not let go of our valued team members. we all agreed to a gradual pay cut, we continued working from home and kept tapping new avenues. Films gave us a push and as soon as lockdown was eased on 8th June we were back on our feet, and in office( in smaller numbers) working 3 days a week, but taking on new projects and delivering them on time. We started shooting with a miniscule team and learnt how to make simple animated videos. That gave us a boost and within no time we were busy working on multiple projects. revenues are hit in a big way, but we as a team are standing together and facing each day as it comes. Our teams, vendors and clients have been our biggest pillars of strength.
In the end I would just like to say that there is always opportunity in adversity, it is up to us to search for it and make the most of available resources. We must constantly reinvent, innovate, learn and keep ourselves motivated that’s the key