There is so much that goes into making a film, and none of it can happen without the producer. Rome Chopra, a multi-faceted person who has both produced and acted in the upcoming 2016 short film, Now and Then. Interviewing Rome was a delight, as he is the reason I am now part of the Now and Then team. He took me through his journey as the producer of his first large project film, to personal insights on his inner life, and of course the infamous rapid fire round!
Tell us what your Now and Then journey has been like as the Producer of the film.
Rome: Up until Now and Then I had only produced one other short film and acted in two other short films. Now and Then for me marks a great milestone in the beginning of my film career because it is the first project I have worked on with more than five-people, and secondly it is the largest project I have seen so far from beginning to end.
I never knew if I was capable of executing a film, and now that we are in post production, I feel satisfied knowing that now I have matured enough and moved past the early limitations I had set in my mind.
I strongly advocate that films should reflect society, because films are art-works and art is a conglomeration of all different elements that we observe in our lives. When we group multiple lives together we call that society. Now and Then recognizes that there is some void regarding the second generation American story and sheds like on the untold stories that we observe in the society. What happens when your past catches up to you? This is a question I still cannot answer even though Mohitha has asked me what I would do in real life multiple times. I think the fact that I do no have an answer proves the sensitivity of this question.
The InBetweener movement has been introduced recently on various media sites, where do you see this concept going now?
Rome: The InBetweener movement is a phenomena that has been around for a while already. I believe we at CXC were the first ones to coin it in the context of entertainment and passion. I see this movement being identified by more media outlets and others collaborating with CXC to host events which will target the InBetweener demographic.
As producer of Now and Then how involved were you in the story and making of the film?
Rome: As producer of Now and Then, I was very involved with the day-to-day operations. Mohitha Sripathi and I had initial discussions and I told her from day one, to own this project and to boss me around as well.
It was such a great feeling to see Mohitha take that initial discussion we had in my basement to a whole different level which I never imagined. She knows what she wants from her actors and I was very proud of her when she told me specifically why my character says certain lines in the film. When someone challanged her judgement, she explained why she reached her decision and was able to stand her ground.
When you have so many people giving inputs in art, you as a leader have to stay truthful to your vision and your gut. Mohitha did this very well throughout and never let anyone think that she was just doing things for no reason. Everything on her set had a reason and that was refreshing to see.
How does it feel to have both titles, producer and actor next to your name so early in your film career?
Rome: It feels kind of overwhelming, but in a very positive way. My career is just beginning, and I decided to produce this film under the CXC banner because firstly the film touches upon the InBetweener movement, and secondly it aligns almost perfectly with CXC’s slogan of ‘Culture & Creativity.’
Tell us something you’d like people to know about you.
Rome: I like to people watch. The best lessons you can learn to bring into your acting is picked up by observing natural human behavior. I look for people and their emotions. When I am out with friends I usually play a game where we watch people and improvise certain stories about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what brings them to that moment when we see them.
Your InBetweener background.
Rome: I went to school for Economics and Journalism, then went back to school for a masters in Finance, and all throughout, this has balanced the passion and ventures of an actor and producer in films.
What kind of girl attracts you?
Rome: A girl who has a good balance of creativity and practicality. When a girl can challenge my crazy story ideas, or give me advice on how to act within a scene.
As an actor, what is one thing you want to change about yourself?
Rome: I would like to change my outlook on some roles. I want to play a very fit character next, like some rogue agent.
What’s a regular day of Rome Chopra like?
Rome: I work on my internet startup, We Walk Thru until about 6pm. Then I work on film related logistics and operations for the rest of the night. However, throughout the whole day I am always messaging different stakeholders of the film, actors, music crew, visual FX engineers, etc. The main task a producer has in post production is making sure each part of the film comes together. The number one goal on my mind is to get this film to a festival and hopeful place.
Favorite thing to do that’s not work or film related?
Rome: Favorite thing to do is watch Ted Talks. I am a really big fan of public speaking. I attend networking events, watch keynote speeches, commencement speeches and more.
Rome as an actor or Rome as a producer?
Rome: This is a touch question…but I believe that I enjoy acting much more. For me becoming and understanding production came for the reason that I did not want to take the struggling actor’s path, and instead make good content, and eventually someone who has decision making power will turn his head.
Acting is like_____?
Rome: Acting is like standing in front of the show tell class room naked, while pretending in the back of your head that you are fully clothes and know exactly what you are doing with confidence, even if you have no clue.
First thing that comes to mind when you hear the following celebrities names:
Kim Kardashian: Sex Tape and smart marketing.
Ranveer Singh: Picks his films very strategically.
Katrina Kaif: Hard work and dedicated. Can relate to her struggle of learning Hindi diction.
Yash Chopra: My Inspiration for pursuing films and creating a production company.
An idea that changed your life.
Rome: You have to make enough noise outside of the industry in order for the industry to recognize you. Sylvestor Stallone, Superwoman, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck are all examples of using this strategy to turn heads.
Five years from now, Rome Chopra will be…?
Rome: I will be sitting in a large production house in India signing an international film deal with a major Indian production company as an actor and co-producing with CXC.
Now that we know more about Rome check out more on the upcoming short-film, Now and Then right here & don’t forget to donate, even if it’s just $1!