What is your name and what course are you studying?
I’m Karthik Mohan and I’m studying MFA – Film Production with Sound Design emphasis.
What inspired you to pursue a career in film?
From a young age I have been fascinated with historical and mythological stories. I would go to the movies every weekend and watch whatever was playing there. I also learnt to play the Tabla. At college, I met a group of people interested in cinema. That was the time Digital Filmmaking was slowly becoming popular. We started exploring this medium, and I directed several short films. I wanted to become a director at that time, and was inspired by Kamal Haasan. One of the challenges we faced was creating quality sound and no one around us knew anything about this, so I started exploring film sound and it was exactly what I was looking for: a field that combined storytelling, music, technology and cinema. Attending a workshop conducted by Randy Thom opened my eyes to a whole new world of sound. As I started watching and listening to more cinema, I was highly inspired by the work of Skip Lievsay and his team. I knew sound was what I wanted to do from then on.
What made you choose Dodge?
I got to know about Dodge from the Hollywood Reporter magazine, and I was instantly attracted because it was one of the few schools that offered a dedicated course in sound design. The top-notch post-production facilities at Dodge was another compelling factor. After talking to students here what I loved most was that Dodge focused on getting their students to make films from day one, and that the basis of the whole program was collaboration between various departments. I felt that the class strength was ideal; neither too many nor too few people. Best of all was that Dodge is located so close to the hub of filmmaking, and that our faculty are people with industry experience. I was confident this place could give me the skills and knowledge to succeed in the film industry.
What’s a project you’re most proud of that you worked on at Dodge?
That’s a hard question to answer. I have learnt something from each project I have worked on here, but if had to choose, then there are two projects. One is a documentary titled Birds Without Wings, directed by Rishabh Thakkar. This was a film I was involved in thoroughly from the start. The team on this was very tight knit, and at each stage Rishabh was very open to all our ideas. I think it was fitting that it was nominated for the Student Academy Awards. On the sound side, the biggest challenges were recreating the sounds of the slums of Delhi, and to work with the sound captured in the extremely crowded and noisy streets. The other project is Gattungswesen, directed by Kashif Alvi. This film is an abstract piece, and is set in a Sci-Fi future. It was a challenge because we didn’t have any production sound, and didn’t want any dialogue or music either. Kashif gave me free rein and it was a great experience.
What is your favorite class at Dodge and why?
There are two classes that define Dodge for me. During my second year, we did the Intermediate and Advanced Sound Design courses with Andres De La Torre. It was an intense experience, and completely took us into the depths of the process of post-production sound. Andres not only taught me sound, but he also taught me to think like a sound designer. That is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The second class is the story class with Thomas Harris. This class was my foundation in cinema, and I began looking at films in a manner I had never done before. Together, they have encouraged me to think differently and work towards developing my own style.