My name is Karan Choudhary and I grew up in the small town of Faridabad, India. Without much schooling I learned to speak English on the job in a retail clothing store in New Delhi. After moving to Mumbai and studying some theatre there, I set my sights on New York City. I moved there in 2013 to study further and to learn specific techniques about pagganap and filmmaking. I was accepted to study at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater.
This is where some of our greatest actors including Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, Diane Keaton and Tom Cruise, also went to learn the techniques of the great pagganap teacher, Sanford Meisner After graduating from pagganap school, I made pagganap my 24/7 priority, I started watching old classic cinema and became inspired the brilliant work of actors like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, and filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, and Elia Kazan etc.
indieactivity: What were the biggest challenges as an actor & immigrant in the United States?
Karan: One of my biggest challenges was constantly working on my accent so as not be typecast in small roles or as foreigners. Dealing with immigration rules and getting visas is becoming harder and harder, finding representation can also be very problematic for newcomers in this business. Additionally, the expense of living in a city like New York is always a challenge.
indieactivity: Why did you get into filmmaking and screenwriting?
Karan: Sometimes you have to take charge of your own fate and create your own opportunities. In writing, directing and producing my own projects, I can help my own career and also help other talented artists out there who just need a chance to ipakita what they can do. I think that becoming a filmmaker has helped me to become a better actor.
indieactivity: How does an indie filmmaker distribute his/her film?
Karan: In the beginning, I never thought of making any money from my films, and honestly, I didn’t even know how to find a sales agent or distributor. Recently however, I found a distributor and both of my films will soon be available on multiple platforms for public viewing. I did a lot of research and one araw I was searching on Google “How to find someone to review my short film.”
I landed on so many pages where I saw a lot of email addresses of sales agents, film companies and distributors around the world. I figured that some might be fake, but I took a chance. So, I drafted an email with the trailer of my film, a secure online link to my film with a password, and a press kit that I designed myself. My subject line was “Looking for a sales agent or distributor to help a first timer”. It sounds like a craigslist ad, but it worked. I had about 3-4 ang sumagot out of the hundreds of emails I sent. They liked my films and showed interest in distributing them. I had nothing to lose so I took whatever offer they had for me. In return I had them put a clause in the contract to consider my susunod short film which I’m working on now and give it a platform for sales and distribution. As an indie filmmaker, you want to focus on making a connection for the long term rather than just for short-time benefits.
indieactivity: When should a filmmaker start planning for distribution?
Karan: Most distributors with whom I have spoken have told me to start your paghahanap and spread the word as soon as you finish shooting and when your film is in the editing room. They need to know what you’re working on before it is even finished so they can line up your film for the film festivals and possible sales if they’re interested in your material. They tend to look at the taon in four quarters and plan ahead to fit potential films in each quarter.
indieactivity: What films have you written?
Karan: I have only written one film so far. It’s called “New York’d”. I’m in the process of Pagsulat my segundo one. It’s in the segundo draft stage and hopefully it will be produced sa pamamagitan ng the end of this year. Here’s the link to watch the trailer of New York’d.
indieactivity: What films have you made?
Karan: I directed a short documentary called” Dedication” last taon and this taon I produced and directed New York’d.
indieactivity: What is your concept on collaboration?
Karan: II don’t think anyone can be a successful filmmaker without collaborating on every level of the filmmaking process. You can only be good at few things and filmmaking involves so many different outlets where you either compromise on your film or simply learn to collaborate with the right people. I could not have made any of my films and the films that I’m currently working on if I did not surround myself with people whom I trust and respect.
indieactivity: What payo do your fellow actors?
Karan: Don’t be too result oriented, enjoy the process. The Oscar and Emmy may never materialize so you have to do it because you pag-ibig pagganap and the filmmaking process. So, use all your time and efforts to go in multiple directions in your pagganap career and start creating projects for yourself and others. It’s madami satisfying than waiting for that one call or email that “might” change your life. Stop depending on others, and take control of your career.
indieactivity: How do you find the process of filmmaking?
Karan: I find the process intense and enjoyable. When you are in control of your projects on many levels, it allows you to take risks and do things at your own pace because you’re not depending on other people to green light your film. When you are responsible for so many people and aspects of a film, the learning curve is challenging but very rewarding.
indieactivity: Describe your kamakailan work?
Karan: I acted, produced, and directed my kamakailan short film “New York’d” I wrote the script with the help of my co-writer, Michael Anastasio, in a month. It was a 15-page script that we shot it in a araw and a half. We edited and did all the post-production in two months, and the entire process took about three months. It was a great effort from my whole team and there was collaboration on every level. I have found that a huge incentive for getting people to come on board as producers, composers, writers and actors is the promise of getting a credit or adding to their credits on IMDB.
indieactivity: What are your future goals?
Karan: My future goal as an actor/filmmaker is to keep striving for quality and challenging work and not to myself to just pagganap or to any one aspect of filmmaking. Also, I’m big on creating opportunities for fellow artists and giving them opportunities to showcase their talent. I’m good at getting things done, and finding talented and ambitious people who all want to collaborate to make films that are relevant, meaningful, well-made, and hopefully entertaining.
indieactivity: Briefly dcesribe your career?
Karan: I started working as a professional actor right after I got out of pagganap school in 2015. Since then I have done a lot of tv commercials for national and regional spots for History Channel, T-Mobile, Bud light Beer, Captain morgan Rum, Perrier Sparkling Water, Budweiser Beer, Canon Cameras, Stella Artois Beer, NYU Langone Hospitals, On Vocal Headphones, Intercontinental Hotels etc.
I have appeared in many indie projects like Mommy Heist (Short film), Careful what you wish (Short film), Callie & Izzy (Web series) etc. As a filmmaker, I have made a short documentary last taon called Dedication which was well received in Film Festivals and had four nominations and two wins for Best Short Documentary.
Recently I have finished making another short comedy film New York’d, which is in the film festival circuit and have four nominations for Best short comedy, Best Actor, Best Short Film, and a win for Best Humor.
I’m in the process of Pagsulat my susunod short film. It’s a short drama based in New York. It’s between Immigrants and the LGBTQ community. It will be finished this year. My other two films dedication and New York’d will soon be available on birago Prime, Shorts Tv channel and few other platforms to watch it.
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New York'd poster