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Conversations with the Inspiring Sharon Das

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Das.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in Mumbai, India in a family of artists as both my parents are designers and since a very young age, I have known that I will be a part of the creative world. Of course, at that point, I didn’t know that Film would be the path I choose but I have always been fascinated with Movies and grown up watching all Bollywood movies. Everything about movies excite me; the music, the romance, the action, even it being over-the-top at times, still has my heart beat to it at every moment.

When I told my parents I want to study filmmaking and there was no dramatic reaction, as one would normally expect there to be. I think my friends were more dramatic about it than my parents! But it wasn’t really shocking for me to see that because my parents have always been so supportive with my decisions and so encouraging that it has kept motivated me to keep dreaming.

They have been through a tough journey as well, that that’s why, I think, they understand the importance of taking risks and learning through your own experiences. They have always guided and mentored me towards what I want to achieve, but have never told me what I should be aiming to achieve. I choose my goals and they always do their best to show me the path.

When I started filmmaking, I did not know what area would be my priority in terms of my end goal, but NYFA was such a great learning experience, that I got to be a part of each and every aspect of making a film and then finally decided based upon my strength and interest. After going through a couple of choices like Directing, Editing, and Assistant Directing, I finally decided to pursue Producing.

I have always been a strong-minded person and have had the leader-like quality in me, which as a Producer, I feel I can embrace the most. I started producing films for my fellow NYFA students and one of my first produced short films was screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner Festival. I admire every aspect of producing and I am very fortunate to have found my passion.

I got my first job at a TV Network called ‘Zee Americas’, working as a Production Coordinator for a Business Reality Show called ‘Break Through The Crowd’. I learned a lot about the TV world and as the show ended, my time there ended as well, and the anxiety of getting a job was back. The vigorous job applications were back in motion and after multiple interviews and countless rejections, I finally got the callback I was patiently waiting for and now, I am the VFX Production Assistant at Luma Pictures, Los Angeles.

Every day of my life feels like a dream. Every day at work feels surreal. Working on projects like ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘SpiderMan: Far from home’, was something I had never imagined in my wildest dreams. Every morning I wake up with a smile on my face because I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the industry I always admired and worked towards.

As much as I want this to last forever, I don’t know how long this is going to last, but I do know that whatever happens next will be because something better is coming my way. The one thing that I have definitely learned from being a part of this very small journey is that perseverance is key. You have to keep working hard and keep going. There are going to be days you do not believe in yourself and days you question your life/career decisions, but that should never overpower your will to keep working. The only way to make it through anything is by ‘doing’ because opportunities will only come your way if you’re out there. Whatever your dream may be, do your level best to achieve your dreams and one day, it will be your reality.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s definitely not a smooth journey and the struggle is very real like any other industry. I think for me, the particular challenge is about being an international. As much as it comes with the advantage of having a cultural background, it also comes with the baggage of a time limit. As internationals, we have the clock ticking  and that adds to the pressure and anxiety of getting a job tremendously. However, I feel like it is very important to channel this pressure in a positive way and use the ticking clock as a motivation to do more than what you can, give it your 200% if not more and just keep going.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a Producer and I have produced several projects including short films, commercials and music videos. I am very proud of every project that I have been a part of but I think, one of my greatest achievements till date has to be my current job. Being a part of the movies I currently work on is something I did not imagine and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I think my parents play a very important role in my life and for me to choose my career. I have seen their journey from working a job to starting their individual businesses and being immensely successful in what they wanted to do. Their journeys have been my biggest motivation towards pursuing my dream and entering the creative industry.

Another major part of my childhood that led to where I am today has be Bollywood. Since the time I couldn’t even speak or stand properly, I have grooved to the music. My parents are not really big movie fanatics, but I have grown up watching each and every movie on the television and in theaters, once I was allowed to. Every movie may not be the best movie I have seen, but it has managed to take me through a rollercoaster of emotions and I have enjoyed every second. It has made me escape reality or sometimes paint a harsh reality. My supportive and encouraging parents with the magic of movies has shaped me into who I am today and I couldn’t be more grateful.

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Image Credit:
Antonio Reinaldo, Jose Maria Luna, Lena Baez, Vanessa E. Ruth Rath

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