Deepak Arora is an electronic media professional with more than 20 years in the field. His passion for this diverse industry has involved him in all aspects of Audio-Visual and Print media production viz. Copywriting, scriptwriting, Direction, editing as well as Graphic Design. His portfolio includes more than 70 public service advertisements and TVCs as well a number of documentaries and corporate films.
His Corporate Film titled “A Journey of Excellence” for Nitin Spinners Limited won “Special Mention Jury Award” in the Best Corporate Film category in 4th Indian Advertising & Corporate Film Festival Award-15.
But his forays into writing began with screenplays for children. Several trips to the wildlife national parks got him into contemplating about life through animals perspective and how we might appear to them. This lead to a series of ideas on in the jungle and how human interference is affecting it. He felt that these jungles can produce so many stories for the people especially children. The result was his first feature screenplay titled ‘Queen of the Jungle‘ which won the prestigious ‘Moondance Columbine Award‘ under the category best feature screenplay for kids in 2006 Moondance Film Festival, Hollywood, USA. Queen of the Jungle also received KIDS FIRST RECOMMENDATION and was one of the official selections for the Kids First Awards held in Oct ’07.
He won his second Moondance International Film Festival Award 2014 for his unproduced Screenplay for Animation Film titled “Wild World”. The event was held on 28th on September 2014 in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Wild World also won Best Screenplay Jury Award in 5th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival. “Wild World” also received nomination as the official selection for the International Family Film Festival 2014.
His other achievements in writing includes a short feature screenplay titled ‘Flying Dreams’ that reached in the list of quarter finalists in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards, which is considered one of the top screenwriting competitions in the world. In 2008, his television pilot screenplay ‘Wild World’ was one of the finalists of Cinema City International Film Festival.
The author would like to continue his journey into storytelling about the jungles to evoke love for the wildlife in young minds.
TBE: Tell us about your book, can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Deepak Arora: Since the time we have won the evolutionary race and have made our away to the top of the food chain, we humans have been trying to control the nature and its inhabitants. If a wild animal enters our territory we consider it as an intrusion but we humans have built civilisations cutting into their territories.
Today, we love to keep animals as pets around us and are very happy when they understand our commands and follow them. It gives us an opportunity to boast to others that our pet understands our language. But when the same pet tries to communicate with us in its own language, we do give that sound a name like bark, croak, roar, howl, purr, squeak etc. but we tend to ignore the fact that it is their language through which they communicate with each other and try to communicate with us.
Hence we can say that humans may have different ways to show their sympathy towards the animals but most of us lack the empathy; to see things from their perspective.
Wild World: The Adventures of Bali & Bhola is an effort to explore the world of animals and understand the world through their perspective in a whacky and hilarious tale.
TBE: How did you get the idea of this book?
Deepak Arora: Well, those were good times when I used to visit various wildlife national parks just to get one glimpse of a tiger. Though I was lucky just once, but experiences from these trips gave me a number of ideas.
TBE: Why did you choose to write on this subject?
Deepak Arora: Well, to answer in a most simplistic manner would be, I have an affinity for both animals and kids. So I guess it was natural to have chosen something that would be about animals for kids.
TBE: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?
Deepak Arora: Respect the Wild World.
TBE: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Deepak Arora: The characters are imagined but their characteristics are totally human.
TBE: What was your writing process for this book? What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Deepak Arora: Being a film maker, my first instinct was to write screenplays. My first screenplay was Queen of the Jungle. I sent it to various screenplay writing competitions around the world and it got me my first Moondance Film Festival award (USA) in 2006. The screenplay was also an official entry of KIDS BEST AWARDS held in LA on 5th of October 2007. It received 2½ out of 3 stars ratings by the Jury with comments like “Entertaining and touching”, “It has the potential of being an All Star Film, possibly even a big hit on the big screen”. I tried to bring that screenplay to the attention of producers in the USA and India. But then, that was it. Hollywood didn’t need it and Bollywood wasn’t ready for it. So I put it in my table drawer and forget about it.
Then I wrote Wild World and sent it to various competitions again. It again impressed the jury of Moondance Film Festival and in 2014, I received my second Moondance Award. I also wrote a hindi version of the screenplay and sent it to Dada Saheb Phalke film festival – 2015. It won the Best Screenplay-Jury award. And then, the story of market demand for an animated or live/animated screenplay was the same. But before I could put it in a drawer and forget about it again, I thought, that if my stories are winning awards then there must be something good in them. And I know Wild World is engaging as well as entertaining, I know the message is good. I wanted Wild World to reach to the kids so they could learn and value our Wildlife.
So I decided to turn it into a book which was a challenge for me as I never considered myself capable of writing a book. It took around 6 months to complete Wild World: The Adventures of Bali & Bhola.
TBE: How did you research on the subject?
Deepak Arora: My main research was based on my own visits to the wildlife parks as well as numerous wildlife documentary films I have seen over the years.
TBE: How do you come up with names for your characters?
Deepak Arora: I decided to keep the names very simple for the reason that they exemplify the simplicity of the animal world. For example, in the langur clan all the names of the langur family rhyme with each other like Bali, Kali, Mali, Pali as they belong to the same family and follow the same traditions.
TBE: During your journey from the idea of this book to the publication, what was the most difficult thing you faced? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Deepak Arora: Since I never considered myself to be capable of writing a book, I would consider those 6 months of converting my screenplay into a book was the most difficult part for me. Having said that, it was the time I cherished the most as it was a learning curve for me as it gave my writing a whole new perspective.
TBE: What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Deepak Arora: When you watch a movie, you watch it in the present as everything is happening in front of you. But most books are written in past tense as the story has already taken place and you are reading about it. Since Wild World was initially a screenplay, I decided to write this book in present tense as I wanted my readers to feel that what they are reading is happening while they are reading about it, as if they are watching a movie. And after they have read it, they should learn to bring some empathy towards the Wildlife in them. As once we start understanding things from their perspective, we will be able to accept that we don’t rule the earth but are a part of this world just like the other wild animals. And next time when they visit a wildlife national park, they should not take it as a picnic trip but enjoy the whole experience of being in the Wild World.
TBE: If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Deepak Arora: I would love to spend time with Bali and request him to take me along to meet all the other characters of the Wild World. That would be the day well spent.
TBE: According to you what is the most challenging thing for budding writer?
Deepak Arora: To be noticed and accepted. First by the publishers and then by the readers.
Deepak Arora: What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors?
These days social media is the best way to promote your book. Based on the theme and target readers of the book, one should choose which social media platform would be suitable for promotion.
TBE: Growing up, who were your favourite children’s book authors?
Deepak Arora: I used to read a lot during my childhood, but not only books but comic books too. From Superheroes to Asterix, Tin Tin, Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle etc. In books , from Shakespeare to Ruskin Bond, Munshi Premchand etc. Though most of them are forgotten now but William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Munshi Prem Chand’s Kabuliwala and his short story Idgah have left an indelible mark in my mind.
TBE: Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?
Deepak Arora: I don’t get time to read much now. But J R R Tolkien is undoubtedly my favourite author.
TBE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Deepak Arora: Watching films and working on my next writing assignment.
TBE: Do you believe in writer’s block? Have you ever experienced it? How long does it usually last? Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Deepak Arora: Well in my case there is a constant block in writing due to my mind being pre occupied with work and its endless. But when I write and get stuck at certain point my way of overcoming it is to leave writing at that point take a break, maybe for a few days and mentally work upon the story and think about it until you are able to unblock it.
TBE: Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?
Deepak Arora: Oh absolutely! It is the first thing that a reader looks at. The book cover should have the capability to reflect what’s inside and connect with the reader.
TBE: How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Deepak Arora: Its difficult until you are motivated. Once that is done, you will find your way through it. In my case, It was hard in terms of finding time out of my busy schedule to sit down and write. I wrote whenever I got time to write, even while travelling during my shooting schedules.
TBE: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
Deepak Arora: Well first and foremost it has to have an intriguing story. But most importantly how that story is woven in words is all what it matters.
TBE: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Deepak Arora: Ha ha ha! It would definitely would be, “Hey, I can write a book!!”
TBE: Why do you think it is important for children to develop a love of reading?
Deepak Arora: I won’t get into the age-old reasons of how important it is for the kids to develop reading habits. We all know that. But in today’s times, kids are losing their attention span due to constant exposure to the social media. Their minds are getting crowded with irrelevant and perishable information. Introducing them to the world of books is the best way to foster perseverance and creativity inside them.
TBE: Do you have any suggestions to help me (any one) become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Deepak Arora: Well in my case I am still trying to be a better writer and my journey is just getting started. All I can say is that sometimes we get influenced by the writing style of others or whats trending in the writing circles and try to follow that. Its better to develop your own style and make your own mark on the readers.
TBE: A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, and they are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?
Deepak Arora: Well in my case it is true.
TBE: Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
Deepak Arora: For me, finding time to write is the biggest hurdle that I face. So whenever I get time, I write.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Deepak Arora: I am working on converting my first screenplay “Queen of the Jungle” into a book. Along with that, I am also working on a new story for a children’s book that I would not like to reveal for now.
Buy Now: Wild World by Deepak Arora
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