Snapchat: Shruti Ganguly
Snapchat: shruti ganguly
Filmmaker, Vice President of TV and Video at NYLON (friend in our heAD)
Shruti Ganguly is a definitely a friend in our head. Given that she produces/writes/directs and is also the Vice President of TV and Video at NYLON, where she runs the programming, production and development of content, while crafting distribution deals and overall strategy for the video department, it's difficult to use any one title for all that she does. She's taken to calling herself a "thing maker!"
After getting completely inspired by her at our Filmed Entertainment panel, we knew we needed to learn more about this girl boss, the path she took to make her dreams come true, and just how important it is to find your community and grow with it.
What is your morning routine?
In the morning I just get going. I'm usually in and out of my house within a half hour, during which time I respond to some emails that require timely attention, scan Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news, inspiration and updates, then I shower, brush my teeth, and get ready - and often I grab an extra outfit or accessories for the nighttime as I usually don't have time to come back home before evening events. I have breakfast meetings between 7:30-8 AM almost every weekday; it's nice to start the day with innovative and exhilarating discussions. I always listen to music or the BBC world radio in the AM or in between! I've been following this process for the last few years, but now I will be incorporating my workouts pre morning meeting so things will change up a bit.
How does your routine help jumpstart your day? Is some sort of structure important to keeping you focused?
In the morning, I manage to get a lot done in a short amount of time, so it does feel like there is an adrenaline kick right away. My days aren't really that structured as my schedule varies so much based on my work and production schedule. I do try and stay as present as possible in my meetings, and I usually put my phone away at mealtimes.
What drew you to filmmaking and how did you get your start?
I took a film class in my junior year of undergrad at Northwestern University called "Women in Indian Cinema" and watched Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali for the first time, which made me want to explore movies and filmmaking. I then spent the fall of my senior year in Bombay learning the ropes on a Bollywood film called Chameli and then an independent movie called Kal, and that confirmed that I wanted to work in this medium.
you mentioned that you developed and created a lot of relationships while you were in school at NYU. How?
One of the things that was crucial to me, and something I've spoken about even at Stern's MBA new student orientation, is that you need to stay in touch with people. You can't only reach out when you need something. Maintaining relationships is something I've benefited from, and when I joined NYU, I continued to work with colleagues I had known before school, while forging new relationships with my classmates and professors, and now most of the feature film projects I'm involved in have a Tisch or Stern connection. I'm not a fan of the word networking as I find it disingenuous at times, but I also see the value it in and respect people who are good at it.
A lot of times, many professionals remember a time when they felt like they were a "poser" even while they were working in their field. When did you feel comfortable using the term filmmaker in reference to your profession? Or did you always feel confident as a filmmaker?
That's an interesting question! I became comfortable using it when I had actually gone through the production of my first feature film. Given that I produce/write/direct and am also the VP of TV and Video at NYLON, where I run the programming, production and development of content, while crafting distribution deals and overall strategy for the video department, it is some times hard for me to put down what I exactly do... Now I'm calling it "thing maker"!
What brought you work for Nylon and how has your experience been?
I had worked at NYLON about six years ago when video was still quite nascent for magazine brands. It's been great to be back as it's in a very different capacity, with a lot of focus on online video for the next phase of the brand's growth and development. It's the most inventive and creative I've felt in a long time, and it's a joy to work somewhere where your experience is valued but there is a huge learning curve, and I get to work with smart and passionate people, while discovering some of the newest voices, faces and minds in the the art and culture space.
How do you juggle being a filmmaker with your current day job at nylon?
I get a lot of sleep actually! And I try and stay present and as in the moment as I can, all while planning ahead. Does that even make sense? Ha! I just feel grateful to work on things and with people, mostly friends, who inspire me. And I just believe that you make the time for everything and everyone that matters to you.
What advice do you have for students who are building their careers and working to create their own path?
Very importantly, find your community and grow with it. With MTV, I had met one of the creative directors, Raeshem Nijhon, years before when I had a group called EchoChamber. With EC, we hosted screenings of human rights-related documentaries based on current affairs and situations, paired with a relevant non-profit (with a call-to-action element) and discussions with experts on the topic/region. We had been discussing doing an event around Kashmir and Raeshem had done some video and doc work there. When I had finished grad school and was having discussions about my next steps, Raeshem reached out to me about an opportunity at MTV. With Condé Nast Entertainment, a friend from the film business reached out to me who had been working there for a while, who knew that I had not only worked on movies but in the digital video space, particularly with fashion, music and pop culture as I had made videos for NYLON the year leading up to grad school. Don't be deterred by what you don't know, and just look at it as a challenge to figure it out and own it.