So, why should Mypromovideos, a company that has a grand total of 1 (yes, one) female employee working from the office, want to make a video on, of all the topics, menstruation? Well, maybe because we believe that the topic doesn’t just have to do with females but humanity as a whole.
When women use unhygienic rags and get infected, when girls feel ashamed and drop out of school, when a section of society prevents women from worshipping just because they are menstruating, when girls get married off because puberty means they are now old enough to bear children…when this and many, many other outdated, ill-informed practices continue to plague our system, then the issue becomes the whole society’s issue. We simply cannot label it as women’s issue.
When Gopal was attending the unconference for entrepreneurs at Goa, the Goa Project, he got the chance to hear Aditi Gupta, the founder of Menstrupedia speak. This presentation touched his heart so much that when he got back to Coimbatore, he spoke to Anil, Santhosh, and Udhay. They were all moved by the cause so much that they all wanted to do something for it…we wanted to make a video forMenstrupedia. Menstrupedia were eager to collaborate with us too. A new relationship was born.
Soon a team was decided …the show was on! We were excited…not just the team directly involved, but everyone at Mypromovideos and Menstrupedia.
Shareef arranged a discussion between the two teams. In our heart-to-heart with Menstrupedia , they explained the need for a place that women can turn to for periods. They shared a lot of eye-opening statistics with us. Some that were really touching “85% Girls would practice various restricting customs imposed upon them” and some startling “Only 12% of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins. Over 88% of women resort to shocking alternatives like unsanitized cloth, ashes and husk sand.”
This was an issue that was reaching out to my heartstrings. We have grown so accustomed to these practices that we don’t even notice it. Our desire to do our bit to help Menstrupedia was reinforced. I went to a corner in the office and started to write. I sat alone and thought and thought and thought. Tuhin, the co-founder of Menstrupedia, had spoken of using the color red in the video and as I thought, this kept coming back to me. And that is how the idea for the script began. As I wrote out, I let the words flow, it was more of a poetry and less of a script…but something told me that this was the treatment the topic needed. I drew on my personal experience and the experiences of others and weaved together the story of a girl whose life changes with menstruation.
Finally, the script was ready…I felt drained but at the same time raring to go. Udhay and I sat down for the visuals. The visuals had to be as poetic as the script. We didn’t care about the animation style or the technical difficulty involved, we just had one aim- to get the message across as beautifully as possible, to marry the script with the visuals that would create the most sensitive video on the topic ever. The first part of the script would be very different from the second. The first portion of the script spoke of the girl who loved red and everything about the visuals would bring out the joy. The next part would speak of her troubles, the pain of others…it would be dark. And the final portion spoke of liberty, of hope.
So each section was planned with apt symbols to represent the feelings. Now it came to storyboarding. Imod did a brilliant job of translating our ideas into insightful designs. The final illustrations were done by a bunch of people Imod, Udhaya, Saravanan, Nanda, and Sathya. This was because
a. the project demanded different treatments for different parts of the video and
b. it was a long video by our standards( 2.30 minutes) and dividing work would limit the net time taken.
We were using just three colors: white, red and black for the video and this made the visuals both challenging and stimulating at the same time.
Finally, it was time to animate. Saravanan set to work. And boy, did he work his behind off! As I have said before, it was a long video and had different portions that needed different types of treatment. His work was cut out for him. He did everything from traditional animation to motion graphics to morphing to rotoscopy to so many things that only he would know the secret formula to. But the end result was something miraculous. The video was turning out to be really moving.
Now we were hunting for the right music. Udhay came to the rescue again, by finding that perfect tune. And then Anil added to the final music by adding subtle sound effects to the video. The video was ready! Natividad Mateos Lucero, who is one of the crew members of Moon Inside You, translated the subtitles in Spanish.
Throughout the process, theMenstrupedia team had been encouraging us with their feedback and they adored the final video. We crossed our fingers and launched the video.
It would not be an exaggeration when I say that nothing gives one true satisfaction like having contributed towards a good cause. The entire Mypromovideos crew put their hearts into this video because it was something beyond mere commercials. It had to do with the very essence of life.