Filming the Microsoft video about the MSP Program – My Experiences

When I think about it, the whole experience looks surreal. Never had I imagined that I’ll be starring in a video shoot with a proper setup containing dozens of cameras, reflectors, a director, a producer, on-site crew, a make-up lady, a microphone et al plus a crew member who would travel all the way from Seattle, U.S to my place here in Hyderabad, India for filming the video.

During the interview shoot in Russia.

During the interview shoot in Russia.

It all started with a survey/questionnaire where Microsoft (through Waggener Edstrom) was looking for potential Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) for their new video project that highlights the work that MSPs do. Selecting TWO people from around NINE THOUSAND in the world? Well good luck to them. That was followed by multiple emails before announcing my selection for the video project. My first reaction? BLANK.

I was then scheduled for a video chat to discuss more about the shoot and all but I ended up placing my hand on my chin feeling awestruck after interacting with the director – Matt Skerritt who not just has incredible work to his credit but also whose Dad played an important role in one of my fav movies of all time. Remember Tom Skerritt as “Viper” – the flight instructor to Tom Cruise in Top Gun? YES!

Many days later, I drove myself to The Westin to meet Andy Hanson, the videographer on this project who had flown all the way from U.S. to India to capture some scenes in my home background. THIRTY TWO hours in transit (back and forth each) from his place in Seattle to Hyderabad? OM.G!

Andy working inside the Charminar

Andy working inside the Charminar

I now thank my stars for helping me meet Andy. During our course of interaction and work over the next few days, I found him to be one of the most professional, humble and extremely well-mannered person I’ve ever met in my life. We shot at important places here in Hyderabad like the Charminar, the Golconda Fort (yes, we scaled those hundreds of stairs up to get the perfect shot), Hussain Sagar (speed boat, baby!), the Microsoft office etc. While at Charminar when Andy was busy filming me, a crowd of around twenty people used to surround Andy and the camera, each one of them stepping on their toes to get a glimpse of what’s happening in the camera screen. Not to forget the ‘Hyderabadi’ passersby on vehicles whizzing past us from whom I received hilarious comments during action and that was hard for me as I had to stay motionless/expressionless and NOT SMILE or laugh during the shoot.

Me and Andy after completing the shoot on the last day

Me and Andy after completing the shoot on the last day

Saying goodbye to Andy was hard but not without a promise to meet him someday in Seattle. In a week from then, I landed in Saint Petersburg, Russia for Microsoft Imagine Cup where Matt Skerritt and Brad Lenz (the producer) were scheduled to meet me to complete the remaining portions of the video shoot. Matt and Brad are super-efficient and they know how to get the work done. While fulfilling my responsibilities as an MSP Social Media Team member at Imagine Cup Russia, my schedule was pretty much bummed up (hectic) all the time but we did manage to get some amazing shots in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

It’s really been a great experience participating in this video project by Microsoft about the Microsoft Student Partner program. Meeting Andy here in Hyderabad, doing quick selfie shots at Dubai Airport en-route to Russia, exploring the Palace Square in Saint Petersburg with Matt, waiting for Brad to pick me up from the MSPSMT dorm room for our shoots during Imagine Cup, clearing my throat before the important interview on-camera. Ah boy! Good memories.

Matt - the Director is to the extreme left. Brad - the Producer is to my right

Matt – the Director is to the extreme left. Brad – the Producer is to my right

Thanks are due to Microsoft for selecting me for this video project and making me feel special. Thank you Andy for teaching me a great lesson in humbleness (I really learnt a LOT from you). Thanks Matt for ‘tolerating’ me all through the while. Thanks Brad for taking the effort to actually come down to our MSPSMT room and pick me up for shoots.

Thanks Mom, Michelle Fleming – Worldwide MSP Program Lead, for making all of this happen. Your support and love is unmatched!

The video is as below and it is AMAZING! Loved it. I should say – I feel extremely honoured and privileged to be featured in there. Thank you Microsoft for making me feel special. I owe you a lot!

Spasibo! (Russian for ‘Thank You’)