We had the good fortune of connecting with Abhishek ‘AB’ Chandra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi AB, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Because stories make me happy. I was 12 or 13, when my dad brought home half a dozen of Sidney Sheldon books. He said, “You are too young to travel right now, start here.” I clearly remember that day, and that was it. I was hooked. I’ve been an avid reader since and as I grew older, I traveled. A lot. And in my travel, met some wonderful souls with incredible stories. I chose cinema as my outlet to express. Creating and producing is what I yearn for every day. And being on a film set gives me a high I can’t put in words. I love everything about cinema. I realised that early on, I was sure of it more than anything. So, to pursue my dreams, I enrolled in film school after college, learned the craft and i have been working in this industry producing content for over a decade now. And after all this time, I wouldn’t chose anything else to do than to tell stories. Coz’, like i said, stories make me happy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For the better part of my small career, I’ve produced a lot of content in advertising. The shorter the format, more challenging to tell a compelling story. I liked that challenge, and advertising in essence encapsulate that feeling. But, as challenging as it was, it was incredibly rewarding too. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the finest minds in this field. Writers, Designers, Directors, Artists from leading agencies like JWT, Leo Burnett, DDB Mudra and many others. And eventually, my produced work in advertising garnered a total of 18 metals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) in prestigious awards in India and abroad. I then ventured into music videos and short narratives. My latest short, an English-Portugese drama titled Ladybug has won over 20 International awards across the globe. My decision to give up a lucrative position in advertising in Mumbai and move half way across the world to Los Angeles initially felt like a risk. But, life is inherently risky and like T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”. And, I’m glad I did. Because, after working with some amazing talents here in LA and the opportunities I’ve been presented with here, this has been the right choice and now it has started to feel like home. And you know what they say, home is where the heart is.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, LA is a fantastic place to live and have a great time. There are so many things to do, an hour long drive to either direction and you can see a beach, the mountain or the desert. But, if i had to choose within the city, i’d suggest a nice stroll by the Manhattan Beach or Victoria Beach. There are some fantastic eating joints in Downtown Culver. My favourite goto spot there for food & drink is City Tavern or Akasha. And I love the Shri Swaminaryan Temple in Chino Hills and the Venice & Long Beach Canals are a must see spot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To everyone I’ve come across. I am in essence part everyone i’ve met and everywhere i’ve been. But, if I had to choose that one person, it’d have to be my father. I’m here purely because of him and his faith in me. He wanted to be part of this industry. In his youth, he was a fantastic writer and a performer. But we didn’t come from privilege. My family worked really hard to give me a world class education. I studied in one of the most premiere private schools and colleges in India. All thanks to their sleepless nights and decades long hardwork. It’s my father who told me to travel, introduced me to books and I’m here because I want his name, my last name to shine brighter. That’s my one true goal and I want him to witness it with me right beside him.