FARHAN ARSHAD – THE DESI IN SONY PICTURES
Posted by Vivek on March 17, 2013 | No Comments
Catching up with LA based Farhan Arshad, who is in development in Comedy Central and is now developing his own web series, The Brownies:
How did you get into the space of filmmaking/creative development?
I was studying Law at Emory University and during my final year ended up taking a screenwriting class just so I could get some easy grades to enhance my total grade, or so I thought. That one class made up life go upside down and I ended up falling in love with screenwriting. This was followed by a Masters in Fine Arts and Screenwriting in Northwestern U. Following this I applied for a writing internship at an institution started by Chris Rock, the Rocktern progam with Comedy Central. It was a summer long program for writers of diversity and I ended up being in New York working with Comedy Central. I would told to sit in a room and write jokes all day long, which was both a combination of being hard and also a lot of fun. Following this I was hired by Comedy Central to write taglines and promos for a new show that was being launched. Graduated, showed up in LA, interned some more, worked for a website which got bought by Comedy Central and is now Comedy Central’s web presence. My former boss moved from Comedy Central to become the Vice President of development in Sony, so he asked me to follow suit and here I am, working in Sony in development.
Q2) The humor you use is almost British, slight self deprecating, yet does not have the negativity of the typical stand up comedy writing?
A2) The last thing I wanted to do was make fun of desis. I like writing about desi characters but not necessarily about desi things. So that’s where it comes from. I’m just telling a story here. I think it comes from myself, my personality. I like creating characters that people are laughing with, instead of laughing at. So that’s probably where the positive nature of things come from.
Q3) On the motivation behind creating the webseries Brownies?
A3) So in Sony my job is development and being a trained writer I wanted to get back to writing, while continuing my development job. So the idea of the webseries started with doing things for myself. The idea of the Brownies was in my head for a couple of years so I had written an earlier draft of it a while ago and it was sitting there. Webseries because the reach is to everyone. It is simple, there were no special effects, etc. Also most of the shows in the US on television I think are great, but don’t have enough of characters that someone like me, can see on the screen. Hence I wanted to make a show that I would watch, if it were on TV in the US.
Q4) What is Brownies all about?
A4) It is a comedy about this twenty something desi boy, who really wants to get married. In this case though the characters father wants him to take his time and go for a love marriage, whereas the main character, the son, is all for an arranged marriage or an internet based matrimonial site. So currently the plan is to do 8-10 episodes and see how it grows out from there. It is not quite autobiographical just that the ideas came out of experiences. In a perfect world we would like to have multiple seasons of the show and eventually make it to Television. Link to the Brownies at
Brownies Episode 1: http://tinyurl.com/avwza9f
Brownies Episode 2: http://tinyurl.com/ackroyv
Q5) How has the response been so far?
A5) It has been great. The first few episodes were shot on a weekend for a budgeted outlay of $50, so given that, the response and the hits on youtube have been awesome.