Meet the Women behind Spotlight
From left: Maunta Gautam, Pallavi Ghimire, Aakankshya Shrestha. Collage by Sagar Shrestha, DWIT News
Pallavi Ghimire ‘20 has always been fascinated with talk shows. Her mom is a big fan of Karan Johar [a movie producer in Bollywood] and together, Pallavi and her mom, used to watch Koffee with Karan [a talk show]. But, she never imagined that she would take her childhood fascination and not just turn it into a reality but succeed beyond expectations.
Spotlight, only in its third episode, has successfully acquired sponsorship deals and its popularity is growing among Deerwalk members. Pallavi was playing with the idea just three months ago but partnering with Aakankshya Shrestha ‘20 and Maunta Rani Gautam ‘20 and support from Documentary, Movie and Dramatics Club, she has put together an entertaining talk show.
DWIT News caught up with the trio to talk about their journey so far.
Question: How did you three come together to start this?
Pallavi: I am not very good at communicating; expressing myself. But Aakankshya and Maunta are. Aakanskhya was the first person that came to my mind because she used to win all the DeerTalk sessions. I shared the idea with her and she was excited and nervous at the same time. That is what she told me. Then, I consulted with Maunta and she was more than glad to join us.
Question: Why the name ‘Spotlight’?
Aakankshya: Everyone was brainstorming with the idea. Whenever you think of a talk show, you think about the stage, and the spotlight focusing on the people. So, I suggested the idea to them and they liked it.
Maunta: But, we almost went with ‘Limelight’.
Aakankshya: We thought Spotlight would be too mainstream.
Pallavi: But the word Limelight made us think of ‘Lemons’ and we thought it was rather funny.
Question: How do you select the guests?
Pallavi: It is totally random.
Maunta: We want to build a hype for the show first. So we are bringing popular people in Deerwalk as guests with the hope that people will be interested to know more about the guest and watch our show.
Pallavi: Our first guest was Bijaya Shrestha [Academic Coordinator]. We thought everyone would watch the show if we bring him as a guest.
Question: How do you form the questions?
Pallavi: We research about the person and prepare the questions accordingly. We have a set of general questions and have prepared a format. So we give a heads up to the guests via email about the questions that will be asked such as about childhood memories and anecdotes.
Maunta: We asked one of the guests about his favorite childhood memory. After thinking for five minutes, the guest came up with the story of when he broke a guitar string. We want the guests to share more so we send the questions before to help them prepare.
Question: While forming the questions do you think about what audience wants to know?
Pallavi: Partly, yes. We do consider the audience when forming the question. But mainly we want to focus on knowing the guest better.
Question: What does it take to produce an episode?
Maunta: A lot of things. The Documentary club helps with the shoot, and editing videos but still we face a lot of difficulties. We ourselves get nervous when hosting the show. All three of us got nervous when we hosted the show.
Also, when in conversation with guests we get an unexpected and wide range of answers. So the follow-up questions we had prepared go meaningless. Then we have to form questions instantaneously which is very difficult. I think we are still lagging in that department.
So our main difficulty is in hosting the show apart from carrying the lights and camera gears.
Question: What did it take to start this program?
Maunta: Firstly, it was convincing Hitesh Karki [Chief Academic Officer].
Pallavi: We had the idea but did not know how to act on it. We went to Hitesh Karki with the proposal of forming a new club but in vain. He suggested that we join News club and produce the show in collaboration with DWIT News.
We planned for a demo episode and we called Dipal Malla [President of Documentary, Movie and Dramatics] to shoot the episode. He really liked the show and offered to produce the show. That made it very easy for us.
Question: Is the program turning out as you expected?
Maunta: It is slowly taking shape. It has definitely got better than the first one. We are working hard to make each episode better than the previous one. After we are done with the shooting of an episode, we take notes and work on it for the next episode.
We do not know how the show will turn out when it reaches its peak point but we are excited about it.
Question: Do you find any changes in yourself after starting this show?
Pallavi: Absolutely. I feel a major change inside me. Before the show, I never used to interact and communicate as much as I do now. I used to get nervous and feel hesitation. I not only ask questions to the guests but also interact with them off the screen. I have to approach the guests and invite them to the show.
We have also got a sponsorship from 109 Degrees Restaurant, thanks to Abhishek Khatiwada, former President of Documentary, Movie and Dramatics Club. I would have never thought we would reach to that level.
Maunta: Even though I have been a member of Deer Express Club for more than a year, I never used to pick up chairs and desks for arrangement before the Deertalk sessions. But for this show, I have picked up the lights, the camera, and the tripods. It is actually fun.
Aakankshya: I tried avoiding to host the show and took my turn only in the third episode. I watched them host the show and I could see some nervousness in them. However, I felt like I could host it myself. But, when my turn came I got really nervous. I felt like I was not doing well but when I look back at the finished video I think it was ok. It was definitely a new experience for me hosting the show as well as facing the camera. It has certainly boosted my confidence.
Maunta: We believe in ourselves and believe that Spotlight will be a very good show. We are very excited as it something that we started. We started from level zero and we have reached up to this point. We feel very happy and proud of ourselves.
Check out all three episodes of Spotlight on YouTube.