The Creative Journey of Visionary Filmmaker Ayush Soni

Ayush Soni is a creative content creator, producer, and filmmaker based in New York City. He adopted the route of hard work from a very young age, and took on multiple jobs across different cities to find the perfect spot to fit in. After moving to the US and taking up filmmaking and content production as a full-time job, Soni has created and grown an impressive portfolio. He has worked and collaborated with notable people who have won Academy Awards. A lot of work he’s been a part of has received rave reviews from critics and viewers including film festivals like Los Angeles Film Awards.

Beyond producing and making films, Soni is an expert at personal branding and Brand Building.  He has worked with small and medium-sized businesses such as gym owners, restaurateurs, Influencers and chefs in building their brands using storytelling and social media. Soni is committed to using his skills in a multidimensional manner that takes any entity he works with from ground zero to the highest points possible.

As a creative content producer, Soni is creating a fusion point for all his abilities under one umbrella to service multiple personal and business entities. The Ayush Soni brand is known for using strong analogies, High production value visuals and compelling storytelling to convey the most effective messages about these brands and companies.

His industry connections, which include award-winning talents and creators, give his brand the needed fuel to take a grandstand in the entertainment scene. Soni always had the dream of making things happen for himself and others. Following his dreams as a filmmaker and creative producer has enabled him to bring other people’s dreams alive and, in turn, entertain people and expose them to the right brands and stories. 

Ayush Soni, picture by Ismael Volquez

Exclusive Interview with Filmmaker Ayush Soni

NY Elite: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?

Ayush Soni: A great Film will take you on a journey and make you a part of it. It’s like a roller coaster ride, there’s ups and downs with underlying emotions we all can connect with. When the acting, writing, directing, cinematography, music composition and overall production value all come together to tell an Impactful story. In essence, I feel a great movie uses numerous artistic tools to tell a compelling story that makes you feel.

Film is an extremely collaborative medium; it requires multiple artists with unique talents all working together to make a compelling Film. Quality can be subjective to every individual but there are certain aspects of a great film which everybody will agree on. It all starts with good writing, without a good script how would any department know what they are working on, it’s a blueprint that every other department working on a movie uses to inform their own decision-making. Each department works hard to achieve a common vision and while I can go on speaking about it for hours, I will conclude by saying that A great film is something you are invested in, there’s a constant need to know what’s next.

NY Elite: As a storyteller and a creative producer, what is the most important aspect of building a character when telling a story?

Ayush Soni: Flaws, it’s the flaws which we all connect with. While there can be numerous strengths but flaws play an important role in character building. A great character always emerges from the trials they encounter, and believable characters have human flaws, just like people in real life. A good character always undergoes some sort of change over the course of the story. As the character grows, we start relating with them.

Creating past for a character is one thing I always focus on; it helps in shaping their future decision making. Let’s say for an example: If a character particularly had a humble beginning, you could easily navigate what kind of decisions they would make. While there’s a plenty of room for character to outgrow their patterns but certainly it’s a good foundation to start with. I always make sure that character arc is the center of all the decisions, every act should introduce something new about the character.   

NY Elite:  What role does a Filmmaker have in Society?

Ayush Soni: A filmmaker helps in creating awareness on multiple aspects of life. Love, hatred, comedy, documentary, sci-fi or an animation film, whatever it is, each film can teach us something about ourselves. I feel Filmmakers give words to the thoughts. Not everyone by nature is an extrovert or a social person, a Filmmaker understands the behavior of human beings and put it on a big screen. We have so many genres available and pretty much all of them sheds light on some important aspects of the life. I feel it’s a huge responsibility being a filmmaker since you transform the way people think about our society.

NY Elite:  What does “being creative” mean to you?

Ayush Soni: Creativity to me is about possibilities! It allows an individual to reach from point A to point B at their own terms. Perspective plays a huge role, how unique is your idea and how are you going to execute it. Everything around us is the result of creativity. For example, when your computer starts, it makes a sound, that’s creativity! The tiny lights on a staircase which guides you is creativity!

It’s an act of simplifying things or in other words how can you reduce the friction. A creative person always comes up with great analogies supported with facts and data. Being creative requires something that may be best described as a “flexibility of mind.” Studies over the years have proven that those who are more creative than most are usually free spirits, those who are less inhibited or controlled but love spontaneity and expressing their emotions or feelings.

Creativity is also subjective, deeply personal and sometimes difficult to be captured on a consistent basis. I know so many creative people who keep their mind artistically stimulated by taking walks, going to concerts, reading, swimming, listening to podcasts or meditating!

Ayush Soni directing outdoors in Los Angeles, picture by Alify

NY Elite:  Can you tell us about your creative artistic process and what storytelling techniques you employ and why?

Ayush Soni: Everything starts with an inspiration for me. There’s no particular order I follow, it completely depends on the time and my current hypothesis of the things around me. I take inspiration from the interactions I have daily.

Generally, when I have an idea for creating something, I will sit on it for a few days or sometimes months and think about it. Just like that I have numerous ideas running on my mind. When you are a creative person, ideas are all you pretty much got. That does not mean every idea will have a potential to be something. Thus, I let those ideas sit on my mind for as long as possible.

Eventually I start feeling strong about certain topics which can be made into something and once I am confident about those, I will start the development process. This is the most crucial stage for me because I am asking a lot of questions to myself. Questions like why, what, where, when and how? These are some questions which takes a lot of time to figure out but once you do it makes the process very easy for you and rest of the team.

NY Elite: Can you share your festival experience and awards received?

Ayush Soni: There’s a long way to go for receiving some big awards but as of now some of my Films have been screened at a few local and international film festivals. To start with “Benjamin” won a few awards including European cinematography awards, Los Angeles Film Awards and it was semi-finalist at Los Angeles Cine Fest and Los Angeles Independent Film Festival.  

A short film I produced called “The Mocking Idol” won screenwriting award at Jaipur International Film Festival and was a winner at Los Angeles Cine-fest Awards.

Another inspiring short film called “Fighter” won LA Shorts Award, Other Venice Film Festival and European Cinematography Awards. Fighter was also selected at California International Shorts Festival, Urban Media Makers Festival and Independent Filmmakers Showcase.

NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?

Ayush Soni: It’s always hard to rank down projects since each one of them is extremely close to my heart. But there’s a saying “We all have favorites” and I kind of agree with that. So here it goes!

“Benjamin” is my all-time favorite project, it’s a short film about an elderly couple growing up in Los Angeles. The script is very poetic and emotional, it took me a couple of all-nighters to finish writing it and I am super proud of it.

I produced a film called “Gold” two years ago and that touched the subject of Racism in America. It took a lot of time to edit that Film since it had multiple long takes, however when we saw the final cut it was beautiful.

Another favorite short Film I produced called “Fighter” is an inspiring one. The film is about a homeless man being trained by a professional boxer. Producing this film was a challenge since we had a lot of stunts involved. However, the final cut was just mid blowing.

NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

Ayush Soni: Yes! I film a lot of stuff walking around the city, documenting everyday life and taking a lot of photographs. I love making short videos and publishing it on my social media channels. It’s like meditation for me. Listening to your favorite playlist and walking around the city with your camera is like ultimate freedom, you have so much to document and share.

I try to find characters around the city. Could be a street vendor, doorman, small business owner or just a pedestrian.

Ayush Soni directing a commercial, picture by “Ace Photo” 

NY Elite: What causes/charities you actively support or feel strongly about?

Ayush Soni: I have been supporting “Pencils of Promises” for some time now. It’s interesting how this NPO was founded. The story goes like this, “It began with a question. A young boy on the streets of India. ‘What do you want most in the world?’ ‘A pencil’, he replied”.

They started with just a $25 deposit and have now built more than 550 schools. I believe education can solve most of the problems around the world. It’s a basic right and unfortunately not everyone has it. If we all can come together and fund NPO’s like these, hopefully, one day we will have schools everywhere. If you are thinking about supporting an organization but you don’t have money to donate, use your social media to spread the message.

NY Elite: What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?

Ayush Soni: I am grateful for this beautiful life. My family, friends and supporters! I have high expectations, but I don’t confuse that with what I currently have. Lucky to be alive and doing what I love, or at least figuring out what I love. Enjoying the process and ultimately making happiness and peace of mind my number one priority.

NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film?

Ayush Soni: Start with what you have- You don’t need to have an expensive camera, professional equipment’s or a Film school degree. Reach out to your friends, form a small crew and just start working towards what inspires you. You will be surprised how much these small projects will teach you, it will instill self-confidence to create more. Once you start creating everyday you will start meeting like-minded people and that will lead you to forming a small team you can grow and learn with. Every person has their own artistic skills and there’s something to learn every day.

Provide free work- You might assume that big production houses will have the most money to pay, that’s not always the case. These opportunities will give you real-life experience, which by its nature will lead you to legitimate exposure.

Be curious- Your curiosity to know what, why, where, when and how is the ultimate tool which leads you to the places you’ve never been. Above all and everything else, don’t judge your curiosity…. While many will call you crackers, it’s ultimately fueling your future with better opportunities and creative satisfaction. Don’t worry about looking dumb or stupid, if you have a question …. Ask! You will be surprised how many people will give you their precious time and pay attention to you. The real ones always take time out to address questions unless they are super busy. 

Start Charging: Once you have spent good enough time honing your craft, start charging clients or production houses for your creative services. You are a professional and this is what you do, don’t try to convince anyone who questions your credibility to charge. An intelligent producer will always understand the talent and try to provide everything possible to nurture the talent and grow together.

NY Elite:  Can you tell us more about your upcoming project(s)? What can we expect from you next year in 2022?

Ayush Soni: I am really excited about working on a personal project call “Everyday Life”. I will be interviewing 60 interesting people in NYC with diverse stories and distribute it on various social media channels weekly. It’s more of a documentary style.

Alongside Personal projects, I have partnered up with an advertising agency based in New York which will be representing me in 2022 as a creator. We will be producing High quality story-driven videos for numerous American brands. I will also be working towards documenting the life of Entrepreneurs and creatives.

By the end of the year, I will be directing a short Film which unfortunately I can’t talk a lot about now, But I will be updating about that on all my social media channels.

Finally, I am collaborating with a few artists based in West coast in preparing their first NFT drop. We will be working towards building a community surrounding their art and eventually launch a NFT project.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ayush_soni/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/soniayush

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/soniayush/

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9412905/

Ayush Soni directing last scene of ‘Benjamin’, picture by Alify
Wrap picture of ‘Fighter’, a short film produced by Ayush Soni. 
Picture by “Ace Photo” 
Ayush Soni working in a music studio, Picture by “Ismael Volquez” 

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