Pakistani film director Ali Imran Ch is an artist on a mission. In his own words, “If my videos bring positivity into anyone’s life, that will mean that I am successful in achieving my goal.” Through his previous work with Your Everyday Heroes, he has managed to accomplish just that. For example, he shot and directed the inspiring YEDH documentary on Umar Mughal, a graphic designer living with osteogenesis imperfecta.
We were deeply moved by Ch’s documentary, and we knew we wanted to continue working with him. In fact, we thought he’d be the perfect director to film our special project “Behind the Scenes.” This episode is unlike any other YEDH documentary in that it is not centered on one specific hero. Rather, it is a video illustration of our core belief: that anyone has the potential to be a hero.
“Behind the Scenes” Explained
This episode serves two purposes: aside from being a showcase of the principle that YEDH was founded upon, we wanted to give our audience an inside look into how our videos are made. In the end, even we ended up being surprised by the arduous process our directors undergo to tell the hero’s story.
For this episode, we tasked Ch and his film crew with what we thought was a simple project: create a TV commercial that illustrates the fact that anyone can be a hero. However, as we watched Ch and his crew labor to bring this vision to life, we soon realized that doing so was anything but simple. In many ways, the film crew unintentionally filled the “hero” role in this episode.
As assistant director Rania Mohsin Faruki tells us, “Every scene requires hard work… People misinterpret how hard we work behind the scenes. Like, for just a few seconds or a few minutes of video, a lot of people are putting their efforts together to make something visually appealing… it’s a team effort, and I don’t think you can do it by yourself.”
How Ali Imran Ch Portrayed the YEDH Message
Ch’s idea for the commercial was to juxtapose the common misconception of a hero (i.e. one with superpowers, immense wealth, etc…) with the more realistic definition of the word.
First, he hired actors to play everyday workers, such as farmers, teachers, construction workers, and office workers (the last of which was most focused on in the Behind the Scenes episode). He then adorned them in traditional superhero capes and filmed them in front of a green screen. In post-production, he edited the background to depict stunning, “heroic” settings, such as the edge of a tall cliff.
Introducing the commercial was a narrative that Ch himself penned: “Some heroes are created. Some choose their own paths. As a child, I believed in many things. I believed in the magic of heroes. But as I grew, I began to see that it was all a mirage… these things don’t exist. The true heroes walk among us.”
We believe that this ad successfully communicated to the audience that everyday people can be just as heroic as any superhero that we idolize. It broke down the stereotype that a hero must have powers, wealth, or fame, aka, standards that are unattainable to most people given our circumstances.
This is an unhealthy way of thinking because, when we limit our scope of heroism to such rare circumstances, we are not giving ourselves room to become heroes. When we realize that we too can be heroes, we are more likely to strive for heroism.
Why “Behind the Scenes” Is Important
We are proud of every hero documentary we have released thus far. However, we felt that it was necessary to do something a little different with “Behind the Scenes.” While our hero documentaries spotlight the inspiring stories of individuals, we wanted to do an episode that spotlights the general YEDH philosophy.
Strangely enough, however, Ch and his film crew ended up filling the role of the hero. Filming this TV commercial, they were forced to ponder the meaning of heroism. They realized that simply by creating something positive and inspirational, they were doing a heroic act. Obviously, the entire crew is extraordinarily talented. However, it is not talent that makes them heroic, but how they use it. And in filming this commercial—and Umar’s documentary—they have been using their talent to inspire and empower.
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Your Everyday Heroes has been proud to give you this small inside look into the making of our content. We are so grateful to Ali Imran Ch for his hard work and dedication. While he could have simply made an ordinary behind-the-scenes documentary, he took it a step further and incorporated a message into the project.
We hope that you come away from this episode feeling inspired, knowing that you too can be a hero.