On his 14th birthday, Tejas Bhat tore the wrapping paper off a PC – a gift that would influence his future.
He became hooked on computer technology and, in high school, took software and IT electives, later enrolling in a Software Engineering degree at UNSW.
A year into his studies, Tejas saw some films featuring “gorgeous cinematic shots” and knew his future career wouldn’t be in IT, but behind the lens working in film and television.
Using his smartphone, he began making short films and editing them in Windows Movie Maker. Knowing what he does now, Tejas describes his early efforts as “cringy”.
He persisted for three years with Software Engineering before combining his interest in computers and programming with film and video, transferring to a Bachelor of Computer Science/Media Arts.
“Having the technical and theoretical knowledge of Computer Science combined with the creative and artistic side of Media Arts was a good combo for me,” Tejas says.
“While I still enjoy tinkering with computers and coding, my passion has transitioned over the past few years into film production.”
Early in his UNSW Art & Design studies, Tejas made a documentary about the experiences of a homeless man named ‘Sam’.
“I learnt how to interview and talk to people, while also picking up the basics of video production – everything from keeping your hands steady while filming, to colour-grading in post production,” Tejas says.
“The skills I learnt making that assignment carry over into my practice today.”
He also discovered that it’s the idea that matters the most – even over facets such as video quality, resolution, aspect ratio and fancy camera gear.
Tejas’s ANNUAL 18 graduation work, ‘Chronic Dreams’, is a four-episode mockumentary that follows 19-year-old Quincy's battle with chronic pain and his dream of being able to play cricket again.
“My plan was to approach disability through the comedic lens of mockumentary, hoping to galvanise discussion and raise awareness about chronic pain,” Tejas says.
During his studies, he has been Media Director for the UNSW Indian Society and he volunteered for Blitz TV, helping write, shoot and edit videos for the student audience. He’s currently interning at UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services, making videos on student well-being.
Tejas advises future A&D students to embrace their inevitable mistakes.
“You’ll make work you’ll be proud of, and work you won’t like so much,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to experiment and step outside your comfort zone.”
Tejas plans to make comedies, mockumentaries and music videos, as well as the kind of films that caught his attention in his first year at University.
“My dream would be to work as a cinematographer on a feature film one day,” he says.
Watch this space.