In Conversation with Omer H. Paracha | Billboard Pakistan

Omer H. Paracha owns a clothing brand, Paraval. As a graduate in Mass Communication and Multimedia, he was fond of photography, movies, and films. He recently caught our attention due to his role as an Executive Producer for a newly released Hollywood movie, Echo Boomers. Paracha tells us about what it’s like to work in Hollywood and what to expect as a newcomer.

Q1. What can you tell us about your clothing brand, Paraval? What was your vision while launching it?

A: Well, the brand was launched in 2014 with the help of my mother. She actually inspired me to come up with the idea. I was in university at the time, and she told me to take one of my photography photos and put it on a t-shirt and see if it sells. I added a little typography and few friends wore it around campus, which lead to me showcasing the t-shirts at a showcase, and the rest is history.

Q2. After running a successful clothing line, how did it feel to work in a completely different role as an Executive Producer?

A: I actually did my Undergraduate and Master’s in Mass Communication and Multimedia Design from Lynn University. So, I have had a bunch of courses that involved script writing, editing, broadcasting, radio, and TV production. These are some of the basics I had to reapply as an Executive Producer. I learned a lot working with the other producers and the director. So, to me, it felt no different from any other thing I put my mind to. 

Q3. What challenges did you face while working for a Hollywood movie like Echo Boomers?

A:  As an Executive Producer, you are responsible for many things. Your job is to overlook the movie’s budgets, make sure you stay within, package the film so it can be presented to different distribution, as well as working with the director on making sure you meet the film’s deadlines on edits. Once your film has been edited, you have to make sure fellow producers and the director are happy with the final cut. It is also your job to ensure that once you settle with a distributor, they do not change anything that would upset the director or any film producers. These are but a few obstacles I faced while being an executive producer on Echo Boomers.

Q4. What are the best ways to trim a budget with the least effect on the overall quality of the production?

A: The best way to do that is to plan out your film. It is essential to prepare well. You should know the purpose of your film, the script, as well as the concept. You need to prepare a project proposal, find out your audience, what your goals and objectives are from this film, who you are trying to target, and your message to the viewers. Once you have figured out these basic steps, you can start looking into finding the right people to help produce this film. With all these things in place, you will know exactly what you need in a team to help you make a great film.

Q5. What made you switch fields? Were you always a movie person and wanted to work behind the camera?

A: I always liked movies. At a very young age, I liked being in front of the camera. My eldest brother used to take photos of me and make me pose. As I grew older, I started to get behind a camera. I guess that’s where my love for photography comes from. This eventually led to my desire to make moving images with photography, which eventually led to my love for movies and film. I started to take movies more seriously as I got older, as I always searched for movies that had a deeper meaning and message. I hope one day to direct my own film.

Q6. What do you look for in a project when signing on?

A: The first thing I look for in a movie project is its script. Does it read well, is the message of the movie coming across well? Can I relate to the main character or any of the supporting characters in it? Then I look at who is attached as a director, what work has he or she done before, and who is acting in the movie project, and who the producers are. Then I ask for the mood board and other information about the movie project to see if the movie project is something I would be interested in.

Q7. Who or what inspires you and why?

A: Creatively, I am inspired by a lot of things. Art, movies, TV shows, music – it really depends on the message. Whether it be a stroke of a brush or a musical lyric, it’s important to know how it makes me feel, what I learn from it, and how I relate to the artist. Similarly, that’s how I look at movies. There is a famous quote from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” To me, that means we shouldn’t take missing any opportunities as a bad thing; you never know what life is trying to teach you. In a way, opportunities are always there; it is what you learn from them that counts. 

Q8. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

A: I am hoping that I have produced a few movies from Hollywood by then and Lollywood. My goal is to make more multicultural films and bring the two industries closer together.  A quote from the movie Factotum, “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don’t even start,” reminds me that whatever I want to do in life, I have to remember to put my best effort forward to make it happen. So hopefully, in the next five years, I would have achieved my goal and brought the two industries closer together.

Q9. Do you plan on producing movies for Lollywood in the near future, if not now?

A: Of course, I would love to work more closely with the Pakistani industry as well as the local talent to better understand it.

Q10. What advice would you give to the newcomers who want to enter this industry?

A: Believe in yourself, your work, and your goals. It doesn’t matter what people think of your work as long as you know you put your best effort in. As newcomers, we always want to be appreciated in the industry and want our work to stand out. As individuals, we forget that “Rome was not built in one day” so take your time, learn from your mistakes, apply them to your work, and never give up!

You can check out his work on his Instagram linked below:

Omer H. Paracha

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Read our previous interview:
In Conversation with Hamza Khan Baande