4 min read

This Story Has Been Simmering For 45 Years And Finally Went Viral In 2019

Every once in a while, a story is so compelling and people find a genuine interest in it, that it has the potential to go viral. When…
This Story Has Been Simmering For 45 Years And Finally Went Viral In 2019
Image by Max Kriangkrai

Every once in a while, a story is so compelling and people find a genuine interest in it, that it has the potential to go viral. When brands are able to tell a fascinating story in a visually stunning way, their digital content can break out. That’s exactly what happened with Great Big Story’s piece on the Bangkok restaurant, Wattana Panich’s soup that’s been cooking for 45 years. Great Big Story found this incredible subject and hired local Storyhunter freelancer Anirban Mahapatra to deliver the remarkable visuals. We reached out to Anirban so that he could tell his story, from getting involved with Storyhunter in 2015, to working with Great Big Story, to trying the fabled 45-year old soup.

Check out Anirban’s Storyhunter Profile Here

Source: Great Big Story YouTube Channel

How did you get started on Storyhunter and what has your experience been so far?

I started out on Storyhunter in 2015, with a special assignment for The Weather Channel covering the devastating earthquake in Nepal. Over the years, I have also worked on assignments for other clients such as AJ Plus, BSR, NBC Left Field and of course GBS. Being a filmmaker on Storyhunter has brought me closer to publishers around the world, made it simpler to pitch stories and get commissions — and also get paid for my work without a glitch. Overall, it’s been a wonderful run — a big word of thanks to the Storyhunter team.

How did you find out about the story/posting?

Great Big Story proposed the idea for the story in their initial post on Storyhunter. The posting came up on the Find Postings list on my Storyhunter page.

What are some things that you did to win this pitch?

I took advantage of the fact that I was based right here in Bangkok, where the restaurant is located, and made a recce trip to the restaurant even before I pitched the story. Once the lovely owners had agreed to being featured in the film and granted me shooting access, I sent out a well-scoped pitch to Great Big Story, which turned out to be successful.

Image by Max Kriangkrai

Did you experience any challenges during the shoot?

There were production challenges, as is usual with any shoot. The restaurant is located right next to a busy road with deafening traffic noise, so recording clean audio for interviews was a huge challenge. I finally managed this by shooting the interviews in a quieter air-conditioned dining area upstairs, and used a combination of wireless lavs and shotgun boom mics to get the cleanest audio possible.

Being decades old, the flooring of the shophouse was uneven, which led to precarious tripod set-ups. The space within was constricted, which required some amount of contortion on my part to frame the shots — at one time, one of the plastic clips on my portable tripod felt a little pulpy to the touch, and I realised it was positioned about two feet away from the giant oven, and the heat radiating from the burners had begun to soften it!

Image by Max Kriangkrai

What images/content/themes did you want to focus on? Why?

I worked to a shot list that was carefully selected by editor/producer Austin Brown at Great Big Story — Austin did a fantastic job of laying out the script and scope of the film. The idea was to focus on strong visuals of the food, portraits of the owners and establishment shots of the business space, to reflect the anthropological and culinary heritage of the soup, while also conforming to the signature look, feel and aesthetics of Great Big Story videos.

He went above and beyond before it was ever decided that the job was his. He visited the restaurant, spoke to the owners, planned a date and sent a video and stills of the soup and location. I’d never had this type of experience with a shooter on Storyhunter in the past.” — Austin Brown, Producer, Great Big Story

How was your experience working with Great Big Story?

It was wonderful working with Great Big Story — Austin was a fantastic editor/producer who knew what he wanted and guided me very well in going about my field work. The briefing material and equipment/shooting instructions were spot-on, and it was quite easy to hit the ground running with them. Also, Great Big Story’s high editorial and aesthetic standards were great guidelines to go by, as was their focus on getting the best footage, interviews and soundbites from the field.

While filming, did you think this story could go viral?

Food films typically circulate well on the Internet, and given this was about a ‘45-year-old soup’, I had no doubt it would be of great curiosity and interest to viewers around the world. But I had no idea it would become so popular — as filmmakers, we all have a secret desire to see our films go viral, so it feels great indeed!

Were you able to try the soup?

YES! It was the very first thing I did upon arriving at the restaurant during my initial recce. I also polished off another bowl on shoot day, and have since strongly recommended it to all my friends in the city! It is supremely delicious — the complex melange of flavours and textures typical to a perpetual stew is a sensory delight, to say the least.

Image by Max Kriangkrai

Congratulations to Great Big Story and Anirban on this fascinating piece and the incredible success that they’re experiencing. If you’d like your next video to go viral, sign up with Storyhunter to find freelancers like Anirban who can make it happen.

By Jake Watkins, Storyhunter Writer


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