A woman receives a parcel in the morning — and the same evening, she’s found dead. To find out why, you’d have to watch Parcel – a short film, produced by HarperCollins in association with Taproot Dentsu. In a press release from HarperCollins, it is mentioned that the launch of Parcel also marks the beginning of a celebration of crime writing from India and around the world. HarperCollins India is the only Indian publisher to have an exclusive imprint for crime and thrillers, Harper Black. With Parcel, HarperCollins India aims to reinforce the power of a good story and establish new ways of storytelling to an audience that is now consuming all it in all forms — words, audio and moving images.
Ananth Padmanabhan, chief executive officer, HarperCollins India, said, “At HarperCollins, we are constantly thinking of new ways and new platforms to reach audiences through storytelling. Parcel, our direct-to-screen offering, will be a first of many more. As our audiences take to audio-visual, so will our stories. Crime fiction has always had an appeal, both in the written and visual medium and, our crime fiction promotion aims to showcase the range of stories we have to offer.”
Over a call, Padmanabhan mentions that the role of publishers has changed over the years and they are working to expand into different types of storytelling. “We wondered what the best way to promote our existing library would be, and that's when we realised. Video, is a form of storytelling too. That video is one medium where everybody is interested in engaging with storytelling. You see that when people binge watch shows on streaming platforms,” he says.
He mentions during the conversation that Parcel is not their first video storytelling venture. The publisher regularly puts out what are called ‘book trailers’. These trailers intend to interest a reader by giving them a glimpse of the plot of the novel — in the same way that a movie trailer tries to entice viewers to a theatre to watch the full length film. HarperCollins also publishes audio excerpts of books, audiobooks and podcasts.
Titus Upputuru, creative head at Taproot Denstu — shares, this is the first of its kind direct-to-screen writing that he has undertaken for HarperCollins. “Storytelling is an ancient art form. It is also terribly current with platforms such as Netflix and Amazon streaming some amazing content. I have always been in love with this medium since my literature days. Today, our business of marketing and communication allows us to tell stories every day,” he says in a press release.
"I wanted to place the reader inside the film. Audio-visual mediums are increasingly being used to stream different forms of storytelling. It was slightly challenging to turn the video into a story, and it looks a lot easier than it seems on the outside," he mentioned over call.
He emphasises that it's not about the length of the film, but the quality of storytelling and he also mentions that he paid attention to every detail in the film and intended to leave it open ended. This is not the first time HarperCollins has collaborated with Taproot Dentsu. In 2017, the agency worked with the publisher to bring out the following campaign.