Animated feature films & funding challenges

Day 2 : Session 5 Animated feature films & funding challenges
Col. S V Ramachandran introducing the panelists to the audience
The concluding session on the last day of Nasscom’s Animation India 2005 was devoted to 2 topics, animation feature films and funding challenges. Participating in the discussion were Founder and Chairman of ilabs and ex Chief Operating Officer of Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Srini Raju, DQE Founder and CEO Tapas Chakravarti, Pentamedia Animation head Riyaz Babu N S and Dream Forest Films director Sanjiv Waeerkar. The session was chaired by Srini Raju who is a very powerful figure in the IT field. Making a very strong case for animation studios to take up the BPO model, Srini hammered a few points strongly. Srinispeak – Entertainment Industry has given least ROI as compared to any other industries – In our country if you are part of ITES then NASSCOM will bat for you – Perception amongst Tax Payers is that entertainment is last – Stay with BPO and you will get a lot of these breaks and funding. – We need to create jobs which in turn will create wealth for the society. Infosys is in services, it has greater profitability than Microsoft. – Doing Jobs for international clients gives you exposure to their quality and skills. – VCs dont ask the studio to do IP or Co Pros, They ask to deliver the services to the client and stay on. 2D will be back with a bang! : Tapas Chakravarti DQE CEO Tapas Chakravarti Taking the dias, DQE CEO Tapas Chakravarti began by saying, “Lately 3D theatricals/features are prefered by producers and markets over 2D. But we are sure that 2D will be back with a bang!” Interestingly DQE, the studio that Tapas heads reportedly has a workforce which is 1200 to 1500 strong. He next spoke about the kind of commitment required in dealing with international clients, “Recently we started work on a 2D feature film and when we were signing the contract with the studio (a Hollywood Major), we were told that we would need to give our blood, sweat and tear to the project. I replied, why only blood, sweat and tear, you will take our soul away” Tapas also shared the Indian animation industry figures according to DQE saying, “DQE estimates of Indian animation industry revenue is around 200 to 250 million US Dollars. This includes the entire market (Animation /VFX/ Simulations). The presentation made by Tapas had quite a few interesting slides, some of which are listed below… nullProduction and Funding Challenges – Animated feature films *2D traditional feature 2D animated theatrical feature cost around US Dollars 15 Million to US Dollars 30 Million *3D Digital feature Cost of 3D theatricals – US Dollars 20 million to US Dollars 50 million *Animation with live action – Animated TV series (Long format) *2D TV – A Typical 2D series of 26 episodes into 22minutes costs US Dollar 4 Million to US Dollar 7 Million *3D TV -A typical 3D TV series 26 episodes into 22minutes costs around US Dollars 6 Million to US Dollars 10 Million *Flash TV Flash TV series – cheap? That’s a myth 26 into 22 costs around USD 4 Million to USD 6 Million -VFX for live action “Early stage working companies need a long term working capital for training and creating image. Lack of a proven track record puts off MNCs and VCs from investing. Indian animation is still not considered as part of entertainment industry. Delivery Capability for high end work is lacking” remarked Tapas. “However many pvt. equity & venture funds are interested in funding infrastructure and in manpower training” he added. Chakravarti listed the various modes for financing animation production Various modes of Financing Animation production – Commercial Banks – Licensing fee from b’casters – Sponsors like FMCG Cos – Toy cos promoting toy brands (big sources) – Publishing houses engaged in comics – Venture funds – Distribution & Merchandise – Angel Investors – Govt. Subsidies & Grants (Canada, Korea, France and Ireland) – Tax Breaks – Stock markets & IPO’s Concluding his presentation Chakravarti said, “Barring few fortune 500 companies, majority of the animation production globally is funded through complex co production partnerships. Including and involving creator or owner of concept, producer, B’casters from various countries, Govt subsidies and grants”
Pentamedia's Riyaz Babu
“Even if a 100 studios more were to open in India, I wouldn’t dub them as competitors as there is a lot of demand and work for all” : Riyaz Babu Pentamedia’s Animation head Riyaz Babu began with a plea for co operation amongst studios,”Let’s not compete with each another. Even if a 100 studios more were to open in India, I wouldn’t dub them as competitors as there is a lot of demand and work for all. If Disney and Pixar together could do billions, need we think twice before joining hands?” said Riyaz. “Poaching and financial engineering causes indiscipline to your artists and working community” he added. Pentamedia has in the past few years released 4 animated features, these being Sinabad, Pandavas, Buddha, and Ali Baba. Talking from the experience garnered in being involved with these productions, Riyaz presented a slide Animated Feature Duration – 90 minutes Language – English Accent – American Voice Cast – At least 3 No of characters – 30 No of BGs – 50 No of properties – 1000 Total Production duration – 12 Months Post Production – USA “This would result in 1,60,000 man hours and a total production budget of about US Dollars 4.5 Million. The split up would be 25% pre, 40% prod and 35% post prod” he concluded.
Dreamforest Films Director Sanjiv Waeerkar
“We aspire to make a feature some time soon” : Sanjiv Waeerkar “Animated features have come a long way” began Sanjiv. “In the early stages, Disney had a lot of problems doing Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. The studio was confronted with questions about whether children would sustain viewing an animated film for 70 minutes” “We are going to confront problems, however it’s just a matter of someone taking a step” said an optimistic Sanjiv. “The Common dilemma for the producer is that any Indian movie made for a budget of more than 10 crores needs stars” he concluded, matter of factly.