Calm waters run deep.
For the past 3 years now, Graphiti Multimedia has been working at developing IP, both for the local as well as the international audiences. The studio began in 1997 catering to the advertising industry and expanded to long format In 2001.
The same year, the studio did some path breaking work in Indian Television when it created Genie, a lovable CG character for the Optimystix show Khulja Sim Sim, which had a long successful run on Star Plus. The CG cutie had a 30 second appearance throughout the entire 1 hr show, but gradually as fan mail poured in, his airtime increased to a whopping 3 minutes per episode.
“Creating & delivering 3 minutes of CG every 6 days was an experience. Initially we had a team of 15 people working at it. Gradually as the process was standardized, we developed some proprietary processes and software to resolve bottlenecks. For the next season, a team of 6 was capable of outputting the same work” Says Graphiti Multimedia Director & CTO Munjal Shroff.
By the time the series drew to an end, Genie’s aggregated air time was more than 2 hours, all of which was created by Graphiti. Then followed Cartoon Network’s The Next Big Toon, which was a kiddy character-drawing contest.
“The challenge was creating 3D that looked like 2D. Cartoon Network was adamant that we do it in 2D, we were confident of creating it in 3D yet maintaining the 2D look. Finally when the channel saw the tests it was thrilled” shared Graphiti Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Ram Mohan.
Going by the studio’s past performance, it will not be a surprise to see Graphiti break some more ground on Indian TV.
The studio is also in the process of readying 2 IPs for the International market. The BIBLE for both is complete. Its deep interest in IP draws from the fact that the core team consisting of Indian animation veteran Ram Mohan, Tilak Shetty and Munjal Shroff are animation production people themselves.
Toyzania is a patented toy concept. Animals and other figurines that can exchange heads and torsos with each other and in the process forming new creative identities! The Toyzania TV Series is aimed at the preschool group and is centered around a boy who’s Toy Set comes alive! Helping him to solve problems and mysteries! Leading him to new adventures! Between the Toy set and the TV series, Toyzania offers tremendous marketing synergies. The series looks very promising, so much so that Emmy award winner and author of ‘How to write for Animation’ Jeffrey Scot, who is writing Toyzania, immediately agreed to be the executive producer of the show on seeing the trials.
“The show which deals with kid problems has a definite take home in each episode” says Munjal. Ram Mohan points out that,”There is a curriculum in the show and the focus is on imparting life skills subtly”
The other IP is Action Hero B.C. (AHBC), “Out here B.C stands for Beginning of Cool” grins Ram Mohan. “The story is based on tales from Katha Sarita Sagar (Ocean of Stories) compiled by Somadeva. The story is about Shreedutt and Vikram Shakti.” he adds.
On being confronted whether such names and premise could work in today’s market, the veteran Ram Mohan drew attention to the fact that, “If Alladin can work, why can’t Vikram Shakti. The market is saturated with Cinderellas and Snow Whites, they have begun taking stories from China, from Africa, from Arabia, then why not India”
“Action heroes existed even in the ancient times and the real action hero is one who stands up for what he believes in. When we showed AHBC at the International Film Market at Annecy, they were so impressed with the feel and look that they suggested that we make a feature out of AHBC” added Munjal.
Graphiti’s final and conclusive argument for investing in IP came from CEO & Director Tilak Shetty, “When we talk IP, we will go the whole hog, be it TV series, be it comics, be it toys or other merchandise. Playing the IP game is not so easy, it is a very risky affair. All of us here have invested our all in it. Though there might be errors we make on the way, the motivation comes from the fact that while tomorrow the others will be trying and setting up systems, we will already have reached there.”
(Genie Image Copyright Star India Pvt Ltd. , Rest Images Copyright Graphiti Multimedia
All Images courtesy – Graphiti Multimedia Pvt ltd.)