Introducing schoolkids to animation concepts Analysing the experiment undertaken by Animax

Rohit Bhandari, AVP marketing & sales AXN & Animax
What is the core motivation behind conducting the animation workshops? The Animax Animation Course is aimed at introducing school kids and their art teachers to the fascinating world of animation, its production and techniques. Animax is committed to not only show animation to the children but also introduce them to the nuances of animation techniques. In this way we hope to channelise the creativity among the Indian kids so that they can consider animation as a career opportunity. This we thought was the best way to further the cause of Indian animatin industry. Can this initiative be intepreted as Animax’ first step towards building a working relationship with the Indian animation indsutry? Animax is the only 24 hour animation channel that caters to the animation needs of all ages, not only kids. Being an international channel with presence in various countries we realise the potential that the animation industry has much before others. Since Animax is here for a long term presence and wants to own the position of being an authentic animation channel, the Animax Animation Course could well be the beginning of the long term relationship with the Indian animation industry. What sort of reactions have you got from the students, schools and the media? Although the initiative of the workshop was with the thought of checking an idea, the response to it has been overwhelming. All quarters have patted our backs for the effort. We have had packed attendance to the workshops inspite of the proximity to exams. Parents and teachers have asked Animax to institute an on-going course. Some school managements have invited us to formulate an Animation course as part of extra-curricular activity in their academic batches. Last but not the least the media response was tremendous. Close to 40 publications, 8-10 channels and about 8-10 news portals have covered the event. Some literally went to town saying that this workshop was one of the kind event and it was a very noble and non-commercial thing that a TV channel could do. Wonder why no one else thought of it earlier. Are you looking at a more elaborate introductory course for schoolchildren in the future? The animation workshop was more of a trial and introductory thing, but the response it has received has strengthened our belief that teaching animation to kids is probably the best way to push forth the cause of Indian animation industry. Since some school management and trustees have asked us to formulate a long-term course for their wards, we are now deliberating over the logistics of the issue. Currently Anime is a big draw in the US, Japanese Animation producers like Miyazaki are worshipped by animation lovers, could you analyse the Indian market and comment on the future? Anime is the hottest trend in the entertainment space of the world today. From television programming to DVDs/VCDs to games to even Hollywood, it is in great demand. In fact it wouldnt be wrong to say out of all the fresh animations that hit the world market there are more of anime style animation. It has even made it to movies, e.g. the anime snippet in Kill Bill I , is actually done by a team of Ghost in the Shell, a popular series on Animax. India is not left behind. Kids adore Pokemon, which is anime. In fact the new group games that you see kids and youngsters playing at cyber cafes are all based on anime characters. With Animax coming in, the Indian audience will sudenly get to sample a lot more of anime and will get a feel of the vast variety that it can provide. Though the bug has come in later than the western and Asian markets, it will hit Indian kids and youth in a big way. Very soon you might see an Indian kid, trained by Animax, create his own animation in anime style while the story might be completely Indian.