At the ABAI Fest 2011 and KAVGC Summit the first session ‘Roadmap for Growth and opportunities in Animation Industry’ saw Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor as the moderator of the panel that included Narendra Reddy, GM, Dreamworks; Jai Natarajan CEO, Xentrix and Smitha Jha from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
(L to R) Smitha Jha from PricewaterhouseCoopers; Jai Natarajan CEO, Xentrix, Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor;Narendra Reddy, GM, Dreamworks
The session concentrated on adding valued information for the students in the Animation industry and to make students understand how the studios recruit and what the skills are that they are looking for. Narendra Reddy shared, “The schooling system is not geared completely and does not generate students we can directly hire. We have actually considered a lot of people after looking at the work they have done outside their school/college. There needs to be a grading system which will help the studios to hire the students. We need people who are technical as well as artistic at the same time. We also have the jobs that range from very technical to very artistic.”
According to Narendra the three most important things that need to be imbibed in the students are the knowledge of technical tools and training which is easily taught. The second being Artistic and its basic fundamentals and to develop the artistic taste by indulging in their hobbies, interests, travelling, talking and interacting with liked minded people and the student should start this at an early age. The last and the most important, the student should have Professionalism i.e. the ability to be continually dissatisfied with his/her own work and has the derive to improve his/her own work again and again.
Jai Natarajan put emphasis on the fact that the top 10 to 20 studios which are heavily concentrated in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai only account for 15000 to 20000 employees. They represent less then 10 percent of the employment in this industry. They are just the tip of the iceberg of this industry. He wants the student to understand this and remember that there are close to 2000 studios in India which employ anything from 5 to 50 artists and another 5 to 50 artists on a freelance basis and are located all across India doing work in different sectors like architectural, advertising, medicines, regional and government work.
Jay asserted, “Animation industry is a huge spectrum of opportunities and there is a lot of growth in the industry. The students have a lot of career options; they need to know what they are passionate about.”
PWC is working with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the National Centre of Excellence for Animation and Gaming Industry to enable the growth of the animation and gaming industry. Smitha Jha from PWC said, “With a small growth of 20 percent it is difficult to convince the government. It is because of the shortage of skilled talents that the industry is not growing. Our research shows that the parents of the students don’t allow their kids to join this industry as the courses are not certified and their children would not be called graduates. We are currently working with the government to work on recognizing animation institutes and providing the structure for the courses. We are closely working with the banks for them to recognize this industry as a growing ecosystem and to offer loans to students to study animation and also with the visa authorities for temporarily accepting it as graduate courses”.
Biren concluded the session by saying, “In our industry there is a huge combination of ability and skill which is artistic and there is a huge amount of technology which is deployed. The aspiration of the students who directly get out of school is to work at big studios. The thing is that the experience curve has not enabled you to get there. There is nobody in the world who has not climbed that staircase (hierarchy) to get where they are today. The best talent within the animation education system and outside the education system is the one that develops realistic benchmarks and then aspires for the next level. We develop the tests to test the ability of the student but the attitude, behaviour and the ability to blend in with your team and co-workers is also very important”.