Solutions discussed at Human Resource session

The prediction by the industry experts about the Indian animation market says that the Indian animation industry would reach USD 869 million by 2010, representing a CAGR 25 percent over 2006-2010. But certainly India is facing a quality crunch and there is lack of manpower. But what could be the right approach to tackle this problem and to generate the quality work in India? The topic “Resourcing Human Resource’ clearly inspected the Indian animation education system and the bridge between Indian studios and institutes which work as a bridge between the artists and the professionals.

Moderated by NASSCOM’s Ganesh Natarajan, the panel comprised of AnimationXpress.com CEO and Managing Editor Anand Gurnani, Arena Animation ED R. Krishnan, Accel Animation Chairman N R Panicker and Red Octane CEO Anurag Khanna.

The discussion began with Krishnan’s opinion on education system and early age of animation education in India. “We set up our operation eleven years ago in India when the animation was at extremely nascent stage. Even today the industry is at an introductory stage but it is growing at a fast pace, and tremendous manpower is required.”

“The phase in which today’s animation industry stands is the same which the IT industry in India was going through a few decades ago,” informed Krishnan.

N R Panicker shared the journey of his Animation studio which was setup a year ago and the challenges he faced in the early days. “We started with a small team and were planning to make it big in the years to come. But when we started recruiting, we found that there was a quality crunch in the market. We decided that we will set up our own Academy and started training them according to our requirement.”

During the discussion, it was now Anurag’s turn who spoke from the perspective of a studio owner. He shared the requirements and expectations of a studio owner and how the demand of content is growing in the market. “We set up our studio nine years back and during this journey, we have seen that the production cost is increasing. Keeping that in mind, we focus on quality and whenever we recruit any of our team members, we train them atleast for 6 to 12 months according to our necessity.”

Anand Gurnani who has great amount of passion for education related issues in Animation and Games, brought out the points which he thought could help in enhancing the education system. “Studios always express that institutes don’t train the students according to the industry requirement. At the same time, I guess there is a solution wherein a registry be created for studio professionals and artists to register and offer a couple of days in a month to giving class at institutes.This registry could be centrally accessible by all institutes who could book the services of a professional for a couple of days. This would thereby create a standard acess to quality training”

Gurnani also pointed that there should be video servers in the institutes, which can help the students to get the lectures from experts who are not reachable easily.

Krishnan opined that there should be training programs for soft skills including direction, story telling and sketching amongst others which can help the students to enhance their creative skills.

Panicker urged that he believes that there should be the involvement of government in education system. “It takes a lot to setup an animation training institute and there should be government funded colleges which can train the students in animation vertical, apart from other verticals.”

According to Anurag there are three areas where the main focus was required. “Firstly, we want specialists. We can train the software and technology to students but we cant teach them creativity. Secondly, training institutes generally don’t screen the students before admission and thirdly I agree, the studios should help in education and we should not compromise on quality.”

Panicker’s statement of government’s involvement was liked by a few panelists and audience too, but there were a few other people who were disagreed. “It is not necessary that the government should play a role in this. Industry, studio and people from education ecosystem should collaborate and start working together,” expressed Krishnan.

The discussion was on in full swing and the questions were showering from the audience. The question made by ABRP Reddy of Picasso was a concrete point about the animation education. “According to the NASSCOM report, out of the total trained students, only 13 per cent of students get placement. So how these remaining 87 percent of students will be absorbed in the industry?” asked Reddy. He pointed out that after gaining the animation skills, one can apply them only in the field of animation and nowhere else, unlike IT or other field.

As the discussion was heading towards the conclusion, Anand shared an interesting figure about the animation institutes and students. “There is lack of artists but at the same time, there are about 1,700 animation institutes all over the country India and around 1,00,000 students. I suggest that there should be a training facility dedicated to teaching the teachers as once the base from which our students learn will be strong, the orientation of the students too will get stronger.”

The discussion concluded with several opinions and suggestions from the audience for improving the system and panel was absolutely at the right track for resourcing the human Resource!

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