Toonskool promises ‘industry ready’ animators

As the din about paucity of trained animators in the country is getting louder, quite a few industry players are gearing up with their own plans to meet the demand. The latest initiative in this field is Toonskool, a collaboration between ATBM Holdings CEO J Rajeev Choudhary and Bangalore based entrepreneur Ashwin Ajila. nullAt face value, Toonskool seems to be promising, concieved as it is by people involved in the recruitment and teaching businesses. Choudhary, amongst his many companies, heads Isearch which is the largest and probably the only significant recruitment firm in the Indian animation industry. Ajila on the other hand comes from the NITTE family which runs educational institutions and colleges across Karnataka. Speaking to Animation ‘xpress, Choudhary stated, “Toonskool will build its business on the franchisee model. An international brand identity will be built through a widespread franchisee network. Our vision is to have 50 centres started across India and overseas in a span of 18 months. The franchisee centers will run short-term part-time programs while colleges will conduct three-year full-time programs.” He further added that,”The first few colleges will start their program by Jan ’05. The first franchisee has already commenced operations in Mangalore and several others are following suit in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Chennai. Each of these cities can take on more centers. We are looking for franchisees across India. We are ready to tie up with anyone who has commercial space and also colleges which have spare capacity in infrastructure.” On the course structure and what led Choudhary and Ajila to concieve their course, Choudhary shared, “While monitoring fresh applicants at Isearch, we realised that though they are technically equipped, the applicants often lack in terms of being ready to perform in the studio environment. Studios spend 6-8 months in training and honing freshly inducted staff on the payroll. The courses at Toonskool have been designed to train students in a manner which makes them industry ready by the time they are through.” He further added that, “The uniqueness of the training at Toonskool is the option for the candidate to choose his/her area of specialisation.” Amongst the highlights of the course will be an internship at a studio and ‘The Pitch’ an annual show where those passing out will show their films to Studio recruiters at the campus.