AMS 2021 lives up to its theme with a diverse panel

Organised by Toonz Media Group, Animation Masters Summit (AMS) 2021, the fourth/final day of the virtual summit saw the panel discussion on the summit’s theme, ‘Embracing Diversity in the Animation industry: On and Off Screen’. Rise Up Animation co-founder Monica Lago-Kaytis, LXia founder and co-director Bryan Dimas, Women in Animation vice president Women Jinko Gotoh and IN10 Media VP corporate strategy and development Manasi Darbar discussed bringing diversity in Animation Industry in conversation with Dan Santro, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Animation World Network.

The speakers expressed that to create diversity in the industry, one needs to talk to different people, include their ideas, implement different stories and concepts. “To find diversity one has to be inclusive, bring everyone to the table, make everyone be a part of the community, and collaborate. If you have inclusivity then you are creating diversity,” shared Gotoh. 

Throwing light on diversity in India, Darbar added, “India has always been the land of diverse culture, religions, language and it is important to focus on the concept of diversity. If the people acknowledge and accept the fact that diversity exists, and include it in patterns and consumptions, then it will reflect in the changes of pattern in our society and our workplace. But accepting the concept is somewhere missing here. So without that, diversity is impossible.”

Kaytis spoke about hiring potential employees and mentioned that people are used to hiring employees based on what they are accustomed to. Even after years, there is bias in treating people at the workplace. She said, “I have faced it many times that maybe you are not easy to work with because you are different. What I think is to move away from this and be inclusive, look at people’s talent and potentially bring more women, people of colour to bring diversity.” 

The panel held discussions on various aspects of diversity and how to implement it so that they can come up with various concepts, techniques, stories, and fantastic projects. 

“We should be very authentic while creating diversity because we are creators. We need authentic stories, for implementing diversity. We have to be very cautious and authentic while making decisions,” added Gotoh. 

The panel also added that anyone can make it in the industry if they are full of passion. Degree and certification don’t matter. Only the passion and creativity they have matters. The hard work and persistence keeps one moving. There are a lot of rejections we face but the continuity and patience will pay off. Animation is not an easy industry but we can make it through our creativity and taking the first steps towards your passion makes everything fall in place and the rest is history.

On how to culturally foster animation as a career, Darbar elaborated, “Culturally it needs to be started at the grass-root level. It starts with family, friends, colleagues. They need to foster such kind of changes to highlight animation as a career. Parallelly we should establish an organisation which would counsel coming generations to take animation as a career. So I think those organisations are missing to counsel the students to start a career in animation.”

“Animation can take two to seven years to complete a movie, so it is a long journey and longer experience. It is not about what is the ending and what is the material we have, it is all about the journey with people you are working with and it is worth it,” highlighted Kaytis.

Valuing the co-worker is the key element to grow up in the industry. Dimas explained, “Animation is the smallest industry but today it is growing. It is just the smallest network. So treat everyone with respect because we don’t know that people who are working today as PA tomorrow they will be a producer at another studio. The connections you are building in this journey is a production in your next project, so treating and valuing people is more important in this industry.”

AMS 2021 focused on the theme of ‘Embracing Diversity: Finding beauty in our differences. This panel played a key role in addressing this sentiment in the Indian industry and beyond. The four-day event pulled down its curtains with this panel followed by the launch of Ri8brain, an e-learning platform dedicated to creative arts.