Nurturing new talents to think of stories before thinking of the techniques of animation is the need of the hour: E Suresh

Suresh Kumar Eriyat aka Eeks revolutionised the art of animation ad making in India with his ground breaking innovations. With NID as his alma mater Eeks touched all aspects of animation styles including 2D, 3D and clay/stop motion and turned them into gold. Renowned for his spectacular ad making styles, Eeks has ventured successfully into everything including TV commercials, short films, music videos and long format feature. With over a staggering 300 films in his repertoire, Eeks stuns the audience every time with a distinct visual treatment. Founder and creative director of Studio Eeksaurus, he travels the world giving lectures, judging movies and sharing his priceless wealth of knowledge. A musician, a thinker, a philosopher and a yogi, Eeks is the perfect amalgamation of art and heart. got Suresh talking about the upcoming Animation Masters Summit organized by Toonz Animation and here is what he had to say… What is the session that you will be taking at the Master’s Summit and what will you be ideally covering in the session? Being a designer first and a film maker second, I would always like to share my views on animation through a ‘designer’ eye glass! I will be talking about design in films and animation. How being a design led animation company has helped Eeksaurus to evolve so many different artistic styles and introduce them successfully into the market and further spread the awareness of animated storytelling into the masses through a very commercial yet powerful medium called advertising. I would also be stressing to the animation fraternity about the need of the hour to help gather the industry strength to stand on its own. Connecting this necessity by drawing parallels to my own journey and experience with Eeksaurus and the earlier company I founded, Famous House of Animation, would be the most honest way to connect and share, with the industry. What are the things that you expect to see at a gathering of such proportions? I have been to the first ever ‘Week with the Masters’ event. I guess it was way back in 2000. It was such an amazing experience meeting with all the animation stalwarts in person and I was fortunate to bring two of my colleagues as well from Mumbai to attend this very noble knowledge sharing event. 15 years later when I am going back as a master, I am carrying a treasure house of experience which I am eager to share with people. I look forward to meeting a lot of aspiring students and enthusiasts apart from the other masters who will be present at the event. How does it feel to be a ‘Master’? What tips or advice would you give young film makers who will be coming down? Master according to me should be an experienced student. If the master takes out the ‘student’ in him and considers himself complete, then the learning stops right there. I thank my stars that I get inspired by the most ordinary events and people in my day to day life which helps me derive/create ideas observing and learning from them. So never let learning stop. Only advice I would like to give to the young films makers is this: It is Now or Never for animation. If we don’t start creating content then we can consider our animation industry a closed chapter in the history books soon. I know it sounds like a Doomsday Forecast or something, but I am serious when I say this. I can see a lot of complacency amongst the young film makers today compared to the inner fire we used to keep alive at that age. What are your views on the current scene in the animation industry in India? How can it be bettered? Firstly, we need to develop story writing and animation pre-production skills within the animation industry. Production skills, we definitely have. Flourishing big animation companies that do outsourcing works are witness to this. This can only happen if people willing are ready to learn the art of film-making and are ready to spend their initial formative years not in the search of money, but in nurturing themselves to develop the skills that could help them be the animation film-makers of the future. Nurturing new talents to get them into thinking stories before thinking of the techniques of animation is the need of the hour. Secondly, there has to be continuous and consistent emergence of animation content from India – for children, for adults, for the entire family and for the specific connoisseurs of animation art. A mixed bag of such content created from us – only can keep the rich heritage of story telling in India translated to animation medium. What are the skills sets that young artists/film makers/animators must possess to make a mark in this competitive environment? Patience, patience and patience along with good drawing/writing skill – must be able to see imagination in a tangible form. I would also recommend story reading as a habit that budding animators/film-makers have to definitely inculcate. There is an ocean of literature and stories floating around and its a loss of lifetime if one cannot absorb even a drop from there. And YouTube/video channels cannot give so much brain exercise to expand your horizon when it comes to imagination.