Few Indian VFX studios who ensure that work can be fun!

We live in the world of merciless competition where almost everyone is on the run. Even taking some moment out of the busy day is most of the times difficult, leave alone for recreation or pursuing their hobbies. Lately, few posts has been doing the rounds across several social media platforms that Indians work for the maximum hours in the world. While we spend most of the time of our day working, the working environment or the work culture is quite important; as it defines whether our work place becomes our second home or a burden. The Indian VFX industry has only grown with giant strides in the recent years mostly with huge chunks of outsourced work. The professionals have a tough time maintaining that pace as the artists work under strict deadlines and deliver huge amounts of work. In this scenario the better the working environment, the better is the production output. So, we at Animation Xpress take a tour of few well known VFX studios in India and talk to people concerned on how they keep the working environment healthy, jolly and equally productive. BOT VFX : Headquartered in the U.S. with a wholly-owned production operation in Chennai, bot vfx is a visual effects outsourcing services company catering to clients in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The company offers foundational digital visual effects services and has worked on projects like Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time, Captain America : Civil War, Wonder Woman and many more. Founded by Hitesh Shah, Sreyans Bardia, and Deepak Bohra, bot vfx has an environment to envy for, in their studio which reflects in the quality of work they produce. Bardia mentioned, “Freedom and Responsibility are the two words we’d like to describe our culture with. What artists really enjoy about BOT, is the company’s belief in their ability.
(from left to right) Sreyans Bardia, Hitesh Shah and Deepak Bohra
Over the years we have grown from being a studio which predominantly had a lot of freshers to now having a mix of talent from outside which gives us another perspective; to have a synergy which means “take the best of both worlds”. This has immensely benefited all of us at BOT. Our culture has always been that of sharing knowledge with each other, helping each other grow and more importantly of being considerate and compassionate through eachothers ups and downs. The personal rapport and connect even amongst the artists is pretty high through many years of hard work put in by the founding team.” The company also believes that the employer-employee relationship is extremely critical as they together create a successful team by taking care of each other’s growth as their priority, it’s a win-win scenario always. Bardia noted, “We coined this term called ‘More2LifeAtBOT’ and we really do a lot more than just work. For us the holistic growth of an artist is extremely important. We have a “BOT-TLE Club” where recreational activities are thought of, planned and executed by our artists themselves. From Social causes to Cyclothon, to crazy outdoor trips to foodie club events, ‘goti-soda’ day, table tennis tournament and many more, we have done it all. BOTs always ‘Do the Undone’.” Red Chillies VFX : Redchillies.vfx, a division of Red Chillies Entertainment, is an award winning VFX company founded by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, along with Keitan Yadav (COO) and Haresh Hingorani (CCO). SRK’s vision for creating a world class studio came into existence in 2006 with a desire to make photo realistic animation and premium visual effects technology available for feature films. All the high quality work from the artists and professionals is the product of a fulfilling working environment. Within 12 years of its existence, redchillies.vfx has established itself as one of India’s top Visual Effects Studio. Says a spokesperson from the company, “The work environment in our studio is conducive to creative talent. We ensure the employees feel inspired and motivated. We help them with skill-enhancements, knowledge sharing and provide a wholesome feel. We’re a big, hardworking, appreciative family where we maintain an approachable environment, where employees can reach out to the top-management to for any queries or discussions. They say that fun is important to foster a good working environment and we inculcate that with our wide range of indoor recreational activities.” The working crowd at Red Chillies VFX is young and energetic. They foster team spirit and believe in working together to deliver the projects at hand. Besides work, it’s always a huge party when all ‘rcvfx-ians’ come together, whether it’s an office party or just another day celebrating a team member’s birthday. The spokesperson mentioned, “Rewards and recognition are an integral part of our culture where experience and milestones are awarded. We promote positive work environment, transparency, good facilities, recreational activities, skill development, recognition programs and appreciating loyal employees, approachable working environment, emphasis on healthy working conditions. We started a concept called Fun Saturday which includes a lot of team building, fun, creative games are organised on a weekly basis. This also helps the employees’ distress as well as work on their mind and body coordination. Another important event is monthly birthday celebrations; we also have a recreational room accessible 24/7 where employees can enjoy the games like Carrome, Table Tennis, PS4, Air hockey.After Studios : After Studios is a visual entertainment services company with a highly experienced team of skilled individuals having a creative bent of mind to push the frontiers of the digital domain. Says After Studios business development manager Vijay Sukale, “After Studios thrives for a healthy workplace environment which is ideal for  maintaining a positive outcome in a stressful atmosphere. Workplace environment is important thing that influences employee motivation, happiness, productive and efficient. We try and keep our people motivated and happy. We have team pictures clicked, festival celebrations, office parties, office lunches and dinners. We also celebrate our employee’s personal achievements, birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, farewell and so on. This is a great way of showing our employees that we really cares for them.” After Studios also consider the relationship between an employee and an employer should be mutual and respectful. When employees have a strong, healthy relationship with their employers, the entire company is benefited. Sukale added, “Employees who have mutually respectful relationships with their employers are more likely to be happy, loyal and productive in the long-run.” Fluiidmask Studios : Founded by Viral Thakkar along with Prashant Thakur, Shweta Raut and Yogesh Chagg, Fluiidmask Studios incepted in the year 2016 with around 40 artists to serve quality VFX in the Indian industry. With some noted works to their kitty, Fluiidmask Studios (FMS) has made a mark in the Indian VFX sector. Thakkar said, “FMS started with a bunch of creative heads that got together to face any challenges in its way. We have always created a friendly environment for our co-workers and we don’t believe in restricting them for anything, but maintaining discipline. We have grown as a family and I have permitted the artists a great deal of autonomy to have their own input in the project which gives them more motivation to do the job. We understand that positive work culture encourages Happier Employees and we believe in creating one.” With 140 artists, the company has grown over the years with people who have been with the company for a long period of time which has created a good bond through interactions with each other and having each other’s back all the time. This bond reduces the attrition rate as they don’t find the same bond anywhere else and they feel comfortable working at FMS. Thakkar further commented, “We do a lot of recreational activities, yearly festivals and artist indulgence, Saturday Fun Day, playing games, parties, activities where we step out of the office and have some field trips to orphanages like help the needful, helping foster kids, fulfilling their wants and needs, arranging picnics for our employees exploring nature and expanding creativity. Also after every project we have a success party where we all get in together for celebration. We also surprise our artist with a special token of love on their special moments and achievements.” Pixel Digital Studios :
Pushpa Koshal
Pixel Digital Studios has core team members comprising of veterans from the industry having a vast experience of 15+ years which has made them an important name in the industry with all dedication and precision. Pixel Digital Studios head of operations Pushpa Koshal said, “Work environment is really important. By that, I mean everything that forms an employees’ involvement with the work itself, such as the relationship with co-workers, supervisors, organisational culture, room for personal development and so on. It makes them feel good about coming to work, and provides the motivation to sustain them throughout the day.” The company has obtained a quite transparent, accessible and a expressive work culture in our company. The team members can reach the management easily at any given point of time. They also give importance to the employer-employee relationship that assures better productivity. Koshal exclaimed, “The company is keen on retaining loyal employees, fewer workplace conflicts as it reduces productivity levels, a peaceful workplace and increased productivity as when an employee feels happy to work for you, they are more likely to put forth their best effort and maintain a personal stake the projects they work on. Besides that, we have gatherings, we all go for film screenings, lunch parties, birthday celebrations and many more.” Makuta VFX : Perhaps known for the creating world class VFX in Baahubali, Makuta VFX has already gained a position of repute. They try to keep a balance between being lenient and strict regarding timings.
Pete Draper
Makuta VFX chief technical director and division head Pete Draper told ANX, “We help people communicate neatly and inform to relevant departments if there’s any delay. We know that the teams work hard especially during crunch time so we’re very flexible when it comes to timing. We encourage development and communication between departments as that makes or breaks a creative space. There’s a lot of sharing of information between artists, both senior and junior, with everyone having an input. Naturally, creative leads will drive development and shots creatively but we encourage artists to question decisions. This can lead to some lengthy debates but it’s part of the development process of not only the shot but the team working on it.” The company gives equal emphasis to the employee and employer relationship and are always approachable about anything, even personal matters or health issues. They’re open and frank to the artists about their daily lives inside or outside the studio. Transparency to them, is the key so that the artists know that they are integral part of the development of not only their individual team but the overall success and growth of the studio. Draper also informed, “We encourage creative development, working on their own material outside studio hours such as their own short films, photography, fine arts which is going to develop them further as artists. Within our own studio there’s several activities we’ll do each year such as Secret Santa, Treasure Hunts which are little crazy team-building exercises and challenges which are also fun and make people think laterally.”