With the lockdown now extended till 17 May nationally, it has become more challenging to keep work going on smoothly in several sectors. Animation studios are putting their best foot forward during such tough times by working remotely from their homes and providing fresh episodes and telemovies, while all live-action projects remain stalled.
Kolkata based Wackytoon Studio, partner company of Green Gold Animation, have adeptly adapted to this pandemic and is strictly following the Government mandate of complete lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Speaking to Animation Xpress, Wackytoon Studio CEO Niloy Kanti Biswas shared, “Currently all of our employees are working from Home with 90 per cent production output since the lockdown has commenced. Even then we have successfully delivered 100 per cent projects to our clients till now within deadline.”
Wackytoon is the studio behind the funny animated adventures of the popular duo Honey Bunny in Honey Bunny Ka Jholmaal that airs on Sony YAY! The kids broadcaster has lately announced fresh episodes and a brand new telemovie for the animated IP.
The studio authorities have also provided working stations to employees who don’t have their own so that they can work from home without inconvenience and disruptions. There are few employees who live in remote places and don’t have adequate facilities to work from home and are temporarily discontinuing work, yet are very much part of the Wackytoon team.
Commented Biswas on the monetary challenges during this lockdown, “Working from home comes with its own shortcomings. Our company is as extraordinary as our people. Now all of us are fighting silent battles against an invisible enemy and working to the best of our abilities from home. When someone takes a day off, we need to look at it with compassion and not scepticism. 2D projects are much easier to work on than the 3D ones as it’s more hardware and software dependent. Yet we are managing. Till now we are doing well as per the Q1 financial results of 2020. Lots of projects are also in the pipeline. Moreover, we are developing our own IP and going to put it on table very soon so the weather is pretty shiny. We have not laid off any employee, neither are we going to ask anyone to take a pay cut as long the work from home model fulfills our production targets.”
He further added that Wackytoon Studio is always there to help the employees manage their personal, professional, financial, and family tensions in a healthy way thereby reducing the related stress within them.
Anticipating the duration and seriousness of the lockdown as per their understanding from the international market, the studio had already taken measures beforehand knowing that they will not get any logistics support for hardware peripherals delivery. However, the software inventory is well managed by the expert IT team to keep work seamless.
“In order to facilitate Work-From-Home we have moved into Cloud owing to the operational flexibility it offers. We have also made sure that all of our IPs and Clients Data are safe and secured. Our IT Team is tracking the data usage on a real time basis and all the assets are encrypted to prevent data leakage from any of our employees’ systems. Also we provide remote IT support to them in the time of need. The servers are always open so that the employees can access it whenever in need,” informed Biswas.
Despite all the measures that studios like Wackytoon and others are taking to cope up with and defeat COVID, Biswas opined that the pandemic is sure to have its effects on the media and entertainment industry. Due to the lockdown, content consumption has seen a remarkable increase be it on TV or OTT platforms. “Apart from providing an additional screen, the OTT industry is also a boon for the animation industry since it provides an additional revenue stream to the studios. The emergence of OTT platforms has provided animation studios an additional avenue to create content for kids. Animation and VFX work more long-term so demand could hold up despite the crisis. TV, Gaming and digital projects could increase while film projects have taken a bigger hit. So the market for the animation industry recovers faster. Keeping that aside, animation was usually a vastly underestimated and underemployed tool in both B2C and B2B marketing. Because many of the familiar options such as live-action interviews or films are now much more restricted due to COVID-19, we’re seeing more brands are now open to giving animation a try.According to me, animation could be the answer to advertisers’ to address the content production problem due to COVID-19 lockdown and after days. So in post COVID-19 this sector is set to bloom,” concluded the industry veteran.
It’s now a matter of time to see what life holds for this industry after the world becomes COVID-free.