Developing, Pitching, Promoting – Animation 360

nullDeveloping Animation Content: 360 degrees was the focus at the 3rd session on the second day of FICCI FRAMES 2007 had a panel of exceptionally talented professionals.

The moderator for the session was Graphiti Multimedia Director and COO Munjal Shroff. The panelists included Lisa Goldman, Animation Scriptwriter USA, Isaac Kerlow, Dean of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Jean Thoren, Owner and CEO, Animation Magazine, USA, Finn Arnesen, SVP, GM, Original Series and International Development, Turner, UK, Gabiele Valli, CEO, Romanimata Scarl, Italy, Joanne Ferrone, Founder, president and Creative Director, Honest Entertainment and Maya Movies Pvt Ltd Director, Ketan Mehta.

Munjal kick-started the discussion with asking Joanna about ‘How to identify properties and Characters in Animation?‘

The veteran shared, “Basically when you see a character it has to speak. You should be able to build your world around it. All the characters I have made since the last ten years even if they are not so famous, I still love them.”

According to Joanna it all revolves around caring about the characters you make as they give messages. Sharing about her world famous character Fido Dido (7UP mascot); she said “When I made Fido there was something very visually appealing about him” Her advice on this question was to be true and work hard. Answering on how to pitch a Bible, Lisa Goldman shared

“The bible of any animation content has to catch with the spirit of humour. The other very important thing to be kept in mind is that you have to be thorough with the homework before pitching to the broadcaster”

Continuing Lisa Elaborated, “Some of the main points while pitching a bible are overview of the show, timelines of the episodes, characters, original music, character design to name a few”

On the same note Finn added, “Pitching a bible is easiest yet hardest as you are selling creativity. It is all about investing time for great character and a great story. On one hand you have to have a formal bible ready as well as there should be creativity which should show the whole idea”

Agreeing with Lisa he also stressed on the fact about doing the homework as best as possible. He stated that if there is a particular network you want to pitch to then you should watch all the shows, the continuity of the shows on the network which will give you the idea of what is actually happening there and what is the kind of positioning of that particular network.

The other very important area he briefly touched is about today‘s kids. He said that while pitching any show it should always be kept in mind that kids are the main viewers of animation content. Keep them on their place and think what would an eight to twelve year old do?

Speaking on how to promote properties and make them media darlings Thoren said, “The ways to promote a property have started changing recently. Today the animators don‘t need to go through a broadcaster to promote their property. They can get out and market themselves. It is just that they should be confident about their product.”

In accord to what Thoren said, Issac threw light on a different fact that we are used to writer driven pitches but the important thing which people tend to overlook is the animation itself. “Great animation is a craft, and art form. There is a responsibility on every artist to animate the best they can and then show it to someone else. They should first spend time playing with the character. When a project is planned, the production people have to spend time on little details. They should know the technical and creative requirements.”

Isaac Kerlow spoke about the challenges while going into the licensing channels.

Talking about the challenges he said, “The challenge is that how are we going to build a character who is always different. How can we take it to different platforms? For instance it took Disney seven to eight years to grow and learn all these things.”

Ketan Mehta shared his views on the Indian Animation Industry. Wanting to do a Sci-Fi movie when he started out as a film maker, Ketan had to scrap the idea due to non availability of right technology. He also stated the fact that inspite of having incredible stories, 2D Animation didn‘t develop really and 3D industry grew under the shadow of IT industry.

“Initially the role model was about outsourcing and it was service driven but gradually it has seeped in that it‘s not about servicing. It is about creating one‘s own IP”, said Ketan.

Discussing a bit on the history of the industry he stated that initially the projects for India played it safe as there was no sufficient talent pool and companies who could take risk but now there is vision to produce and market their own stuff.

Italy is facing a change of market regarding animation as per Valli. He also said that animation has always been public driven in Italy but now less time is being spent on production. He also spoke about the problem of content copyright his country.

Acquiring content and then developing is what Finn Arnesen has been doing since 1994. Illustrating more about the content he said that to make good animation content, story and characters are the biggest essentials and he maintained this throughout the session.

An interesting question was raised during the Q & A with audience by Turner‘s Monica Tata that is India ready for adult animation? To this Munjal answered by saying that India is getting there, especially in mobile content and there is a demand for this kind of content.

Towards the completion of the session it became clear that not only Indians but the experts from the west also think that India can produce quality animation content.

Isaac said that the in India there are all the ingredients for good animation content and that it has started to happen.

To this Finn added a suggestion by advising to make the characters better and increasing the production value.

Ketan also had a few suggestions for the artists. He told them to have a global vision which should talk to a much larger audience, market the products rightly, focus on the quality and uniqueness.

To this Munjal added that Indian animators should look beyond Indian gods and use the mythology as an essence not characters.

Joanna and Jean put forth the same thought that India has a rich culture and will appeal to global audience.