The third edition of the Kids, Animation & More (KAM) Summit and Ann Awards 2022 have set the bar high for next year. This year KAM Summit went bigger as the sessions took place in two halls – Track 1 and Track 2 – simultaneously. Yet another insightful and exciting edition added one more feather to AnimationXpress’ hat. The third edition of the KAM Summit and Ann Awards 2022 was held on-ground on 26 August at Hotel Sahara Star, Mumbai and track two had quite an interesting speaker lineup that shed light on numerous diverse topics that bolstered the Indian animation space.
The inaugural session of Track 2 was from gaming industry veteran and Gamitronics founder Rajat Ojha on the topic “Metaverse: The next generation operating system”. In this session, Ojha shared insights on the potential possibilities of the metaverse universe, how the world will make the metaverse leap with new avatars and how the virtual system of living will become the key trend. Ojha talked about Gametronics’ own IP “Partynite” and its Daler Mehndi concert. He said that as Web 3.0 is on its way, there will be a huge scope for all and it will transform the ecosystem wholly. He said, “Web 1 is all about information, Web 2 is all about interaction, and Web 3 is all about participation. In Web 3 you are not consuming content, you are actually participating in the content.”
Following that it was time for the power packed panel on the topic “Making immersive content age appropriate”. The speakers were Paperboat Design Studios co-founder and director Aashish Mall, Yug Metaverse founder Utkarsh Shukla, and Cosmos-Maya chief growth officer Devdatta Potnis. It was moderated by Whistling Woods International vice president and business head, CTO & head of emerging media Chaitanya Chinchlikar. The experts shared their experiences in the content industry and how it becomes a responsibility for the creators to cater to the needs as well as to create age appropriate content. In the immersive world of metaverse and Web 3 it becomes a challenge for all the content creators as the world of metaverse is open and easily accessible therefore, finding the right balance between immersive kids’ content and content for adults becomes the primary motto. Adding to that, immersive content impacts kids 30 per cent more than usual. Because of that, creators become very cautious while creating content.
“The guidelines for kids’ content abroad is vastly different from India. As a content creator, we are straddling between sanitizing the content and suspension of disbelief,” said Devdatta Potnis. The experts shed light on how the metaverse will bring opportunities for content as the demand for it will be skyrocketing. Then the experts also agreed that as creators, it is necessary to target the right audience with the right type of content.
It was time for the next session, which was quite alluring as the Zebu Animation makers shared the behind the scenes of The Perfect Gift. The session included Zebu Animation founder and creative director Viren Patil, Zebu Animation previz supervisor Srinivasan CC and Indian actor and comedian Sal Yusuf. Patil shared how critical the role was for Sal as a character. They had 90 days to finish it off. The transformation of metahumans to Venky Humans for ‘The Perfect Gift’ required a mix of techniques, which required headgear and expression tracing chips. They recorded multiple voice styles of Yusuf and then created their own for his character. Today, the technology has advanced so much that without any market risk, motion captures are possible for both humans and animals without any challenges. The amalgamation of technology is happening to produce the best quality of content and is not restricted to one.
Post lunch, the KAM Summit Track 2 resumed with the next session titled, New Voices From Indian Animation. The eminent panelists were Zebu Animation CG supervisor Jakob Rokkedahl, 88 Pictures co-head of production Shashank Kulkarni, Tavrohi Animations CEO Rohit Kataria, MotionGility founder and director Himanshu Chaturvedi, Cloud House Animation Studios chief financial officer Sayan Ghosh, Post Office Studios CCO and co-founder Aditya Tawde and the session was moderated by Assemblage CEO Arjun Madhavan. The talented bunch of speakers shared insights on how they are strengthening with more and more fresh content and making India the powerhouse of the sector. The session opened with the key focus on three drivers of the animation sector, which are – diversity, demography, and dividend. The speakers shared that creativity and skills are the key drivers for the industry, and technology is the enabler and it can’t replace human talent; however, it can help to ease the workflow of the creators. Also, hardwork can help to win the game. MP based Chaturvedi shared how he has built his team with a bunch of hardworking people with no skills. They have hired those candidates who are in need and trained them as desired for projects. Now, Chaturvedi has 100 employees in Indore and 20 in the US. Rokkedahl shared that real-time technology enables faster production as possibilities rise and so does the demand. The panelists also stressed that being artists we need to be diverse thinkers and technologically agnostic. Finding the right talent for the right work is essential and diversity brings freshness to the content.
Following the panel, it was time for the presentation by Yotta, titled, Fast-tracking creativity with digital transformation.It was presented by Yotta executive vice president and chief cloud officer Sayed Peerzade who shared, “Our primary domain is data center but we also manage other IT services. We want end to end digital transformation enabler Application services, Cloud services, Network services, Colocation and DC build services.” The presentation spanned around the products and services offered by Yotta which will ease the workflow of the industry experts. Peerzade also touched on how 5G will change the entire landscape of the media and entertainment sector. They are planning to open 56 edge data centers in India.
The next session was titled as the – Indian Voices From overseas where Mikros Animation creative director Manoj A Menon, Shaftesbury development executive kids and family Awani Kulkarni, DreamWorks Animation CFX supervisor & VES LA Section board of managers Pradipto Sengupta shared their journey on how they were introduced to the world of Animation and how they have evolved over time. Their journey inspired many in the audience. Menon shared that his curiosity and his kicks has kept him going even through the hardest time of life whereas Kulkarni stressed how her determination to work in the field of animation has led her to do what she is doing currently. She further highlighted that the working culture in Canada is different from India and also shared insights on Canadian funding bodies. Passion, dedication, and creativity have ignited their interests to work in the animation industry.
At the next session of KAM Summit, Ssoftoons Entertainment Media LLP CEO Sourav Mondal and COO Hansa Mondal unveiled OTT platform Ssoftoons Plus. The session commenced with a small presentation about the Ssoftoons journey so far. They shared that they are aimed to show the kids stories instead of telling them stories. Ssoftoons Plus includes stories like Dadima ki Kahaniya, Naya Majedar Kahaniya, Dana Zaruri hai, Buddhuramer Golpo, Lullu Bhooter Golpo, Toontoonir Golpo and more.
The session was followed by a fireside chat between 88 Pictures CEO Milind Shinde and AnimationXpress.com founder, chairman and editor-in-chief, Anil Wanvari on Making of 88 pictures – what went behind creating a studio from ground zero. Shinde shared that they have faced a lot of challenges. They overcome the challenges by selling vision, telling stories and working brick by brick. Very soon they are opening an international office. They are also exploring new avenues. Their first game is ready and their second indigenous AAA game for console which will be an original IP is also in the pipeline.
The last and the final session: People Factor in the New World Animation was full of eminent experts from the industry which includes 88 Pictures vice president human resources and talent acquisition Saharsh Shah, A Plus Associates founding partner Anumukonda Ramesh, Paperboat Design Studios and Occult VFX Studios co-founder/director Mayank Patel, philmCGI animation director Sushrut Bothe, Technicolor Creative Studios head of academies India Sandeep Sharma, and was moderated by Technicolor India country head and CII National AVGC committee 2021 – 2022 chairman Biren Ghose. The panelists shed light on how the industry will emerge as the ultimate destination for content and opportunity. In the new world of animation, the industry will be led and owned by the artists and technology will remain as the enabler. There will be a self driven workstation but it will be to ease the workflow of an artist but will not replace the artist. The experts also believe a fine balance between technical knowledge and creative knowledge will ace the content game.
With that track two of KAM Summit came to an end. All the sessions were quite insightful and it touched the main areas which talked about animated content creation, metaverse, hiring and careers and a product launch.