Home > Business > Special
George Iype |
March 21, 2005
Part I: If it's animation, it must be India!
Part II: Few can match India!
Part III: Animation in India: Some woes too
India's animation sector is witnessing a major boom. Overseas entertainment giants like Walt Disney, Imax and Sony are increasingly outsourcing cartoon characters and special effects to India.
Other companies are outsourcing animation from India for commercials and computer games. So what makes India a hub for animation? Why is the sector experiencing exponential growth?
In this special series, we take a look at what makes India shine in the world of animation.
Major animation studios and producers from all over the world are now turning to India for opportunities to outsource animation projects. India offers good advantages to them: low cost, good English speaking workforce, talented technicians, and a sense of humour.
The Lion King, Finding Nemo and The Adventures of Tenali Raman are some of the animation films with Indian expertise that have received rave international reviews.
Toonz Animation Studio, based at Technopark in Kerala, is one of India's top animation companies. It created waves with the original production of its 26 episode series, The Adventures of Tenali Raman.
In an exclusive interview with Deputy Managing Editor George Iype, Chief Executive Officer of Toonz Animation P Jayakumar talks about how animation industry in India and the problems facing it. Excerpts:
Is India becoming an outsourcing hub for animation films?
Yes. Work is pouring in from places like the United States of America, Europe and Asia in the form of outsourced projects and co-production deals.
Why are Hollywood companies increasingly outsourcing cartoon characters and special effects to India?
It is mainly because that our prices are very competitive and the quality of our finished work is world class. We have the best in software and hardware in India and our talent pool has the creative edge.
Hollywood producers who are satisfied with our previous work are coming back for more from India.
Are lower costs and an English-speaking workforce that understands Western humour the main reasons behind the animation outsourcing?
Yes, that is correct. Here I would like to emphasise the fact that India offers competitive prices with good quality work as opposed to cheap prices. India has a large English-speaking talent pool, which is also one main reason why the foreign companies are attracted to outsource animation business to us.
And also, not to be missed is the inclination to western humour by the Indian animators.
Which are the big animation contracts on which Toonz is working these days?
We are working on a full-fledged feature film Tommy and Oscar, the movie for an Italian producer called Rainbow Productions. This is a 2D/3D combo project. We have a big 2D television series in production called Will o' the Wisp (26 X 6 min) for Animoon Plc, United Kingdom. This is in addition to a big-budget 3D television series in production for major a US broadcaster.
Toonz is also working on two original television series Maharaja Cowboy and Paddy's Page. We are currently wrapping up the trailers for both these properties. Another project in production is The Adventures of Hanuman.
Toonz is the only studio outside North America and Europe to make it to California-based Animation Magazine's top 10 multi-studios in the world. How did you achieve that?
Toonz Animation is a complete state-of-the-art facility staffed with internationally trained and experienced creative professionals from around the world.
The primary studio, Studio A, is located in Trivandrum on the Technopark Campus where over 400 artists and technicians create animated films in 2D and 3D. Here we have a world-class animation studio delivering content for film, television, DVD, Internet and other interactive platforms.
I would say that Toonz is the most advanced studio to open in India since the country emerged as a potential player in the international animation industry.
Which are the countries that India is competing with in getting animation outsourcing? The Philippines, South Korea, China and Taiwan?
Primarily, we are competing with China. But even here, I would say that our quality standards are much higher than (those of) Chinese studios.
Do you expect that large contracts from Disney, Imax, Warner Brothers or Sony would land in Indian animation companies like Toonz in the coming years?
To tell you the truth, we are already working with some of these big names. Confidentiality clauses prevent us from disclosing their names.
What are the problems-if any that the animation industry face in India?
Animation industry is a new sector in the country and I feel there is an urgent need for more government support. There is also a need to reserve airtime for local animation content in channels broadcast in India.
Some of the major problems affecting the animation studios in the country are lack of awareness about the industry, lack of substantial venture capital inflow and absence of proper animation training programmes.
How do you assess India's manpower and technology in the animation industry? Are they the best when compared to the rest of the world?
Not the best in technology, but we are definitely reaching there. Our talent is top notch and with that support we are at the cusp of an animation revolution.