The last day of Ficci-Frames 2007 saw noted director-producer Shekhar Kapur kicking off a heated panel discussion on ‘How to create an animation IP with a global appeal.’ Moderated by Ficci’s animation and gaming forum chairman Tapaas Chakravati, who also is the managing director and chief executive of DQ Entertainment, the plenary session had Crest Animation chief executive officer AK Madhavan, Toon Animations Canada president Joan Vogelesang, Virgin Comics & Animation president Suresh Sitaraman, Paprika chief executive officer Nandish Domlur and Animation Labs head Siddharth M Jain as the key speakers.
Opening the session, the moderator and the Ficci’s animation and gaming forum chairman Chakravati said, “In this digital era, the lines of content distribution blur across channels. The key to fiscal success is to pre-sell your IP through various formats available to you like television, spin-off, etc.”
Paprika’s Domlur said, “Services legacy has built talent pool and has nurtured the talent. Investment and building world-class infrastructure and product are still important elements to be seriously pursued. It’s been a steep learning curve. The original content or IP is the digital content ownership up the value chain and is the homerun.”
Furthering her argument she said, the key ingredients to success were script, designs, identify talent and production partners, research with a demo, budgeting, financing and distribution.
Taking on from the moderator, Animation Labs’s Jain asked, “How focus area is key IP components. My focus area is to create Indian IP with global appeal in the feature-film format. The idea is to create a secondary objective without diluting the primary objective. The key IP components are story, visual style that includes anime, Indian, music, environment, character, genetics, behaviour and design.”
Jain further explained that “bridging the gap between Indian and global is important. So is the story telling format. Type, subject, format etc are also equally important. The characters are behaviour animals, both animate and inanimate and there is an urgent need operate in a fantasy-alien environment. There needs to be focus on cross-cultural content instead of creating pure American content. We need to use international talent; our designers need to get the final look of the film. We are using American storywriters for our story formats, which needs to be ended. It’s important to understand the global fads like gaming, mobile to properly understand the audience and then creating a relevant content. We need to develop Indian style of design. There needs to be good focus on packaging and marketing for global buyers. We need to understand what market wants.”
Taking the baton from Jain, Toon Animations Canada’s Joan Vogelesang said, “The agenda is target audience, quality, format, and the spin-off. The target means who is the show aimed at? Is there anything similar already in the marketplace? Is it special? The quality consists of how unique are your designs; how strong are your storylines and characters; and who is writing it. The format involves ensuring that there is enough episodes and are those episode made in the right medium and in the right format, while the spin-off consists of who is the host broadcaster; who will buy your show and which non-media broadcast opportunities are for you there like games, online, merchandise etc. The market specifics are requirement of educational and multicultural content, the requirement of co-production partners and finding the right balance.”
Taking on from him, Crest Animation’s Madhavan pointed out, “we should be original in creating content for global audience. We need to go through developing a global idea. It could be an idea from a storybook, comics or life experience. Whatever be the source of the content, there should be a process of research and development. You also should distribute the product properly. It can happen through distribution process in places like Walt Disney and Fox in the US. It’s also important to secure financing. In short, it is not an easy job to create an IP.”
Winding up, the noted director Shekhar Kapur said, “Brand IP international is the key word. As long we are in the business of animation we can’t succeed in this business as we are not creating any new idea but only executing somebody else idea here. Because of the business of animation is sold to us and we are not creating anything new in this domain as of now. How can an art be created? If animation is an art then it has to come from within the heart. Pokeman was created within someone’s heart. We have approached animation in the wrong way as we can make it a business. The people who make the script are struggling with the script. It’s a creation of own talent and heart.” Kapur went on to add that he started telling stories through comic books initially. “We should allow our artist in us to discover ourselves,” he signed off.