Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Perpetual Indian Question

... asked by Indian actor Ranvir Shorey.

India has a huge market for animation films but the homegrown industry has to move beyond mythological themes, says the talented Shorey, who has just given the voice-over for the Hindi version of the 3D Hollywood film "RIO".

"India has a huge market for animation films, but is yet unexplored. Hollywood has a festival out of every release of the animation film that they do. It's like a carnival for the grown-ups and for the kids," Ranvir told IANS in an interview.

"I don't think we have managed that in the Indian film industry as yet," he added. ...

Yesterday I was having lunch with L.A. animators who had their own ideas about why the sub-continent's animation industry has failed to take flight:

"... Too many Indian studios are run by people who've got too little time in production and don't know how to run a studio ..."

"The incentives are backwards. The quality isn't there because the money isn't there. They can't produce an animated film on a shoe-string the way they can a Bollywood live-action film and have it look anything like the high-end features coming out of the United States ... You can't do quality theatrical features on the cheap."

I've been encountering the same thing in theatrical animation for two decades. People say "Everything's going overseas," but then (funny thing), the work created in overseas job shops ends up being sub-par and gets reworked stateside. Other animation gets released but makes no money.

This doesn't have anything to do with the talent in India, China, of Korea, by the way. It's about the structure of sub-contracting studios. They're not set up to do top-notch work, but to bid a job and make a profit. Quality product, because it tends to bust the budget, is discouraged. As one of my lunch companions said:

"We got some c.g. television episodes back from overseas a few months ago. The quality was awful. We had to redo a lot of it. The studio's production pipeline was really screwed up. ..."

There might come a day when lower end sub-contracting studios create the kind of sparkling results that pull audiences into theaters. But it hasn't occurred in the twenty-plus years that I've watched American corporations try to make it happen. I seriously doubt it will happen while I'm in this job.


Anonymous said...

Work that comes back from overseas looking like crap tends to already BE crap when it's sent there for production.

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