Creativity lies in Simplicity: Animation Masters Summit 2016

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Creativity has neither boundaries nor limits. Your mind can wander to the far fetched thing and yet settle on the most simple compatible idea. Ironically, that’s the power and simplicity of creativity. And this flair for creativity was predominantly displayed at the Animation Masters Summit 2016 organised by Toonz Media Group from 6 to 7 May, 2016 at Trivandrum, Kerala.

Toonz Media Group, CEO, P. Jayakumar unveiled the treasure of innovation as he welcomed all the masters to the summit along with Padma Shri Ram Mohan. Revolving around the theme of enriching and celebrating the ‘Spirit of Animation’, the summit aimed to highlight and touch upon the creative aspects of the animation industry by sharing a pool of information and experience.

Toonz Media Group, CEO, P. Jayakumar
Toonz Media Group, CEO, P. Jayakumar

Creating an animated TV series which is based on a cliche concept of chase comedy in a mute mode with just background sound may seem like an usual idea that gets the common response from anyone- ‘This series won’t work’. But to make such a series work and succeed defines the skill and aura of a veteran creative mastermind.

Oggy and the Cockroaches, director, Olivier Jean-Marie created this usual French series in 1998 which has reached unimaginable success as it has travelled overseas and is being broadcasted by Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon in India till date. Olivier’s talent goes beyond creating animation as he himself does the voicing for the characters and creates the storyboard by keeping himself in the shoes of the characters.

Oggy and the Cockroaches, director, Olivier Jean-Marie
Oggy and the Cockroaches, director, Olivier Jean-Marie

Graphic design can seem as an illusion to the eye when the unimaginable is crafted on a piece of paper or a visual screen. The virtues of mythology unfolding tales of in depth art emerged profusely from artwork of Charuvi Design Labs, founder and director, Charuvi Agarwal. From hand painting the entire visuals of Hanuman Chalisa to digitally creating the final visuals in 3D, Charuvi sculpted every bit of Hanuman on an actual 4 feet sculpture.

Mythology is remunerated by the jewellery and artillery it owned, thus her short film named Shri Hanuman Chalisa displayed immense detailing in every shape and stature of the ornaments. Water is known to be a tough element to create in animation and here in this film, Charuvi created a humongous water monster along with other water elements. Her work expanded the horizons of creativity to reach a moment of visual thrill.

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Mechanic Animation, CEO, Greg Harman

An introduction of a new superhero always induces curiosity in anyone. What we wish to see is what is the new superpower and how creatively is it portrayed. Standing true to these expectations for the Marvel superheroes in the TV series lies on the shoulder of Mechanic Animation, CEO, Greg Harman. Creating the Marvel universe and introducing its characters is undoubtedly a task that demands innovation at every stage. Harman expressed, “Since there are certain boundaries of the Marvel style of superheroes, it leads to certain limitations to creative thinking. We have the freedom to think different yet have to adhere to certain specific guidelines. Thus, it is freedom of creativity with its own limitations.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day so wasn’t India’s favourite character Chhota Bheem. Building a franchise and imprinting it on the minds of a varied audience takes time, effort, smart marketing and brand building strategies, constant understanding of audience reception and most of all faith in the product. Green Gold Animation, founder, Rajiv Chilaka had all of the above but primarily relied on marketing, merchandising and licensing initiatives to build his franchise Chhota Bheem. If you notice, the character Chhota Bheem has a simple Indian look which may not be appealing to the global audience but the creative marketing strategies and merchandising techniques in minute ways have made it possible for the franchise to travel to different parts of Asia and beyond.

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Green Gold Animation, founder, Rajiv Chilaka

‘Upload it’, ‘It has gone Viral’, ‘It got  a million views’… We often hear such statements in our daily life as the world has moved to digitalisation or rather expression of talent on the platform called YouTube. Anything can go viral on YouTube and can get you heaps of money along with a million views. “It is the creativity of content for kids on YouTube that matters as this content leads to further conversation. And that’s how videos on YouTube become famous,” said YouTube Kids & Learning, head APAC, Don Anderson. This creativity of YouTube is a weird concept as anything simple like nursery rhymes for kids can work on YouTube or it might just go down the drain like other usual concepts. It can be summarised in a line- Not ‘Everything’ works on YouTube but probably ‘Anything’ may work on YouTube.

There is a fine margin between Creativity and Simplicity as either you go overboard with numerous variations to add creativity to your concept or just stay simple with candid yet creative ideas. YouTube Kids & Learning, strategic partner manager for Northern Europe, Cedric Petitpas analysed the functioning of content for kids on YouTube and declared that there are no guidelines for creative thinking on YouTube. Various videos displaying educative preachy content for kids on YouTube can become famous if done in an innovative manner.

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‘Arjun: The Warrior Prince’ director Arnab Chaudhuri

‘Don’t let the creative person within you die’; for when your creative mind begins you tend to overcome all boundaries. And that’s what Arjun: The Warrior Prince director Arnab Chaudhuri did as he quit his existing corporate job at different stages of life just to follow his heart. Arjun was a story that he wanted to tell the people in order to portray the potential and power of Indian animation. And today, his passion has no bounds as he goes out shooting various wonders of nature to make films and videos.

Creating any prop or background element requires a combination of mind and physical help. In fact it requires a perfect mix of technicality and creativity. Production designer or art director for various films like Baahubali, Robot, Ra One, Krissh 3 and Om Shanti Om, Sabu Cyril physically created various props like an artificial 13 feet shark to huge elephants and palaces. “When you add technical touch to your creative thinking, everything seems possible,“ expressed Sabu Cyril. The weapons and costumes for Baahubali were neatly designed, sculpted and crafted by him with minute detailing to represent the essence of history and bring about the vintage feel.

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Felicitation of Padma Shri Ram Mohan

Padma Shri Ram Mohan also known as the ‘Father of Indian Animation’ defined the creativity of animation in India as he urged the need to bring back the traditional methods of animation in the current state. He expressed his notable words, “There should be more of hand drawn animation as the roots lie there.”

Creativity was thus well defined by the exemplary masters from across the globe and the legendary master Shri Ram Mohan at the Animation Masters Summit 2016. It all boiled down to one basic lesson – Creativity has no boundaries but has immense simplicity. So be simple yet creative.

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Kathakali performance at the summit
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