Life experience provides creative fuel for animation
By Geraldine Tan August 15, 2018
- Gaining more life experience will yield more ideas for animation production
- Local content creators should focus on what makes them different from competitors
IT IS often said that art imitates life. For good art to emerge, it needs to stem from a broader, more diverse life experience.
That is the underlying message from Walid Omar, the executive producer of Lil Critter Workshop, during his presentation entitled “Creative Process From Seed to Green Light for Production” at MDEC’s Kre8tif Conference 2018 on Aug 8.
Focusing on the animation domain, Walid stressed the importance of having more experiences in life by highlighting a quote from Brad Bird: “Animation is about creating the illusion of life. And you can't create it if you don’t have one.”
For those who are still young and aspiring to start their own animation company, he had this to say: “Don’t go into animation… yet.”
He discouraged people from immediately jumping into animation right after graduating. Instead, he suggested they should first “take a break” and gain more life experiences. “Go out, see the world, see what connects us, see how people live, do things you’ll never do again, and get up to plenty of mischief in your early years so you’ll have lots of stories to tell.”
The next step, Walid said, would be to find a job in the industry. He noted that working in big animation studios is not easy, and the skills learnt from the working experience would prove useful for those who intend to start their own animation company. “Without the experience that you gain from working, it’s practically impossible to succeed.”
He also pointed out that the animation industry is run not just on passion, but also by treating it as a business. “You start off as passionate, wanting to make the best shows. But after working for five years, you understand that it’s not only about passion – it’s a business.”
Bigger market, bigger competition
The global animation market for 2018 is estimated to be worth around US$259 billion, cited Walid. While this might imply that content creators now have more opportunities to grow in the industry, the reality is that the level of competition is stronger than ever.
The odds for a person to succeed in the animation industry are extremely low, he noted. “But that has never stopped anyone from doing that, because we are all dreamers.”
Zooming in on the difficulties faced by local content creators in the market, Walid said the hurdle is in rising above obscurity in the global scene. “Coming from Malaysia, one of the main challenges that we always have is [getting the questions]: Who are you? Where is Malaysia?”
If they want to stand out from the crowd, Walid said, they would need to focus on what makes them different from other content creators, especially in terms of the stories being related. “You need to focus on relatable stories, something that comes from you that is part of your life,” he advised.
He admitted that it would not be easy and would take a long time to establish international presence. However, he asserted that content creation in the animation industry is a level playing field for anyone as long as there are good ideas.