Featured Blog: Let's Talk about Animation - Tony's thoughts

By ANIMATION XPRES... | 28 January, 2010 - 13:01

Generally speaking the SE Animation industry is seen as immature. The Americans and the Japanese have been creating animation for a lot longer than we have (we being the term I use for SE Asians and us residents).

To me, its important that the capabilities of SE Asian animators are viewed as unique creative talents, rather than outsourcing options. Because if we are really being honest, outsourcing has traditionally been the primary reason big overseas companies move to Asia. I still receive phone calls from European (usually British) and some American animation companies looking to outsource work at such low prices they must surely think all Singaporeans still wear straw hats and ride bicycles to the office.

Therein lies the question. What benefits do these big players bring when they set up shop in local markets? A lot of creative artists, despite that we may think of them as carefree souls, share a common goal with most people in that they like job security and its associated benefits. Big animation firms generally provide this.

Smaller animation firms find themselves in a struggle to keep creative staff as they are often lured by the security (if not the product) these big companies provide. Something smaller companies can offer is a wide level of creative expression and broad learning opportunities. Once inside big firms, the job description narrows dramatically.

We can take a macro view (the one politicians like) that big companies provide jobs that in turn positively impacts the domestic economy. How many of these big animation firms set up shop and create content for the local market? The politicians will tell us it shouldnt matter.

The real impact big animation companies have on local industry is to create an immediate paucity of talent as local artists seek the security of the larger firms. Smaller animation companies have limited choices as to how to replace those who leave. In the short term they too must hire (sometimes from overseas) and thus increase overheads. Subsequently these increases are passed onto clients in the form of higher fees.

Do clients tolerate this? Usually not. If local market prices are too expensive, they outsource. Can anyone see a pattern?
Written by: Tony Sealy, Managing Director, Intense Animation Studio.