- Date: July 24th, 2015
- Author: admin
Animation production is serious business and a seasoned animation director shares his thoughts on what its like to be in the Animation Industry.
Who is Rom Ferrer?
I am an independent Animation producer, Content Developer, and Animation Director, but first and foremost I am an Animator. I have been in the Animation Industry for 28 years now.
How did you end up in Animation?
When I was in college I heeded an advertisement for IB trainess at the pioneer Animation studio in Makati – Burbank Animation Studios. Did not get the job at first, tried applying again after one year and they gave me a chance to be amongst the very first Filipino artists to be trained by the Australians in Animation.
Tell us about your professional experience working in the Animation Industry.
It was almost surreal! My first break came in 1989 during my tenure at Island Animation Studios ( owned by a Korean company ). They were looking for Junior Animators to be trained for their NINJA Turtles series and I was fortunate to be included.
Any memorable experiences?
Most of my notable experiences came while I was sort of climbing the Studio ladder in Animation, first was when I became an Assistant director to a Korean, supervising Peter Pan in 1991, and eventually becoming a full fledged Director for Dream Productions in 1995. Another was when I worked on the classic Aladdin the series from Disney Animation and also when I directed for Columbia Tristar and Cinegroupe of Canada for the much anticipated Heavy Metal 2 the movie.
Who were your mentors?
Most of my mentors both on creative and business aspects of Animation are Expats and Directors from Western Studios like Glen Kennedy of Kennedy Cartoons, Larry Carriou and Derek Eversfield of Marvel Productions, Milt Vallast of Porchlight Entertainment, Bob Pope of Filmation and Mitch Lemiere of Cinegroupe to name a few.
Tell us what you think of the Global Animation Industry. Who are the main players? And where is the Philippines there?
The global Animation industry is alive and dynamic, with the recent resurgence of commercially successful feature films like Despicable Me and Frozen, I think we are looking at an impending boom in the coming years much like the ones we’ve seen during the early 90’s.
The main players mostly the Western countries, which includes the U.S., Canada, Korea, Japan ( although have saturated content ) and the European Countries like UK and France. India has been very active, and recently UAE and the Mid-Eastern region have been aggressive in Animation content development. The Philippines is a main player in terms of doing service or outsourced job from other countries.
Do you think that the Philippines has a chance of being a bigger participant in the Global animation industry? If yes, what should we do?
Definitely! We have the talent, the creativeness to contribute more than what we are doing right now, and throughout the years we have managed to steadily gain the respect of the world in terms of quality and competitiveness in Animation.
We must start a more aggressive campaign in content development and come up with our own IPs if we hope to see the Philippines as a major Animation hub in the region and the world.
Tell us what you think of the local Animation Industry?
The local Animation Industry is beaming with a lot of promise at the moment. Filipino Animators are starting to learn more technical skills and software to prepare them for the next wave of projects in the loom.
Who are the clients of local animation studios? Where are they from?
Most of the clients right now are from the U.S. ( Disney, Warner Bros. ) and India ( August Media, Rudra Matsa Entertainment, Dreams). There is also TOIE from Japan, and then some studios from the UAE like Two Four 54 etc.
How does the future of animation look like? Globally and locally?
The future of Animation both globally and locally is very promising at this point, with the advent in technology making Production much friendly and easier, therefore, cutting cost and complications. I think a lot of projects are most likely to be produced and a big chunk of them will come to the Philippines if we play our cards right.
Who are the people involved in production and their job descriptions?
The actual Animation Production process is a long and tedious one, but rewarding in so many levels, consisting of around 80 to 200 people working in different stages of Production in a Pipeline that has to maintain a certain style and working towards a common goal.
It carries a long list of capable professionals from pre-production, Actual Production and post. The Production stage consisting mainly of The Producer, The Production Manager, Production coordinators (P.A.), The Directors, Animation Supervisors, Departments Heads ( CUIB, DIP, ) Animators, Inbetweeners, Clean Up Artist, digital Painters, Compositors, Editors, Technical Support and SFX artists
What are the different jobs in Animation?
Outsourced job from clients abroad can range from Pre -Production ( Story boarding, character design, BG key design, Color styling etc. ) to Production ( Layout, animation, CUIB, DIP, FX and Compositing ) There is also GAME development and Design, E-Book Production and WEB page animation, another new job that is gaining right now is app development.
Is there what you call “the Filipino Advantage?” Like companies in Canada/US prefer to work with Filipinos? Why?
Yes! There is definitely an advantage. We are the preferred outsource point by most clients abroad because of English proficiency. Our good sense and knowledge of Western cultures and the proven time and again talent and creativeness of Filipino artists.
What does one need to have, in terms of skills, to become successful in the Animation industry in general.
There is that basic in art inclination and drawing skills to be at least competitive in the industry. Borderline art skills can be develop so it doesn’t necessarily have to be spot on talent, and also for most animators they have to have a good sense of movement, and a vast love for Animated cartoons of course.
When is the best time to develop skills in Animation? Is there an age limit to people who want to become animators?
Art in its basic form can stem out and radiates at any age. Whatever skills a potential Animator picks up even at a very young age will be beneficial and will prepare him to be a successful animator in the future. I really don’t think age can be a factor in learning animation as long as you have the passion for it.
For you, what makes it worthwhile to be in the Animation industry?
It has its own basic rewards in terms of good financial benefits and industry recognition ( being in a legitimate entertainment field ), but the artistic satisfaction that is relative in many highly creative endeavors is a huge reward on its own.
What is your advise to people who want to go into Animation?
Practice! Practice! Its the only way to be. Hone and develop your skills, be open to criticism and pick up all you can to improve your craft so that when the time comes, you can be more than ready to face any task and then practice some more!..