Original Link : http://www.animation-boss.com/interview_060512.html

Interview with Mr. Manoj Kumar Gupta ” Man behind the screen”

Entertaining the audience is the first and the foremost important thing which comes into the mind of any film maker. For the success of every movie there are lots of hard works who make it success. Mr. Manoj Kumar Gupta is one of the Iconic figure who consistently working with Prime Focus.

One of our reporter interviewed Mr. Manoj Kumar Gupta, ‘Roto & Paint’ Supervisor, Prime Focus regarding his upcoming projects and his views about the Indian Animation and VFX Industry. Here is excerpt from the interview:

1.When did you first decide to come in the VFX industry? Can you tell me more about back ground?

I’m basically  from  Bihar and my Family consists primarily of Businessmen. I had done B.A (Hons.)from Delhi university and PG diploma in Digital Media(ICAT)chennai. before entering the VFX field.  Currently, I’m working as a ‘Roto & Paint’ Supervisor in ‘Prime Focus’.

I Decided to be a VFX  artist right after I had watched ‘Jurassic Park’ it was such an epic experience, consider it as my generation’s equivalent to Man’s Landing on Moon – you know, after that everybody wanted to be astronauts. Actually what they wanted to be was, to be part of the event which expands our horizons forever. After ‘Jurassic Park’ I wanted to be a part of the event that creates such experiences. But that’s just half of the story.

It wasn’t a straight forward path. As a kid, I wanted to be a lot of other things too… Doctor, Wrestler, Banker, Pilot, etc., as you can see, what I actually was good at was – Imagination. And when that dawned on me – that was when I really had decided for sure that I want to be involved in VFX.

2.Can you share some of your experience you had with people in animation Industry?

Oh, its lots  of fun with them. We always have a friendly banter between us – We are jealous of animators because they have a lot of fun and they’re jealous of us because we have a lot of (cough) Money.

But seriously, there are some extremely talented individuals in our Animation Industry. And they aren’t just talented, they’re passionate and valiant too… look at V.G.Samant’s perseverance for making Hanuman. The outstanding work we have done in offshore projects. I admire the Animation Community from the bottom of my heart. I hope they get to work more on our Domestic Projects – just so that we all could enjoy their work.

3.How important is technology for animation and VFX industry?

I seriously cannot overstate the impact that technology has had over VFX and Animation Industry. Just look at how affordable it has become – a simple box effectively has capacity of entire studio in it. The coloring process in animation which used to take days – can be finished in few mouse clicks.

It’s not just convenience, there’s economic facet to it as well. The more diverse experiences technology allows us – the more we all earn. Look there’s stereoscopic 3D, Motion Capture, Performance capture, HD, 48fps movies… and what not. Frankly, I find it all quite overwhelming at times. But you have to keep up with technology anyways, because if you don’t change along with the times – you’ll be extinct. It’s sort of a fight for survival too.

Having said that, as an audience we must always keep in mind that cutting edge technology doesn’t mean it’s the best content – After all ‘Citizen Kane’  wasn’t in 3D or had performance capture in it… for that matter it didn’t even have Color.

4.What in your opinion is the biggest obstacle for the growth of Indian Animation and VFX industry?

 The lack of diversity content has been the biggest bane of Animation and VFX Industry. You see, everybody is overly cautious here, Majority of people want to do only what has been done before… worse, their attempts are only superficial. Just Imagine, what kind of fledgling industry we’d have had If we had content as diverse as Japanese have.

5.What do the Indian players need to do to get an increased share of the global market?

Ans. Last year we made trade worth almost a Billion Dollars. But here’s the thing, the last figures I’ve heard… at least 40 times as large as that. That means whatever we, Indian VFX Industry, has done until now is still very little.  We need to do expand our efforts by more than double, triple or even quadruple of what we are doing now.

We have already started our march towards it, If you look at Prime Focus it’s already spread over 3 continents, that’s pretty globalized I’d say. Even Reliance has got itself placed in London. DQ is taking a few ambitious steps. We’re already so much to reach into Global Market, I honestly don’t know what I can say about it that hasn’t already been said before.

But If I had to say, I’d have to say that we have to rise above outsourcing just the labor intensive work and also provide our creative services. And to prove that we can provide high quality creative services, we need strong domestic IP.

6.What are the recent VFX project that you have done ?

My recent vfx project’s Resident evil “after life”(stereo),Hanna while working with Anibrain digital pvt. Ltd. I have combined worked with bollywood and Hollywood project Started my carrier with   Prime Focus in 2007. First project was Love story 2050 got opportunity  to work in several project Welcome, Race, Chandni chalk to China, Ghazni, Luck, Wanted, Blue,Raaz-2, Paa etc. Presently I’m looking BG.Preparation (Roto scopy)for 3d.conversion,making easier for depth Grading. Supervised Recent Project Wrath of Titans,Immortals,Green lantern,RA-one etc

7.What are the latest projects that you are working on?

Presently  I’m looking 4-5 project. Sorry I can’t disclose of any Project name which is in working Process. It’s our company Policy.

8.What is your milestone for the Future?

There are some professional milestones I want to reach – like some Prestigious Awards and stuff. But the milestone I’m really interested is far bigger than that in scope, It’s a Cultural Milestone…  a project that has Fan conventions – like Star Trek had. That program was released like decades before and they still have very enthusiastic fan conventions. I want to be part of VFX equivalent of  ‘Sholay’ or ‘DDLJ’


9.What do you think of the current scenario in the Industry?

 Ans. On the brighter side, 3D stereoscopy has sort of opened a barrage of opportunities for business and employment. Large corporate like Mahindra, Sahara, etc., are arriving in the market along with the already established Tata and Reliance. That adds so much credibility and security into the field. Studios are diversifying – they’re entering into the production – that’d ensure the constant work for us.

But it’s not all hunky-dory; our revenue still largely depends on Outsourced Projects for which we have to compete with other countries. And also, there’s a growing dissatisfaction in artists all over the world regarding unsustainable business models of Studios, working hours, credits, etc., and the conflict is only getting worse. VES is trying to work out a solution that’s agreeable to all and I’m looking forward to see how it is resolved.

10.What is your communication to the Industry?

To keep myself abreast with all the updates of the Industry, I depend a lot on Animation-boss.com. Beside that I use Social Networking Media and Forums like CGTantra communicate with rest of VFX Community.

11.What message you want to give for the Future animators?

Hmm… let’s see there are so many.

The classics – Have strong fundamentals, be good at drawing, etc.,

 The Inspirational-but-ambiguous – Never stop chasing your dreams, keep persevering, etc.,

And there’s The Pragmatic – the one which I wish I had got when I was beginning… It would’ve added a lot more smiles to my journey so far.

“Make smaller commitments first, if you can keep it – then make the larger ones.”

See, when a beginner enters this field… Usually his idea of VFX is limited to a few marvelous set pieces. And it’s like tip of the ice-berg… Majority of VFX has passed right under your nose, without you even noticing it. There’s nothing wrong with it, nobody knows everything right at the beginning. But here’s the thing, your expectations are in for major re-adjustment… and if you’re not prepared for it, you’ll be majorly disappointed and will regret your commitments for a long long time.

But We’ re here to enjoy here, aren’t we? So here’s the trick to sustain the enjoyment for a long- long-even -longer period of time.  When you see something that excites you, first start exploring it, but keep your stakes low – don’t invest a bulk amount of money or time… have a very low price of failure. Try articles from Net, demo Softwares… See what you like, what you don’t… are you still interested? Is it still what you thought it would be? Are you still willing to dive into the field in spite of the things you don’t like?  If YES… good, welcome to the Club, the world is yours – Join the Big Shot Colleges, buy the workstations and what not; But If your answer  an honest ‘NO, I DON’T LIKE IT’ – still it’s good…you haven’t lost much, somewhere someplace there’s a profession that’s made just for you… pick yourself up, set yourself for the next exciting journey.