MIFA 2021: A Celebration of Creativity

admin   June 15, 2021

With COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the shift towards animation, the world’s top animation studios are participating at Annecy International Film Festival and MIFA 2021 with full vigour in anticipation of discovering new creative ideas, talent and collaborate with the right set of people. Interview with  Véronique Encrenaz, head of MIFA, CITIA

Amidst the challenges posed by the ongoing global pandemic, Annecy International Film Festival and International Animation Film Market (Mifa) will be among the first on-site market filmmakers will be attending in over 15 months. In a chat with Pickle, MIFA’s head Véronique Encrenaz,  explains how they seek to provide a platform for networking, pitch projects, engage in co-production and distribution, scout for talent and celebrate animation films on big screens. Here are the excerpts from the interview…

It’s fantastic to see Annecy International Film Festival and MIFA 2021 happening in physical and virtual format this year?

It is very challenging. But at the same time, it is extremely satisfactory. It is great to have Annecy and Mifa happening in this hybrid format. It is lovely to see theatres begin screening films and content in the Competition Section of Annecy International Film Festival. Mifa market is providing an opportunity for professionals to meet face to face at our venues. We have also provided rich content and tools on our online platform as many professionals will be unable to visit Annecy. We are thrilled to discover and celebrate animation films on big screen.

The major objective of Annecy and Mifa is to promote animation, especially among young directors and creators. What we do at Annecy is to put together all the right ingredients in one place to prepare a perfect recipe that allows film industry professionals find the right set of people to go ahead with. Among participants, we have content creators, studios, service providers, technology providers, students, and buyers, among others.  Through the festival and market, we seek to provide a platform that allows networking, pitching projects, scouting for talent, and understanding global markets, co-production opportunities and so on.

For sure, there is an excitement as virtual production audio-visual content in computers has been scaled to new levels…

Yes, you’re absolutely right. Animation content is produced virtually and virtual production is trending. Professionals from across the world are participating (most of them outside of Europe). Buyers and platforms are looking for new content. Broadcasters and streaming platforms need fresh content. We have a number of panels, studio focused sessions, keynotes, meeting buyers, festival programmers, recruiters looking for talent and participation from educational institutions.  We have received the maximum number of projects to pitch at Mifa. We have at least 20 pitching sessions, which is unprecedented at Mifa.

Many countries are focusing on animation, as during the pandemic it has been the only way to express oneself for many artists. The world’s top animation studios, including the ones from America and Canada, are participating with full vigour. For many French and European audio- visual professionals, Annecy and Mifa will be one of the first on-site markets they will attend in over 15 months.

Animation from Africa seems to be a major focus area both at Annecy Festival and Mifa.

This year tribute to African animation industry, plus the Festival’s 60th anniversary, mean so much for Mifa. Besides, it offers return to a semblance of normal life and meetings at the lakeshore.

We are very proud to have focus on Africa animation, which we should have had in 2020. We have been supporting projects from Arica for more than 10 years at Annecy, to help them organise themselves, make progress, and be recognised by the world community. In France , Africa 2020 is taking place from December 2020 to July 2021 (instead of June to December 2020 as formerly planned).

South Africa has emerged big in animation and all the major studios from there will be participating at Mifa and African competition film section of the Festival. It’s a great moment to celebrate African artists, and the young generation coming out with new stories. Things are changing fast in Africa, and younger generation from the continent is willing to tell their own stories. So it will be great to hear them out. It is also a great opportunity for additional visibility to African animation and tribute to artists from Africa.

Through the course of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s 60-year history, 47 African films have been in the Official Selection. But animation is currently booming on the African continent, and the 2021 programming will reflect this.

A glimpse at the 2021 Mifa Africa programme

As many as 22 African project pitches from across the African continent will be presented in partnership with our on-site partners: Meknès International Animation Film Festival, animatex, Nigerian Animation Association, CairoComix, Tshimologong, Digital Lab Africa, etc.

A conference to “Understand African Animation: Collaboration at the Heart of Today’s and Tomorrow’s Strategies”.

A Focus on Africa spotlights the distribution opportunities within the continent and internationally.

Meetings with publishers, broadcasters, distributors, and festival programmers from the continent during the Meet the… sessions. We are greeting the notable CairoComix, Meknès International Animation Film Festival, Dakar Court, the Rencontres du Film Court in Madagascar, and the Fespaco.

Everything About MIFA 2021

Mifa with a new twist

Meetings take priority in complete safety, with health precautions, adapted equipment, and more.

Exhibition Area

Private tables for companies, mini-stands for delegations and pavilions. The entire Impérial Palace is providing meeting and viewing areas, as well as the La Voile and Brasserie’s upstairs lounges, restaurants and terraces.

Annecy Network and Virtual Stands

Set up your profile and meet professionals, who are there individually or in delegations, that include Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Mexico, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, etc. and connect with them live in your specific virtual room.

Mifa Pitches: 20 SESSIONS

As many as 36 unique projects reflecting uninhibited creativity, galvanized by their storytelling and aesthetic diversity from all over the world: France, Argentina, Brazil, Ireland, Greece, Latvia, Canada, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Iran, USA, Madagascar, Germany, Belgium, and more.

Partners Pitches

More than 70 projects spread across 13 sessions, each one identified by its geographical zone: Africa (Digital Lab Africa, Nigeria Focus@Mifa, Africa2020 Season, NFVF Market Readiness Program), Latin America (La Liga, Chile, Colombia, Animation! Women), Asia (South East Asia Focus 2021, Taiwan, Japan), Middle East (Israel), as well as Europe (Aura in Motion, CEE Animation Forum)

Meet the Talent

Participate in these online targeted meetings dedicated to the Talents (the Pitch sessions’ project leaders), festival programmers, book publishers and producers (Gap Financing).

Focus

Come and discover a country or a continent’s ecosystem, an association or a scheme’s latest news, to have a global understanding of the animation industry: the Baltic states, United Kingdom, Greece, China, Korea, etc. will be on the programme, as well as Asifa’s 60th and a focus on the animation Residencies.

Recruitment – New Formula!

Take advantage of a Virtual Recruitment Area and reveal your studios’ working environment, thanks to a special virtual stand and Recruiters Talk sessions.

Nickelodeon, USA

Fortiche Prod, France

Laika, USA

The Third Floor, United Kingdom

Blue-Zoo, United Kingdom

GO-N, France

Axis, United Kingdom

Lighthouse, Ireland

Netflix, USA

Cartoon Saloon, Ireland

Mifa Campus

In partnership with Unity, the Mifa Campus will take place this year on Friday 18th June and will offer an opportunity to showcase talents from the African continent, from the Festival, as well as the biggest names in animation, who will be there to share their knowledge and expertise and inspire the participants.


To Meet Again

admin   June 15, 2021

By MICKAËL MARIN
CEO of CITIA
Annecy International Animation Film Festival

Annecy seems thoroughly determined to stand its ground as animated cinema’s radiating center

With this single goal in mind, for nearly a year the CITIA team has been rallying to welcome the animation film community, betwixt lake and mountains. Since the 2019 edition and its impressive turnout, the path forward has been long and bumpy, and in spite of everything is still strewn with uncertainty.

If Annecy 2020 was the epitome of resilience, Annecy 2021 will be that of combat. And is there any more noble battle than fighting to reposition Culture at the core of our existences? Is there any more illustrious hope than that of extolling works and their authors again, under the best possible conditions? Annecy seems thoroughly determined to stand its ground as animated cinema’s radiating center.

All hail to those like us who never gave up and placed their trust in this project. We’re thinking of the CITIA team, of course, and their resolve to see Annecy and its cinemas once again thrumming with life. We’re also thinking of our partners, both institutional and private, steadfast at our sides even when the going is rough.

But we send our regards, as well, to all professionals and artists worldwide who with their many expressions of support have encouraged us so much these past few months. This invisible thread binding generations of animation lovers has never snapped, and this unprecedented crisis might even – who knows – have reinforced the “yearning for Annecy”.

Lastly, if today Annecy is the world animation film capital that we know, let’s not forget the pioneers who, in 1960, cradled the destiny of this infant festival in the “Venice of the Alps”. And we must also remember those who strove one after another, year after year, to turn this festival into an annual and unmissable event.

Annecy 2021 will be an opportunity to thank them and to wander down memory lane through this singular history that owes nothing to chance but is the fruit of a far-reaching cultural policy and vision. While this past both honors and enthralls us, we are also turned toward the future with – for the first time – a tribute to African animation and especially to the young talents raising it up.

May this edition of the Festival and Mifa – the very first hybrid one – allow us to meet again and to glory in all the things we have missed so dearly.

Long live animation cinema, long live Annecy!


Do You Know Who Made Annecy 2021 Poster?

admin   June 15, 2021

An Explosive Colourful Paint-Party Annecy International Film Festival 2021 Poster is done by artist Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo

After last year’s completely online 2020 edition, the Annecy Festival wanted to call on Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo’s talents again to enjoy the same explosion of colour and energy that he released for the 2020 poster.

“I am immensely honoured to work on the poster again for the 2021 edition. I would really have loved to collaborate a second time with Simon Roussin, like last year, but he was already committed to a personal project. I felt the need to do this poster on paper, maybe to push myself to return to a more traditional art form on a daily basis, but also because screens have taken up even more place in our lives since the current health crisis began. The theme is similar to 2020, so I kept to our guideline, the pantsula, a traditional South African dance that symbolises the modern view I have of Africa,” says Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo.

“I wanted to link this with a unique character: an older woman, independent, free and joyous, who is enjoying the sun’s rays reflecting on the lake. Last year’s Festival was online, let’s hope we can all join the pantsula dancers on the Annecy pontoons this June 2021!,” he added.

“Annecy loves supporting creators. It’s an integral part of our DNA. Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo is a regular at Annecy and his latest film Make It Soul, presented at the 2018 Festival, summarised the festive and energetic spirit of the event. We will remember when Jean-Charles and his friends invaded the stage to dance joyously as the credits finished rolling out, carrying the spectators along for the ride. This poster is also a reminder of this magical moment that only Annecy holds the secret,” says Marcel Jean, Artistic Director, Annecy

Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo primary passion is drawing, even if dance has always played a role in his mode of expression. He is a regular at the Festival and his short film The Sense of Touch made a notable passage at Annecy, as well as his latest film Make It Soul, which he presented in 2018 and was nominated for the 2020 César for Best Short Animation Film.

Les Mots is the first stage show choreographed by Jean-Charles – a solo for two performers – that sees the light of day in early 2017. He continues this working journey using non-verbal communication.

He is currently working on a hybrid documentary series (animation and live shots).

At Annecy 2021, Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo joins the jury of the Contrechamp Feature Films, and you can meet him at a Signing Session of the official poster.


The 12 Principles of Animation by Titmouse

admin   June 15, 2021

The 12 principles of animation, established in 1941, have now become widely adopted as the theoretical foundation for all artists working in the animation industry. Though you may be familiar with these guiding principles, a few talented animators at Titmouse put together an instructional video to help contextualize these techniques.

The first method explored is Anticipation. Anticipation prepares the viewer for the main action. If you were to jump, for example, the anticipatory action is the bending of the knees. This helps the action look much more natural. Next is the Squash and Stretch, which provides the illusion of elasticity, gravity, mass, and flexibility. Upon impact with the ground, the figure smooshes and stretches, the distortion providing a life-like quality.

Subsequent methods of retaining the illusion of realism in animation are Follow Throughs, the Overshoot and Scuttle, and Trace-backing. The former two principles see the character throwing their body into action. In the video, when the arm and the buttocks stop moving, the forward momentum causes different parts of the body to stop at different rates. Thus, the hand sort of goes limp and retracts and the butt essentially becomes its own autonomous organism, jiggling independently of the rest of the body.

The Traceback is the act of tracing multiple versions of the same drawing to provide the illusion of movement. Seen here, a figure appears to walk into an infinite terra-cotta abyss. Then, of course, there is Hitting the Stump, which imitates the very real and often ignored phenomenon of cork-screwing. Mag Womblin’ conceptualizes the reality of manically gallivanting through the laser void, morphing slowly but surely into a lecherous bunny. For this effect to really land, read Mac McMac’s Theory of Womble.

Catch and Release ensures that your character centipedes in accordance with human movement. And Don’t Doing Bad Draw is crucial for making your subject feel shame.

The Seven Arms of Shandoo, the Hawaiian Shirt, Slippin’ the Chicken, and The Walter Disney will all help with gribble prippems, and if you’re not implementing Don’t Moon the Werewolf, then you may as well light a million dollars on fire, because you’re not putting your animation degree to use. This is a Dooooo, This is What My Dad Looks Like, and Lord of Shapes are incredibly effective in giving your animation that snarg quality. And of course, last but never least – The Paper Airplane. If you want your animation to speak to the audience on an emotional level, then don’t hesitate to contort your character into a gorgeous paper airplane with bulging eyes and strong, muscular biceps, because there is literally nothing more resonant to the human condition.

Titmouse is an independent, award-winning cartoon clone factory committed to sizzling your brain and melting your eyeballs. Founded by the husband-wife duo, Chris and Shannon Prynoski, Titmouse has offices in LA, NY, Vancouver, and everywhere that books are sold.


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India, the Window of Opportunity

admin   June 15, 2021

The policies of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, are fully geared towards realising the complete potential of the M&E sector by forging global partnerships and providing an enabling environment by lowering market barriers and propelling growth

In the rapidly changing global media and entertainment landscape, India has emerged as a window of opportunity to position itself as a hub for audiovisual services for the rest of the world. Media and Entertainment is one of the champion sectors supported by the Government of India. The incentives for the audiovisual services that closely match the sops given by various other nations are already finalised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. They are waiting for the appropriate time to announce incentives that is set to handhold industry in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic.

India has probably one of the most liberal investment regimes in the media and entertainment, information and communication sector amongst the emerging economies with a conducive foreign direct investment (FDI) environment and ease of doing business.

Digitization and the growth of the internet are reducing many barriers to market entry and creating opportunities for smaller companies’ offering skills and services in new forms of content creation for various platforms.

In the current scenario, the Indian animation (IPs included) and VFX Services have gained a lot of traction among the international producers and production houses. In the following pages we have curated 15 animation co-production projects seeking partners at Annecy/MIFA 2021.

In the aftermath of coronavirus pandemic, Indian media, entertainment and technology services are witnessing new growth opportunities on the back of growing offshore services domain, especially in animation, VFX, gaming, AR/VR and digital media, among others.

Many companies have created top-end studio facilities in India that serve as single windows to fulfil the needs of the M&E industry (Technicolour India, Deluxe). Their international business model offers local and remote clients the opportunity to produce and co-produce and distribute content anywhere around the world.

Media & Entertainment sector has been supported by the Government of India as one of the champion sectors with immense potential of growth both within and outside the country. Media and Entertainment is also among the sectors that clearly has made an impact of Make in India, Show the World. For services it is Make in India, Serve the World.

The role of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is to facilitate the industry to create jobs and growth for the sector. The government’s efforts are driven towards creation of forums and forge partnerships to keep the momentum going.

Content produced for Indian media sectors holds tremendous potential for global consumption. With a significant diaspora population residing overseas, Indian content is a key tool for these communities to connect with their cultural roots.

The Indian film industry is fairly unique in the world. The country, along with America and China, is among the few that can sustain their industry domestically. You can make a film just for India, or even one region within India. Once when the Government gives green signal to open theatres there are over 83 films waiting to be released in India. OTT players like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney + Hostar, ZEE5 have brought in a transformation in expanding Indian content reach to over 100 territories across the world.

CO-PRODUCTION

India has audio visual co-production treaties with over 15 countries — Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK & Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, Russia. It is now possible for filmmakers of different countries to come together and make films under bilateral co–production agreements. Co-productions under these agreements are more beneficial to filmmakers than a purely commercial partnership between two individuals or entities. New markets and audiences would be available for the product, especially if collaborations and partnerships are between nationals of different countries.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is currently finalising incentives for co-production, filming under the champion sector scheme. In addition to films, TV Series, Web Series, Animation will be also be included in the co-production projects.

AUGMENTED REALITY

The Augmented and Virtual Reality, the two spectrums of immersive technology, will form the next frontier of growth for the M&E industry. For India, AR/VR can open up new creative avenues. According to a report, the Indian AR/VR market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 76 percent over the next five years, fuelled by demand from business and consumer sectors. The past few years have witnessed the emergence of over 200 AR/VR start-ups in the country. Bengaluru and Hyderabad take the lead, attracting a big chunk of these start-ups, followed by Delhi and Mumbai. Among states, Karnataka and Telengana are actively promoting AR/VR startups by providing incubation, mentoring, idea validation by experts, opportunities to deploy pilots with various departments, along with fund support for eligible ones. This was the major takeaway at the recently concluded Global AVGC Summit FX 2020 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

VIDEO GAMES

Dinesh Gupta, Director and Co-Founder at Sacom in one of the the recent Pickle columns mentioned massive growth opportunities in video gaming. Statista’s Global Digital Market Outlook pegs the digital media market at US$ 172,502mn in 2020 with a 9.8% year-on-year growth projection. This forecast was adjusted for expected global impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Video Games share with a projected market volume of US$ 92,633 mn and 11.41% growth over previous year dominates the digital media market with a close to 54% worldwide share. This makes the Video Games industry much bigger than Video-on-Demand, ePublishing and Digital Music put together. Majority of the revenues for video gaming are contributed by mobile gaming which is likely to contribute as much as 60% in 2020.


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Pandemic Compelled Us To Think Global

Interview With CEO: How Toonz Animation Braved Covid-19

admin   June 15, 2021

Expanding Toonz’s global footprint and transforming it for new age viewing and learning in its 21st year, P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Animation Group, tells Pickle that how the Indian animation pioneer is spreading positivity through MyToonz OTT platform, online animation education arm Ri8Brain and partnership with studios globally 

Despite COVID-19 pandemic impacting every aspect of life and business, for animation industry it has been an eventful year in terms of content consumption and global collaborations, bringing the world closer through technology and innovations, reveals P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Media Group

Toonz Media Group launched MyToonz during COVID-19 lockdown. How is it doing?

MyToonz is an exclusive OTT platform for kids and family entertainment launched by Toonz Media Group. Toonz has tied up with multiple app stores, tele-companies, OTTs and connected TV companies around the world to make MyToonz available to consumers across platforms.

The MyToonz app is now available on iOS, Android and Android TV playstores, as well as the Roku Video-on-Demand platform, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. We have tied up with mobile tech services company U2opia Mobile to integrate MyToonz on various telco platforms in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The MyToonz library includes over 1500 hours of content, with new content being added every week. The library includes movies and episodic content across different genres. Besides English, there are dedicated playlists in Spanish, Russian and Hindi languages.

The content on platform has been categorized to target pre-schoolers, upper pre-schoolers and early teens. The programming has also been carefully curated to provide quality entertainment to kids and families through fun, educational, safe, non-violent and environmentally sensitive content that celebrates diversity.

The MyToonz library can also be accessed online over the website http://www.mytoonz.com.

There has been a very encouraging response from the industry for MyToonz so far. We have received a lot of enquiries from catalogue owners for on-boarding content on to MyToonz. There has also been interest shown by localization companies wanting to collaborate on content localization.

We have been receiving enquiries from various content aggregators of telco platforms who are keen to get MyToonz onboarded on VAS/DCB/WAP platforms and portals. The response from CTV OEM companies has also been positive. The application has been on-boarded on quite a few CTV platforms.

Competing against Amazon Kids, Netflix and YouTube Kids is very challenging. At the same time we have over 40 OTT platforms in the domestic market and over 250 globally. What differentiates MyToonz from them?

Yes, there are several players in the OTT sector currently, but most of them are general platforms. Kids section is only a small part in these OTTs. MyToonz is more of a niche platform for kids and family entertainment.

We have created a dedicated space for kids and families within the OTT space, banking on our rich legacy and strong content portfolio. In fact, we are the first company of its kind from India to launch an exclusive OTT of kids.

MyToonz basically originates from the compelling need to create a safe and engaging entertainment destination for kids and families in the digital landscape. We have envisaged MyToonz as the go-to destination for kids to watch safe, fun and nutritious content, which will be available in multiple global languages.

It is a space where the whole family can come together to enjoy world-class content. All MyToonz programming is compliant with international safety standards for child viewing.

What has been the impact of COVID-19 in the animation space? While we are resilient, is there room to bridge the growth gap that we may have lost?

COVID has impacted every aspect of life and business today. Across industries, we can see the repercussions of the pandemic. With respect to the content, and animation industry in particular, it has been a rather eventful year since the pandemic started.

Content consumption has skyrocketed, and the demand for content has never been so pressing before. Especially in the kids entertainment space, with kids all over the world staying home, there has been an urgent need to keep them positively engaged. And content is now being seen as a source of not just entertainment but also education and inspiration.

We can safely say that because of this demand, the kids entertainment industry has been largely immune compared to other industries that have had to bear the brunt of the pandemic. We definitely have no dearth of work or business. But that said, it is also important to note that developing and creating content in these restrictive circumstances is a real challenge.

At Toonz, our studios obviously had to be shut for a while owing to government and public health protocols. However, there were production deadlines and other commitments to meet. So, we took up a massive asset transfer operation to shift the machines of our artists from the studios to their homes.

We are striving hard to ensure that none of our projects are affected by the situation. We have a well formulated business continuity plan in place, so we are prepared to meet any unforeseen disruption.

In terms of growth, prior to the pandemic we had a healthy year-on-year growth rate of 25-30%. Our expectations for 2020 were naturally very high. But owing to the pandemic our growth projections had to be curtailed. However, we did not go into the negative rate of growth.

Even though there has been no loss of business, there were some project delays mostly owing to remote working and disruption in creative collaboration. There have been some cashflow issues too.

One of the major areas that got affected is our live action studio Telegael. However, we are positive that we will bounce back with our new ventures Ri8Brain – an e-learning platform, and a health app for kids that we are developing.

Toonz has always been an innovator. You adapt quickly according to the curation needs. What are some of the new visual innovations in the animation space today?

We basically adapt and innovate based on the requirements of the script and our co-production partners. We try to make each of our projects unique in terms of visual treatment and aesthetics.

The idea is to follow and adapt the latest trends internationally and also take inspiration from Indian folk arts and legends, depending on the treatment of the story. For example, we recently developed a new show for ETV’s newly launching kids channel, which has Madhubani art motifs throughout. For another movie called A Many Splintered Thing, we followed a graphic novel kind of treatment.

In terms of improving the technical aspects of our shows and films, we keep ourselves up-to-date with the latest technological tools in animation, especially CGI. We currently use V-Ray and Arnold, which is the latest render engine available for 3D animation. We are soon going to include in our pipeline game engines like Unreal and Unity to achieve real-time rendering.

Toonz has been a regular visitor to major global animation markets. How has been your collaboration experience? Has the global market satisfied you (as a delegate) in providing platforms to engage in business?

As far as the distribution side of the business is concerned, the pandemic has caused a notable disruption. With all the major markets and conferences going virtual, most of the business interactions are happening over video calls and online pitches. We did alter our sales and marketing strategy to remain agile with the changing trends in the market, both with respect to content preferences and reinventing our marketing tools and processes.

Toonz’s distribution wing, Imira Entertainment, is one of Europe’s leading production and distribution companies based out of Madrid. Imira specializes in kids and youth programming with focus on the European, US, Latin American, Asian and African markets. Apart from our own IPs and co-productions, we have a vast catalogue of titles, across genres that we offer in these markets.

Many of these titles are available in multiple language dubs. Our distribution and sales teams have strong relationships with broadcasters and OTTs alike. We have regional sales teams with unparalleled relationships and knowledge to cater to specific markets. Being a well-recognized brand we are often able to close pre-sales of our productions much before the shows are released.

The pandemic has essentially compelled us to think global in every aspect. Even though physically we might be forced to stay put at home, from a practical point of view, it has brought the world closer through collaboration and technology.

The virtual markets definitely do not have the charm or convenience of physical events. But there are some obvious benefits in terms of markets become truly global and accessible, and the budget savings. A lot of innovation has gone behind creating virtual markets. But it might be too premature to evaluate them or even compare them to physical markets. But as an industry, we are trying to make the most of the situation.

Do you see a need for physical meetings going forward? Or a mix of physical and digital…

It is going to be a mix of physical and digital.

What are the focus areas of Toonz Animation Studios in these challenging times?

The highpoint for Toonz in the past year has been the wonderful collaborations we were able to make with some of the biggest names in kids entertainment. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Toonz has been able to forge partnerships for new projects from across the globe from illustrious creators like Keith Chapman, Olivier Jean-Marie, James Driscoll and Janet Hubert.

We also entered into partnerships for new shows with some great studios and production houses such as Italy’s Rainbow S.p.A and London-based Nucleus Media Rights.

We are co-producing highly anticipated animation features with leading production houses like Highland Films, Exodus Film Group and Cinema Management Group. With the latter we are co-producing the first ever English animation feature of Oscar Wilde’s popular short story ‘The Canterville Ghost’.  All in all, Toonz has been able to strengthen its global clientele in 2020, garnering opportunities to produce specialized, high quality content.

In the last one year, Toonz Animation produced 5,000 minutes of 2D and 3,000 minutes of 3D animation content. We have in our pipeline several exciting projects. And we are proud to say that all of them have extremely diverse and relevant content that uphold universal values. Like I said earlier, we are collaborating with many renowned creators, like Keith Chapman with whom we are doing an interactive pre-school series titled Paddypaws & Pals.

Another one is a value-oriented show called JG & the BC Kids in partnership with veteran American actress Janet Hubert. The show, which inspires kids to embrace differences, is also entirely driven by a multi-cultural team.

Another marquee project currently under production at Toonz is Sunny-side Billy, a very colorful and upbeat 2D animation pre-school series about fun and positivity.

The creative heads behind this project are none other than celebrated animators like Olivier Jean-Marie and Jan Van Rijsselberge of Oggy and the Cockroaches and Robotboyfame. We are co-producing this series in association with the French studio Tractor.

Toonz is also partnering with Russia’s oldest and most prestigious studio Soyuzmult for a brand new alien CGI called Aliens in my backpack. This project comes from Rob Lee and James Driscoll, creators of BAFTA nominated World Award winning titles like The Shoe People.

Apart from that, we also recently signed up with major US girl-centric, STEM-focused toycoGoldieblox to develop an animated series titled Glodlieblox and Friends. This MIPTV season we are also launching in the market season one of the pre-school series Zoonicorn, based on the famous plush toy brand of the same name.

You have been a major supporter of small and medium animation outlets. What damages have they suffered due to the pandemic? How do we bring them back to the fold?

For small studios cashflow had been a major problem these past months. Many had to be either shut down and go for steep salary cuts to keep themselves afloat. The situation has been more or less the same for small businesses in all other industries, and not just animation. However, we have tried to support those studios that have been our long-time partners and those that delivered high quality work to us.

We have gone that extra mile by relaxing payment norms so that their cashflow issue could be eased a bit. But there is a limit to which we can support small studios at this level. At a larger level, we have been lobbying in industry and trade bodies as well as approaching government authorities to develop schemes to support small studios.

There is no running away from the fact that small businesses have borne the brunt of this pandemic. In the case of animation, the pressure has been tremendous on smaller studios to stay afloat.

Even as vaccination is being rolled out globally, how can we protect jobs in the animation space during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Talent has always been a key aspect for this industry, and nurturing and grooming new talent remains a priority. As mentioned before, there is no dearth of business or opportunities in the content creation industry owing to the pandemic.

Jobs are there and new jobs are being created across the board. In the post-pandemic era, we foresee a greater demand for artists and creative professionals who can swiftly adapt to changing circumstances.

There would be a higher demand for professionals who not only have a keen sense of creativity but are also constantly upskilling their knowledge of relevant technology. This includes areas like CGI animation, application-based animations for sectors like film making, entertainment media production, edutainment, gaming, medicine, defense, VR/AR, architecture, interior design and commercials.

Toonz spearheaded the launch of an online learning platform dedicated to animation and creative arts in order to mould new talents in the field. Can you share some of the details?

Ri8Brain is an online education arm of Toonz Media Group, dedicated to learning of creative art forms. Ri8Brain is a highly agile ed-tech initiative that aims to redefine the traditional pedagogy. This online platform focuses on collaborative teaching, providing greater impetus to hands-on, experience-based quality learning for early starters as well as seasoned learners. Ri8Brain will carry over the legacy of Toonz Academy, with a modern and technological twist to it.

The vision of Ri8Brain is to transform the lives of creative minds and artists across the world by honing their talent and upskilling them.

The techno-creative industry is booming globally, and with the right skill set and talent, one can pursue a very rewarding and creatively satisfying career in this industry. This is exactly what Ri8Brain will be facilitating for aspirants.

Ri8Brain works in two modes: Explore – for early starters; and Excel courses – for amateur artists, aspiring creative professionals as well as young and experienced professionals.

India has not been able to scale up to capture the global animation stories market. We are still at the tip of the iceberg. What do you think we lack and what will make us a global player in this market?

I think what we lack primarily is the skill of global storytelling as well as exposure. If you look at Hollywood or other Western industries, they take very simple concepts with universal themes and values and then market it amazingly. Their stories transcend boundaries and have global appeal.

I think that is what is lacking here and perhaps that is what we should do in order to scale up and strengthen our global footprint in animation. However, this needs to be done not just for animation, which is part of a larger ecosystem.

Even for live action, we largely see highly localized content that would not fit into the context of a global audience. To say it plainly, we are not exactly making films for global consumption. And I don’t think that is an anomaly. Just that if our aim is to create global hits, our storytellers need to tell stories which have universal appeal.

Also countries like the US have a history of 100 years in animation, whereas our industry is just over two decades old. So it may not be entirely fair to compare. However, we will reach there soon.

The Indian animation industry is very robust and fast growing. We have scaled up significantly in the last two decades. We progressed from an outsourcing destination to an IP creating industry. It is only a matter of time that we conquer the global arena.

Toonz’ Animation Masters Summit has brought together some of the brightest minds all these years. How has the Animation Masters Summit 2021 digital edition  shaped? 

Animation Masters Summit (AMS) 2021 will be held from May 4 to May 8. This time again, we are conducing it virtually because of the prevailing circumstances. In the 2020 edition, we had the privilege of having some of the biggest and brightest stars in the industry as speakers.

We had masters like Disney editor Fabienne Rawley (Zootopia); veteran Indian cinematographer Ravi K Chandran (Virasat, Dil Chahta Hai,  Black, Kannathil Muthamittal, etc); renowned Bollywood composer Shantanu Moitra (Parineeta, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Lage Raho Munnabhai, etc.); and Quentin Staes-Polet, gaming expert and General Manager India and SEA, Epic Games.

This time again we have a stellar speaker line-up that includes legendary ad guru Rahul daCunha, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Captain Marvel, My Father’s Dragon), licensing and merchandising master Jiggy George, Hollywood music composer Vidjay Beerpot and award-winning animation director and producer Saraswathi Balgam.

The theme for the 2021 edition is ‘Embracing Diversity: Finding Beauty in Our Differences.’ We will also have two panel discussions—one on diversity in content and the industry—and the other around education technology and the scope of animation in e-learning.

 


Soumitra Ranade

From Ajanta Frescoes to Digital Screens

admin   June 15, 2021

What we create today as IP should not only reflect our culture, but it should also influence and construct it. It is up to us, the creators, to choose the way forward.

By Soumitra Ranade
Creative Head & CEO
Paperboat DesignStudios

Intellectual Property (IP) is the talk of the town today. Infact it has been so for the last few years and quite understandably so. The coming of new-age technologies and their stupendous growth have opened up entirely new possibilities for all stakeholders, be it the government and their agencies, distributors, exhibitors, satellite channels, OTT platforms and other key participants in this continually expanding arena.

But most importantly, what does it mean for the creators themselves! IPs we create is an important aspect of our art and culture. We as a nation are known for our extraordinary art in the form of sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, cinema, music, etc.

It is the murals at Ajanta, sculptures at Kailash temple, Kangra miniatures, Mughal architecture, Hindustani and the Carnatic music, and so many other vibrant renditions in various art forms that define us as a nation, as a culture.

We are after all, what we create and we are after all what we like to see. What we create today as IP should not only reflect our culture, but it should also influence and construct it. It is up to us, the creators, to choose the way forward. What kind of a nation do we want to build? How do we want the rest of the world to see us?

There are three fundamental entities that contribute towards making of any IP: the funders, the creative personnel and the audiences.

These three could sometimes have different interests and it is for all three to strike a balance so that the IPs we create have high standards and that these standards keep increasing. A synergy between the three is vital for us to build, promote and nurture creativity and innovation.

Throughout history whenever there was complete synergy between the three, a high level of art was achieved; from as diverse periods as the Renaissance or the Chola period. Whenever there have been gaps between the three, the art of that period has suffered.

For a country that has such an enormous treasure of stories; of images and sounds, of colors and textures, of melodies and rhythms, very few Indian IPs have crossed the shores and gone global. Many have tried for several years and yet only a few have succeeded. What makes our IPs mostly confined within our borders?

What we create here in our country – not just as a geographical unit but as a composite culture, must I feel, reflect our stories, our dreams, our images and our sounds.

Our IPs need to be rooted in our land, in its diverse fragrances and its distinct shades. We must tell our extraordinary stories through our extraordinary audiovisual traditions. For this to happen, we first need to be proud of the immense wealth that we have. Instead of looking constantly towards the west, we must look within ourselves, within our own souls and that’s where the real Indian IPs exist.

Only those artists who have truly been rooted in the culture of our land have gone global in the real sense of the word, be it Satyajit Ray, Pt. Ravi Shankar or M.F.Hussain amongst others. It is always the most local that eventually becomes global; there are enough examples from all over the world to substantiate this. Even Superman, probably one of the most popular global icons has perhaps the most American soul. The Disney collection and the Manga art and animation are some of the other examples that come immediately to mind.

In recent times, the two animation films from India—Goopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa and Bombay Rose—have crossed the boarders and have gone international in a big way. Both these films are rooted in the Indian aesthetic not only thematically but also stylistically.

There is however a catch here! If we go back to our roots without innovation, we will only be repeating ourselves. If we render the same stories in the same ol’ ways we will become irrelevant for the newer generations. We need to rethink and reinterpret. While we do this, we must bring in that edge, that zeitgeist of our times, the spirit of our era.

This is where I think the government can play a key role. The Services Exports Promotion Council, set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, is a great initiative in this direction. The government stands alone, away from the other three entities and has the power and capital to give direction to things to come and I anticipate exciting times ahead.

We can’t repaint the Ajanta frescoes all over again. There’s no point in doing that or even attempting to do that. But ignoring them would only be a colossal tragedy. What we must do is to reimagine Ajanta that will be represented in a form that is modern. That is contemporary.

And we must be on our toes because who knows as early as tomorrow morning the medium might change. Today it’s the digital screen but tomorrow it may be something else. One thing however will remain constant, always, for eternity – the Bodhisattva Padmapani!

We must embrace it.


Ashish S K

IP Creation: The Great India Opportunity

admin   June 15, 2021

While the formula of Indian animation IPs doing well for Indian kids has succeeded greatly, the next logical step for the original Indian animation IP creators is to get opportunities to create the global Indian animation character brands

By Ashish S K
Founder-Chairman Punnaryug Artvision Pvt Ltd,
& Founder-CEO Screenyug Creations Pvt Ltd.

One of the most important considerations while communicating with a large section of nation’s population, especially kids, is to look within while looking forward.

The communication patterns that are trusted upon at that tender age play a critical role in shaping their future. In thins digital era kids are exposed to all sorts of information from across the globe. Thus, the responsibility of the creative content creators and programming directors is to ensure that a balanced content is fed particularly to this category of audiences.

As efforts are made to develop the future generations into truly global citizens, the understanding of the regional heritage, culture, history and stories is also extremely important.

Animation story telling in India is skewed towards kids’ genre. Hence we have a limitation in many ways. It all started through television as a medium in mid-nineties. Most of the content creators then understood live action creations. India as a dominant live action country with over 100 years of cinema history took little time to understand the grammar of animation story telling. However, animation story telling being a long drawn creation process requires patience, which was hard to find back then as television medium was growing at a rapid speed after liberalisation process was rolled out in early 1990s. Therefore, the global content took a strong position in this segment and the kids in India were found growing up on all sorts of foreign kids’ animation content.

This was followed by an era when foreign animation content was getting dubbed in local Indian languages, which was marked by a growth in viewership as kids gradually started understanding the stories with a little more clarity.

It was almost after a decade that this era ended when few Indian animation creators took a plunge to create original Indian IPs, a step replete with risks. But when the television programming teams decided to air these shows, the viewership went through the roof. It provided the impetus for the kids’ category to grow multi-fold, and the percentage viewership of kids gained a bigger pie in the total viewership universe.

Properties like Hanuman, Little Krishna, Chotta Bheem, Tenalirama, Pancha tantra, Shaktimaan,
Gatotkutch, etc, proved successful enough to compel the kids’ networks to invest more in original Indian animation shows.

However, at this stage the supporting eco-system for character licensing, merchandising, brand associations, character events and school contact programs was absent in India. It was against this backdrop that the creators of Chotta Bheem took a bold step to self-distribute the content internationally; create own character licensing and merchandising; forge brand associations; organise character events; open Chotta Bheem stores at airports, events and malls, etc. The creators went on to produce and successfully release a series of theatrical animated feature film in the last six years. Eventually, Chotta Bheem emerged as the biggest animated character brand out of India.

While the original animation IP story was beginning to unfold in India, the co-production of animation IPs also existed in the business modules of several studios. That was another way of partially holding the rights of global original animation IPs.

We have many shows produced under the coproductions, but the positioning of Indian studios was way lower in the value-chain as India was initially positioned as the animation production services destination. Hence it sometimes became very difficult for the Indian original animation IP’s / ideas to move up and become the co-productions. It was always the ideas or IPs originating from other countries that were translated into the co-production shows. Nevertheless Indian animation studios did not give up. Some of the global IPs co-produced by the Indian studios include Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Davincibles, Casper, The Little Princes, Animated World Tales etc.

Since 2011-2012, few Indian animation studios focused on co-productions of international
animated feature films. However, they have succeeded in setting up world-class 3D character
animation pipelines and are delivering international features through co-productions
continuously. Some of these theatrical features and DVD shows include Iron Man, Norm Of the
North series, The Swan Princes Series, ALpha and Omega, Artic Dogs, Blinky Bill, Little NICK,
Robin Hood, etc.

Post 2014, the Indian animation entered a new evolution phase as now the networks wanted to
move over 60% original Indian animation content to even a new kids’ network.

By now original Indian animation had grown to over 100 animation character brands. While some of these character brands were produced in several seasons, some of them made a great start.

For example, IPs like Motu Patlu, Shiva, Little Singham, Krishna, Aryan, Dabang Girls, Krish Trish and Batliboy, Jr. Gol Mall, My Bhoot Friends, icko & Super Speedo, Sab Jholmaal, Honey Bunny, Pakdam Pakdai, Rudra, Keymon Ache, Roll No 21, Super Bheem, Andy Pirki, Oye Golu, Gattu Battu, Mighty Raju,Kalari Kids, Kumbha karan, Chotti Anandi, etc, rose as the original Indian animation brands to reckon with.

While all the stakeholders recognise that creating the original Indian animation IPs is the way to go forward, the sole dependency on the television network is making it difficult for a self-sustaining business module to run as the cost of production made available is very low. Although the percentage of kids’ universe is very large in terms of total viewership base, there is a mismatch in terms of advertising revenues. Hence the pressure on production costs doesn’t allow the creators to enhance the quality of the shows. The frustration of the creators can be gauged by the fact that they are delivering higher quality production values in the outsourcing animation services projects while unable to do it for Indian projects though the talent pool remains the same for both.

While the formula of Indian animation IPs doing well for Indian kids has succeeded greatly, the next logical step for the original Indian animation IP creators is to get opportunities to create the global Indian animation character brands. Secondly, the independent animation studios creating original Indian animation must get a chance to retain the IP of the characters and shows, as in the present format they lose all the rights in the first green lighting stage itself.

The new avenues of creation and monetisation of original Indian animation IPs show a lot of promise in the un-explored areas of pre-school animation content and digital platforms for original animation creations.

While BARC has included the kids’ content from 2 years to 14 years now, the advertising and network marketing teams will require a viewership data break up for 2 to 5 years, 6 to 10 years, and 11 to 14 years separately, as the content subject interests are fast changing in kids as they are growing up this age profiles.

Presently, the pre-school category has substantial viewership base but no advertising revenues.
Hence we do not get shows green lit in pre-school animation. This is a very high potential content creation growth area for near future.

Secondly, so far we have seen only one big success for an Indian original animation created for a well known digital platform, i.e. Might Little Bheem.

The second example of success of the re-run of the original Indian animation content for television, but now placed on a famous international digital content platform dubbed in several languages doing well is Krish, Trish and Baltiboy.

Few steps that will further consolidate promising growth of the original animation IP’s will be as follows:

  1. Expand the genre from only kids to family entertainment
  2. Create local co-production and original IP funding mechanism.
  3. Create and establish a free to air kids public broadcasting networks with focused funding for creation original Indian animation content.
  4. Establish a Co-production & finished content market in India and get buyers for the animation content from all over the world.
  5. Funding for promotion of Indian original animation content globally thru several content markets
  6. Create a special animated kids feature film 0distribution mechanism.
  7. Pre-school viewership data to be measured and made available to the advertising and kids network, in order to ensure infusion of production funds for pre-school animation programming.

The original Indian animation characters are in a nascent stage and require a right attention as 27% population of India is between 0 to 14 years of age. The highest loyalty and stickiness for the television network or an animation character brand is displayed by this age profile. More over the kids who were born in India in 90’s and 2000, who grew up watching animation content, will soon become parents.

That gives a great opportunity to Indian original animation content creators to widen the animation viewers’ genre from kids to family in next 5 to 10 years. Hence the potential to take the original Indian animation creation to the global heights is certain.


Mighty Little Bheem

Chhota Bheem – A Journey Worth Every Moment

admin   June 15, 2021

Beginning its journey in 2008 on Pogo, Chhota Bheem and its different avatars have
transcended cultural and geographical boundaries to gain love and acceptance from an
audience of over 100 million and growing

By Rajiv Chilaka
Founder & CEO, Green Gold Animation

Chhota Bheem’s journey to the small screen was by no means an easy one. I realised the huge opportunity in our country for original Indian Kids IP content. Chhota Bheem was an idea conceptualized in 2004 itself. The industry at that time was not open to many ideas and the scope of an indigenous IP was minimal. But the potential was there to be tapped into. I truly believed that kids would connect with and love a character that they could relate to and thus decided to focus on creating IP content for Indian audience.

Multiple pitches and numerous iterations later, we finally got the green signal from Pogo to create the Chhota Bheem show in 2007. Looking back today, the amazing love and acceptance shown by kids towards Bheem makes the arduous journey worth every moment. The love for the show ensured that Chhota Bheem never went off air in India since its pilot episode. It resulted in a decade of Bheem entertaining kids in different avatars, the latest of which is Mighty Little Bheem. The franchise today has an audience of over 100 million and growing.

I have always believed that the love for Bheem is universal but Mighty Little Bheem was the litmus test. We put our heart and soul in creating Mighty Little Bheem. It was a departure for us as well from our conventional projects as it was our first preschool show. The entire creation process has been a brilliant rollercoaster and an eye opener for us. Creating a non-dialogue music driven show that transcended cultural and geographical boundaries has been a revelation.

Little Bheem became the top pre-school title globally on Netflix. It is performing well in US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and other territories. Bheem today is a loving part of homes across 190 countries.

Chhota Bheem, the brand, has been growing for the last decade. When we realized the popularity of Bheem, we also realized that kids wanted to have a personal Bheem, thus started our merchandising journey. From a few comics and products, we have grown our presence to exclusive retail, modern trade, ecommerce as well as licensing. With over 100 brands partnering with us over the last decade, Chhota Bheem has consistently been among the most recognized and recalled kids brand in India.

And it all started in Hyderabad. The city is the hub for visual arts and animation, and it will soon have its IMAGE tower, a beautiful amalgamation of history, modern design and technology. Animation, Gaming and Visual Fx industries thrive on creative and technology ecosystems. The world-class tower provides a vibrant environment for the AVGC industry. The Telangana Government dedicated IMAGE policy on the industry will empower young and talented entrepreneurs to foray further and compete with the best projects worldwide.

The animation and the VFX segment witnessed a strong growth of 18.7% in FY19, to reach a size of Rs. 87.7 billion. The sector will grow at a CAGR of 16% between FY19 and FY24 and reach Rs. 184 billion. What is extremely heartening to know is that the Indian Animation IP production (excluding animation services) has a year-on-year double digit growth: almost double of what it was in 2012. With a population of 373 million between ages of 1-14 in India itself, this trend will only improve upon in the coming years.

Even though 70-80% of animation revenue in India comes from international projects, India’s share in the global industry is less than 1%. Immense potential is here. With the advent of OTT, the average content consumption in India has gone up from 450 hours a year, to almost 6000+ hours a year in the last 5 years. Animation has had a big role to play here. The success of Mighty Little Bheem and other Indian IPs globally has proven the importance of region agnostic content and the caliber of home grown IPs. I believe this is the right time to move forward and take our rightful place in the global animation industry.

The ease of access to global content has evolved the audiences taste and raised the standards for all creators. The quality and the ability of it to connect across regions is paramount. Keeping this in mind, we have set up our offices in Los Angeles to focus on and create IPs with global potential and appeal. The team, led by Mr. Marc Lumer, a veteran of the industry and illustrator extraordinaire, is creating IPs which are presently in various stages of production. The world is becoming a smaller place. And there is so much potential to do stories which are from India, of Indian stories.


Bobby Bedi

Intellectual Property in India is Coming of Age

admin   June 15, 2021

India has become a creator of IP and this has led to the realisation that we need to protect our Intellectual Property. Laws have been changed and tweaked to match the new reality and today it is difficult to violate copyrights

By Bobby Bedi
CEO & Producer, Contentflow Studios

India is a relatively new entrant in the IPR game. Just over two decades ago, India believed that
IPR should be free. I remember an Indian diplomat talking at a WIPO event in Geneva and she was rabidly opposed to the protection of IPR.

It was a time when we felt that as a developing nation, India should not have to pay royalties for software; new medicines and expensive textbooks. Apart from software, medicines and books, there was rampant theft of international music and sometimes international films too. But no one cared. Some years ago, we made a film called Mango which was based on a Korean story called Couples. We paid substantial royalties for the rights. However, it didn’t help because someone else copied it first and released their film. We sued and got the money, but the film could not find a release.

Fortunately, such conundrum is now a thing of the past and our IT industry is the catalyzing force behind this change.

India has become a creator of IP and this has led to the realisation that we need to protect our Intellectual Property. Laws have been changed and tweaked to match the new reality and today it is difficult to violate copyrights.

I suppose that it is natural that your desire to protect your property is driven by the fact that you now own property.

The entertainment sector, too, has witnessed a major change in the way it perceives IP. This has
been driven by two factors.

Firstly, the Western world has realized that India is a much larger market for films than it was. This growth has been driven by the dubbing of big Hollywood films into local languages. The big ones now compete with the biggest of Bollywood. This has propelled the American studios to tie up with big Indian producers to attack piracy at all levels.

Secondly, for the first time India is realizing the international value of its property. This has been
driven by the advent of the streamers or Apps, as we call them. Netflix, Amazon and the studios have finally brought in international quality to India. This has affected the Indian producer in two
ways—they may either compete or perish—and many are perishing.

Fortunately, some are competing too. They have also completely changed the budgetary landscape of Indian content. Series that were made for hundreds of thousands of rupees are now being made for tens of millions. All those participating in the creation of IP—writers, actors, directors and producers—are benefiting. Finally, as our IP is being protected we are creating high quality, innovative content that the world is likely to consume. That is a great change.

It would seem that this is becoming a great story with a happy ending. But sadly, this is not entirely true. This story has a serious twist in the tail. A danger lurks, and it lurks in the space of Intellectual Property Creation.

Very briefly, I want to talk about the nature of property, real or intellectual. A film or show is no
different from a piece of real estate. It has a capital value and it has a revenue generating capability. So far, we lived of the revenue generating capability of our virtual assets. Our films and shows made money for us at release and then gave us a steady stream of revenue from various re-sales thereafter. I have lived off the licensing revenues of my films for decades.

Today’s buyer is much more inclined to purchase your property outright. This means money up
front but nothing thereafter. It’s a good recipe for good times but sadly, good times don’t last forever.

Now that our intellectual property has value, someone else gets to own it.

As we mature as producers, we will have to find sustainable hybrids wherein we get to keep some
of our IP and with it, future earnings from our content. Some people with financial strength are
trying out models where they get to retain their IP, but for most it is a one way street.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.