“Do you watch animated films?” asks Somil Gupta, 29, when he has to recruit anyone for his company, Trine animation, of which he is the Managing Editor.
He clearly expects the answer in affirmative for him to offer the job or he says it’s tough. “The pay packets are high in this industry and the growth prospects are very good, so it attracts all. But those who are really passionate about animation are the ones who will do well.”
Passion is what helped him reach where he is right now. As a kid growing up in Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, he watched animation films and video games.
“After watching the
, I have decided this is what I wanted to do in life — animation.” That was way back in 1995. “I used to go to Nehru Place and buy books on 3D animation etc. That’s one thing for which my parents never said no, though the books were expensive.”
Then he reached at the crossroads of life like every Indian kid, after 12th standard. “I wanted to take up fine arts but everyone in my family were engineers. My parents wanted me to follow suit and I did.”
He joined an engineering college in Pune but kept grooming himself for the love of his life. “I opted for optional courses like Graphic Science, Artificial Intelligence which I thought might help in animation. I installed software on my computer and started practicing.”
After securing an engineering degree to comply with the wishes of his parents, Gupta found himself applying abroad for all art schools. The story goes that he was rejected by all universities since he was not an arts student. Finally, one place asked him to come and do some six extra courses and classes in art drawing, photo shopping etc. He completed the course, Associate of Science in computer animation from Orlando, Florida.
When he came to India to get his H1 visa, he realised that animation and gaming had a huge potential in the country. “But there was no exposure and there were hardly any companies in the fray.” He founded Trine Animation, in July 2006 with 13 people. “I had to take a loan from the bank and invested 9 crores.”
Today his firm has over 160 professionals at his Mumbai office and he has recruited a 100 more for his new branch in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon that will come up around August. “Fifty percent of my workforce here is from Delhi. There is pretty good talent in Delhi and I would like to tap into that.”
His firm’s annual turnover now is around Rs 25 crore. What is it that gives him job satisfaction? What is it that drives him? “You bring non organic stuff alive, you give life to robots, vegetables etc. You do things, which are not possible in the real world.”
His office is open 24 hours and people work in two shifts to work in tandem with his overseas clients. His workday starts at 9.30 am and finishes at 10 pm. What does he think about animation schools that are mushrooming everywhere? “They should provide education not just training.”