How many animators are employed in India at present? What number are we looking at five years down the line?
Approximately 30,000 animators are working in India at present. And about 1,000 Indian animators are working abroad. Animation is one of the most booming industries in India. At the end of 2010, the figure of employment is expected to increase by 25 per cent. Many companies are coming to India as well, e.g. Walt Disney is coming to Bangalore. In the next five years, the demand for animators would increase by 50 per cent.
Is there a demand and supply gap in the industry?
Yes, there is a huge difference in the two curves - there is a requirement of nearly 3,00,000 animators by the end of 2010 and we have got a number of only 30,000 so far. So the supply of creative and skilled labour is much less than the demand.
What are the job prospects overseas for an Indian animator?
For a fresher, getting a job abroad is difficult. After 2-3 years of experience, an animator can get job in several countries, e.g. Australia, Canada, Japan, UK, US. From India, many animators are working in Pixar, Walt Disney and Blue Sky Cinema. With a killer demo reel, even a fresher might be hired by a studio like Pixar.
Comment on the quality of training in animation / multimedia in India.
Choosing a good institute is a tough job, but overall, the quality of animation has improved in a massive way in the past five years — this has been done by providing production-experienced faculty members from the best production houses, and by using the latest technology in terms of software or PCs. The curriculum development has also helped in upping quality.
We hear of Hollywood coming to India to outsource animation, but how big is the slice of pie for us?
So many animation companies are coming to India. Walt Disney is coming to Bangalore, Blue Sky Cinema is coming to Kolkata, DreamWorks is already in Bangalore. These companies are going to invest nearly US$ 10 million in India. The Indian animation industry today stands at US$ 40 billion, and is projected to grow to US$ 65 billion by 2010.
Animation in India is currently riding on two key factors — a large base of skilled labour, and low cost of production. The industry can scale greater heights if the government supports it in producing original content and training.
Interviewed by Syed Amir Ali Hashmi