You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.
At a tender age of 5, I loved Disney’s cartoon that came on the television. I had a flair and inspiration to become a computer graphic artist since then. There was no training program to become a computer graphic artist in India back in the 1990s but I nursed by passion. While in college, I started learning classical animation and tried to learn little computer graphic software.
After graduation, immediately I joined a popular computer graphics studio and started working on Bollywood projects. I was an unpaid intern for a few months. I remember, on the very first day, my team leader directed me to put up through the night to complete an assignment. I was quite surprised but it was the way of the industry and to my surprise, I left for home 3 days later. I don’t believe this but I was working for more than 18 hours a day to complete that assignment. Thereafter, it was sometime a week or sometimes half a month that I used to put up inside the studio, but the work was awesome and I enjoyed thoroughly; especially meeting quite a lot Bollywood stars of that decade. I felt like a God because I created.
Life was good. I worked on many popular films, television serials, television commercials and music videos – doing computer animation and visual effects for them. Later, I had a craving to work for the international market. I kept dreaming day and night when one day I got that opportunity too!
A Hollywood based animation studio was supposed to set up in India and I was selected for the core team. The test was difficult and lasted for 5 nights. I was working in another studio in the morning and used to go there to give a test in the night, but I was selected. And, there started a completely new journey in a different world altogether. Foreign bosses, strict timings, difficult work and good money. Life was quite difficult because of the timings. I followed the same pattern of staying inside the studio for days together, as they work load was heavy. We had to make a good demo reel to show to foreign clients so that they can trust the animation quality of Indians.
We worked for long hours for 2 years and made a neat demo reel that won the hearts of people in my dream studio – Disney. There was no looking back from here; they gave us several projects to work on. We presented them the finest quality of computer graphics they ever saw from India and within next 5 years, we planted the map of India on the global animation market. Thereafter, we worked for many other animation giants from more than 5 continents and more than 50 countries. Once, I had a team of 100 members to take care of. That was the peak of my joyful career.
I still remember my desk, decorated with toys and lights. Christmas time would be very special as our American bosses used to get us lots of goodies for us. I spent a good 10 years in that animation studio and life was all fun and colors and lights. I want to inspire and motivate students to take up animation as a serious career but only if they have the passion to create.