Having more than a decade of experience in Animation Industry Mr. Prince Paikattu transforms his expertise and passion through a well crafted animation training studio ‘Vrisksha’ and caters production requirements through ‘ Vaudeville Studios’. Prince is well known for his character designs & animations. He is one of the very few creators who express and experiment animation through sand. He had also conducted several live performances using sand animation.
Prince shares his experiences and views exclusively here for CG Today readers.
CG Today : Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you initially became interested in Animation? Do you have any formal training in this field?
Prince : Well, during my Art studies, I happened to see Disney’s Bambi, the animated movie. When I saw the sequence in which Bambi looses his mother, and the way young Bambi reacts to it, I couldn’t really stop crying. I was wondering about how on earth they made a film that moves you so much..! I knew that they weren’t real animals, and I doubt if they were I would be caring so much. At that moment I have decided that all I want to do is to make movies like that..! As I was enquiring, I happened to know that the film was made by Artists, called ‘Animators’ who makes a lot of drawings to ‘animate’ them..! That was surprising too. I mean, you hardly notice any drawing. All that you see are the characters, personalities and the dramatic situation they go through. It is hard to believe that someone drawn that kinda ‘beings’..! I said to myself, that’s what I want to do..!
This was happening back in 1995, and I had no idea how to, or where to go about it. And, when it came, it came as an accident. In 1997, I had sent my Art works for a competition conducted by Heart Animation Academy, Hyderabad, and they found my works interesting. I was invited to train in Animation under Mr. Jon McClennahan, a three time Emmy award winner for his cartoons for Warner bros called Animaniacs. I consider myself blessed to be trained under many good Animation Directors such as Mr. Mike Owens, Mr. Vincent Proce and Mr. John Griffin.
CG Today : Can you please share with us few of the major projects you have worked?
Prince : Time I spend at Heart Animation studio was fantastic. It had shaped my Animation career, I must say. During then, we had worked on for projects from Warner Bros, Disney, Fancy monkey productions, Tommy Nelson and various other international projects.
Later years, I had the experience of working for many other domestic and international projects including Fun bag, Nelvana productions and Kelloggs.
CG Today : Is there any particular project you felt that it have drastically changed your creative perspective? Why?
Prince : Yes, that’s not a project though. I had a close interaction with Mr.Ishu Patel, an Indian born Canadian Animation Director during my time with Padmalaya Telefilms, Hyderabad. He was kind enough to show his films and share his experiences of making them, including the techniques he used. I was trained in making mainstream Animation production, and knew only that. And, there is this man, who used a variety of mediums and techniques to produce animation. The films weren’t just funny, but also thought provoking and aesthetically higher. His Oscar nominated film ‘Bead Game’ was made with just beads..and another film called ‘ Top Priority’ was made with plasticine on glass..!! That interaction has changed my perceptions on creating animation films.
CG Today : Every day there is a change in our industry on both creative and technical front. During the past decade which change do you think have totally turned over the industry in itself?
Prince : CG!!! No doubt about it. It is CG that has changed the industry so much. CG has given the power to take the artistic imagination to a whole new level altogether.
CG Today : What has inspired you to consider becoming a mentor and how would you describe the role of a mentor?
Prince : I was into training, though without my own will, from the time I was getting trained in Animation. My responsibility was to get trained today, and help others learn on the next day..! During my stint with various studios, I was in production management as well, and was asked to be a part of recruitment. And, there was this guy, who was getting rejected every time he applied, and he has been trying for past two years to get in. Once after getting rejected as usual, he turned back and asked me “why don’t people like you teach us, than leaving us to the mercy of unskilled teachers out there? We wouldn’t be loosing so much of money and time ..!” I was moved by the situation that he is trying to describe. I had given a serious thought about it, and decided to help the needy. I was thinking, ‘if you know, why not share it?’ Since then, I took up mentoring as much as I do animation production.
A good mentor shall not only edify the aspirant, but also should inspire them to come out of their comfort and explore the next level unknown too. You may creatively push them, challenge them or even provoke them to go to the next level.
CG Today : Who was your mentor and what did they do to help you achieve your goals?
Prince : Ah, well, there were many, not one. Each of them contributed and influenced me, to be the ME today. It is hard to mention a single name, and I believe that I may find many more.
CG Today : Have you got any advice for those who are thinking of taking the plunge as a mentor?
Prince : Sure. Get enough experience of doing it before you start teaching some one. Once I heard remarks that if you are good for nothing, then become a faculty..!! That kind of perception is sick. In our country, many succumb to the pressure of getting a job, and take up anything that comes on their way. You better go get some experience first, and let the gray hairs take care of mentoring someone. Or else, you will end up creating a lot more unhappy people like you.
CG Today : Training methodology varies from a person to person, school to school; what kind of methodology Vriksha utilizes?
Prince : At Vriksha, the training methodology is simple. “Learn while you do it”. That’s how I was taught, and I am thankful for that. Nothing can replace that kind of learning. Atelier is not a familiar term among us. But, that’s exactly the kind of training one requires to have, if he is really passionate about Animation.
CG Today : What are the courses conducted by Vriksha?
Prince : Vriksha has very few courses comparatively. We are not in to everything and anything. We teach what we are good at. We have an 18 month program in Animation film making and a 12 month program for Artists in pre-production for animation and film.
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