Santhosh KG is the Business Operations Head at Clusters college for media & Design. Prior to attaining this position he has also served as Business Head of TST Pvt Ltd, Business Head of Keltron Animation Campus; Academic Head at Arena Multi-Media.
CG Today : Santhosh, we are delighted to be able to speak to you today. Thank you for being with us.
Santhosh : Thankyou.
CG Today : You are currently Business Operations Head at Clusters college for media & Design, and you were on the team that started this school. What sets Clusters School apart from other Indian animation institutes?
Santhosh : Clusters College was started with an intention to provide production based training to students who are interested to take up media or design as a career. We build clusters on 3 basic foundations.
First One: “Studio Experienced Mentors”.
Second one: “Studio like Infrastructure”
Third one: “Production Based Curriculum”.
We strongly believe these three elements play a vital role in developing the student’s future. We invested sizeable capital in these three areas and I hope that’s making us unique. Even from the initial startup stage we disapprove of inexperienced mentors, completely avoid class room like teaching and bid farewell to decades old lazy curriculum jam-packed with tons of software. Today’s market requires specialists and think-tanks, so all our training programs are aligned with these requirements. At the initial level we faced lot of challenges and now we are one of the trendsetters in media and design training.
CG Today : As stated on the Clusters’ College website, “The Indian animation industry is expected to double its revenues to nearly $1.5 billion by 2011, but is still hampered by lack of skilled manpower. At the close of 2010, the industry will require at least 25,000 more trained hands to fill the gap and by the year 2012, the industry will have room to accommodate 300,000 professionals. At present only a little over 20,000 professionals are working in this techno-creative field.” How does Clusters School of Digital Arts plan on keeping up with the probable surge of students who will be seeking education in this field?
Santhosh : We are really looking at quality and not at quantity. As stated above there is a huge demand for Vfx artist and Animators and new positions are opening up. Lots of companies are setting up their shops in India and existing players are expanding their horizon. Even big ticket international projects are being outsourced to India, so the level of expectations from candidates has scaled up like never before. So I believe the opportunities are enormous and at the same time companies are becoming choosy.
CG Today : And the question continues… Are the training institutes in the same page with the production studios’ demand in case of qualified artists?
Santhosh : Most of the training centers are not aligned with the industry requirements and even most of them don’t know what exactly is wanted by the industry. Now I think some of the training institutions are realizing the demand for specialists and they are moving towards that. That’s a good sign for our industry.
I strongly believe we have an oversupply of generalists and an undersupply of specialists.
CG Today : Which animation studios is Clusters college for media & Design partnering with in order to assist students in finding employment upon graduation, or for internship programs?
Santhosh : For placements we do have dedicated placement cell having association with most of the Indian studios; even our last visual effects batch got placed at Prasad EFX, Reliance Big Animation, Future Works, Modetech, Add India, Accel Animation, Bot Vfx, etc.
Clusters have internship tie up with Holycow animation, Manilla, Philippines. This is exclusively for animation students who join for our international animation program.
CG Today : We can tell that you have the entrepreneurial spirit. What does it take to be the kind of businessman that can create and bring to life a new business venture, as you have done with Clusters and TST, Pvt., Ltd.?
Santhosh : I am really excited about start-ups and love to bring something from the scratch. I really admire people who set ideas in motion. Whatever company you have started or working in, I believe in two basic principles, love what you do and do the right thing no matter what.
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