*This article is the 5th and final one in a 5 part series on Animation Production Management by Ranjit (Tony) Singh.*
AAA: Is Animation Production Management being taught as a subject in any of the institutes that also teach animation? Or anywhere else?
Tony: To the best of my knowledge this is not being taught as a formal standalone subject. Certain aspects of Production Management may be touched upon in various courses, but I couldn’t find a consolidated course or for that matter a book that covers this in as much depth and detail as is required. It also has to do a lot with the fact that subjects such as this are meant for those who are interested in growth and self-improvement. It’s a part of the continuing education series. Most institutes concentrate on tools of the trade and on specific industry requirements. This subject is yet to be included as a mainstream topic.
AAA: What is the current scenario for people who want to learn and understand how to manage Animation Productions?
Tony: There are various ways in which a person can learn this art. On the job experience is one of the foremost. However not everyone has a knack for teaching or mentoring and most organisations can afford to train only upto a point. It is unrealistic to expect a studio to train its people how to manage their projects, when it is under the tremendous pressure of deadlines. In most cases people kind of fall into this role not by design, but by chance.
It is also a fact that every studio that is managed by professionally competent people has its own systems and processes in place to manage their projects. So working under such people and in such environments can be a huge learning experience for those interested in learning the art of managing animation or art related projects.
AAA: Since you have an in-depth knowledge about APM, why don’t you teach this as a workshop series?
Tony: I have been conducting masterclasses on this subject over the past 2 years and the response has been very good. I’ve also conducted special classes for faculty of training institutes so that at least the trainers get educated on industry expectations and practices that can help on the production floor. But I also believe that this subject is extremely important and it requires for the teacher to have experience with multiple roles –as an artist, producer, director, client, employer, leader and most importantly as a proactive mentor.
I have currently designed a course that I am launching in association with the Short Course Unit at Whistling Woods International Film School, Mumbai in November. It will be a 4-week course with a total of about 32 hours of interactive teaching. All the essentials that need to be covered for the effective management and handling of art and animation projects will be taught without the use of technical jargon. The material is in the context of animation, but anyone working with art will find it immensely useful, be it a studio, individual professional or student.
AAA: You are also in the process of authoring a book on this subject. Please tell us more about it.
Tony: Yes the book currently has a working title – The Art of Animation Production Management. Way back in 2008 when I was just about getting through with an assignment as a project director on an international project, the idea of writing a book on this subject took seed. I had seen the kind of complex situations that can arise on a large project and having played a role of creative producer, animation director, employer, client, vendor and also teacher in my professional career, I thought it would be an interesting project to initiate. My experiences of the past 2 decades through all these roles have been extremely varied and I’ve seen animation productions through different perspectives. It just seemed to be appropriate to condense all that into a topic that would be all encompassing and provide an objective insight into how creative projects, time, money and people can be managed.
One interesting insight I can share is that there is a chapter on opinions of artists and clients from all over the world. It’s gives a glimpse on what other professionals feel and the reason I put it in there was to provide the readers with an objective viewpoint. My views are in the pages, so people can read what other artists and professionals believe and then make up their own mind. The idea of this book is not to preach any one ideal way to work, rather it is to excite you to put on your thinking caps and devise your systems for your own benefit.
AAA: After reading this 5 part series, if an institute or organisation wants to approach you to teach their students / employees about Animation Production Management, what should they do? If an individual is keen on learning more, can he or she contact you directly?
Tony: I am available to studios/organisations in case they are interested in this subject. All they have to do is write in to me at tony(AT)tonysingh(DOT)net with a brief on their requirements. Free advice is available to senior citizens above 80 but only if accompanied by both parents. :)
I have helped studios of varying sizes and employee strengths in streamlining their operations and putting systems in place that enable effective project handling. I can also suggest that they encourage their interested employees to enroll for the upcoming short course. Individual professionals, freelancers and students can also enroll for this course. Institutes can connect with me if they are interested in dedicated weekend classes for their students and faculty.
Details about the registration process and other mundane stuff related to the short course and masterclasses are available through links on my website www.tony-singh.com.