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Animation Today – July 2007Interview of Greg Acuna
Greg Acuna, the owner of Goa based ‘Pala Flicks Pvt Ltd’, which has a motto of producing socially conscious content. for television was in town in the month of June and during his time in the city conducted a seminar on ‘Adventures in Writing Animation’ at Thakur College. It was an one day interactive seminar on screen writing. Also was discussed about his upcoming television serial ‘Earthlings’ and animation over a cup of coffee at AT’s office with Sagar V. Joshi.
So what made you switch over to India?
I was in search of a peaceful place where I could relax and complete my book. So India turned out to be the perfect location. Also what enticed me more out here was the ‘unpredictability’ life’s important lesson which is completely absent out there in US. You are completely unaware what’s going to happen next and that’s the most enticing part of it.
Shekhar Kapur(L) , Greg Acuna (R)
What is ‘Earthlings’ your upcoming project all about?
‘Earthlings’ is an upcoming television show which combines, live as well as animated action. It’s a kind of show that will help kids especially preschoolers to explore their living world with an open mind. Also 75% of the show is all about learning in an interactive way from this show without loosing the element of fun for any single moment. Kids will want to do ‘Earthlings’ and not just watch it.
What exact message does ‘Earthling’ conveys?
In this show there are five different individuals who differ one another culturally, ethnically etc, but manage to bond without any hassles and the differences which have become sublime. So this is the message, though different we are indifferent and can really harmonize to each others terms if we want and try.
Why is Pala, Isle of Paradise which is related to Aldous Huxley’s ‘Island’ is your budding dream?
‘Island’ is a dream penned down by Aldous Huxley in pursuit of a better and peaceful world. Thus it’s my dream to pass on a better world live in for future generations. Hence its my budding dream.
What is more important character or plot and why?
The school from which I hail allows me to say character is king while plot is a queen. Take any great movie it’s always been character driven. It’s the character who becomes immortal. In spite of having the wildest plot it’s of no use if your characters aren’t strong enough to support the plot. Hence the above comment that character is king while a plot is a queen.
Could you list some of your favorite animated movies?
I‘m a great fan of 3D animation. Among the old ones are Bambi, Snow-white and seven dwarfs, Fantasia and so on. In the modern segment is certainly ‘Shrek’ the reason being its originality which is extremely high. Also the characters are well ‘done. Every character is unique in its own sense. Another movie to entice my liking was ‘Finding Nemo’.
Would you like to say something on mythology and animation?”
Explore mythology deeply and use it for inspiration,” is how I would like to quote it. With a country like India where 33 hundred million gods are worshiped, there is no shortage of inspiration which can be drawn from the mythological stories. This particular segment of mythology has a lot to offer if one has that eye to recognize a certain plot which can be directly derived or constructed using mythology. But one needs to be careful while playing with mythology as public sentiments are attached with it.
Regarding Indian Animation Industry you say, “I’m standing at the edge of an erupting volcano,” can you define it?
Intellectual capital of India which comprises of all the creative artistic people is huge. The add-on is the billion strong populations which in turn creates a huge market to cater. So in catering such a huge market creates ample opportunities. So rather than repenting and thinking that I could have been there and done that, I’m here to give whatever I got and lend my hand in its development.
With so much already present on television do you think ‘Earthlings’ will work?
Yes I’m confident that it will work. The best part about a great show is that it appeals to all kinds of audience’s, ‘Earthlings’belongs to similar species. As told earlier kids will be doing and not just watching the show and will involve their parents. Hence I’m so confident that the show will work.
If there’s a product then it to reach people promotion is important. So what are the tools and techniques that you are using for promoting ‘Earthlings’?
As currently it’s under construction so I won’t be able to discus much about it. All I can say is talks are going around with some of the biggies in the industry and a positive response is expected regarding the promotion of ‘Earthlings’.
Last month you were in the town and you conducted a workshop on screen writing. Do you think conducting such kind of workshops helps?
Conducting a workshop is more like “Scratching the surface.” It cannot be termed as hundred percent but at least it’s like providing a start. Encouragement is must to so that ore people flow in and display there skills. So if not 100% but yes such kind of workshop does give a head start and encourage people to keep on the good work.
What are your views regarding Indian influence on animation industry?
Out here there are some real great minds at work. Indians are adding quality not just production wise but also story wise. Indians are adding value to animation in every aspect of animation under their reign. It’s really silly to quote that “Future is bright,” but truth can’t be changed. In short there’s a massive ‘Indian Influence’ on the current animation scenario.