1. Some institutes teach software and others more than software. What does ‘more than software’ mean?
FX School: Software, any software, is a tool. Like a typewriter is a tool for writers. Just the way knowing to use a typewriter will not help you write a novel or a screenplay, learning animation or visual effects software will not make you an animator or a visual effects professional. That is the meaning of ‘more’. An institute like FX turns a student into a Digital Media Professional and not just a glorified computer operator.
2. But doesn’t it make sense to learn from the people who actually have designed the software?
FX School: To take the typewriter example ahead, a typewriter manufacturer cannot teach you to be a writer. You have to learn from a writer.
3. Cartoon films made in India haven’t done really well. Then why do people say that Animation is a great career option?
FX School: That is a common misunderstanding: Animation is not only cartoon films or serials. Animation and Computer Graphics (CG) have applications in many industries and entertainment is just one example. Most ads you see on TV have visible and invisible elements of Animation and CG. The visible ones are like those where you see the logo of a company form or the demonstration of how a shampoo or a detergent works. The Invisible ones are things like an entire realistic background created in CG or a simple thing like changing the colour scheme of a shot. Even a serious industry like pharmaceuticals uses Animation or CG to demonstrate how a particular medicine works inside our body to cure an illness. Gaming, the most profitable business on the internet, is another application. Also, a lot of animation for Hollywood is quietly being done in India.
4. What is visual effects?
FX School: Like Animation, Visual Effects is one field that is quite misunderstood. It is not only movies like Harry Potter Or Lord of the Rings that need and use Visual Effects. Every feature film and a lot of television programmes and advertisements use Visual Effects. Only in films like Potter and Rings, it is very visible and in others it is not. To give a very simple example of Visual Effects, almost all stunts like flying kicks, jumping from heights etc. Are done using harnesses and ropes. After a shot has been taken, these harnesses and ropes are ‘erased’ on the computer: Even that’s Visual Effects!
5. What is the real number of jobs available in these industries?
FX School: Nasscom’s projections suggest that employment in this sector will double from 14,700 now to 29,500 by 2012. Similarly, the gaming industry too will create a huge number of jobs in the next three years, with the projections being 10,700 jobs by 2012 from a meagre 2,300 people now. You must of course understand that the Digital Media Industry is concentrated in the cities where the feature Film, television, gaming and related industries are located. For example, in Western India you will find almost all the opportunities concentrated in Mumbai.
6. Isn’t film making a risky career?
FX School: India makes the highest number of feature films in the world. India doesn’t make the highest number of cars in the world. In that sense, a career in the film industry is safer than one in the automobile industry. But seriously, so many films are made year after year because it is a profitable business. Very rarely does a feature film incur losses. And these days, we can’t say that about big banks either. On the other hand, feature films is not the only option. There is television, advertising and corporate films as well as documentaries.
7. How important is it for an institute to be recognised by an university for a its student to get a good job?
FX School: Unlike an MBA, a certificate is only a proof that someone has completed a course. The best of employers choose a candidate on the basis of a show reel or a portfolio, that is, a sample of the work done by a student. To check the credibility of an institute you should always check the background of its promoters, quality of curriculum and faculty and testimonials from the industry and students.
8. What questions should I ask to an institute before choosing one?
A] Who is the faculty? What is their experience in the industry and in teaching? Are they known in the industry?
B] Does the institute have affiliations with reputed organisations in the industry?
C] Is it using the latest technology?
D] Does it have necessary infrastructure like computers, classrooms, labs, editing studios etc.?
E] Can it help with placements?