Paul Streitz’s Animation Project

13 10 2017

     Last October 10, 2017, Grace emailed me about Paul Streitz giving a talk about “A Philippine Animation Movie Company?” to be held on October 12 at the New World Hotel from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm, the talk was for free. I was curious what I can learn from the talk especially the marketing of animation shows, so I registered for the event.

     The talk started about 1:50 pm and ended about an hour later. Paul is a writer and producer from the US, who wrote some books on economics and a string of musical plays for theaters in New York. Paul explained the reason of why he is in the country –  half jokingly he said after his divorce, he had money to do some animation projects for his past musical plays but he didn’t want to invest a lot of money in building a team of animators to do his project. So he figured out that coming to the Philippines where a local animation company can do his play entitled ‘Madison Avenue The Subliminal Movie’ in flash animation for 90 minutes before he dies. The idea is to prolong the life of the property; as live film has a shorter life span.

     After the brief introduction, Paul showed the business side of the film business, where the dollar and cents were broken down to show that there is money to be made for all the parties involved – from the writer, owner, producer, distributor, merchandiser and production company. He showed estimated figures for big hit films such as the Simpsons and a not so well known film only shown in the US but the profit figures are still worth the effort. Mickey Mouse and the financial side of the merchandise part of the character was also highlighted. He said that other stories with expired copyright could be ideal animation projects such as ‘Treasure Island’, Wizard of Oz’,’Oklahoma’ and ‘Annie’.

     Paul then proceeded to pitch his string of plays such as ‘Oh Johnny’, ‘Madison Avenue’and other plays. Being 20 years in market research, he showed some figures that Madison Avenue has great reviews from both critics and audiences alike. He continued to explain the character, about the surprising plot and remastering the the sound to make it up to date and recorded the dialogue for the animation project. Paul also talked about Gary Cherpakov, who was the brilliant music and lyrics writer for his plays. Paul was all praised for Gary whom nothing was hard for him to write,  as it all came naturally for him and the work could be done perfectly in a day or two. Instead of using rhyming words, Gary was more on rhyming the sounds, and in Paul’s opinion ‘Oh Johnny’ is one of the top five best musicals.

 

       After the talk, there was some question and answer portion and some light snacks for the attendees. I don’t know anyone in the group except for Grace, the rest were composed of freelance 2D and 3D animators, animation teachers, students, producers for events and live film. After a few minutes of staying around, I left the venue but Grace and other people stayed for many more minutes to ask Paul for more questions. Grace said Paul was more on the music  – 70% rather than on the animation – 30%.  Anyone who was interested to talk to Paul further was invited for lunch the next day at the same hotel.

      The presentation was really new to me, as I am not exposed to musicals, much less to animation musicals. I don’t recall any popular flash animation that pops out right of my mind to compare with the proposed ‘Madison Avenue’ film. If ever pushed through, I think it will be tough for the local animation production company to present the proposed musical to highlight the music, the choreography and character movements that the target audience would respond to.  But just the same, I wish Paul and the team would do well on the project. As for me I’m just focused on finishing and launching the mobile game in the next few weeks and editing and improving our web series.

     Less than a week after the talk, I got to listen to the CD of the Madison Avenue songs that Paul’s assistant handed out each participant. The songs were really nice, clear and had a happy feel to it. It was only after hearing the various songs that I got to appreciate the proposed movie as the songs, message and topic are one of a kind.

 

 

 

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Google Developers Night 2017

28 07 2017

July 26, 2017

     We were invited to the Google Developers Night by GDAP (Game Developers Association of the Philippines) at the Google Headquarters in Bonifacio Global City about a week before the event. We were not sure what the event was about as there was no agenda about it; but we were prepared to showcase our updated mobile game if needed. It was a great opportunity for us to showcase our game and also to check out the office of Google. 

     The event was scheduled from 6 pm to 9 pm; we arrived at around 6 pm but the event started around 6:30 pm and ended almost 10 pm. The Google Headquarters was a cool place especially for creative people. You could see the artistic design influences on the detail as well as the furniture. 


      There were about 50 people invited to the event, but there were other uninvited guests and students who came but Google did not refuse them entry so the guests ballooned up to 90 people; luckily the food was sufficient for all the guests. 

     Before the talk started, I was surprised when Solon Chen, one of the board members of GDAP and the General Operations Manager of Kooapps, approached us and said that he saw our game at GameCon 2017, and said that it had vastly improved from the version he saw at ESGS 2016. He said it was a good game and we did a good job.  That was the best compliment from a GDAP board member yet.

Solon Chen

      There were two talks that night and both of them were helpful as we continue to polish our game even more. The first speaker was Derrick Mapagu, the creator of the Flippy Bottle Extreme game. This game was the first Filipino-made game that was No. 1 in the Google Playstore with over 18 million downloads.  The topic was about Game Monetization.  Most game designers and players are not fans of this topic, but for the game studio to survive, this needs to be addressed. Basically the topic was how your game would make money. There were many ways, the simplest was selling your game at a price. If you offered your game for free, you can place ads in it or sell items within the game called In-App purchasing. We learned that players don’t like ads much; they can be annoyed by it and just drop the game but if you do it right ads can have your game make money. The information presented was really cool and it gave us ideas on how we would apply this to our game.

Derrick Magpagu

     Alvin Juban (GDAP President), Chelle Obligacion-Gray (Google Ph), Lei Bautitsta-Lo (James’ wife), Gwendolyn Foster (GDAP / Most Played Mobile), James Ronald Lo (Indigo Entertainment / Agent Aliens) and Derrick Mapagu (Most Played Mobile / Flippy Bottle)

     The second speaker was James Ronald Lo, President of Indigo Entertainment and the creator of Agent Aliens, a mobile game for Android. Agent Aliens was their first game that was their own Intellectual Property (IP). His talk was fascinating because his experience with the game mirrored ours. He introduced a demo of his game at the ESGS 2016 like us; he also got a number of feedback, and they had to address these in the game. He was very thankful to be invited at the event because it made people notice his game.


    Agent Aliens at GameCon 2017

     James was excited to do a soft launch at Google Play to get more feedback for his game. He promptly had a meeting with a Google representative who gave him pointers on how to get his game featured at Google. Getting featured  by Google gives the game more opportunities to be viewed worldwide. The representative’s first suggestion was not do a soft launch. If your game is not yet finished, doing a soft launch would just give a bad impression for the game. The second one was to do localization by translating the game to different languages; the players from those countries would feel the game was made for them.

     When the game was launched last January until February 2017, he got about 2,000 downloads. He did everything, social media, workers, family friends, but this was the best that the game could do. Then he was surprised when it got featured in Google Play, and it was given a 4.3 star rating. Immediately, he got 190,000 downloads in less than a one month. The game was downloaded in other countries as well; China and Vietnam had the highest percentage of downloads; incidentally these were also the countries that he translated the game to. Of the top 8 countries that downloaded the game, 7 were from Asia.  Overall, he said focus in making a good game first. If your game is good, everyone would take notice.

     After the talk,  dinner was served by our hosts; Jap and I then approached James to ask more about his experience, and we also showed our game. He gave us advice and feedback on how to improve our game, and he encouraged us to enter ESGS once again to market our game. He said this is where gamers, developers, and publishers take notice. One advice he gave us, which he also included in his talk: “If you can show your game without giving excuses, then you know that your game is good.”

     Towards the end, GDAP announced the different events remaining for this year. Aside from ESGS, there was G-star Game Convention, which was offering all-expense-paid tickets and accommodations for 5 companies to Busan, Korea. And some upcoming talks with people from Unreal.

     This event inspired us, and it also showed us that we still have a lot more things to consider for our game. Overall, we were excited; too excited that I already registered entering our game at the Indie Arena in ESGS 2017.

Article and most pictures by Alstaire A. Sarthou; other pictures from Chelle Grey (Speakers with GDAP and Google officer), Internet (Solon Chen) and Edward Tan (Agent Aliens)





ACPI at Annecy 2017

21 07 2017


 

Annecy International Animated Film Festival & Market (June 11-16, 2017)

     The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) headed by chairman Liza Dino has supported the Animation Council of the Phils (ACPI) to promote the Philippine animation industry for the first time in France called ” ANNECY International Animated Film Festival & Market 2017.”

Grace with Liza Dino FDCP Chairperson

Main Conference Area

FDCP and ACPI Delegation

     ANNECY is a wonderful place surrounded by beautiful mountains and a lake.  The place can inspire artists, film makers, animators and other creatives to come up with new ideas and creations.  Annecy event holds a trade fair, exhibit and conference of different companies, producers, network, studios, vendors, schools from different countries involved in producing, promoting, training and enhancing animation works for both professionals and students.

Annecy Lake and Mountains

ACPI Airbnb Place

ACPI Airbnb – 30 Minute Walk to the Conference Area

Annecy Town

Town Church

     FDCP has invested on the Philippines’ pavilion and its design and also generously hosted a Philippine Night with invited guests, colleagues and networked partners from Annecy.

Philippine Pavillion


ACPI Booth

With  Japan Toei Production Manager 

Philippine Night Guests

     The Philippine Animation industry delegates who attended the event are Top Peg Animation Studio, Toon City, College of St. Benilde, Toon Academy, TOEI Animation Phils and Animation Vertigo. Original content from Animahenasyon finalist/ winners were shown in the pavillion together with original content from the Philippine delegate companies.

     Other booths from companies and other countries are shown below:

United Kingdom

Spain

Canada

South Africa

China

Korea

    Malaysia

     Highlights of the events are: attending the conference/ meeting for RECA, French animation schools network; conference for GO NAGAI, creator of Mazinger Z; talk/ forum with invited Animation Director: Glen Keane ; conference/ talk about  women in animation world summit ; conference about  100 years of Japanese animation and a lot of film screenings of new movies coming up both on the main stream, indie films  and student films.

Reca Conference

Mazinger Z Creator Talk

Japanese Animé Conference

     Here is a video of different perspectives of big studio people from Sony pictures animation, Warner animation Group, Disney Television Animation about the challenges of the Animation industry today at Annecy MIFA 2017 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqk4Vy5PvvU&list=PLs3Yp0_HhfXUwR_yBUAgnf47Wp0bAp4Uu&index=4

    Having a PHILIPPINE ANIMATION PAVILION at Annecy is a big step to show the world that the Philippines has a thriving animation country. Producers, investors and global network executives should take a look at the creativity and skills of the Filipino animators and artists. That it is good to invest here, outsource their animation content and visit the Philippines to learn about the colorful and diverse Filipino culture of which animated stories and content can be drawn from.

Essay and Pictures by Grace A. Dimaranan