My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Inaugural KingstOOn Animation Competition a boost to local Animation Industry - State Minister Julian Robinson give Graphic Artists the chance to Feel this Moment Pitbull and Christina Aguilera Style

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Inaugural KingstOOn Animation Competition a boost to local Animation Industry - State Minister Julian Robinson give Graphic Artists the chance to Feel this Moment Pitbull and Christina Aguilera Style



“We believe that this industry has much potential. Technology has eliminated barriers to entry in a number of sectors, and we can see that right here in Jamaica”

State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining Julian Robinson during a Gleaner Editors' Forum on Friday June 20th 2013

I’ve never seen adults, especially State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining Julian Robinson so animated about animation, with my pun deliberately intended.

But over the weekend that's exactly how it was at the UWI Mona Lodge at the Inaugural opening of the KingstOOn Animation Conference and Film Festival as stated in “Jamaica Has the Talent to Attract Investment in Animation - Robinson”, published Saturday, 22 June 2013 07:43, By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter, The Jamaica Information Service and in “Jamaica looks to 'toons'”, Published Friday June 21, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The Conference was jointly funded by the following interested stakeholders:

1.      World Bank
2.      The Canadian High Commission
3.      JAMPRO

Set over a three (3) day period from Thursday June 20th 2013 to Saturday June 22nd 2013, KingstOON saw aspiring Animators being introduced to the best in the Industry, both in terms of animation Directors and people in the Animation businesses and Colleges interested in training Jamaicans talent. It was also an exhibition showcase for Local Animators to have their stuff on display and possibly secure deals for funding for their various projects.


The deadline for the submission of entries was Sunday June 16th 2013 as stated in “June 16 deadline for 'KINGSTOON' animation entries”, Published Monday June 10, 2013, by Sanasha Pearson, The Jamaica Information Service and “Submit Entries by June 16 for Animation Competition”, published Monday, 10 June 2013 08:26 by Sanasha Pearson, The Jamaica Gleaner, with the prizewinners as announced on KingstOOn  Facebook Page.

KingstOOn already has a KingstOOn  Facebook Page already boasting some 4000 plus followers. Already too, even as the Sun set on the competition on Saturday June 22nd 2013, some one hundred and thirty five (135) entries have been submitted by various animation teams and individuals and winners have been chose for a plethora of prizes only an Animator would love and appreciate:

1.      Scholarship for the Summer Animation Programme at Sheridan College in Canada
2.      Internships at Columbus Communications and other sponsors
3.      ToonBoom Software licenses, allowing aspirants with the correct computer hardware and software to make legit animation with licensed ToonBoom Software

Hopefully the winners mentioned on the KingstOOn  Facebook Page will have their interest lifted and will continue beyond the KingstOOn Animation Conference and Film Festival and possibly blossom into an alternative career path for Visual and Graphic Artiste aspirants.

Especially as there is a demand for Jamaican Animators due to a severe shortage of this skill set in Jamaica in all forms of animation, mainly:

1.      Traditional Cel Animation
2.      Newspaper Animation
3.      Japanese Anime and Manga
4.      CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) Animation
5.      Mixed-Media Animation e.g. Clay Animation, Stop-and-Go Animation, etc

This observation is based on word coming out of a previously held JAMPRO (Jamaica Promotions) Lecture on Friday December 14th 2013 to introduce students to Japanese Manga and Anime as stated in “JAMPRO, UTech get into animation”, published Sunday December 23, 2012 by Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.  



Currently there are only three (3) major Animators in Jamaica:

1.      Alcyone, which makes the Cabbie Chronicles
2.      Reel Rock GSW

Jamaica has been building up to this for quite some time, having signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) since Friday June 7th 2013 as stated in “Technology and Education Ministries to Sign MOU to Boost Animation Industry”, published Friday, 07 June 2013 17:31, by Jeneva Gordon, The
The Jamaica Information Service to promote animation as an alternative career path among Teens (13 to 18) and Millennials (18 to 28) identified with Graphics arts Talent.

The MOU’s expresses the Ministry of Science Technology, Energy and Mining’s intent is to identify talented youngsters in the various Visual Arts Programs across Jamaica itching to Animate Something, taking cues from the popular Zynga Game Draw Something.

More interestingly, this is beginning to look like the much anticipated equivalent of Rising Stars for Animators as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “J'Anime Competition - an avenue to fame for Animators”.

The interest isn’t surprising, given the US$100 billion Industry that, like Computer Programming is yet to be fully tapped in Jamaica as stated in the article “Jamaica trying to become animation industry hub”, published Friday, June 21, 2013, The Jamaica Observer.

The barriers to entry have been broken down by the availability of better Technology, such as Apple iMacs, improved and much cheaper multi-core Processor computers, computer Hardware and SSD (Solid State Drive) Terabyte Hard-drives. The software has improved as well, with Open Source Software now available for Animators and Video Editors to utilize to produce work on the same level as their First World counterparts.

The sticking issue for most aspiring Animator and script Writers – such as myself – is that we don’t have time to spare from our busy work schedules. Even where I am working right now, I can’t spare time away from work, as in the evenings I’m too tired to do any writing, waiting way into the night to re-awaken at around 2am to do any meaningful work.

 I’m a very self motivated individual with a College Degree. But high school leavers, mostly Millennials (18 to 28), unsure of how to approach animation which is very labour intensive and demanding, be it still or moving animation, may easily get disenchanted if they see no immediate benefit to doing that much work and not making significant amounts of money from it. Especially as many clients demands change just like the weather, something animation aspirants will have to get acquainted!

So this KingstOOn Animation Conference and Film Festival was a big moral boost, as it signals to those interested in animation that there are others out their just like you who are interested and there’s support, coming from no better a source than the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

We aren’t lacking in creativity either, as even Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank, Fabio Pittaluga was impressed by the quality and quantity of entries for the KingstOOn competition as noted in the article “World Bank blown away by KingstOOn entries, published Friday June 21, 2013, by Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner . He expressed his amazement, quote: “We were blown away by the amount and quality of entries, and there seems to be much more cooking in the pot than you would imagine just by looking at it on the surface”.

He also pronounce his blessing on the entries thus far, quote: “When we are talking about the talent pool and how many people are capable, I do think that Jamaica is very well positioned to take part in that (animation) global space”.

So it would seem State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining Julian Robinson has decided Animation is too lucrative and underserved and Industry to not have the GOJ invest in its growth both to satisfy local and International Demand. In the process, he creates entrepreneurs who can make significant revenue from original content for both local and International Broadcasters, which of course translates to Foreign Exchange for the GOJ.



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