Thinking Out of the Box


Speaking at the Baros Animation Festival 2015. Cimahi, West Java, Indonesia.

Whenever I mention about IP Creations, some people thought that I am suggesting to produce an Animated Series. The market has been changing and moving very fast. Given the current new resources and opportunities, if I were to re-execute my plans for Dream Defenders again. I will do it differently.

Last year, I was honoured to be invited to the Baros International Animation Festival 2015 (Cimahi, West Java, Indonesia) as a speaker to share my experience in IP Creations. The government, organizer and audience treated us really well. I am looking forward to work with their government and organizer to run a workshop this September to share more with the companies. At the event, I met an interesting Indonesian company that uses augmented reality to teach kids alphabet and animals. I am really impressed with their idea. When the tablet or smart phone was placed over the alphabet cards, you will see animals & food popping up. Example: When you scan a card with letter M with a tablet/ smart phone, you will see an animated Monkey popping out. When you scan the card with a Letter B, a bunch of Bananas will pop up. When you put the card M next to card B. The Monkey will eat the Bananas. From here, the company can sell a series of Cards to the Kids market to educate them about Alphabet and Animals. I thought that the idea was amazing. This to me is the beginning of the journey of IP Creation.

The next thing the company could possibly do is to work with children’s book company. Creating animation that is activated by augmented reality. Example: When you scan the book with the tablet or smart phone, you can see the animated video running. (This could just help to revive the publishing sector as well.)

This is an example to demonstrate the idea.

Or create a AR Colouring book like this. Allowing its character to come to life after the kids finish colouring it.

Now with Virtual Reality, even more can be done. From here, more fans will be created to support the brand. The brand can then spring off to other platforms. Games, Animated Series, Books, Comics, Toys, Merchandise etc. And the IP could be monetized in a variety of new platform.

When I was first developing a master plan to promote Dream Defenders, the first step was to identify growing trends in technology.  Next is to apply our creativity to integrate/utilise these new technologies to produce a new product to engage the audience of this new generation. From here, we add value to the IP and expose them to a larger market. That is why we move from Stereoscopic 3d to AutoStereoscopic 3d to Augmented Reality to Virtual Reality. In today’s market of rapid change, you no longer can just build an animated TV series and call it a day.

Moving forward, if Singapore want to move our industry to the next chapter, we should start thinking of how to build leadership in this field. Looking at ways to prepare our University Graduates for these new changes. (Using the above Alphabet / Animal Cards as an analogy) Instead of just focusing on attracting MNC here and then mass produce a bunch of graduates creating animated monkeys and bananas. The next phase is to groom graduates to come up with new ideas like the above. Hopefully encouraging them to setup their own companies. This is the SkillsFuture we need to build a new economy with higher value jobs.

It seems that Singapore next 10 years’ strategy focus more towards Technology. I am not saying Technology is not important. Technology without creative application will make the technology become useless. We should start building a whole new leadership with new creative ideas to make use of growing technology to create new engaging product to meet the business goal. (Integration of Art, Technology and Business)

There is nothing wrong with prioritizing on technology. I just hope that we do not neglect our education in creativity and sliding from Technology to Manufacturing where Singapore seems to slowly lose our competitive advantage.

An example to illustrate what I mean. In the US, some companies are spending a lot of money on R&D and creating the VR headset that cost between USD$600 to $800. In China, they follow the technology and manage to create a better VR headset that cost USD$30 to 65. The expensive batch of headsets manufactured in the US company will then get stuck.

Another example to illustrate what I mean by not just focusing on technology alone and not neglecting creativity. A startup seeks for my advise recently. He wants to create a plugin for VR production. Each plugin cost $300. He plans to sell 500 of these plugins in 2 years.  So he made $150k in 2 years. If someone else were to copy the plugins and come up something better. His sales might get stuck. Instead, maybe he can try to use the plugin to create content for the US market. In 4 months, he can charge up to USD$150k a single customized content.

Last but not least. We should no longer separate our strategy into games sector, publishing sector, film sector etc etc. Its all about creating an IP. With this, it springs off to different platforms or sectors. Hence creating multiple revenue streams and opportunities.

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