During my recent trip to US, I have met with an executive producer of a major studio. He is an old friend whom I have worked with in the past. We were sharing with each other how we have been doing.
At the meeting, he told me that currently in the US, more and more TV shows are produced in 2D. He suggested that I should change my business model since I am running a 3D animation studio. I can become a middleman / broker and take the 2D animation work from US. Then re outsource it to the 3rd world country. (Its more challenging for us to produce animated series in 2D due to cost effectiveness and also we have limited 2D Animation talents available here in Singapore.)
If I were to turn our studio to become a 2D animation studio now, my entire 3D crew will lose their job. I am very close to our crew. They are like my family. The priority is my crew. But at the same time, I was lost and stuck thinking what should I do next. In addition, if we start re-outsourcing the 2D Animation work to 3rd world country. What is stopping the client in future to go straight to the studios in the 3rd world country. We will probably ended up competing on lower price in order to stay alive.
Later in that week, I have scheduled to meet some major studios in Santa Monica. I was there to present our studio’s new initiative in using VR to tell story. We have been doing some internal development in interactive VR for the last few months. At the meeting, we presented this new initiative to the studio executives. When the studio’s executives saw it, they were surprised and impressed how fast we have moved ahead in this area. They said to us “This is the future. I am impressed with your new ideas and strategies for the proposal.” I am glad that we have stood by our principles. This initiative has now open a whole new opportunity for us. Nowadays, toys and computer games companies are investing in series. They seems to have more money these days than broadcasters. I will probably be going back to LA to discuss this further. After these few meetings, I felt more encouraged and hopeful again when I saw their reaction.
A valuable lesson I have learnt here. If we want to compete globally, being innovative is the only way to survive. We must always find that new business model to stay competitive. Making ourselves cheaper and going backwards is not a long-term solution. It might even kill us eventually. If we can only do what others have already done before, then why should others pay us a premium or give us work. Over the years we have always strive to stay ahead of others by exploring new grounds. (From Stereoscopic 3d to auto stereoscopic 3d to augmented reality to virtual reality) I am glad that we are on the right path.