I downloaded the above picture from my camera, looked at it, and thought, “That just doesn’t look real.” But it is. It’s the view from my hotel of the Petronas Twin Towers, which were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998-2004 (before Taipei 101). Whatever it’s height credentials, it’s still massive! Every time I look out my window, I imagine myself as Big Man Japan tromping around the downtown area.
So with that, you may have been able to guess that I’m in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Yesterday, I went and visited the lovely animation studio, Inspidea. They’re the ones that are doing the heavy lifting for our upcoming TV special, “Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood.” For those of you that have never been to an animation studio in Asia, I thought that I’d give you a mini-tour of the place.
First off, I wanted to share my lunch with you.
(I love makeover shows, so I had to fit in some sort of before and after shot somewhere.)
Anyhow, Inspidea was founded by four guys, two of whom are still there, Andrew Ooi and CJ See. Terrific to see them. We worked together on another Snaptoons project a few years back. I didn’t know what to expect, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the outfit they run here in Malaysia. The outside of the building is rather unassuming. Below is a picture of Silas Hickey, the Creative Director of Asia Pacific Animation Development, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, Inc. (Whew! Long title!) waiting for them to buzz us in.
The first thing I noticed was the most obvious cultural difference: we had to take our shoes off.
From there, it was just like any other independent animation studio in the states. There were several floors of artists, all working on computers, but in different areas of production.
Again, the only differences were cultural. For example, you weren’t really allowed to shake the hands of some of the females due to religious beliefs. More interesting to me though, was the average age of the people who worked there. At Inspidea, they were a predominantly young lot. It may have been due to their Asian skin, but it felt like I was walking amongst a group of university students. I’m used to seeing veterans who had been around for decades peppered in with a few younger folks. I was told that it was because there isn’t a huge pool of talent to pull from in Malaysia so a lot of their talent come straight out of the schools. Below is a group shot of all the people that are going to be working on my show.
I gave a talk, similar to the one I gave at CNAsia, where I introduced myself, talked a little bit about my background, and expressed my gratitude and excitement for the project they’ve agreed to undertake. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can bring to the table and excited about their potential of being a major player out here in Asia.
So that’s day one in Malaysia. I’m hoping to get a picture of the monorail that runs through all the major parts of the city.
Wait a second. What was that?
Did I just say monorail?
I sure did.