Hello, I am Desmond Du, a freelance VFX/ Motion Graphics Artist.
I worked for Double Negative Singapore for four months before its closure in late March. Employment was a struggle due to the mass layoff and fresh graduates coming out from schools. It was evident that Singapore’s visual effects and animation industry was declining.
David Kwok, CEO of Tiny Island Productions, saw a need to address this issue. He and Tiny Island invited those who have been laid off and fresh graduates to a briefing at their office . There, David presented his proposal to assist those unemployed through collaboration with various agencies.
I attended the briefing and below are the highlights.
- There is a pilot plan to retrain those affected to upgrade their skills to fit them into production.
- Multinational Corporations are investing in Asia such as Bandai in Kuala Lumpur, Ubisoft in Phillipines, ILM’s Partnership with BaseFx
- Singapore need to improve their IP creations to attract foreign investors like China or Korea
* I cannot disclose much as much of contents are confidential.
With the rising cost and arduous procedures in Singapore to get employment for expats , it is clear why international companies are investing in countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. An example would be that one could hire two rotoscope artists in Malaysia for the same price in Singapore for just one artist.
Every year the government spends countless amounts of money to help expats to get a job or start a root in Singapore. They wanted instant success by inviting talents from overseas to make up for the position we cannot do but they did not want to train the local talents to grow on par in strength and knowledge with the expats.
Inviting studios from overseas to open their studios in Singapore is a short term solution to make up for the demands of jobs but it does not solve the long term solution, what if those studios decided to get out someday (such as the case with Double Negative).
We will still all be jobless.
We need to train the local talents to take up stronger positions and lead the local industry from there by starting their own business in Singapore to create more jobs and content.
The government can offer a higher budget and-non profitable subsidy to encourage local film makers to create better local feature films that could be market to foreign countries.
Through this, we can create our own IP to attract foreign investors, generate jobs and boost the economy of the local Film industry.
While it is commendable of Tiny Island to help the industry, that is not the purpose of this writing.
What I want is to create awareness for this declining state of VFX and animation industry in Singapore and what is each of us doing to solve it. We need to learn from David Kwok or JF Koh (who created Starving Artist Fair for comic book artists and illustrators) and create our own opportunities in our own way.
For me, I believe we need two things
1. A map or rather a directory website
where we curate the best resources like video tutorials, insightful articles and knowledge, tools of trade, case studies of successful local artists and studios,etc. With the same amount of resources and knowledge disseminated, we can level the playing field for everyone.
2. An active online community (built on Slack, a collaboration application)
Here we can create many channels such job listings, discussions, events, sharing of knowledge, asking technical questions,etc. A real time chat functionality is present for everyone to communicate ideas and opportunities. Through this, we can bring artists together under a common goal.
So what do you think? Leave a comment!