Animation industry in the Philippines, where artists earn from P28,000 to P200,000 a month, has received a shot in the arm from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
DOST through its Innovation Council, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), is providing a P20-million worth of scholarship support for 120 students of animation in the University of Pangasinan in Pangasinan province and the University of Iloilo in Iloilo City, Panay Island.
The two universities, in fact, have already received 30 powerful work stations each and now being used by 60 student-scholars in each school. Each work station is worth P50,000.
Part of the P14 million for the first year of the project will also be used for teachers’ salary and students’ allowance; the first year has bigger budget because of the hardware (work stations) and software (flash drawing) needed for the classes.
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To implement the two-year project, DOST and Toon City Academy (TCA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on March 7 at Legend Villas in Mandaluyong City. Even before the signing, classes have already been ongoing since November 2017.
Beneficiary scholars in either third year or fourth year college are from the recipient universities (70 percent) and from outside (30 percent). DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peňa. and PCIEERD Deputy Executive Director Raul Sabularse and their counterparts, Juan Miguel del Rosario, TCA president and CEO and Roderico De Guzman, TCA VP for Resources Development signed the MOA.
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Their partnership is aimed at capacitating and honing more Filipino animators to pave the way for the growth of the country’s creative industries. Toon City, which established the animation academy in 2014, had already been recognized worldwide as it won an Emmy for “Curious George” and counts among its clients Walt Disney Television Animation, Universal Animation, Warner Brothers Animation, MoonScoop Productions, and many others. Del Rosario is president and CEO of Toon City as well as president of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI).
It can be recalled that PCIEERD recently included creative industries in its sectoral coverage to boost people capacity and opportunities for employment harnessing proper cultivation of talents and adequate training. De la Peňa cited the timeliness of the initiative.
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“I believe that it is high time that we fully use our resources to boost our creative industries, as it is one of the driving forces of our economy and its continuing growth.” He noted the animation industry has over 6,000 workers.
The MOA is about the parties’ pilot project called “Industry-defined 2D Basic Animation Course” in a 12-week intensive basic animation workshop, and actual work production through an internship.
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After their graduation the students are expected to be job-ready and able to land a job. Saying the collaboration with DOST “is a milestone,” Del Rosario had advice for the scholars and all those who are interested into becoming animators.
“If you are going to make animation as a career, especially if you want to put up a studio, you learn to manage people and finances. There’s no way out here. “If you hate doing those, get a manager or a business manager. Also, do not stop learning. Upgrade your skills in your craft and keep up with technology,” he said.
The TCA head said after the duration of the pilot project they will evaluate the results and move from there whether to extend or do a part two. Del Rosario added that the TCA is eyeing to expand the coverage of universities in the project, saying: “Our thinking is Manila should not be a monopoly on creative talent. We would like one in Mindanao next.”
He said the global animation industry has reached around US$240 billion, $140 billion for entertainment and $100 billion for gaming. De Guzman, on the other hand, welcomed the collaboration with the government which provides the necessary tools to 120 animators-in-training to boost their livelihood as they acquire industry-standard skills.
“We are currently addressing capacity building outside Metro Manila and with the help of everyone here, we are creating employment for people who will not necessarily have this chance in their areas.”