I did my Bachelor of commerce in 1997 and then went to Hyderabad to pursue a course in animation film making from a well-known institute, well - all was not as expected and I did not even stay around to finish the entire course. Subsequently, I joined an organization in Gujrat as an Animator, my first salary was meagre Rs 5600 but I was happy cause I was enjoying my work. Things changed within an year and I moved back to Hyderabad for a little better salary yet the workload increased exponentially. But I did not mind that as I loved my job, and secondly I was assisting international folders for which my skills were inadequate and hence I used to work triple shifts to get the scene right - something that I can do in an hours time today. Then I joined another company and took a good raise this time, my work has improved, the HR of the company was very kind and I took 20 per cent appraisal every year... and was still doing the same quantum of work. The company stopped making profit and then they fired me. I was replaced by 3 junior animators. Simple economics – my pay outgrew the value of my work in the market.
I sat at home for 6 months, sold stuff to survive, worked on my showreel, made a short film and joined another company eventually in less than half the salary - but it was okay, cause I was enjoying my work.
Today 13 years from the time I started my career in animation, I look back and I realize I am perhaps the least paid person in my peer group, but that’s all right, I love animating and most of the organizations that I joined have been kind enough to give me a free hand and I still love what I do. I have a family that I love and they are okay with me drawing smaller pay package as they are far more concerned about me being happy. In all these years, I have not bought a house; I drive a pre-owned car and have been saving up for last 6 years to make my own animation film.
You know why? It is because I love what I do. And tomorrow If lose my job, I will still be in the business of animation.
My life is navigated by the choices I make and not by the success and failure of any industry. I have lots of friends in animation industry who are doing really well and then they are friends who are between jobs. But we have all been there at some point of time or the other and we have understood and accepted the way this industry works, so we don't complain cause we have grown wiser, perhaps more tolerant and astute too with time. Once in a while when we meet we crack few self-deprecating jokes and laugh at ourselves , over a beer (oh yes beer has to be there..!!)
We watch out for each other and try to help each other out when a friend is in need, not because we are friends but because we have faith in each others set of skills and this is very important as none of us has any iota of self pity. Positivity is infectious.
But industry or no industry – 13 years ago drawing was my hobby, today I get paid for pursuing my passion and tomorrow even if I don’t have a job I will still be drawing. There is nothing else in this world that I want to do.
PS: The last statement is incorrect- I want to learn to paint!!:-)
About the Author:
Aroop Dwivedi is an animator with 13 years of experience in Indian Animation Industry out of which last 6 years he has been teaching animation to the up and coming breed of animators in India.
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