Work culture : we put the Fun in the Fundamentals

Whoever said ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’, clearly didn’t know his coffee from his lighter fluid. Just like how love is not enough for successful marriages, being passionate about your work is not enough for a successful career. Shocker! Success demands passion that encompasses perseverance and constant learning. That takes a lot of work and effort (and is a mouthful).

At Mypromovideos, we are passionate about telling stories. And in our efforts to keep that passion burning, we come up with activities in the studio, every now and then. On the serious side, we have organized debates, courses, and presentations. On the fun side, we have had games and frolics, cook-outs and movies screenings. We squeezed in these ‘sprint’ activities between regular ‘marathon’ projects and managed not to get dehydrated in the process.

Here you can find the choicest picks from our activities in the last few months (don’t worry, we keep the violent stuff behind closed doors). Check them out.

Animation for Dummies:

Every time I watch my script come alive during the animation stage, I feel two things simultaneously – satisfaction and pride in seeing the fruition of my labour and a pang of disappointment that I can’t animate my script.

Writers, Illustrators or Creative Directors, everybody had faced the same problem at least once before. We decided to change that. Animation would no longer be the mysterious, Area-51 territory. Whoever finds animation interesting can join the bootcamp, learn the basics and sharpen their skills. The gates were thrown open.

Equipped with Flash and blind guts we stepped into it. There was a strong back-to-college vibe every time an assignment was given. Once a week, we would meet and peer review our animated videos. We would critique them based on the 12 principles, creativity, and execution. Soon enough, with practice, we were able to speak the language of animation, understand how the principles were interwoven and even learn some nifty shortcuts!

It’s been two months now. In these 8 sessions, we’ve learnt how to animate a bouncing ball, a pendulum, a flying bird and many other exciting things.

animation bird gif
We did a pretty good job, eh?

Art vs Design:

Yep. We did it. We got into the great debate of the Titans.

On the red team, we had the Legend, the renaissance-revolutionary – Art. And on the blue team, challenging Art, was the latest, the leanest and the meanest – Design.

We gathered around the table, feeling frisky and ready to put the two to a spirited challenge. We pitted Art against Design in various categories: Purpose, Aesthetics, Influence, Skills and Lucidity. Things got heated up pretty quick and then the real fight was on! Questions were fired from every direction and one question in particular, the big daddy of them all, ‘Can Design exist without Art?’, got the two groups arguing over the origins of design for a long time.

We learnt a whole deal that day. And we also understood that, as an animation studio, we can’t lean on one side too much. We were the bridge that connected inspirational art to intelligent design.

artndesign-10

Movie Screenings:

What’s the dullest part of a work week? Saturday afternoon. What better way to spice it up than a matinee show, right here at the studio?

Pixar’s shorts are a treasure trove. They are packed with treats that can inspire artists, writers and animators for at least another decade. All of us were left with goose skin after watching this iconic short. We watched many international films which were revelations to us. Studio Ghibli’s ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ used animation in its most natural form to tell children’s stories. ‘Fears of the Dark’ was one of the first movies in which we experienced animated film noir. We imbibed many things from the movies we screened: variety and richness of the visuals, international movie-making styles, character mannerisms, lighting, humor, and other storytelling techniques.

All of us would look forward to that Saturday and finish the day’s work by noon. Soon as lunch is done, we would kick back and relax with a movie, and let the subconscious mind do its thing. We are sure that the things we’ve absorbed and the inspirations we have taken, will subconsciously trickle out in our future work. We have exposed ourselves to so much of this ‘gamma rays’ of animation movies that you shouldn’t be surprised if one day, we emerge as a gigantic, green, invulnerable superhero.

Adzap:

It was the time when protests against the ban on Jallikattu were making the rounds in the news. As a media house and animal lovers we couldn’t let this slip by while we remained silent. So…

One hour. 7 teams. Brilliant ideas.

We got everyone from the project manager to the sales team involved, because you never know what brilliant ideas are hiding in their minds. Sure enough, they came out with some funky concepts and interesting designs. All but one of the entries were against the ban. Not surprisingly, that one team had a beef lover who had turned bitter. To each his own, I guess. By the end of the hour, the winning entry was chosen. Tell me if that poster didn’t send shivers down your spine. You can also check out the other top poster designs here and here.

There are at least a dozen other activities – treasure hunt, cooking competitions, random discussions on feminism, ice-cream outings, word games, Dumb charades, jungle trips – which if I start ranting about I’d never stop.

Activities like this are like our lifeline. Working on projects on a regular schedule can take a toll on your creative side. Deadlines, fixing errors, and production processes take priority on a daily basis. Every now and then it’s good to let our mind monkeys loose. Who knows where they’ll find a wild, succulent banana (in case it isn’t clear already, the banana is a metaphor for an idea). An office culture should make room for these vent-outs. It helps generate new bana…erm..ideas, un-glues people from Facebook and gives the monkeys a refreshing break. And in the end, without even knowing it, you’d have gained a lot of knowledge.

Image credits: Antony John
This blog was originally published here.

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4 thoughts on “Work culture : we put the Fun in the Fundamentals

  1. christybharath September 2, 2016 / 11:17 am

    The flying bird looks adorable. And I agree, having fun makes for a more functional work ethic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shravanthi Kripa September 2, 2016 / 11:22 am

      Thanks. I’ll pass it on to the person who animated it so adorably. Feels good to get a compliment from an ornithologist 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • christybharath September 2, 2016 / 11:25 am

        Ayyo I am no ornithologist. Just a birdwatcher 🙂

        Also, I am glad I stumbled upon your articles today. So many marketing articles feel disingenuous and borrowed.

        You write like you mean it, keep at it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shravanthi Kripa September 2, 2016 / 11:38 am

        Thanks! They are a part of my work 🙂 We collaborate on these articles. Double compliments is a nice way to start the day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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