Interview - Media Freaks
Founding Managing Director Mediafreaks group
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I am the Founding Managing Director of the Mediafreaks group and am best described as a creative entrepreneur with business interests in animation, cartoons, virtual worlds for kids, internet marketing, interactive digital media, web 2.0 and music.
How did you start your business?
I started Mediafreaks with zero cash and another animator. Our very first project on our very first week of operation paid for 2 computers, the software licenses, the rent and our pays. It was a 3d medical visualization project for a pharmaceutical company. This was all thanks to a good pitch.
Some creative ideas from Media Freaks portfolio
Did you receive any awards?
We have received a few awards so far. Our cartoon animated series Katakune won the 3rd prize for Tokyo Broadcasting System’s Digicon and was an official selection for Italy Rai’s Cartoons On the Bay Pucinella Awards. Mediafreaks was also a nominee for the Singapore Spirit of Enterprise Awards.
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What was the biggest challenge you faced since you started the company?
We used to find getting clients and good talents difficult. Getting clients is easier now but finding good talent is still pretty challenging.
You’re also a creative entrepreneur…can you give us some details about that?
I’ve never really seen myself as being just an executive producer, a game producer, an animator, a music producer or any other role along those lines. Coming from me it may seem strange, but quite honestly I tend to see myself more as being an entrepreneur, or rather a creative entrepreneur. This is somebody – whom by my definition – who is essentially a businessman at heart, involved in creative businesses and drives his businesses in creative ways. What this means for me is - whatever I do - it must always make business sense. If I am producing a cartoon animated series, writing a song, or producing a virtual world, I will not do it for mere satisfaction. My efforts must pay off in terms of monetary gains.
How many people work for a 3D commercial?
Between 2 to 4 people usually.
What can you tell us about Asia’s TV standards for a commercial?
Asia is getting to be really good at producing commercials. Some really well-animated and good looking TV commercials are coming out of Asia these days. Most of them are coming out of Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
How do you start working on an animation? Do you have exact references or just imagine the movement?
First we will lay out an initial storyboard of the scene we envisage. Then we will find relevant movies, documentaries or other animation work to draw inspiration from. From there we study how the scenes can be relevant to what we want to achieve and we create our own adaptations. We will then go back to the storyboards and modify them according to what is realistic for us to achieve.
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What programs do you use?
Autodesk 3ds Max, After Effects, Adobe Flash and Photoshop.
Tell us a bit about your cartoon project: Katakune? How did it start? What was the feedback? Do you have a distribution network for it?
We kick started Katakune with lots of passion but very little money, but in the end the passion finally brought us investors and supporters. The project has gone on to pick up a couple of awards and got broadcasted in several countries around the world. Saying that, our key distributor really did a shoddy job and they not only did not do their job well, they also owe us lots of money besides other property owners they represent. I won’t mention their name here but just so I don’t implicate the other distributors, their name is made up of three roman numbers.
How difficult it is to find a new client?
It was very difficult from the start because we started with a small portfolio and we were not well-known back then. Nowadays we get inquiries every day from all over the world.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We will have completed a couple of animated features, more animated series, even more commercial animation projects, launched at least 2 virtual worlds and transgressed successfully into the online entertainment arena. Lastly, Mediafreaks will be known internationally.
What’s that one project that makes you proud?
The Travels of Wiglington and Wenks Virtual World
It is a massive online virtual world for kids we are currently developing. We developed the concept for the virtual world entirely from scratch and assembled a team of programmers to work on the game engine. Our graphics artists worked on the artwork and animation. I am particularly proud of this project because this will mark our entry into the online entertainment arena and although the virtual world is due to launch only on Christmas Eve, we have already gained considerable traction and buzz online. Tens of thousands of people from more than 130 countries have subscribed to be informed first-hand of the launch and there is a lot of coverage on this project. All eyes are on us now. You can see a press release on the property here
If you had the opportunity to spend a day with anyone from this industry, who would it be?
What's your favorite movie director/producer?
What's lacking in your company?
A heavy-weight financer like Steve Jobs.
If you had unlimited resources (from artists to money) what path would you take?
Produce a wacky mash-up animated action comedy feature starring all the super heroes and villains from Marvel Comics and DC, with a smattering of anime heroes like Astro Boy, Naruto, Doraemon and Goku from Dragonball.
If your child wants to be a 3D artist what would you tell him/her?
Don’t do it unless you have heaps of passion and you won’t be envious of your banker friends who drive flashy cars and wear expensive watches.