Interview - Zoran Krstic

Zoran Krstic
Director Open Studio
Contact: Belgrad, Serbia
Tell us a bit about yourself…

Open Studio (ex Helium) was founded by pioneers of CG business in Serbia.  From the very beginning it was positioned as the leader on domestic market. Over the time, it has expanded on other markets, especially Middle East.

What was the biggest challenge you faced since you started the company?

It is always the same, recurring challenge, how to meet deadlines and keep highest quality.

You’re also a post-production company…can you give us some details about that? 
We are an animation and postproduction company, equally. Sometimes it’s more about animation, sometimes postproduction. It depends on our clients, actually. We do movie VXF and commercials, but we are much more into commercials.
How many people usually work for a 3D commercial ?
Up to 20 people maximum.
What are Europe’s TV standards for a commercial?
Even though we are a small company, we do our best to reach world wide or regional standards, which we have done many times.

How do you start working on an animation? 
It depends on the timeline, but mostly we are approaching projects very professionally, making sketches, shooting boards, animatics, looking for references if we have to follow some natural movements, having VFX shooting very often, too.  And yes, looking up to high budget movies and commercials as references, since we usually don’t have enough time to initiate our own serious development. 
Tell us a bit about your work with advertising agencies…how’s the process? 
We have a lot of agencies we are working with constantly. We work together as a well coordinated team. Usually we get the initial idea and storyboard from the agency, but we are always trying to suggest how to improve the idea and get to higher level. And of course, we do our best to get our part of the job done in the best possible way. 

How difficult it is to find a new client?
It is most difficult to make a breakthrough in a new market. Once it’s done, it is quite easy to get other clients. 
Do you think your company has something nobody else has?
Maybe. We have Pepsi Kan, a character that is transformed from a Pepsi can, and has lived for years now, in many different situations and commercials. Also, we definitely rely more on people and their creativity, than on the technique. 

How do you see your company in 5 years?
What’s that one project that makes you proud?
Me personally, as the producer and director, I’m always proud of every project that was done in the best way, from our side, in terms of creativity, especially.

What's lacking in your company?
There is always a lack of highly skilled artists. That is never enough. But, I suppose it is the same around the world, since we are in a quite new, expanding business.  Particularly, we are small country and often our best artist leaving the company to move to top studios such as Weta Digital, Double negative, RhinoFX …  
If you had unlimited resources what would you do?
Yes, we have some of our own projects, which we work on in between commissions. Short film so far, with intention to become feature, or serial. 
If your child wants to be a 3D artist what would you tell him? 
To work hard (if she feels passionate about it).