On the afternoon of June 12, the Magnolia TV Animation Master Class was held as scheduled in the Central Hall of Shanghai Exhibition Center. Max Howard, American animator, animation consultant and jury chairman of the 25th Magnolia Awards – Animation, Shuzo John Shiota, Chairman and CEO of Japan Polygon Pictures and judge of the 25th Magnolia Award – Animation, LIU Kuo, Chinese Animation Director and judge of the 25th Magnolia Award – Animation and others shared their observations on the current trend of TV animation as keynote speakers.
Magnolia TV Animation Master Class On-spot
Animation creative strategy by Max Howard
Max Howard, who has many years of experience in Hollywood animation production, believes that as TV-film differences narrow, especially with the great changes in broadcast platform, the original animation content structure is undergoing rebuilding, and the creative strategy has to be adjusted accordingly.
Max Howard said that the success of film and TV works is story-based, and the corresponding rules, that is, structured content, should be established when telling stories. Chinese films can be understood by Western audiences as many emotions are common. For example, the Western classic stories "Romeo and Juliet", "Cinderella", etc., all have similar story versions in China. There are good stories in China, but when the essence of Chinese classical literature and art is turned into a film or television work, the story-telling links and the talents to build stories are in lack.
"For Western audiences, the structure of a story is the key to understand such films." Max Howard added.
However, Max Howard also pointed out that any content should rely on a structure, a formula for success, but that’s nothing about mechanical. The creator needs to abide by some existing rules, but more importantly, to innovate, break the rules and take the thinking realm to a new height after knowing what the rules are. Never following the old way is the first step to attracting the audience and to success.
Max Howard, American animator, animation consultant and jury chairman of the 25th Magnolia Awards – Animation
Industrial cooperation by Shuzo John Shiota
The global animation industry has ushered in a new era, with cooperation and innovation becoming the driving force for the development of animation industry in all countries. Based on the new trends of mergers and acquisitions in Japanese animation industry and of overseas cooperation, Shuzo John Shiota said that the Japanese animation industry is gradually changing its originally introverted attitude by working with global partners including China to forge a more prosperous future for the animation industry.
In Shuzo John Shiota’s view, most of the innovation breakthroughs in the Japanese animation industry began with streaming media. Streaming media has contributed to the solving of a lot of problems, including the original restrictions on broadcast media and content forms, thus facilitating animation’s national and global presence.
At present, the Japanese animation industry has widely cooperated with China's platforms, such as bilibili, Youku, Tencent, and iQiyi, with over 900 Japanese animations broadcast on Chinese network platforms.
Shuzo John Shiota noted, the animation industry is entering a new era of explosion, which indicates great potential in the future. The cooperation between China and Japan can be better improved, as the supposed needs by both parties may be different to the reality. In the future, only by better understanding each other, finding congenial aspects and appeals, and through close communication and cooperation, can we find a better win-win solution.
Shuzo John Shiota, Chairman and CEO of Japan Polygon Pictures and judge of the 25th Magnolia Award – Animation
Animation internationalization by LIU Kuo
In recent years, while Hollywood and Japanese animation seek opportunities in the Chinese market, Chinese animation is also aggressively exploring ways and methods to go overseas, such as Chinese-American co-production animation, or the spread of Chinese traditional animation themes, art forms abroad, etc.
However, Liu Kuo believes that at this stage, Chinese animation should not be too eager to go abroad, as above all, it is reasonable to win the domestic audience first. After all, before being recognized by the whole world, Hollywood films always try to conquer the American audience in the first place.
"There are cases where some films are more successful in overseas promotion, but that’s not common. An industrial model should be established for animation before it grows strong enough to go global." LIU Kuo said.
Regarding the current gap between Chinese and international animation, LIU Kuo said that China still lacks a lot of experience in handling story framework and structure. Many domestic creators have not yet mastered the most basic creation formulas; however, the basic is the only path to revolution and innovation.
Finally, he noted, most of the human emotions can be felt and understood worldwide, while the emotional expression varies among countries. Therefore, to go global, we should first study in depth the culture of our country, win the domestic audiences, and then cultivate the ability to create content that is different from overseas, and bring forth more subjects and works of universal value.
As a traditional high-quality session of STVF, the three master classes of STVForum focus on documentary, animation, and TV drama respectively. The lecturers are frontline industry workers with rich practical experience in respective fields at home and abroad and abundant creation pattern and industry knowledge. In the common context of discussing the future development of China's TV content category, they revisited the concept - “content prevails”, and explored profoundly the creative path and development model of different content categories.
LIU Kuo, Chinese Animation Director and judge of the 25th Magnolia Award – Animation
From June 11th to June 13th, this year's STVForum consists of 5 industry dialogue forums and 3 master classes. The guests are the leading figures in the TV industry at home and abroad. The STVForum, which has always been regarded as the wind vane of the TV industry, this year, has highlighted the era and mission sense though its topics. Based on the core value of adherence and innovation, it has strived to give full play to the platform effect of STVF, converged wisdom for the development of the TV industry in the new era, showed the vigorous power of Chinese TV industry before the whole world, while promoting the TV industry to forge ahead with the times.