Pete Oswald's tryst with Indian animation industry started when he helped some of his friends set up an animation studio in Pune. The American production designer finds huge potential in Indian talent, but hopes they take pointers from Hollywood on how to create a story that goes beyond one film.
Oswald is credited for breathing life into the animated world of films like "The Angry Birds Movie" and upcoming film "The Willoughbys". He has also worked on projects like "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa", "Hotel Transylvania" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs".
"To be honest, I don't know a whole lot about the animated industry in India. I did spend some time about ten years ago helping some friends set an animation studio in Pune. So, I got to work with a lot of Indian artistes and I'm still friends with a lot of them. There is some really great talent coming out of India which I was exposed to and which is really exciting," Oswald said in recorded responses to questions sent by IANS.
A lot of Indian technicians work in Hollywood studios for animation projects.
Oswald, who is also working on a sequel of "The Angry Birds Movie", which was aired in India on Sony PIX last month, pointed out that there are certain things that the Indian animation industry can learn from Hollywood's animation sector.
"Hollywood is doing some amazing storytelling right now... I guess something (that Indian animation industry can) learn from Hollywood will be how they create the characters and create a franchise that people love and love to follow," Oswald said, stressing that in the end a good story will always sell and turn out to be a success.
Reflecting on his memories from his trip to the country, the production designer said: "I think the most memorable part of my trip was just meeting people. I especially remember everybody being very nice (to me) from a taxi driver to people at the studio. One of my favourite part of our day would be when we would eat our lunch. The whole crew would eat together, and we used to eat traditional Indian meals which was so amazing."
Oswald, who entered the animation industry in 2003 with the show "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends", looks back at the time spent in India with much affection. He recounted how along with good memories he took back the warmth that he received from the people.
"There is warmth to India -- both emotionally and physically which I could feel wherever I used to travel when I was spending some time there. There was this kind of warmth in the people... Bringing me in and just being accepting of me. And then there was the actual physical warmth of the place.
"The lighting felt different. I have grown up in America all my life. The lighting felt so different there and so beautiful," he said.
If one talks about the animation industry in general, Oswald is excited about it moving out of the 'kids' zone.
"It's a really interesting time for animation in general, especially with technology. Making films is a lot easier now. I think as the years go on, we will be going to get into a lot of different genres of animation and not just animation for kids. Animation is going to be thought just as a medium and not a genre that the kids watch," Oswald said, adding that he is excited about the experimental phase of it.
At the moment, he is busy with "The Willoughbys". Actors like Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Jane Krakowski, Terry Crews, and Sean Cullen will be lending voice to the project based on the Lois Lowry children's book of the same name.
Oswald remains tight-lipped about the movie, and says: "I can't say too much about that right now".