Sandman Animation Studio.
'The future for Chinese animation



Undoubtedly, China is blended into the global economy with an increasingly open attitude. However, the National TV and Film Bureau is still strongly pushing it’s policy to protect the domectic animation business with an obvious intention to promote its domestic business chain into a benign circle. With all the government’s green lights to Chinese domestic animation business, will there be a smooth progress for the animation business industrialization


Sandman Animation: All for Domestic animation

In the simple-styled Singapore Industrial Park, the brilliant bright-yellow colored studio of Sandman Animaiton is really eye-catching to all the passer bys.? The huge cartoon posters on the walls in the main working area are just compatible with the work atmosphere. Dozens of young people are working either on their animation desks or on computers. The hot working atmosphere easily makes everybody in it warmed up. This is the “animation Dreamworks” that Nelson and Jane are trying to build up.

Talking about the reason why he choose the animation business, Nelson smiled. As early as 1993, he got to know that the animation business is regarded as an eternal rising business in developed countries via chatting with one of his foreign friends. Very soon, Nelson collected all the relative information and realized the huge difference between Chinese animation and the overseas ones. Attracted by the potential opportunities, Nelson started his animation career. After years of experience, he set up Sandman Animation together with Jane , who just came back from the U.K. With their enthusiam for animation, they started with their dream of building up a studio for Chinese domestic animation and what a studio they have built !

We turned our topic to Chinese domestic animation, which Nelson is quite familiar with. He gets a little bit excited. In the beginning, Chinese animation had a big success around the 1940’s. However, this doesn't last for long. When the overseas animation was a boom, the domestic animation business made no progress. From the 90’s on, most of the Chinese animation companies are working as service companies for overseas projects, And as a result, the domestic ones are not satisfatory due to investments, and all the limitation in China at that time. Without renovation, most of the animation works at that time were quite disappointing to the Chinese animation fans.

Sandman Animation started its own original projects last year. Partly due to all the government’s? supporting policies to animation business but also with a passion to rise the Domestic Animation to a higher more international level. In September 2006, National TV and Film Bureau released the rule: No foreign animation contents on all the TV channnels throughout the country from 17:00 to 20:00 everyday. This was a very exciting and inspiring news to all the domestic animation studios. And also offers a very good opportunity to all these Chinese animation companies.

However, through the government’s imperative policies, it may help to clear some obstacles for domestic animation development. But the final result is not clear yet. As in the multimedia era, the channels for culture consumer to get all the information is never so multible and aboundant. So the protected area in TV department, still cannot stop the animation products from overseas.

Realizing this point, Nelson thinks it’s necessary for Sandman Animation to do something for the domestic animation business. Animation belongs to creative business. The content of a project has a direct effect on the marketing side. Recently, the American animation film KUNG FU PANDA overwhelmed the whole nation while leaving a lot for us to think about ‘Why the films with Chinese elements could be so successful’.

Nelson has his own thoughts for this long ago: Though the company is only one year old, the two original projects Sandman Animation produced did win awards for excellence for its two original projects on the 14th Shanghai TV festival. One award, is ‘My Pet’ and the other award is “Odd Bob”. These two projects are totally created and produced by Sandman Animation。The company owns all the copyright for these two projects. ‘My Pet’ has finished production for the first 13 episodes. And will finish the next 13 before the end of 2008. ‘Odd Bob’ is scheduled to finish post production next June. Within a very short time, four original projects are already in Sandman’s plan. Besides the above two, there are another two ‘The story of Sandman’ and ‘Little China’ in preproduction.

Starting from the very beginning, Sandman Animation set its feet on an international view. We found during our interview that the cartoon character ‘Little China’ which is created by Sandman is on the cover page of the English magazine ‘Teddy Bear International’. ‘Little China’ is based on the Chinese Panda, and the soft toys are delightful. You will find it’s such a lovely character whichever angle you look at him.

Animation is a very tough business which needs huge amount of hard work, people and perseverance. It will take us long time to catch up with the overseas animation level. However, with the team like Sandman, we see a very bright future for Chinese animation.

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