Thursday, March 17, 2011

Les Copaque's Reason For Not Sending Upin & Ipin to Outerspace

Last we've heard from Les Copaque's head honcho, the esteemed Tuan Haji Burhanuddin that our intrepid animation industry pioneer was hard at work with other stuff; other than the movie that we were expecting this year.

Zanimated! was privileged enough to have gotten that nice morsel of information and there's still some more that we got from the proverbial horses mouth. It tells of a tale which paints the picture a little bleaker than most people would think. So if you think you are talented and want to go into animation, maybe there are more things to consider than just your grades and whether you can find a job in Malaysia (or Singapore for that matter).

"Actually, after we released our film and started to make the 42 episodes of Upin & Ipin in 2009, we were planning to start making another movie. The main reason was because the revenue stream from selling the TV series in Malaysia is not lucrative and the revenue from the movie is not enough to recover my investment. So were hoping that our seconnd film will bring enough revenue to recover my investments," Burhanuddin shares.

The small episodic morsels of Upin & Ipin made for the TV series were actually a Godsend reprieve. By August 2009, the series made its enterance into  Indonesia under a revenue sharing arrangement.

"Due to revenue sharing, we could not see the revenue stream until 4 months later. Since June 2009, we started developing the storyline and decided to produce the Angkasawan (movie) because we were trying to get TM to sponsor the production cost," says Burhanuddin.

Burhanuddin claims that the original second Geng movie's storyline was about Upin & Ipin going to outerspace and, get this, they are attacked by the aliens who are looking for coffee beans to sustain their power. This idea was scrapped after some major shifts within Les Copaque and some of the creative team leaving for greener pastures back in October 2009.

Being left in a lurch and with no finalised script to work on, Les Copaque had no other viable options but to regorganise and deal with management issues. According to Burhanuddin, there were voices saying that Les Copaque would collapse within 6 months after the leaving of some key personnel.

"We managed to honour our obligations for 2009 and by January 2010 we started new productions of the Upin & Ipin TV series. Due to limited resources, we had no time to start film production (for the second movie). By June 2010, we started to see huge revenues come from Indonesia due to the success of Upin & Ipin and the slots moved to prime time," Burhanuddin highlights to Zanimated!.

Due to the encouraging revenue, Les Copaque has expanded and developed new businesses from Upin & Ipin.

"We continued recruiting staff and now have already reached 140 people, with plans to hit 200 by end of the year. Now, we are capable of making the movie while producing the TV series as we have enough resources. As the boys do not want to use the old footprint (for the second movie) and taking in the commercial considerations, we changed the title to 'Laksamana Upin and Ipin.' It is easier to include story from the other side and attract big sponsors who are ready to commit," explains Burhanuddin.

So there you have it. There are always commercial considerations that you need to make when you're making a movie. Passion sadly enough, is not enough. You have to make it, on a balance, sellable in the first place. Lofty as the ambitions may sound, it isn't too stretching the possibilities. Indonesia is such a vast and interesting market to a lot of people in a lot of industries.

Burhanuddin also tells Zanimated! that he has asked TV3 (under the threat of legal action) to stop crediting others as the creators of Upin & Ipin. TV3 has complied of course.

No matter how the storm looks like in the teacup of the Malaysian animation industry, Burhanuddin seems positive in saying that he feels proud to have helped inspire the next. Proud as well to have contributed to the growth of the industry.

Still want to enter the animation industry? Well, this quote will sum it up from Les Copaque's head honcho:
"I believe you must realise that this business is 'indah khabar dari rupa' (sounds better than how it actually seems)." Pretty apt. Pretty short. But we sure as heck hope that things will get better for everyone.

WOW! 2011 has been great for the industry! So Far...

Animosta's Boiboi Boy has just debuted on TV3 (sorry for the previous error, complete slip of mind. Thanks Mistaman). Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa @ Bloodlines collected RM2.2 million in just a couple of weeks and Mantera from Spacetoons is coming up! Can this year just get better? You betcha!

So far 2011 has been a great upbeat kinda start to the creative industry, the very least on in a noticeable kinda way. Riding the wave is more of the challenge for now. If you haven't seen Boiboi Boy or Bloodlines, then you very well should! It's the way that we can support the local industry.

So far so good for these two featured in the videos above. But what about Mantera? Have a looksee here:

Some are saying that Mantera is a bit lacking in the spit and polish department. But I say you cannot judge from a trailer. I have high hopes, even the line delivery in the narrative seems better than I expected from Tomok (the star lead actor). Things can change. The real movie could be way, way better. Give it a chance folks!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Les Copaque responds! New movie in the works!

In response to some of the information posted on Zanimated! Tuan Hj Burhanuddin Md Radzi, Managing Director Les' Copaque Production Sdn Bhd thought he should send to Zanimated! an email detailing a lot of things and going arounds at Les Copaque.

He wished to clarify on certain things; some of which unfortunately we do not have permission as yet to share with the public. Maybe in the near future? Who knows?

But for now, here are some announcements that will make local animation lovers salivate and wait with bated breath for the next Movie installment. The following is the input received:

"We are proud until now, we have excited the industries as we have proven, if it is properly done, it can be sustainable without depending on the government funds," he says.

According to Tn. Hj. Burhanuddin, Les Copaque only received a RM1 million grant from MOSTI for the film Geng: The Adventure Begins. Subsequent request were rejected because "they felt that we were rich."

"I personally invested RM4 million from my own pockets; most of  which has been recovered," he adds.

On expansion plans, Tn. Hj. says that Les Copaque is proud to have provided opportunities for young people to work.

"Today we have 140 personnel and we are targeting 200 staff by the end of the year. Every year we are producing 42 episodes of Upin & Ipin for television; with the biggest income from Indonesia. The Upin & Ipin tv series is our main source of income and therefore it is no 1 priority," Tn. Hj. Burhanuddin explains.

What's in store for this year? This year Les Copaque is looking into producing another series called "Pada Zaman Dahulu" (Once upon a time), which has been snapped up by the local and Indonesian TV broadcasters.

"We are planning the film which will include steroscopic techniques. The film is titled 'Laksamana Upin and Ipin' and the reason why we picked the theme is purely for commercial reasons due to difficulties of getting free finacial assistance," he answers further.

Well the last statement certainly explains a lot as one might think; although that is not the entire story to be let out for the time being.

The golden question now would be: so when can we see this?

"As this film is low priority (compared to the TV commitments), we are hoping that it can be completed towrds end of 2012," finishes Tn. Hj. Burhanuddin.

Well that puts to rest a lot of questions. We'll definitely won't be seeing the intrepid toddlers Upin & Ipin anytime soon. This year will be another uneventful one for the local animation scene *sigh* Here we thought we'd be able to see another Upin & Ipin movie in a few days time. Major bummer.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Upin & Ipin In Space? Errr maybe or maybe not...

Recently I received news from a source that it's out in certain media (in this case it was a children's publication) that Upin and Ipin in Space will be out this 10 February! OK. I'll be honest, the source was a very excited 11 year old boy who read it off a magazine at a convenience store rack...

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah...I just read it...Ermm...Now I'm not so sure" (Especially since you're looking at me funny right now).

"Oh. OK. Would be nice if that were so. I thought they scratched the idea"

Nevertheless, the first reaction a kid has, in most cases is a good and honest reaction. No pretension involved.

You know why I take into consideration children's opinions when it comes to animation? Well. They look at things rather differently. We need to take heed to how they view things if you want to make animation meant for them in the first place - for instance during the preview of Geng: The Adventure Begins at the MDeC HQ in Cyberjaya, I took my kids along; sure enough there were some scenes where they were laughing when the adults were not!

So I do put value to kid views. Not something totally radical or new. Just a good thing to take in mind...

Reading up online, sources on Yahoo!
 sort of confirms this. but going to the Les Copaque landing page meant for the space themed movie ( reroutes you to an updated page called instead. Hmm. So how now brown cow? Well short of calling them up, it leaves a lot of questions in the mind does it not?

On Wiki there's this line: "Namun, setahun kemudian, filem Angkasa diumumkan batal dan diganti dengan Laksamana Upin & Ipin yang dijanjikan dalam bentuk filem 3D"  which sort of puts the entire matter to rest.

Oh well. The children's publication could be wrong - anyway it just means that the will be finally over! It would be great to watch another local animation work on the silver screen again after such a looooooong time!

Zanimated flagged down!

Wow. Have we pushed the wrong buttons? After the post 'Failure to launch: Malaysian Animation Industry Rumours or News,' trying to put up links on FaceBook got a response that said that Zanimated has been flagged down as being inappropriate or abusive.

How is that so? I'm not all that certain to be honest. In terms of toning down messages, I thought I had done enough; but apparently not enough for some. There's no pleasing everyone I suppose.

In terms of viciousness - I do think there are more vicious blogs, forums and posts which are a helluva lot more vicious than compared to Zanimated!

I've asked some industry related people online plus some I bumped into at the recent Maxis Mobile Content Challenge at KLCC and in the majority they do agree that there's no real reason why Zanimated! would or should be flagged down. It's quite interesting actually...

Anyway the matter got resolved the very same day after putting up a complaint to Facebook. It's nice to know that they actually sort out matters such like this quite promptly. Facebook does seem to have somewhat a local presence; kudos!

Comments are still open. So if you have anything animation related, you know where to post.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Old post on CGI Magic lessens the movie magic

Still relevant after all this time...

Overuse Of CGI Effects Lessens The Magic
By Hazimin Sulaiman
HARRY Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, has met with some criticism in
its screenplay. Newcomer Michael Goldenberg (who co-wrote the 2003 version
of Peter Pan and Contact in 1997) just joined the fray, giving Steve
Kloves, the regular screenwriter a much deserved break.
The fingers are also pointing to director David Yates who is making his
debut with this instalment of Harry potter. prior to this, he directed the
HBO film The Girl in the Cafe.
But don't dismiss The Order of The Phoenix as a bad movie. In fact, it
is a good movie. However, besides the creative liberties taken by the
filmmakers (to simplify the storyline and squeeze the entire book into
mere minutes), there are other things which diminish Potter's magic.
The computer-generated effects are brilliant, especially the dark battle
scenes. Yet they are missing the "ooohs" and "aahs" from the audience.
Though most of the audiences were movie reviewers, it does reflect in
general how real audiences would react.
The question is, are we jaded by computer-generated imagery (CGI)? The
Centaurs and Hagrid's 16-foot giant half-brother, Grawp, did not manage to
draw any surprise from the audience. The magic seems to have disappeared
though the technology has improved. This makes it increasingly challenging
for filmmakers to up the ante in introducing jaw-dropping CGI into their
Grawp is technically excellent. The character is a combination of 3-D
computer design, motion capture, visual effects and the talented actor,
Tony maudsley. The motion capture is smooth and relatively lifelike. Yet
poor Grawp isn't as memorable compared to Gollum in the Lord of The Rings.
Now, on our turf is the successful Cicakman. It incorporated CGI effects
as well, albeit on a lesser budget than The Order of The Phoenix but
managed to engage the audience's attention for a good span of the movie.
Though expectations were not as high as for Harry Potter or the Lord of
The Rings, the storyline seemed to meet the public's taste for a local
comic superhero.
Audiences were enthralled by this fictitious city called Metrofulus,
which is a 3-D CGI composited cityline that looks like new York City
complete with tram cars and yellow cabs. These are hardly wow factors, but
it made the story's illusion a tad more believable.
The real reason movie-goers were going in droves was to watch Cicakman
sticking to walls and fighting for justice, lizard style.
The problem with Harry Potter and other CGI-laden movies is that people
tend to expect high-quality CGI and digital effects to make things more
realistic. The illusion of reality has warped us into accepting a certain
CGI character as being part of the movie - just like human actors.
A great movie should be able to address this to utilise CGI to aid and
enhance the storyline and plot to make the unbelievable, believable.
NST Aug 2, 2007 p.02 Notebook