Animated all the way with a dream team

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 March, 2007, 12:00am

GoGoNut project leader Mak Chun-keung takes us scene by scene through a day at the office, as he steers along entertaining but also highly challenging creative assignments

I LOVED READING comic books when I was young, and I still do. I always wanted to become a cartoonist because drawing has always been my favourite hobby.

Today that dream has come true. And I am more than just a cartoonist doing sketches at work. I am a project leader at an animation studio, overseeing projects from start to finish.

Shortly after I obtained my higher diploma in multimedia design and technology at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, I landed this job, and I have been in this position for the past 2? years.

My work can be quite intense, especially when I get a project that starts from ground zero.

For example, the assignment I am now working on entails overseeing the script, storyboarding, the computer graphic animation itself and post-production.

It happens to be a very challenging project and I am enjoying it immensely. I work with a team of six, and they all have their unique strengths to contribute to the production process.

I begin the day with a regular morning meeting with the team.

We go over the work in progress and make sure nothing has fallen through the cracks. If there are any issues concerning a project, the team is usually able to find a solution fairly quickly.

It is important that I prioritise my work schedule so things do not fly all over the place. I make sure all is well with the team and that everything is in order and going according to plan. Meanwhile, I have to set aside time to meet with clients and my boss and report on our progress.

When the team is discussing storyboards, scene by scene, quite often one of us will have to simulate certain movements for certain characters, just to get an idea as to what it would look like once it is animated, and to get everyone's views before taking it to production stage.

Although I am not an expert in 3D techniques, which are sometimes required in production, I can depend on my co-workers, who have a stronger background than me in this area.

The nice thing is that we all have our individual areas of expertise, and we complement each other with our skills.

As far as I am concerned, 'project leader' is just a title I have been given to navigate projects.

Post-production is the stage that requires the most concentration and time from me. I have to make sure our clients get the finest quality before a project is officially released.

Besides the animation work, we have to work on sound effects, dubbing and colour separations - all key components in a piece of animation.

Work without challenges would be work without much meaning, and it would be dull going. Computer graphics animation gives me lots of challenges and great job satisfaction.

Every time my boss gives me a new project, I take over with some trepidation, not because I don't have the capability or lack confidence but because I want to exceed my previous achievements. I know that with that kind of approach, I can do better each time. I would not want to settle for less.

I am not a fussy person when it comes to job satisfaction. A simple 'well done' from my boss or our client would keep me happy all day.