2013년 5월 14일 화요일

Contents People interview – We want to convey the values of sensibility to children!

The interview article on Contents People” by the Korea Creative Content Agency:

Seung-gwan Lee
Main work experience
 2010 Apr.~present: director and CEO of ARCREATIVE (
 2010 Apr.: Did the concept design of the animation “Katuri – A Story of a Mother Bird’ (originally written by author Jeong-saeng Kwon) of Andong Media Center & Funnyflux Entertainment.
 2010 Mar.: Designed Thunderbolt Man in “Let's Get Together Ding Dong Deng” of Funnyflux & EBS
 2010 Jan.: Did the concept design for “Vroomiz” of SAMG Animation 
 2008 Sept.: Did the subcontracted concept design for “Taoist Mutul” of Cotajee Animation, and more

As designer and producer of animation-based and IT-integrated smart content, ARCREATIVE has recently introduced the Pilo series App book and consequently took the spotlight. We met the firm’s CEO, Seung-gwan Lee, who expressed his wish to share the values that nourish big dreams for children and parents around the globe.

Starts entrepreneurship to create animations!
Majoring in cartoons and animations at the university, CEO Lee shared the ups and downs that he experienced when his company was just starting in the animation production business. “During my university days, there were many ongoing projects run by the government to foster the cartoon industry. Entering graduate school, I was bent on engaging in animation production, but the reality was quite different from what I learned from school.” 
After graduation, he entered the publishing cartoon industry, his dream of becoming a cartoonist growing. After he married, he was able to gain experience as a concept designer while working for an animation company. “I led concept design projects that you can easily recognize by name. Examples are  ‘Tickety Toc,’ ‘Taoist Mutul,’ and ‘Vroomiz.’ I was no different from other animation people, and I eventually decided to start a business and make my own creations.”
At the Gangbuk Young Entrepreneur Center, Lee, while doing subcontract work, knocked on government-sponsoring project doors. “Once the business was ready to go, I realized it was difficult to go further with animation production based on passion alone. My passion for animation creations did not waver, but as head of household, I had to pay attention to the financial aspect.”
According to him, he began to think of other means as he saw many of his creations through his participation in multiple government-supported projects ending at the pilot level. “I realized that I needed a change my approach to animation productions. I thought, for expensive animations, producing only pilots was not good enough.”
After over ten years of animation work that includes planning, concept, and script, he became confident with such work. Still, what came to his mind was smart content. “The animation business carries significant risk. Once a certain level of verification is proven, you can find investors. That is why I started paying attention to digital app books while I was participating in some government-funded projects. I got the idea that App books might work like a pilot screen work designed to create an animation.”

Marriage of digital App book and animation
The turning point to his life was Pilo the pillow fairy. “Every creator happens to discover one or two silver linings, I think. For me, I suppose Pilo was the case. The idea of Pilo was based on my parental experience. I reminisced about the difficult days when my oldest child would not go to bed, wanting to play more. I felt very sorry for my child because I had little time to play with him when I would come home late from work. But one night, while I was watching him sleep hugging his pillow tight, an idea hit me – wouldn’t it be great if he had a friend to play with in his dream world?”
Based on the belief that everyone has a recollection about their own pillow from childhood, he developed his idea that a pillow fairy could play with his child even though he couldn’t. “While making an animation, you can’t rule out the profitable aspect. For Pilo, however, I was fascinated with the idea of creating content that is good for my child regardless of profit. Fortunately, it received a favorable response.”

▲ 3D-animated App book for 3~5-year-olds Pilo serviced in English, Chinese, and Korean.

That was how he came up with finding a motif from a pillow to animate Pilo the main character, and he was able to think up stories based on a view of the dream world without any problem. “It was hard for me to believe some animators when they say that their work was made for their children, but one of them was me, I suppose. Since I can show my child an animation I made as his dad, Pilo is like a great present for me.”
CEO Seung-gwan Lee was able to come up with the Pilo Series app books for iPhones and iPads targeting the North American market as he was developing the idea and designing each character. “With my brother, who is currently in charge of programming, assuming the Co-CEO position, I was able to introduce Pilo in an App book. Pilo is made such that, in the middle of a story you are presented with a simple game that you should complete in order to go to the next story. Currently, we are making an app game modeled from the character Pilo; next year, stuffed dolls are slated to be unveiled. Of course, we are eventually thinking of making it into a TV series animation.”
I am aware that many contents are coming out base on mobile, grafting digital and analogue. As a parent, I am strongly inclined to show good content to my child. With CEO Lee adopting such parental position, the growing popularity of Pilo – which is a play-storybook about taking children to the dream world --is understandable. “Due to capacity and optimization concerns, however, the Pilo series have been introduced to Apple’s iPhones and iPads so far, but it will soon be available on Android versions.”

▲ The digital app book Pilo is 3D real-time smart content, and can be linked with game, character, and animation. Various projects are planned to be implemented based on such characteristics

Look for a story book for dreaming children!
Meanwhile, CEO Lee added that he has greater expectations on the global than the domestic market with the release of Pilo. “The Korean and global app book markets are not as big as we think they are. With active PR in the Korean market, we presume Pilo will be no. 1, but it won’t make a significant impact on revenues. Thus, we will double our efforts to conquer the global market as well.”
This year, starting from the ongoing pilot animation pre-production sponsorship project hosted by the Korea Creative Content Agency, Pilo was also selected for overseas marketing support for smart content and for a translation sponsorship project. Furthermore, aside from the Grand Prize in the 2012 Smart App Awards (child education category), it has made excellent accomplishments such as the top Econobation Prize in the KT App Creation Contest and the Best Prize in the 2012 Seoul Character Promotion & Pitching Contest. 

▲ CEO Seung-gwan Lee wishes to produce appealing animations that are loved by a large audience.

“If you think of opening a business, it is good to take advantage of government support projects. That is because the content in animations, games, and App books is not something that can be cookie-cut, like manufacturing goods in a factory. Since animation production in particular requires tremendous amount of funding, one would do well to get content verification and financial support from the government.”
Nonetheless, Lee added that, after winning a government-supported project bid, there are still many things to follow to get the supporting funds such as preparing all kinds of documents and participating in educational training. “Now, what I prioritize is to grow an animation company creating quality content that can generate greater steady revenue. Besides, including ‘Haitai Family,’ my previous creation, an animation such as Pilo is something that I like the most and for which I am capable of doing the best. Through animation work, I’d like to reach out to a broad audience. Thank you for your interest.”

Written by Gyung-soo Park reporter (twinkaka@naver.com)

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