I am finally back in the USA after spending a few weeks in Malaysia. It was such a hectic trip this time since its more than just a personal vacation. Some of the art colleges and studio there had invited me to share my work experiences with them. Many people are interested in learning more about video games development as well as concept art and animation. I also can't resist the opportunity to promote my upcoming video game, End of Nations to my home country too... ;) I hope the publisher Trion Worlds, have plans to release this game to Malaysia(I need to bring this to their attention, heh).
First, I had the luxury to visit Spacetoon Asia which is situated in Ipoh. They are one of the leading animation studio in the region. One of their biggest project to date is an upcoming special fx film called Mantera. Their CEO, Puan Sharifah actually met me in Las Vegas. She then invited me to visit her studio as well as to share my work experience with her employees and local artists. I had a blast visiting their cutting edge studio and meeting the great team! Did I mention the press too? I had my first press experience interviewing with some local journalist. The news came out a few days later in The Star newspaper and various other outlet. I was quite nervous during and after my interview since you never know what will be their headline… Links to the press coverage below.
Then, I was invited by Mr. Hoh to visit my alma mater, Saito Academy in PJ New Town. I haven't been back since my graduation in 1996. But wow, how time flies! The campus has grown and been renovated into a modern facility. During my visit, I met and gave a presentation to their students there. My talk was focused on my experiences after Saito, how to maximise their time in school and how to prepare for the real world. They also presented me with their latest school catalog in which I was featured as an alumni :D
Thirdly, I was extremely happy to finally meet one of my local idol, Mr Tatsun from The One Academy! He was one of the most accomplished illustrator in the country who started to achieve great success in the 90s. Not only that, he then went on to form one of the best art school in the country. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had many US professionals coming to visit including Animation Mentor guys from Pixar, Massive Black and more! I was very humbled at the end that he asked me to share my experiences as well with his lecturers and senior students the following week.
In that few weeks, I have also visited a few other studios and schools that had really blown me away with their accomplishments and success. You can see some of the most cutting edge education program and facilities in the world. Many foreign studios and universities have also setup their local partner or office here to take advantage of the talents and goverment incentives. I think the industry will continue to grow and will put Malaysia on the global competition, if not already.
There seems to be a lot of interest in video games development too. The local indie developers are very active. I hope to see more major investors in this field that will attract some major foreign developer to setup shop here. There are great unexplored potential in the country that will provide great rewards in return.
I also want to give a huge thanks and shout out to my friends, Chng, Eric and Anne! They are the ones who gave me my first break into the industry! Thanks for their patience and willingness to cope with my lack of experience! Also a big thanks to Puan Yati who spent an afternoon showing me her outstanding campus in Sunway. I had a great time hanging out and hope to see them again in the near future!
Invited talk dates:
Press coverages/Online media:
During my travel to Malaysia, I was using this great app called Hipgeo. It was a pretty neat way to keep a journal of my trip... My page can be found here: http://www.hipgeo.com/kianchai