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Eugene Foo

Eugene Foo

Animator, Shock3d! Sdn Bhd, 2008
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Creative Multimedia

Story lines today (in animation) need major improvement. You may have fantastic graphics and produce fantastic animation works, but if the story line is lacking, it will just all go down the drain.

20 October 2008

Ah Boy’s Journey into Success

Written by Christine Chan

This high-flying achiever and alumnus of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology decided to take the plunge and start his own company, with its first project being an ambitious 23-episode animated series about a boy discovering a fantastic world called Alamaya. Christine Chan chats with Eugene Foo and asks for his views on the animation industry in Malaysia and what he is up to now.

Success comes easy for Eugene Foo. As a student under Limkokwing University of Creative Technology’s Electronic Design and Multimedia programme, Eugene bagged award after award for his skills in animation and design.

Beginning in 2001 when he received the 1st Runner-Up prize for the International Students Multimedia Project for his production called Bilbao and an Outstanding Academic Performance Certificate from his university, Eugene has been running on a winning streak ever since. The following year he bagged the APICTA 2002 Best of Student Projects award with three other teammates, the High Flyer Award for Best in Creative Multimedia, the President’s Gold Award, the Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Awang Had Salleh Award and a full scholarship to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia.

During that same year he won 3rd place in the Intervarsity Website Competition for Rakan Muda organized by Universiti Putra Malaysia, as well as secure the Gold Award for Best Animated Short Film and Best Experimental Video for Amateur Animation in the 9th Malaysia Video Awards. While studying at RMIT in Australia, Eugene continued on his winning streak as he was awarded the Award for Excellence for Grey Avenue.

During these years he was the winner for Best International Short Film in the Cyberjaya Digital Video Competition and received honourable mention in the Pushon International Student competition at the 51st Oberhausen Edeanor.

I joined Limkokwing University because I knew that I wanted to be part of a creative environment, I met a few hip hop cats who were also studying in Limkokwing, including Chris Marutuana, and we formed a small clique there

Eugene, however, will now be facing one of the largest challenges that he has yet to face so far: making his first attempt at a 23-episode animated series, Alamaya, a success.

Alamaya tells the story of Ah Boy who relies on his vivid imagination to keep himself entertained. One day, Ah Boy discovers a way to enter into a fantastic new world filled with mystical creatures through a torn Animal Pictionary book, and thus begins his adventure of a lifetime.

Alamaya is based very much on Eugene’s own childhood, who is known as ‘Ah Boy’ to the rest of his colleagues. Revolving around his love for animals, nature and fantasy, the 3D animated series aimed at those twelve to fourteen years features forty designs of new plants and the voice of Yasmin Yusoff, who plays the character of Madam Choy, one of Ah Boy’s antagonists.

The biggest challenge in getting Alamaya off the ground was finding a sponsor for the project. Eugene confessed that he had even travelled to France to pitch Alamaya to world famous production houses at the Cannes Film Festival, and was met with continuous disappointment until he finally found an investor who was willing to finance it.

Today, the project is currently in production and run by a team of 25 people dedicated to bringing it into reality, all working under Eugene’s animation company/production studio, Shock3d! Sdn. Bhd. The company, which was started by Eugene in July 2007, was a risk that he had to take after working through as string of very secure jobs, including being the Principal Lecturer and Industry Coordinator for post-production services at Limkokwing University.

Before that, Eugene worked as the Concept Artist and Head of Motion Graphics Department at MoonFx Post Sdn. Bhd., one of Asia’s leading post-production houses, and even before that he was a lecturer in Limkokwing University.

“Back then, teaching was very fulfilling, and it made me happy to see students grow and develop. But I felt a desire to do more, to progress onwards, and to fully take the plunge and do what I have been dreaming of doing since I began my career in animation,” said Eugene.

Eugene states that he has benefited from Limkokwing University both as a student and as a member of the staff. As a student, Eugene felt that being in Limkokwing University gave him a sense of liberty that allowed him to fully express himself while benefiting from an international, multi-cultural environment.

Story lines today need major improvement. You may have fantastic graphics and produce fantastic animation works, but if the story line is lacking, it will just all go down the drain

“I was recommended Limkokwing University by a friend of mine who was already studying there,” he said. Of his experience working in the university, Eugene said that it was very inspiring because one constantly gets to meet people who are of your match, thus will make you strive to achieve better and work harder to climb.

Eugene believes that there is plenty of potential in the Malaysian animation industry and that we have a lot of technical expertise, but much of our productions are still overlook an important and basic aspect in storytelling.

“Story lines today need major improvement. You may have fantastic graphics and produce fantastic animation works, but if the story line is lacking, it will just all go down the drain,” explained Eugene.

“Series like South Park use very basic animation but have such a wide fan base because the story is engaging.”

As a conclusion for our interview, Eugene warns students who wish to delve into 3D animation to not take for granted the hard work that the field can throw at someone.

“Don’t think that if you enter a design course you will not need to read any books, because in designing you need brains and you must have immense general knowledge,” he advises. With his wit, diligence and perseverance, the odds that Eugene will carry on his winning streak with Alamaya are pretty good.

 

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