Animator and filmmaker Siddarth John who is making waves with his short film Enzo

Siddharth John is not much different from youngsters his age. Like most of his friends, this young man is addicted to cartoons and loves playing 3D games in his XBox. However, there is something else to him that sets him apart from his friends. Siddharth not only watches cartoons and plays games – he actually creates them!

An MFA (Animation) from Savannah College of Art and Design in the United States, this young animator’s latest work, Enso, is drawing accolades from across the globe. Enso, a short animation movie that has been written, animated, produced and directed by Siddharth, has been selected for screening at many reputed film festivals across the globe, including the AniMazing Spotlight Animation shorts festival and the WorldKids International Film Festival.

The short film is about an old artist who confronts a mysterious creature, and how he realizes the true source of problems in life through the encounter.

“I came across the idea behind Enso while studying for my masters,” says Siddharth. “It took me months of research to develop the story of Enso. I always wanted to make an animation short film that drew parallels with the Zen school of thought. A short story I chanced upon back then, gave me my much-needed inspiration,” he adds.

Siddharth also took help from some of his friends – a team of five who helped him with animation and sound design. “As a result of our concentrated efforts, we were able to wrap up the work on Enso by June 2013.”

The journey to become an animator was no cakewalk for this young and talented artist. “I was lucky enough to be born to creatively-inclined parents [ace musician and guitarist John Antony of Karnatriix fame and Supreeta] who gave me the freedom to pursue a career of my choice,” confesses Siddharth, who chose his destiny at a very young age.

“I realised my overwhelming passion for cartoons while I was in the tenth grade. After spending some time trying to decide what to do with my life, I finally picked animation as a career of choice. I had a flair for painting and fine arts, and thus animation looked like a promising career option. It also helped that my father was an artist. Looking back, my decision to be an animator was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” he reminisces.

The young animator then went on to work in five animation movies; two of which he directed as well – including Enso. Siddharth has also worked as an animator-cum- layout artiste for several console games, including popular ones such as ‘Skylanders 2: Giants’.

The young artist feels that the animation industry in India holds a lot of promise. “When I started off my career in the mid-2000’s, the animation industry in India was still in its nascent stage. However, the scene has improved a lot, with more talented people entering the arena and more companies investing in the same,” says Siddharth.

He feels differently about the way animation is taught in India, however.

“In India, animation is being taught more as a technology than an art. Most animation courses just teach people how to use animation software like Maya. I strongly feel that this must change. A good animator should be blessed with creativity, and hence the ‘art behind animation’ must be given due importance in any animation course,” he says.

Does Siddharth have any tips for budding animators?

“To be an animator – you must have two important attributes – passion and the will to work hard. The journey ahead of you, as an animator, is very tough. Never lose hope,” he concludes.

Visit his website to know more about Siddharth John and his work.