Gary Wang’s first entrepreneurial endeavor was a video-sharing site called Tudou that launched shortly before YouTube, got huge in China, and made him a fortune. Now he has thrown himself into the business of world-class computer animation currently dominated by U.S. companies like Pixar and DreamWorks.
In a recent BBC profile of his company Light Chaser Animation, Wang emphasizes that “China is changing from an industrial manufacturing society to a consumption society, and people are looking for things that relate to their experience, not just another American film.”
But while the characters and themes of the studio’s films will be Chinese, Wang certainly has ambitions for international appeal and distribution. He says that a big part of this comes down to hiring the best people in the business from around the world.
“You need to hire A-class people, because they will always hire A-class people,” he tells the BBC. “If you start with B-class people, it will go downhill to C and D-class. So we’re looking everywhere for our A-class people.”
One of these people is animation director Colin Brady, who is based in Los Angeles–but works daily in Light Chaser’s Beijing studio via a robot proxy. The “telepresence robot” essentially puts Brady on a video feed through a mobile iPad platform, which is attached to a remote-controlled robot that can move throughout the office.
Light Chaser’s first feature film is planned for early 2016, but above you can watch a clip from the company’s first short film project, Little Yeyos, about “seven little spirits living in the mythological Chinese spirit world who wander about only at night.”