Shingai MtezoBy Shingai Mtezo|July 29, 2022|8 Minutes|In Risk and Glory, Risk & Glory League

Risk and Glory

Lets use the internet to tell the tales of Africa. 

At inception, Ruvara Animazons primary goal was to be a fully-fledged animation and visual effects company catering to Zimbabwe. It was  an opportunity to produce a unique and original African animated film but there was no budget to employ experienced industry veterans.

As I progressed, however, market forces in Zimbabwe forced us to become accustomed to producing our own work. I  could I find enough local talent with the right experience to deliver the quality I wanted

I refused to let these obstacles derail the process; “quick, get it over with” type commercials due to the ever-shrinking budgets that accompanied the bids.

Aggressive bidding wars inevitably so I decided to take the scenic route spurred on by the classic mantra, “If you want something done right, you do it yourself!”

That quickly resulted in sub-economic bids being the order of the day amongst desperate competitors.

Many thriving creative endeavors closed shop over what

proved to be easier said than done jobs in the last 10 years

I realized if we surrendered to these turbulent winds, we would go down the same route. I had to think long-term in order to steer the ship in a different direction and I realized quality animated content from Africa aimed at global audiences was an emerging market.

The animation process, is on average, an amalgamation of 16 independent stages of production namely Script Development, Character Design, a market segment that represented a part of the growth strategy for the leading SVOD platforms!

Voice Talent Casting and recording, concept art development, storyboarding, modeling, texturing, look development, rigging, animation, set

dressing, lighting, rendering, compositing, editing, and final sound mix. Each stage carries its own challenges that require problem-solving before

the project moves along to the next stage. When you are a very small team, to a one-man band, most of the time, this process is very slow since

I made the conscious decision to start building what can be termed a world-class animation studio. Being a huge fan of studio’s animated series where you move in sequence as opposed to a parallel process as it is normally done in a fully staffed studio.

I wanted to build Ruvara around the same model of quality over quantity because I believe in order to

successfully tell African stories that resonate and engage with new audiences, the quality of the productions had to be close to or on par with the films produced by US and Japan.

The journey has not been easy at all. I have stumbled and made mistakes but more importantly, I have learned and corrected them. The project is the

best of them. The bar had been set already. The last thing you want is to leave the audience with that feeling of their time and money being wasted when the end credits roll-up. Having never worked for a leading animation studio

suffered catastrophic data and hardware failures that required restarts at different stages! A serious bout of Covid-19 in early 2020 put me out

I had a lot to learn and discover by myself. Fortunately,

of commission for six months only fully recovering towards the end of that year. Ultimately every cloud had had a silver lining. These challenges

I am an extremely curious and very comfortable perennial learner. I turned to my trusted curator of knowledge. The Internet and setbacks proved to be extremely valuable lessons that I treasure. They have emboldened me both as a creative entrepreneur and a storyteller.

The Internet is such a powerful resource that rewards curiosity with abundant information on almost any subject one seeks. Producing quality

animation is a complex process and requires varying levels of talent both creative and technical to achieve good results.

Ruvara’s first film project is a short film with a working title: “The Gemrock” It’s an exciting project that is grounded in the legendary ancestral home of Bantu tribes.

Happily, there is light at the end of the tunnel. ROZI is at a mature stage that’s good enough to pitch to financiers and distributors. The Gemrock is

back in production with a fresh impetus getting ready to put its own little dent in the universe!

My initial  impression was this place was unique to “Shona” tribes and as such the design aesthetic was largely based on the Zimbabwean

Sensibilities, but as I researched for it, I was stunned to find there is a golden thread throughout Africa’s various cultures when it comes to origins and

tales! That realization stopped me in my tracks as I realized there lay an opportunity to tell a fascinating tale.

So, we went back to the formula to find more source material to broaden That journey has led me to find many humbling truths history about the African appeal of the film to a much wider audience. , which I plan to translate into an entertaining story.

Whilst in the middle of redeveloping The Gemrock. Ruvara was commissioned by a client needing high-quality visual effects creature work for a

film they wanted to pitch to a leading SVOD platform. It was a good opportunity to flex some of our creative muscles and we delivered a fairly

decent sequence for the film which unlocked another opportunity to do a proof of concept for a full-length animated feature film based on a

book called Rosie The African Elephant by author Janet Kaschula.

The only catch was the budget was limited for the quality of work needed to

be produced. I had a decision to make. Take a risk or pass on the project. I decided to follow my instincts and take on the risk. After all, what did

Do I have to lose except gain experience on what it actually takes to produce world-class feature quality work?

Share story