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Ad Land’s Young Guns: Aditya Devsharma, Creative Producer, Post Office Studios

Aditya Devsharma is currently working as a Creative Producer at Post Office Studios, an award-winning multi-disciplinary design & animation studio based in Mumbai. He is responsible for overseeing projects from the inquiry to the delivery stage, coordinating with clients & external vendors, as well as managing and helping create a number of internal processes at the company.

Prior to working with Post Office, Devsharma had a short stint with a film production house, working as an Associate Creative Producer.

In conversation with Adgully, Aditya Devsharma speaks about his journey with Post Office Studios, the icons he looks up to, long term career in the creative industry, his advice to youngsters, and more.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?

I think being a generally anxious person has helped me become a kind of an over-planner and maintain all my information in an organised manner so everything is within arm’s reach.

I’d initially joined this industry because I’d wanted to work as an illustrator and/or animator – and though it’s not the direction my career has gone, my creative leaning gives me an edge on projects where I can take the relevant creative calls and navigate the project forward.

I have a huge interest in films and how it’s got all these different facets. I’m also generally interested in dipping my toes into as many pools of pop culture as possible – so having that kind of repository in my mind doesn’t hurt with helping the Creative Directors steer the ship.

How did you join your current organisation?

Post Office Studios is actually my second job right out of college! I was working in the live-action space from the summer of 2019, but by November, I’d realised it wasn’t the space for me. By pure chance, Post Office had an opening for a Post Producer job while I was looking for work, and my brother actually shared the job posting with me on Instagram.

I’ve always been extremely interested in the animation space, especially within the Cell & Stop Motion zone, but working in it seemed almost like a pipe-dream. I wrote to the Post Office not expecting too much, but they very graciously asked me to come in and have a chat. From there, it was a series of around 2-3 short interviews and by the second week of December, I was working as an Associate Producer with Post Office Studios.

Icons in this field whom you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?

I have a great love for a lot of the great shows that have been coming out of Cartoon Network in the last couple of years, so a lot of my icons have worked in or started out in that space. People like Rebecca Sugar, JG Quintel, and Patrick McHale are some standouts that I can think of, off the top of my head. They’ve managed to create distinct, artistic worlds that feel so tangible and real that I’ve always been in awe of them.

I have a huge respect for stop motion animation and so studios like Aardman & LAIKA are doing so much to keep the art form alive in mainstream media. Being a big horror fan, stop-motion has that grimy real-world feel that I’ve always loved from a storytelling perspective; especially since it falls into such an uncanny “almost real enough to be real” feeling, and leans into viewers suspending their disbelief a bit more.

Another huge artistic icon would have to be Supergiant games – they started out as a relatively small, Indie game company, but thanks to their incredible attention to detail with their gorgeous artwork, cell-shaded style & carefully crafted narratives, both visually as well as musically (since they create original scores in-house for their games), they’ve gained a lot of very well-deserved recognition.

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

  1. Have a skeleton of the day ready: I try to keep a mental checklist of what I’m supposed to work on/ deliver through the day. Sometimes I segregate time on my calendar to give that extra push when there’s a lot to work on.
  2. Breathe: Work can get pretty overwhelming on tough days – sometimes it helps to keep my laptop away and spend a couple of minutes doing some deep breathing to help ground myself when stress starts creeping in.
  3. Take breaks: It’s easy to spend the day sitting in front of the screen and constantly working or using it to keep you engaged during a slow day; but I find that stepping away and spending at least 15 minutes with my roommate or family at intervals through the day helps to declutter the mind.
  4. Understanding Personal Boundaries: I often find myself wanting to overextend myself on certain tasks since there’s a common correlation between working hard = working well. More often than not, this leads to a bit of a time management problem, and often leaves me a bit stressed. Since then, I’ve been making a more active effort in understanding my personal boundaries and saying “no” so I can focus on my own tasks a lot better.
  5. Playing an instrument: I play the guitar, and it’s a super effective way to keep me both entertained as well as engaged without having to look at a screen. There’s a real freedom to using non-verbal ways to express myself, and it helps give me a lot of clarity of thought and work through feelings of stress or anxiety.

Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?

Absolutely. I’m sure as many people have said before, the digital space is the future of our industry. With the kinds of leaps we’re making technologically, not just in the AR/VR space, but just the general content we consume has become so tech-forward that we’ve got to keep up with the times to stay relevant.

It’s a very cool industry. Granted, it has its own set of pros and cons; mostly because it’s relatively younger and/or less far reaching than something like film. But there’s a rapid growth that’s happening in our field and I think now is probably the best time to hop on and hold on tight.

What does it take to succeed in a career?

I’ll let you know when I find out!

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?

The people you work with can make a huge difference with how you perceive your job and how you work in this space. Animation is a pretty rigorous medium, and sometimes the work can feel a bit like walking in a tunnel with no end. Having the right team can give you that extra support to reach the heights that you’d started out hoping to achieve.

Don’t be afraid to try out a couple of different places before you feel like you’ve found the right fit. If you can afford to explore a bit, go for it. There’s no one way of working, and often it takes a bit of tinkering before you find the right fit.

Also, listening and asking questions has helped me learn so much on the job – often it boils down to working with a good mentor; but just the act of listening and being inquisitive always ends up helping out one way or the other.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I’m not really sure, two years ago I planned to work for a year and head for Post Grad and then the world shut down, so I’ve stopped planning so far ahead.

Ideally, I’d like to move towards taking a more creative role in my job – hopefully as a director/ creator to some degree. I can’t say I’ll have Cartoon Network’s next big show, but I’d love to work my way to it and hopefully do something that blends my passion for art & music.

Is there any organisation that you would like to work with in the future?

I think I’ve already gushed about some of them above, but I’d love to have the chance to work with Cartoon Network on an original mini-series, something akin to “Over the Garden Wall”. I’d also love to work with LAIKA in any capacity since I’m so invested in the stop-motion process; and if I get the opportunity to, it would be incredible to be somewhat involved with Supergiant Games’ next venture.

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