An Interview With Themed Entertainment Industry Expert Kanthi Ananthagopal
We recently caught up with Themed Entertainment Industry expert Kanthi Ananthagopal about the experiences and highlights of her profession. In between her busy schedule, this is what she had to share:
Please give us an introduction as to when you first got into the entertainment industry:
It was a long journey of self discovery that led me to the world of entertainment. My background is in Architecture, this gave me a very strong design sense. Once I started working professionally, from my experience in Hospitality and Tourism projects I realized that I was more drawn to guest experience design and the concept of creating immersive experiences for a larger audience. This passion brought me across the globe to Los Angeles to pursue my Masters from California Institute of the Arts. Here I specialized in Art Direction, Production Design and Visual Communication for Themed Entertainment and there has been no looking back since!
Do you feel like you have grown a lot more in the Themed Entertainment industry over the years, through your experiences?
I had the privilege and support to transition careers and it has definitely helped me advance as an artist and creative. Architecture gave me a strong foundation to leap into design for entertainment but my time at CalArts truly shaped me as a well-rounded individual. The biggest growth was through collaborative opportunities and ideas that came to life through dialogue.
When starting out, it is easy to doubt your abilities and your individuality in such a large industry but the key is consistency. I would go into any moment with the intention of learning something new from it. The world of entertainment was completely foreign to me when I started three years ago but what helped me most was to never shy away from asking questions — I am thankful especially for the mentors I gained in the process. I would say yes to any opportunity and those experiences were definitely where I was able to make strides as an artist. I started out by working on student projects and my dedication presented more professional opportunities in the industry. Looking back at my journey I’d say I wouldn’t be where I am today if I’d let fear of failure hold me back.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on so far?
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to Creative Direct a brand activation for a popular Emoji. I conceptualized pop experiences and instagrammable moments to create social media traction for the announcement of the emoji’s Brand IP. I worked to develop creative marketing strategies and brand specific visuals. This included creation of narratives, concept designs, NFTs and merchandise. The scope of the project allowed me to push my artistic boundaries to ideate unique experiential moments for the audience. I am eagerly awaiting the launch of the brand in the first quarter of 2022!
What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
The highlight of my career has been the opportunity to join the team at MODE Studios, a Hybrid Experience Agency in the forefront of innovation for the world of Themed Entertainment. It has been exhilarating to learn and work with Emmy Award winning Creative Director and Designer, Bob Bonniol. I have been able to assist as a Designer on a wide variety of projects ranging from Music Festivals and Immersive Experiences to Corporate Events and Shows.
What other projects do you have coming up?
I am currently working on developing immersive experiences for brands in the Metaverse. It involves a great deal of focus on bridging the gap between virtual and reality while pushing the boundaries in terms of producing moments that are not available anywhere else. Parallely, I am also working to integrate NFT Marketplaces into these experiences so as to have a holistic approach to a new medium in entertainment as we know it. My approach solely lies in the best user experience and the maximum level of engagement for audiences. There is a huge paradigm shift in the way content is perceived and it is exciting to be part of the system that is bringing in this change!
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
I think first and foremost one should define what success means to them. Defining this will help you know when you are straying from your path, or when your growth has become stagnant. Secondly ensure you learn the fundamentals first, more than being original, work on being good — so good that nobody can deny it! Thirdly, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, that’s truly where creativity blooms. And last but not least, no one tells you this but enjoy your failures, they are the stepping stones to your success.