Getting to know the man behind Xero Error
The profile of Ashraf Ghori: artist, animator and entrepreneur.
November 23, 2012 9:45 by Muhammad Aldalou
Tempus - an experimental short film, which is my second outing as a Director, incorporating live action and computer generated imagery. Currently in production, it is slated for release at Gulf Film Festival 2013 in April. Updates will be posted at www.facebook.com/TempusFilm
Shakspur – Graphic Novel with writer and co-creator George Hopkin. This project is early in development and will take shape next year. It has a very strong, original and exciting storyline which has all the formula of a successful film in the future. Updates will be posted at www.Shakspur.com
The Shortcut - A dark animated short film in pre-production. It is aimed to release later next year, possibly at DIFF 2013. Updates will be posted at www.facebook.com/TheShortcutFilm
Antar – A graphic novel featuring the story of the warrior and poet from ancient Arabia. Expect announcements by the next Middle East Film & Comic Con, April 2013.
If these projects are not enough, I also want to work on a children’s story book for which I am open to collaborations.
Q) You work with many regional brands. What have been some of the challenges or difficulties creating projects for them? How much do you think it contributes to their brand image?
I’ve been lucky enough to be contracted to work on some big brands from the region and beyond. Each project comes with its own set of technical challenges and usually a very tight deadline. In that short time that I am entrusted with the brand, I try to give it my all. I always try to bring a little bit of innovation to my projects. For example many moons ago, I designed the animation for the first freehold property of the UAE, which was Dubai Marina at the time. I animated a scene where the camera zooms in from outer space to the property. I have seen this style being used in many projects after that.
Q) You’ve been in Dubai for a long time and you’ve had the chance to really see its many industries grow. What do you think is still missing from the digital landscape here?
I’ve seen Dubai grow considerably over the last few decades and it’s safe to say it is now considered a leader in many industries in the region.
The one thing I sorely missed when I got back from the US was the lack of the geek culture: comics, collectibles, hobbies, art. I am glad to see it’s now picked up quite a bit in that genre especially with the Middle East Film & Comic Con we saw this year. A growing film industry is now established and I’m sure we will see it flourish over the next decade.
Q) The best advice you have been given? The best advice you would give to aspiring filmmakers, artists and entrepreneurs in the region?
Some big artists had advised me to learn art from real life – the best reference there is. To persevere and not give up easily was another advice I took to heart.
My advice to the young upcoming talents: Hard work pays off! There’s no shortcut to it. You have to pay your dues if you’re in the demanding business of creativity.
A designer, animator or filmmaker is only as good as his or her portfolio, so polish it till it shines. It is certainly challenging to deliver great stuff all the time and meet client expectations, but keep at it and practice often to learn and improve.
For the budding entrepreneurs, I would advise to start small and grow in smaller steps. Build the customers, then open shop – so to speak. Build a brand not judged by numbers but more on goodwill. If your clients are happy with what you do, you don’t need a person marketing your company. Money will follow when you do it right.
And most importantly, spend cautiously – extravagance is not always a good business move!