Prand, an independent animation studio, is celebrating its fifth year in the industry. Based in Tbilisi, Georgia, Prand is composed of a team of multidisciplinary artists, creating various animation projects for clients in different countries.
Prand’s story began in 2018 with Andrey Nesterov, a freelance animator. Having honed his skills for several years, he wanted to take on more advanced projects, but he knew he couldn’t do it alone. So he posted an ad online to hire an animator, and he was joined by Nadya Minakova, who had just begun her career as an animator. Eventually, the team grew to 10 members, and Minakova, who was Prand’s first employee, became a co-owner of the studio.
As a small, independent studio, Prand takes a horizontal, non-hierarchical approach to projects. Whoever is assigned as the project’s director will take the lead, and even the co-owners will take instructions from them. According to Nesterov, this is because they believe in the talent of every single team member, and everyone is given an opportunity to shine.
“We're also very passionate about telling stories,” Minakova adds. “We don't take an overly serious approach where we just show the numbers in a dull infographic or video. We work closely with our clients to learn what they want to show, and we weave a story out of it. Each line and shape is treated as a character of their own, and they all have a story to tell.”
One of Prand’s projects is an animated video for a drug that was created for people with short bowel syndrome (SBS). This disease causes poor function of the digestive system, forcing them to frequently be hooked up to an IV for their nutrients. The video tells the story of a boy who suffers from SBS and how the drug has given him hope and allowed him to live more of his life. Each frame of the video was hand-painted by Prand’s artists, with inventive use of color to tell the story.
Despite being a small, independent studio, Prand also sets aside time and resources for charitable work. In one case, a mother needed to raise money for her daughter’s medical needs. A TV station agreed to give airtime and a call for donations, but the mother had to come up with a video. She approached Prand and they created a hand-drawn animation in a color pencil style, telling the girl’s story. This caught the attention of viewers, and the mother was able to raise the needed money for her daughter’s much-needed operation, which was a success.
According to the co-owners, when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, they feared that it would be a tough time for their business. However, it was the opposite. They saw their largest growth to date during lockdowns, as companies turned to animation because they were unable to shoot live-action for their advertisements. This allowed Prand to grow and add more team members. However, the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war forced Prand’s team to work remotely. Fortunately, it was recently able to gather its entire team for one week in Tbilisi, providing an environment for increased creativity and closer collaboration among team members. Although this was only a short trip, allowing the team to once again unite, allowed for connection to reform and inspiration to foster.
“It was a real struggle having to split the team up as we really are like family. I know that comment gets thrown around a lot but I really mean it. We handpicked these people not only for their talent, but their beliefs and personalities,” said Minakova.
Minakova says that Prand’s clients are mostly located in Europe, and it is looking to grow its client base in North America, particularly the US. It also plans to recruit new team members, as well as expand its capabilities in 3D animation. Furthermore, in the next five years, Prand aims to become an integrated design, animation, and advertising studio, providing more services to its clients.
“Over the past five years, Prand has grown from a single person into a full-fledged team composed of multi-talented individuals,” Nesterov says. “I’ve seen how our team members, even if some didn’t have formal education in design and animation, taught themselves and improved their craft to a very high level. I believe that all the projects we’ve gained and successes we’ve enjoyed have been because of our hard-working members who love what they do.”
Name: Nadya Minakova
Email: [email protected]