Surya’s Journey into Game Making in India with “Backstage Pass”5 years ago Surya Vallae
The Story Behind Backstage Pass
Surya. P, a passionate gamer, and an experienced game developer and animator understood early on that the game industry requires skilled people. It was hard to find the right talent in India in 2009. And, there were no colleges giving practical and in-depth training to students in game development. The idea to start a college that was dedicated to teaching games like no other college in India was thus born.
Backstage Pass is the brainchild of Surya. P. He studied 3D Animation and Visual Effects from the Vancouver Film School, Canada. He has over fifteen years of experience making games, animation, and visual effects.
His achievements include winning the National Award for Best Visual Effects for “Anji” and leading a team that developed game art assets and documentaries for the History Channel. He also worked as a Technical Director of visual effects for projects, including one that was screened at Cannes in the year 2007.
In his long career, he worked for companies such as Firefly Creative Studios, and Innova Solutions as a Technical Director.
We spoke to Surya to find out about his journey and got amazed. Here is an excerpt from the interview with Surya.
What was Your Dream?
Surya. P: My dream is to nurture talent and create a cradle for creative geniuses to explore gaming in all its glory. Backstage Pass was born with this dream.
What is unique about the backstage pass?
Surya. P: We are the best technical institute for learning game development in India. Our course structure is in-depth, hands-on, and aligned with the needs of the gaming industry. We even have an incubation center called Level2 exclusively for Backstage Pass students.
What does it take to start an educational institution?
Surya. P: One needs a strong vision with intent to move ahead and achieve the goal from time to time. An attitude to provide the best education, that also helps in providing the best possible opportunities to the students, makes a difference.
How do you help students?
Surya. P: One should believe in listening to the student needs and issues, and make sure they are addressed. Students need practical training, which can nurture their creative mind, and make them create innovative solutions at every step in their life.
In your journey, what kind of challenges have you come across?
Surya. P: One needs to have the best team and infrastructure to build a visionary educational institution, which also requires a solid financial backup.
I faced many challenges initially. Things didn’t go as we planned when we started Backstage Pass in 2010. We only had 8 to 10 students enrolled at Backstage Pass in the 1st year, and this increased to 25 students in the 2nd year, and 50 in the 3rd year, and so on.
Initially, it was quite challenging to convince the parents that the gaming industry had good scope for growth and that there were excellent job opportunities. But, the current scenario is a lot better.
Where do you want to go from here?
Surya. P: Currently, there are 260 students enrolled, and we are in our 8th year of operation. We are hoping to reach 500 students by August 2019.
There’s a lot of encouragement from parents now. They allow their kids to join the gaming courses. The parents look for skill-based courses other than the regular B. Tech engineering courses. They believe that these courses impart new, cutting-edge skills to their kids and help them stand out when it comes to employability.
We are now working on starting branches in Bangalore and Pune. And, we may start a new campus in Hyderabad too.