HYDERABAD: Pete Draper has worked in films like Ghajini, done VFX pipeline supervision and digital crowd control for Magadheera amongst other US and UK features and television series besides a solo-produced sequence for Endhiran (Robot) prior to co-founding Makuta. Makuta VFX is a visual effects and animation company based in Santa Clara, CA with branches in Hyderabad and Universal City, CA. The company received National Film Awards in 2010 and 2012 for Magadheera, and Eega respectively. In 2012, Makuta also won the Best Visual Effects at the Filmfare awards and CineMAA Awards.
Draper, who teaches VFX and animation in various colleges, says, “ I have been here since February 2010 but permanently since July 2011. Since then my stay here has been indefinite.”
Talking about the transition to living in a foreign country, he says, “Initially, I hated it and wanted to leave as soon as I got here. I didn’t know anyone personally and found it very hard to get on my feet. But somehow I got dragged back.”
However, when it comes to socialising, Pete prefers to stick to the locals. “Meeting people was pretty easy. Even to date I still tend to socialise with local people more than expats,” he adds. So does he experience any ‘culture shock’ in the city? “Very much. More along the lines of the divide between rich and poor was shocking. And the crazy driving. The variety of cultures and foods, which doesn’t help my waistline,” says VFX designer.
How has his life as an expat influenced his profession? “It hasn’t really. I’m still doing what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years but have possibly learned to do it faster,” he says. His love for India has only grown further as he is set to be engage to an Indian girl.
Suggestions for fellow expats
“Go off the tourist track and visit areas that only locals would recommend and visit. Be safe and go with people you know and trust for safety initially until you are “initiated” and know how to look for potential problems,” he advises.
Cost of living
“It is slightly cheaper with respect to rent. Fuel is much cheaper although rates are about the same price. Local produce is much cheaper but anything imported or out of state can be much more expensive,” says the expat, who love to ride a motorbike on the city roads.
Talking about the hardest aspect to his expat experience, he says, “My tolerance to things has gone up but has also been broken on several occasions. My tolerance for important stuff that I found to be problematic in the UK is now just “stuff”. I have found that back home people tend to complain about things that really don’t matter in the long scheme of things compared to other issues that I’ve witnessed here.”