ANIMAX Helps Teens Cope with Chemo

Los Angeles, Calif.-based animation studio ANIMAX has produced a series of six short animated webisodes titled Coping with Chemo for the Starlight Starbright Foundation. The pieces are aimed at helping teens with cancer deal with the impact chemotherapy has on their lives and their bodies, and can be found at www.slsb.org/chemo.

Funded by the ESA Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, the animated webisodes follow the lives of two young people–Isabel and Marcus–as they first learn they have cancer, then cope with the initial treatment and follow up. The three and a half minute-long installments include The Diagnosis, Telling Your Friends, Side Effects, When Your Hair Comes Out, Making Tough Decisions and Celebrating Your Last Treatments.

ANIMAX created more than 20 minutes of animation using a hybrid combination of traditional techniques and Macromedia Flash. A commitment to making the episodes accessible to teens accessing the web from a dial-up connection imposed file-size constraints, but the team managed to create compelling visuals and characters.

The voiceover talent and voice director donated their time to the project. Sessions were directed by seven-time Emmy Award winner Andrea Romano, who is now directing Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans for Warner Bros. and Avatar for Nickelodeon. The voice of Marcus was performed by Greg Cipes, who has the lead in Disney’s upcoming animated feature, The Wild, and plays Beast Boy on Teen Titans. Kamali Minter provided the voice of Isabel. She plays one of the "Shortys" in DreamWorks Shark Tale, currently in theaters.

For ANIMAX, Coping With Chemo was produced by Michael Bellavia and Tim Jones, with Al Rosson as animation supervisor. Rosson and Ed Frayna provided character designs for animators Sergey Maksimovich, Alexanrd Savchenko and Vladimir Vereschagin.

Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to brightening the lives of seriously ill children and their families through innovative programs that empower, educate, entertain, and inspire.