In the booming world of animation, there are multiple paths to success for each link in the chain — producers, technology companies and talent. All three of which have come together in a recent animation talent contest run by the website MyOuterSpace.com in conjunction with Toon Boom Animation and the Academy of Art University.
The contest required entrants to create a 26-second animation to go along with one of three audio clips recorded by the captain himself, William Shatner, using Toon Boom software. The contest garnered more than 100 entries from all over the world, of which the top 12 were posted online for viewers to determine the outcome. And determine it they did — casting more than 60,000 votes and eventually anointing an entry from 31-year-old San Diego resident Jeremy Appleman as the winner.
Here’s Appleman’s winning entry:
As the winner, Appleman gets a chance to work on MyOuterSpace.com’s upcoming animated project, The Zenoids, a comedy series that will star Shatner as the head of a family rock band struggling to play bigger venues than the bowling alleys of outer space.
Appleman says he’s been into art as long as he could remember and is fascinated by the way a drawing or image can convey so much information instantly to the viewer. “Animation was one step past that,” he said on a recent afternoon at the MyOuterSpace.com studio in Burbank. “Film was what I was really interested in, but animation allowed you to control every aspect and so that’s why I really got into animation.”
Through high school – Appleman learned animation at Mount Carmel High School near San Diego — and beyond, he wanted to create his own thing. He discovered Toon Boom’s software and was getting used to it with some simple animations when he heard about the contest.
“I thought this would be great for learning the program and fun. There’s just a million possibilities for this,” he said.
Appleman says he worked on the project nonstop, posting it shortly after returning to the United States from five years living abroad in China. He says winning the contest was unexpected, though he’s looking forward to the new opportunities it will provide — starting with working on The Zenoids.
Coming soon: More on The Zenoids from William Shatner and producer Sammy Oriti.