Raven Animation to Make Partners of Disney Discards

If Disney doesn’t want them, plenty of others do. As former Mouse House animators re-enter the job market, growing animation companies are hoping to enlist their talents by offering interesting incentives. Take Raven Animation Inc. The wholly owned subsidiary of Raven Moon Ent. Inc. announced today that it not only plans to hire Disney cast-offs, but also make them partners in the company.

"We view this as a strategic acquisition," says Raven CEO Joey DiFrancesco. "These talented animators from the Walt Disney Company are going to be an integral part of our success for years to come. Making the animators part owners just makes smart business sense.”

DeFrancesco won’t say how many animation positions they are looking to fill, but told Animation Magazine Online "We are looking for talent and we want the best people possible. So we’re just going to see how many we can bring into our fold." To date, seven interviews have been conducted and one hire has been made.

While Raven Animation will focus primarily on 3D computer animation, DeFrancesco tells us that the door is open for traditional animators since the company is willing and able to provide CG training.

Raven’s search for animation talent is especially of interest in Orlando, where Disney recently closed down its feature animation division. According to DeFrancesco, ABC Eyewitness news in Orlando will cover the story during tonight’s 6:00 p.m. newscast.

Raven Animation, which considers itself a budding Pixar, will be interviewing animators through Feb. 29 as it ramps up to produce a CG feature titled Mr. Bicycle Man, based on a character used in several Raven Moon public service announcements. The company is also developing The BoBo Blocks, Cuddle Bug Cousins and Cowboy Joe & Cowgirl Jane from the Katie Did It Kids collection. In addition, it is actively seeking other projects to produce.

Currently, Raven Moon Ent. is producing 15 half-hour episodes of Gina D’s Kids Club, which will be offered to major networks for a September 2004 broadcast launch.

Raven executives will be attending meetings with toy companies and executives at the New York Toy Fair with Gina D, Pierre D’ Artist and TV TED, the stars of Gina D’s Kids Club. They will also be appearing at Kids Day for the New Jersey Devils hockey game with New York’s Radio Disney 1560 personalities on Feb. 14.