Weekend-Long Event Ushers in Opportunity for College Students to Create Original Animation Based on the Imaginative World of Ian Jones-Quartey’s
O.K. KO! Let’s Be Heroes
Cartoon Network has invited college undergraduates from across the country to create an original 15-second animation short based on the immersive world of O.K. KO! Let’s Be Heroes at the studio’s first-ever animation jam, July 9-11, in Burbank, California. Designed to give young rising stars experience working as a full-time artist, Cartoon Network Studios will provide the necessary production tools alongside a talented crew of animation mentors including creator Ian Jones-Quartey, to help guide the students in developing their shorts. This 3-day animation jam continues the tradition of Cartoon Network’s widely-recognized, artists-first approach in developing and discovering fresh and innovative content across all platforms.
Jones-Quartey’s original short, Lakewood Plaza Turbo was generated from Cartoon Network Studios’ acclaimed Shorts Program and follows champion-in-training KO and his convenience store buddy heroes as they battle evil Lord Boxman. The mobile game O.K. KO! later launched accompanied by animated shorts to view on Cartoon Network’s digital platforms, with each short coming from different animation studios offering their own unique perspectives. In the mobile game, players must navigate KO to unlock special attacks, explore hidden areas and maneuver challenging characters to help defend Lakewood Plaza Turbo.
The animation jam follows the highly successful Cartoon Network Game Jam in Portland, Oregon earlier this year with 200 independent game developers who created their own games based on the cast of heroes in the Lakewood Plaza Turbo universe. Their creations will inform future iterations of the property and the winning team will be awarded a fully funded project to continue work on their game jam prototype.
“Building on our Game Jam’s creative energy, we are expanding into new forums for storytelling with the launch of the first animation jam,’” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “We want to give students an opportunity to experience the world-building process that is unique to O.K. KO!”
Selected teams of graduating seniors and Cartoon Network Studios’ interns at the “Animation Jam” will work together at the studio’s computer workstations complete with a Cintiq, Adobe Flash and Adobe Photoshop to create their short. Jones-Quartey, supervising director Toby Jones and other select animators from the studio will be on hand to help guide and mentor the teams as students select a concept at random to inspire their short. Culminating on Monday, July 11, Cartoon Network Studios will showcase all the final animation created during the jam as an opportunity to share and collaborate, as well as meet other artists from the studios’ various other shows.
The eight contributing collegiate teams include students and interns selected by their respective schools from the following universities: University of Southern California; School of Visual Arts; California State University, Fullerton; Laguna College of Art and Design; California Institute of the Arts; San Jose State University; Maryland Institute College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design; Savannah College of Art and Design; and Exceptional Minds, the first American computer animation studio and non-profit digital arts school for young adults on the autism spectrum.