Featured Animation Studio: Primal Screen

Our featured animation studio for March is Primal Screen. That’s right, that Primal Screen. If you live in Atlanta and you follow animation, you’ve heard of this award-winning design studio that creates work for both broadcast and interactive. And if you haven’t heard of them, you’ve definitely seen their work.

You just don’t know it yet.

“Our specialty is projects that focus on young audiences, though we do a great deal for grown-ups as well,” says Stephen Mank, co-founder, Primal Screen. “Almost all of our work is bold, lively and playful, with a high level of polish.”

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Cool Stuff

The studio got its start in North Carolina, but eventually moved to Atlanta to be closer to their main client, Cartoon Network, and to have easy access to a larger talent pool. “As that pool has increased in size, talent, and experience, we’ve worked to give them plenty of cool stuff to do,” says Mank.

When it comes to the design process, Primal Screen works to customize their work based on the project. “We find that every project is different and requires a unique approach, but generally speaking, our teams begin larger, with a number of illustrators, animators, designers, developers, musicians and writers kicking in ideas,” says Mank.

From there things become more refined, and the team dwindles down to the strong key players who see a project through to the end.

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Primal Screen wasn’t able to pinpoint a favorite project, but you can see the team really enjoys what they do. “That’s not easy to narrow down, but we have enjoyed a long collaboration with PBS Kids that has spanned animation, design, writing, game development, music and sound,” says Mank. “So there’s plenty to be proud of.”

“Currently, we’re working on a bunch of things, including videos for the big screens of the AIGA design conference, some educational games, and a number of secret projects for TV and classrooms,” says Mank.

You had us at “secret projects.”

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Wise Words

As for where the studio sees the future of animation going, they feel that it’s the same as it’s past, and that imagination will always be the key. “Regardless of technology, style, medium and audience, we always love the most inspired stuff.”

And finally, some advice for aspiring animators since there are so many of us out here.

Mank says, “Be flexible. Whatever software you’re working in now will be obsolete in a decade. So concentrate on why something works, instead of just how. And while you’re at it — dance, write poetry, make art (without a computer), perform improv, play an instrument, even have a kid (if you’re into that kind of thing).”

Wise words for a soon-to-be legendary animation studio. Check out more of Primal Screen’s work here and here.

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