In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there’s no shortage of businesses offering unique artisanal goods, which makes it an ideal location for Dream Factory Animation, the new full-service boutique animation studio fronted by alt-cartoonist M.Wartella.
While Wartella formed his company on 12/12/12, the doors to his new studio on Humboldt Street officially opened in May of this year. An underground illustrator who has dominated the pages of alternative publications for the last two decades and animated on various music videos and television shows, he has spent the last three years animating nearly 300 shorts for Cartoon Network’s animated sketch comedy program MAD.
While discussing with Cartoon Brew the transference of his print aesthetic to the studio’s signature style, Wartella cannot help but extol the quality of animation talent that has found their way to his studio. “All the animators here are great artists in their own right; we only hire people who can draw exceptionally well.” Wartella is so concerned about only attracting top-flight talent that he has chosen to eschew the industry standard of utilizing unpaid interns in his productions, as stated in a recent press release: “Everyone gets paid for their contributions. In fact, we operate a unique profit-sharing system whereby our animators share in part of the studio’s profits at the end of the year.”
However, his talented crew and high-profile, lowbrow background are not the only qualities that make his studio special. Wartella enthusiastically touts the development of a personalized production system for creating his animated shorts. A proprietary blend, of sorts, that enables his crew to produce “anything” in the studio’s signature style, quickly and efficiently. “Using my secret formula, we can produce super-high-quality cartoons in a time frame that would be virtually impossible for any other animation studio to rival,” he says. “We can turn out a fully animated 30-second spot from top to bottom in one business day if we have to. This brings traditional animation within reach for almost any commercial business that wants to get noticed.”
And while Wartella hints at a few yet-to-be-announced projects, (one involving Punk Magazine cartoonist/writer John Holmstrom and another that will revive “a classic cartoon character” for Warner Bros.) the only one he speaks openly about is a new webseries being made alongside @Radical.Media for Conde Nast Entertainment called WIRED: Mr. Know-It-All.
A series of ongoing shorts, WIRED: Mr. Know-It-All, based on the WIRED magazine articles of the same name, is a digital age advice column providing answers to a wide assortment of modern questions from Facebook etiquette to child rearing in the information age. It is produced in the style of illustrator Christoph Niemann and conceived, developed and animated by Wartella’s team. “I don’t think there is any other studio in New York or the world that can crank out animation as efficiently as we can,” he says. “We have a solid formula and a great team!”