Shaqtoons Shaqtoons

Back in 2019, AT&T/Warnermedia’s cable network TNT hosted the Shaqtoons contest encouraging animators to submit animation for a new documentary tv series about NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.

The winning animation would receive $500. O’Neal’s pitch to artists was that money wasn’t important. “That’s right animators, I’m going to make you famous,” he said in a video. (His personal net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.)

The concept was so ill-conceived that Shaq and his conspirators eventually raised the prize total to $10,000 for the winner(s). And that’s the last anyone ever heard about the contest.

That’s because TNT and Shaquille O’Neal never ran the contest. An animator who participated in the contest, Pam Maz, created a video speaking about all the red flags she experienced:

Just a few of the oddities that Maz describes: TNT never explained what format the video submissions should be in; they made it nearly impossible to upload submissions; they deleted the entire contest site shortly after the submissions had closed with no further explanation.

According to her video, Maz spent months trying to find out what happened to the contest. No winner was ever announced, no animation ever aired on the Shaq doc series, and no one has ever come forward claiming to be the winner.

O’Neal has never spoken about the contest again. Perhaps someone can ask him when he’s doing publicity for his new animated short, HeadNoise, which will likely be submitted for Oscar consideration.

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.

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