Tech-forward animation and gaming company Baobab Studios has announced five key hires in the company’s creative and marketing departments.
Here are the details of the most recent round of appointments.
Who’s joining the studio?
- Erick Oh, director: A former Pixar Animation Studios animator, Oh worked on feature films including Brave, Monsters University and Cars 2. After leaving Pixar, he directed Tonko House’s Annecy Cristal-winning series Pig: The Dam Keeper Poems. His 2020 short Opera received an Oscar nomination for animated short, and this year his latest short Namoo, produced by Baobab, won the Annie for animated special production.
- Jony Chandra, director: Chandra worked at Blue Sky Studios for 15 years. His credits during that time include Peanuts the Movie, Ferdinand, and installments of the Ice Age and Rio franchises. His leadership experience includes stints as head of story, director in development, and story artist.
- Brian Tinsman, games director: Tinsman has been in the gaming industry for 18 years, with lead designer credits on more than 50 titles. He’s been involved in developing the gaming side of some of the industry’s most popular and lucrative franchises including Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, and more. He is also an authority in the fields of blockchain tokenomics and NFT gaming.
- Michael McCormick, games director: McCormick’s most recent role was creative director of Maxis where he worked on popular gaming franchises including The Sims and Sim City. He also previously led design on top-selling games including Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Minecraft, and Zynga’s Cityville.
- Hayley Porter, director of marketing: A 15-year vet in the marketing and PR world, Porter has helmed campaigns for several major studios. Her international focus has seen her work with teams in the U.K (including a five-year stint at Aardman Animations), South Africa, and the U.S. She is also currently on the PR committee for Women in Animation.
What do the hires indicate? Tech remains a key factor in driving Baobab’s plans for the future. From the beginning, Baobab has existed on the frontier between art and technology, regularly employing the latest tech to modernize how the company animates and delivers its stories. In the company’s short history, Baobab productions have won nine Emmys including interactive media awards for Invasion!, Asteroids!, Crow: The Legend, and Baba Yaga (pictured at top).
Baobab plans on profit. Not a bold ambition for any business looking to stay afloat, but by hiring individuals with experience in money-focused tech like blockchain and NFT gaming the company could be thinking about new revenue streams. The company has also started making deals with traditional media companies: Disney Branded Television recently teamed up with Baobab to create The Witchverse, an animated anthology series based on Baba Yaga for Disney+, while Namoo was acquired by Warnermedia earlier this year and is now streaming exclusively on HBO Max.
What Baobab CEO and co-founder Maureen Fan says: “Since our start, Baobab has been at the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood with a founding team that comes from gaming, animation and film. Our new talent will continue to build upon this position and accelerate us into new areas as we deliver on our mission of inspiring the world to dream.”