Animation Collective was a British owned animation company formally located in New York City, New York. It was managed by its founder Larry Schwarz, a former lawyer who headed the toy company Rumpus. Larry Schwarz started Animation Collective in late 2002/early 2003 to produce original content. The company primarily produced animated shows based on Larry's original intellectual property, such as web series and games for AOL, though occasionally they would do work for hire. The earliest examples of this were websites for 4kids and a pilot for MTV in collaboration with Ahmet Zappa.
After creating nearly a dozen different shows for AOL and AOL's teen site Red they broke into television with Kappa Mikey. Nicktoons aired both seasons of Kappa Mikey, a total of 52 26 minutes episodes. Kappa Mikey was animated in Macromedia's Flash with 3d environments later painted in Photoshop. The animation was somewhat limited but showed marked improvement in the second season. The writers for the series went on to work at Saturday Night Live and a number of popular sitcoms. Several New York voice talents worked with Animation Collective on Kappa Mikey and a number of other shows (Sean Schemmel, Michael Sinterniklaas, and other actors associated with NYAV Post).
During the peak of its output Animation Collective, which started with a single floor of a building in Hell's Kitchen, had expanded to two floors in that same building as well as two other locations in the city. The largest being on 37th st. At that time they were wrapping up Kappa Mikey Season 2, starting Three Delivery, working on Speed Racer: The Next Generation Season 1, doing a pilot as well as producing Thumb Wrestling Federation. When these shows wrapped up there was no longer enough work to sustain so much space. The 37th Street office was closed and the company continued to work out of its other two locations.
Animation Collective had a rare model, where the studio used pre-sales to fund the production and in that way maintain complete ownership of the intellectual property. This would sometimes require production on small budgets, but a number of their shows had budgets comparable to contemporary productions. The company primarily used Flash, but not all of its shows were the standard puppeted "Flash animation," most of the later series used Flash as a tool to produce more traditional looking drawn 2d animation. The studio also used Maya for 3d animation and After Effects, often combining all three for their shows.
In November of 2009 the company was purchased by the British company Handmade Films (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Time Bandits, Planet 51). The original Hell's Kitchen space was closed and the staff moved to a single space in midtown Manhattan. Most of the animators were hired to work remotely, or the animation was outsourced overseas. The studio continued to produce work, writing and voice directing Speed Racer: The Next Generation Season 2 amongst other projects through 2011.
In 2012 Larry left Animation Collective to start a live-action and animation company; Larry Schwarz and His Band. As you may have realized through reading this page, this is exactly why the above link to the official website is blank! In 2014, the last office closed for good.
In 2017 Larry Schwarz announced he had gotten the rights to all his shows back, and so far has made nothing official about new productions. What this means for Animation Collective is uncertain.
Shows produced by Animation Collective:
- Kung Fu Academy
- Princess Natasha
- Leader Dog
- Metalwulf PILOT
- Wulin Warriors
- Paper Airplane Fighters
- Huxtable and Boner
- HTDT PILOT
- The Fox Kids version of The Incredible Crash Dummies
- Thumb Wrestling Federation
- Ellen's Acres
- Kappa Mikey
- Dancing Sushi
- Three Delivery
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation
- The Cheesy Adventures of Captain Mac A. Roni PILOT
Canceled/lost in development:
- Eloise In Africa
Shows under Larry Schwarz And His Band:
- Alien Dawn
- Team Toon