From books and tablet applications to animated films and games, Shreveport's Moonbot Studios is producing stories and memorable characters that leap from one platform to the next. Moonbot Studios founders William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg were the creative minds behind the Oscar®-winning animated short film “The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore.” Along with founding partner Lampton Enochs, they lead a team of skilled artists, storytellers and designers to produce extraordinary entertainment, including “The Numberlys” short film and picture book, “The Scarecrow” short film and mobile game for Chipotle Mexican Grill, and apps for Kellogg's and the National Wildlife Federation. Joyce, Oldenburg and Enochs share their Louisiana innovation story:
[Q] Why did you pick Louisiana to launch Moonbot Studios?
[WJ] Louisiana has proven to be a wonderful base of operations for us. The atmosphere here is remarkable. There’s such great food, literature and eccentric people. It’s so rich culturally. There’s monetary incentives that the state offers through tax incentives to the creative industries, as well. It’s easy to live here and it helps that Shreveport is my hometown. Everything just came together with Lampton and Brandon at the right time. It was the perfect collision of circumstances.
[Q] What unexpected advantages did Moonbot benefit from that could only be found in Louisiana?
[LE] When Apple first introduced the iPad, our team knew it would be a game-changing device for storytelling. LED FastStart® was essential at getting programmers trained to execute our vision. When new technology is announced, companies need to be nimble and adapt to changes in the market. LED FastStart really helped us jump start our interactive division, which built on those skills and is now doing everything from kids' apps to mobile adventure games and even console experiences.
[Q] What is Moonbot Studios doing that no other company is doing?
[BO] Story comes first at Moonbot. We let the story tell us what feels right, as far as how we roll it out. Sometimes we might start with a game first or a short film. At the end of the day it will always end up being a book. It’s rare that you find a company doing everything we’re doing under one roof: animated films, video games, apps, books. Everyone at Moonbot looks at our work as story first, not platform first.
[Q] How does Moonbot Studios impact the Louisiana economy?
[LE] 2014 has been a huge year for us. Earlier this year we acquired the film rights to two incredible books, “The Extincts” by Veronica Cossanteli and “Olivia Kidney” by Ellen Potter. Moonbot intends to be the first company to produce a full-length, feature animated film entirely in the state of Louisiana. It’s not only an incredible step for our company but also for Louisiana’s entertainment industry.
We currently have a highly trained team of nearly 50 artists, animators, engineers and production staff. Some of those are Louisiana natives that honed their skills to join us and others are people from all over the country. A number of them have bought houses, started families and invested in our local community. They are definitely leaving their creative stamp on Shreveport.
[Q] What would you say to aspiring Louisiana entrepreneurs and innovators?
[WJ] Pursue the things that give you joy. Relentlessly. Eventually, someone will take notice. If you can just break through that first barrier to getting off the ground, then that’s the biggest challenge and the greatest victory. Just be determined, be patient, don’t give up. Everything is changing. There are going to be new ways to get into the game.