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HBO Max Launches Adult Animated Shorts Program For Underrepresented Groups

Over recent years we have seen the medium of the animated short really grow in prominence. Animation studios recognise that they are ideal for nurturing new talent, helping to discover potential creators, directors or writers of films and series. We have already seen successful programs launched by companies such as Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Cartoon Network. Now a new program has been announced by WarnerMedia and HBO Max.

The HBO Max x WarnerMedia Access Animated Shorts program is the first of these programs to specifically be looking for animation for an adult audience. Specifically, it is a mentorship and training program geared towards talent from historically underrepresented groups in primetime animation. The inaugural program will provide up to seven artists with the tools, resources and instruction needed to create shorts for adult audiences.

The theme for the first program is "Only You" as HBO Max seeks to discover "artists whose style and voice push the boundaries of what's possible in animation and storytelling." The program will last for six to nine months and will begin in January 2022, during which participants will develop a one to five-minute short.

Creators will work independently on their projects and be partnered with a dedicated mentor and a seasoned producer with whom they will have regularly scheduled check-ins. They will also take part in virtual masterclasses with industry experts on production cycle topics including scriptwriting, storyboarding and animatic, and character and location designs. The finished shorts will stream exclusively on HBO Max.

"So many of the world’s best animators got their start with an animated short," said HBO Max's Director, Comedy and Animation, Aaron Davidson. "We’re proud to offer a space where creators that have yet to be discovered can nurture and share their ideas with the world while learning from and working with the very best storytellers the industry has to offer."

Karen Horne, WarnerMedia's Senior Vice President of Equity and Inclusion added  "The future of animation for mature audiences has never been more promising, and HBO Max is eager to discover artists with a distinctive creative lens who push the boundaries of primetime animation and creative storytelling in ways no one else is doing, We’re looking for unique visual artistry, originality and characters that transport viewers into boundless, imagined worlds."

Applicants must be over the age of 18 and identify as Indigenous, Black, LatinX, Asian, Middle-Eastern or North African or other people of colour, people with disabilities or members of the LGBTQ+ communities.  Participants must be based in the United States or Canada, or have the right to work in either country. Candidates must not have had an original work produced by a Network or streamer before.  Applications are open now and will run to October 24, 2021.

 You can apply to the program here.