Company Calls Signing “The Perfect Fit, The Perfect Moment"
Last Updated: February 28, 2014 6:20 pm GMT
(Hollywood, California--February 28, 2014) Commercial animation director Rohitash Rao has joined ShadowMachine for exclusive US spot representation. Known for clever, offbeat storytelling, the director has helmed commercial and music video projects for Crunch, Nike, Snapple, Volkswagen and The Great Big World, among others. Rao has completed his first assignment for the Emmy Award® winning studio: a 6-spot package for DMB/Verrado via Cecillian Worldwide.
Prior to his joining the company, a Hallmark project helmed by Rao, and his popular stop-motion Gummy Bear Xmas music video,(http://youtu.be/sRTzBKJusdQ) were produced by ShadowMachine, whose repertoire spans commercials, music videos, TV and feature film. Along with his longtime writing partner Peter Nelson, Rao also created a short for the company’s new Comedy Central show, "TripTank."
“This really is the perfect fit and the perfect moment to bring Ro into the fold,” said ShadowMachine Head of Commercial Production Jed Hathaway. In addition to projects for So Cal Honda (helmed by Hathaway) and TripTank, ShadowMachine is producing the series BoJack Horseman for Netflix and its feature Hell and Back readying for release this year. “The time was right for me to oversee the commercial division in addition to directing, and to cultivate a roster beginning with Ro,” Hathaway explained. Rao, who moved to LA in 2012 after a successful tenure at Curious Pictures, was producing a lot of content out of his Venice studio, “but the jobs were getting bigger,” he said. “ShadowMachine has a stellar crew with a high pedigree of animators coming off expansive film and TV projects. When I met (ShadowMachine co-founder) Alex Bulkley, we were aligned immediately. He opened the studio doors to me, and I’m so happy to be here.”
Born in Hyderabad, India, Rao relocated to Southern California as a child and graduated from the Art Center College of Design with a BfA in Advertising. He began his career as an art director at several award-winning agencies throughout the U.S. and eventually became a creative director at the SyFy Channel in New York. There, his love of animation really kicked in. Rao began shooting short films in his garage and in 2005 one of his films was part of the Saatchi & Saatchi New Director's Showcase at the Cannes Advertising Festival. His work also has garnered attention from the One Show, D&AD, the Clio’s, ADWEEK, Creativity, Rolling Stone, the Webby's, Entertainment Weekly and ABC's "Funniest Commercials." Rao’s short films have played in over 25 film festivals around the world including, Tribeca (New York), Ottawa (Canada), Annecy (France) and the Spike and Mike "Sick and Twisted" Animation Festival. He has co-authored and illustrated the children's book trilogy "Herbert’s Wormhole" (Harper Collins) and is currently at work on the first in a new book series entitled “Creature Keepers,” due out in 2015. Additionally, Rao created an animated pilot for 20th Century Fox entitled "Rancho Cucamonga" based on his life and executive produced by Lorne Michaels.
Whether it’s a stop-motion rebrand for Crunch, a short like “
”, a Snapple Real “Fact” piece in which Charlie Chaplin loses a Chaplin look-alike contest, or music videos “
” for The Great Big World and “
” for Capital Cities, Rao “creates a visual story that is both relatable and wildly entertaining,” said Hathaway.
That sensibility is on display in the new campaign for Verrado, a community in Phoenix known for its colorful residents. Creative Director Jay Hoeschler of Cecillian Worldwide initially approached Rao about adapting Verrado’s print campaign for broadcast. "We had these fun print illustrations from Belgium artist Martin Haake, and they were just begging to be animated," remarked Hoeschler. "I've always loved Ro's work, and knew he and ShadowMachine were the guys to bring them to life." The director proposed a series of mini music videos with a Flight of the Concords feel, each focusing on an aspect of the Verrado lifestyle. Hoeschler and the client loved the idea. The project was a go, and the spots are now airing in Arizona to great response.
Currently, Rao is working on a project for recording artist Beck and Capitol Records via ShadowMachine. “I’ve always kept busy, but on a personal creative level, all of a sudden it’s coming together,” he said, noting his excitement at the reception from agencies to “creative” directors. “A while back, you had to choose - are you an art director or a commercial director? Now, the crossover is an asset, the more agile you are, the better. ShadowMachine is a multifaceted studio that is evolving. That makes this the perfect home. You can only truly grow when you have people to grow with.”
Established in 1999 by Alexander Bulkley and Corey Campodonico, ShadowMachine is an Emmy Award® winning studio, home to cutting edge creative talent in animation for film, television, commercials and music videos.
Since its early days producing the acclaimed stop-motion animation show Robot Chicken, ShadowMachine has become a Television mainstay. The company produced Moral Orel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole and Titan Maximum, all for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The company is currently in production on TripTank, a block of animation debuting on Comedy Central, incorporating a variety of styles by a host of creators. Also in production is the animated show BoJack Horseman for Michael Eisner's Tornante Company, starring Will Arnett, Patton Oswalt and Amy Sedaris.
On the Feature Film front, ShadowMachine is currently in post-production on Hell and Back, slated for a 2014 release. The film is voiced by Susan Sarandon, Mila Kunis, and Bob Odenkirk. ShadowMachine is also on board to produce Pinocchio, a stop-motion animated feature film directed by Guillermo del Toro.
Agency: Cecillian Worldwide
Creative Director: Jay Hoeschler
Agency Producer: Virginia Pooler
Copywriter: Boni Peluso
Art Director: Jessica Booth
Music: Dan Radlauer
Production Company: ShadowMachine/Los Angeles
Executive Producers: Alex Bulkley & Corey Campodonico
Director: Rohitash Rao
Producer: Jed Hathaway
Lead Animators: Andrew Racho & Richard Van As
Editor: Aaron Van Gurpen