Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI) would like to welcome Moonbot Studios to the Louisiana's fast growing digital gaming industry. We are excited to see another talented group of people become successful in Louisiana and cannot wait to see what they produce.
One animation firm from Shreveport is quickly proving that there is no requirement that a digital media firm reside in California or New York to be successful. Moonbot, led by William Joyce, world-wide recognized author, illustrator and leader in the digital animation world is demonstrating that Shreveport possesses great talent and promise. One of Joyce’s and Moonbot’s productions, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, is a beautifully created children’s story that has become adapted to the new world of IPad’s
In fact, according to MediaBistro.com, “Following a glowing review in Fast Company, author and ex-Pixar character designer William Joyce has rocketed to top of Apple’s Top Grossing Book Apps list with the $4.99 interactive storybook, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” Bayoubuzz has recently sent questions to Joyce to discuss the Lessmore story, the app and why Shreveport and Louisiana are great venues to tell a story obout digital creativities. Below are those questions and his responses:
Tell us about Mr. Morris Lessmore, what is it?
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is an animated short film and children’s story that we’ve recently turned into an iPad application. The narrative tells the story of a man who loses everything in a terrible storm and must set out on a quest to find happiness again. The app takes the form of a children’s book, in which readers can interact with Morris Lessmore as he journeys through an enchanted library where books come to life, through touch screen technology. Some of the features include playing songs like “Pop Goes the Weasel” on the piano, solving puzzles, drawing on the pages of a book, rearranging words and phrases in alphabet soup – the app fully relies on the participation of the reader to tell the narrative of Morris Lessmore.
Why did you do it?
We wanted to create an interactive experience for readers of all ages. When we heard that Apple was coming out with the iPad, we knew this would be the perfect platform that would allow us to share our story, and that this type of technology would enable us to really make Morris come to life.
What is Moonbot?
Moonbot is a multimedia animation and storytelling studio based in Shreveport, LA. We turn stories into experiences. Our stories are designed to be not only read, but also taken in through all the senses. We extract the sub-narrative within a story and then figure out how to develop it across multiple mediums.
Why did you choose Shreveport, Louisiana, to locate Moonbot?
I’m a Shreveport native and always dreamt of creating a footprint in my own hometown. Shreveport is a unique place for a studio—down here, we can really percolate fresh ideas and do great things and evolve our processes outside of the pressures and influences often found in industry saturated markets. In addition, the city of Shreveport and the state of Louisiana have greatly influenced the work we do. Much of Morris Lessmore was inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the notion of rebuilding after everything is lost.
Where is the next technological stop for the world of digital animation?
Every medium comes with its own set of limitations, and whether the experience is interactive or film based the technology sometimes puts a ceiling on the idea. We are working towards storytelling that is bigger than one medium and one technology. Right now it's a conscious effort, but eventually it will become simple and automatic.
What do you think Louisiana might need to move forward and to be more competitive?
For the State of Louisiana to continue to move forward and create a robust creative industries economy, we need to capitalize on the momentum of these past few years. It is imperative that the State maintain the stability of the tax incentive programs which began the trend of growth. Going forward, these programs should focus specifically on Louisiana-based content providers and creators with the end goal directed toward long-term sustainability. Training and education are key to not only the growth of these industries but to the inclusion of Louisiana’s next generations. Louisiana has immense resources in the creative fields -- it is going to be imperative that the State creates the business foundation to exploit these resources at home rather than send them elsewhere to make their living.