Animator Profile |
Senses Working Overtime
with Dwight Mathis
The St. Petersburg-based artist is poised to break out with a spunky new feature film that offers timely messages.
BY JULIE GARISTO | Sept. 12, 2018
Former stomping grounds: I lived in Dallas for 11 years, and throughout that time I produced multiple music videos and commercials for local artist and business owners. From that experience I learned a great deal about direction, editing and cinematography. In my last year of 2017, I opened an animation studio called Normal Network with partners D’Ontae Thibodeaux, Craig Brooks and Jason Nicholson. I later transferred to Irvine, Calif., leaving the business to run through the hands of my partners as I dove into headwear design with Mitchell & Ness. There I connected with industry leaders in design and manufacturing, learning more about the details in merchandise. Once I gained enough experience there, I accepted an opportunity with Ion Television in Clearwater as an associate producer to help them come up with new promotional ideas for their on-air programming.
Dwight’s formative years: I was brought up an Army Brat, so my family and I traveled off and on for 13 years. When I was 6 living in Huntsville, Ala., there was a moment I had with my mother as I was watching Tom and Jerry. I stopped her to ask, “Mom, how does this work?” Pointing at the screen, “How are they alive?” My mom didn’t know for sure, I asked her because she’s an incredibly talented artist, and I would watch her paint every day and would teach me during her breaks. My infatuation grew from that point on, to learn how everything worked creatively.
His personal favorite cartoon: Definitely A Goofy Movie; the emotional connection between Max and Goofy struck me as a child because my relationship with my family. We are all very close, and to see Max breaking his dad’s heart with lies and deception made me want to get closer to my parents. And of course, Powerline is amazing.
Current project: I’m currently working on an animated feature script called The McSenses: A Family Brand. The film (clip at bottom of profile) will be produced by Ron Clark from The Last Responders, a nonprofit group who seeds project ideas that will give back to communities in need. Writers include myself, Jason Nicholson, Braden Wells, and we are looking for two additional writers to join!
Much more than just another cartoon: McSenses is a unique concept that will educate the public on consumer awareness and will teach us to watch and read before we put anything into our bodies. The times are changing, the timelines are shifting and the universal awareness of what’s going on with our world is becoming more abundantly clear.
The story surrounds a family of commercial mascots who voluntarily quits the big conglomerate company, Normalton Valley. Normalton Valley — or N.V. for short — is an Amazon.com that hovers in the sky, above the town called Abby Hill. The McSenses markets every product produced from N.V.
Ned (smell) markets cologne, candles, air fresheners etc, Ira (sight) markets contact lenses, kitchen and window cleaners, eye glasses and more, Rae (sound) markets headphones, audio equipment and is a famous musician, Telly (taste) markets food products and is the breadwinner of the family. The family quits the company after 15 years when they find out what they’re products have been doing to the people of Abby Hill. Ivan Dea, the CEO devises a plan to stop the family from reversing the damages and spilling their secrets.
Cases like the Round Up cancer lawsuit from Monsanto, the ovarian cancer from Johnson and Johnson Talcum powder lawsuit, food poisoning and much more are the stories that drive this concept of a movie forward.
It’s fun, dark, and educational, and it will have the stylings of A Goofy Movie with adventures and humor similar to Rick and Morty, with the heart of The Lion King.”
I’m not creating this film to cram the truth down, but to highlight the reality of what we are living in, in an entertaining way and to bring us back in “touch” with our world outside of products.
His takeaway: Looking back on the track I’ve been on, the ups and downs, the experience in design and merchandise, opening a business, learning about television programming is all being accumulated into something greater. I’m really excited to see what that is.