LA-based animation studio Six Point Harness, best known in the kids space for its work on Netflix/Higher Ground’s Waffles + Mochi and Oscar-winning short film Hair Love, is rolling out its first slate of original kids content with projects including a short film that tackles colorism and a series about a Black family’s unusual relationship.
Creative director Musa Brooker and head of development Wendy Willis are leading the originals charge, with CEO Brendan Burch, founding creative director Greg Franklin, senior producer Vera Hourani and art director Saharat Tantivaranyoo also at the table.
Prior to joining Six Point, Brooker worked on stop-motion TV shows, specials and movies such as Alien Xmas (Netflix), Elf (New Line Cinema) and It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! (Nickelodeon). He demonstrated his skills as a director, writer and animator on Michelle Obama’s Waffles + Mochi and was brought on full-time based on the strength of his work on that project. Brooker is also expected to add significant value to the company’s mission to celebrate diverse voices and artists.
“One of the things Six Point is very conscious of doing is developing stories from underserved communities,” says Brooker. “As a Black man, this commitment to diversity and inclusion was one of the things I was most impressed by. It’s also a really great time to make inclusive content, considering the history of animation has a checkered past at best when it comes to dealing with diversity.”
First up in Six Point’s development pipeline is family-oriented short film Skin Deep (pictured left) from actor and children’s book author Terrence Terrell (B Positive). Inspired by Terrell’s childhood, this project explores the discriminatory practice of colorism in the Black community.
“It’s about a young boy’s experience with prejudice, how he deals with it, and how his family helps him understand that his skin is beautiful,” says Brooker.
Filmmaker Anthony Hemingway (Red Tails) is set to direct the 2D-animated short, and Terrell is writing a companion book. Six Point has the core of the film’s story mapped out, as well as an outline and some early character designs completed. Brooker says the goal now is to secure some co-production support and move the project into production as soon as possible.
“It’s just a matter of finding the right partners,” he says. “And depending on interest, we may develop the story into something more than a short film.”
Also on the slate is an as-yet-untitled adventure-comedy (pictured right) created by Brooker and his writing partner Joe Pontillo. The 2D-animated series for seven to 14s will feature a fun mix of genres and address some contemporary issues.
“I have always enjoyed stories and projects that aren’t necessarily one genre or one type of story,” he says. “At the core of the show is an unusual family relationship, and we will also deal with some current things that are going on in society.”
Beyond storytelling, Brooker says there is a great opportunity for Six Point to expand its mostly 2D-animated slate as demand from streamers and cable networks for different types of animation grows. To take full advantage, the studio is experimenting with CG animation in some of its new concepts, and is open to developing projects that have stop-motion components.