The Making of a Superhero

What is Your Superpower?!, our animation studio’s most complex project to date was commissioned by the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) for their 30th-anniversary celebration. This video is both a powerful message of inclusion and a shining example of a true philanthropic partnership.

Artists are employed on films such as Marvel's The Avengers series and Oscar winners Green Book and Black Panther. Graduates also go on to careers at media companies such as Disney, WarnerMedia, and ViacomCBS.

Exceptional Minds Studio's What Is Your Superpower?! was also released during the foundation's September 25th Annual Volunteer Leadership Workshop, which gave Mitsubishi Electric employees a chance to meet our second-year students Becca David (shown upper left) and Leona Tates (lower right) and 2019 graduate Jake Riess (upper right). The event also kicked off MEAF’s 5K run/walk/roll employee fundraiser benefiting Exceptional Minds.

“The original concept was to follow a cartoon character through the Exceptional Minds experience, culminating with employment in an actual studio. Our animation team decided that the story would be best told through actual interviews with our young adults that literally became animated,” said Howie Hoffman, Creative Director of the Animation Studio. 

This Foundation's loyal support has provided our school and studio with much needed financial backing needed to secure a future for our young adults with autism. So when MEAF executives came to us with a request – and budget – for an animated video commemorating their 30th anniversary, we were happy to help.

Visual effects and character animation were used to animate the individual styles of each interviewee. 

“Kevin Webb and Tara Havlicek of MEAF were incredibly supportive of our innovative approach, which allowed for a very unique way to promote Exceptional Minds and still honor the 30th anniversary of their company,” Hoffman added. "This animated content is an example of what artists on the spectrum can accomplish, given the support of superheroes like MEAF."

What Is Your Superpower?! easily tops the list as Exceptional Minds' most complex project to date. It is also a timely message celebrating the 30th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation empowering youth with disabilities to lead productive lives. 

Thank you to our amazing animators and artists Carter Capps, Mason Earwood, Craig Hills, Jacob Lenard, David Miles, Michael Shiu, Stephen Storti, Andrew Turney, and Michael Yochim for their talent, and to Creative Director/Director Howie Hoffman, Director/Art Director Scott Sackett, and Producer/Editor Jon Clark for their guidance and expertise on the project. Special thanks to Waterproof Pictures on cinematography and our production consultant Anne Kurtzman, color house Olio Creative, and colorist Marshall Plante. And a very special thank you for “It’s Okay to Laugh” written and recorded at Spectrum Laboratory.

During MEAF’s September 25th Foundation's Annual Volunteer Leadership Workshop, where the foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary, Exceptional Minds presented a cartoon to the President & CEO of Mitsubishi Electric U.S., Mr. Keijiro “Kent” Hora. The cartoon was drawn by Exceptional Minds artists and depicts “Clark Kent” Hora entering a phone booth and changing into a superhero working to make Changes for the Better - Mitsubishi Electric’s corporate motto. “How did you know? People call me Superman. Thank you so much!” said a very surprised Mr. Hora, referring to his “American” name given to him by co-workers when he used to wear “Clark Kent” style glasses.

Exceptional Minds is a professional training academy and working studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. We are a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization based out of Los Angeles, CA, specializing in training young adults with autism spectrum disorder for meaningful careers in post-production and digital animation. Subscribe to our Newsletter here.

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