Liz Laine Reps’ animation client vies for top award

Scene from “Teeth,” from Ford’s animated campaign

A Ford spot produced by Liz Laine Reps’ client, designer / animator J.J. Sedelmaier Productions in partnership with Bill Plympton, aka “The King of Indie Animation,” was nominated for “Best Animated Television Commercial” by the Annie Awards.

The spot, The Importance of Paying Attention: Teeth,” will compete at the 44th annual Annie Awards, to be presented next February by the International Animated Film Society in LA.

Created and produced for the Ford Motor Company via agency GTB (formerly JWT Team Detroit) the animators’ 36-second spot was posted on social media platforms. Since it was posted last April on YouTube, the spot has delighted 1.8 million viewers.

“Teeth” was one of three spots in the Ford “Distracted Driving” campaign, each created by a different animator: Sedelmaier, Plympton and Al Jaffee.

The Annie-nominated spot was rendered in colored pencil and hand-drawn in trademarked “Plymptoonsstyle. “My role was to produce and let Bill do his thing,” says J.J. Sedelmaier, “while keeping the lines of communication flowing with the agency and client.”

Sedelmaier has been a 16-year client of Liz Laine Shaw’s rep firm that has specialized exclusively in television / digital animation for the 20 years she’s been in business. She is Chicago’s only purely-animation rep and one of a handful in the business worldwide.

Shaw had worked in production in her home city of Minneapolis before moving to Chicago in 1998. Roy Skillicorn’s then-Backyard Productions hired her as the city’s first independent directors’ rep, selling the commercial talents of live action directors.

Her introduction to animated commercials came when she also was the Midwest rep for New York-based animation specialist Andy Arkin of Blah Blah Blah.

Shaw opened her own rep firm in 2000. “When I realized I loved working with animators and their collaboration around art, I decided to specialize in animated commercials,” she says.

Headquarters for the 15 animation houses on Shaw’s client roster transcend the globe, in places like South Africa, Central America, Sweden, London, New York and Los Angeles and create commercials for worldwide agency clients.

As a result of years of making invaluable and enduring connections, she says, “Animators throughout the world reach out to me and I have a good idea of what’s interesting and emerging globally.”

What’s emerging for Shaw right now is being an intermediary between animation companies that are developing new IPs, techniques and film projects and connecting them to investors who are looking for the next new game-changing innovation.

“Animators are innovators by nature,” Shaw says. “They tell me what they’re working on outside of paid projects so I’m in a position to help them leverage their talent with new ideas from an early stage of development. It’s an exciting avenue that allows me to fully develop talent and it fulfills my love of helping people reach their potential.”

Liz Laine Reps is located in River West; phone, 312/961-4444.