OFF THE REELS

Kids watch a lot of cartoons.

Despite the sheer volume of animated programs to which kids are exposed, when it comes to the studios creating those cartoons, only a few — namely Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks — have become household names.

The reality is that animation studios — creative motion studios to those seriously in the biz — exist everywhere, including Northeast Florida.

Dripsblack — one of the more well-known and longest-operating in town — was founded in 2007 by Shane Douberly and Bill Waller. The pair built a niche around their talents of character animation and motion graphics.

“I don’t think we’re the guys who started it,” says Douberly. “I think we just came around at the right time and did newer things in the motion graphics and animation world — that’s what got us the first jobs.”

After more than eight years of directing live action and creating visual effects, as well as motion graphics, they’ve assembled an impressive reel — on par with or better than similar studios around the country. Corporate clients and ad agencies make up the majority of their clients.

In addition to working for big fish local agencies like The Shepherd Group, Burdette Ketchum and, more recently, the Dalton Agency, Dripsblack had early success working with Al Letson on his Peabody-award-winning NPR radio program State of the Re:Union.

At the moment, the duo’s major focus is on a new documentary featuring the African-American boxer, Joe Lewis, a black world champion in a world that still devalued him based on his skin color. Dripsblack will be doing the post-production for the film; Waller and Douberly have also independently signed on as producers.

As early members of Jacksonville’s indie music scene during the late ’90s/early 2000s, the two have carried that indie DIY spirit with them into the world of film and motion graphics.

“Being in a band taught me a lot about business,” says Waller. “About self-promotion and how to talk about yourself on a grassroots level. We’ve never been spoiled enough not to wear different hats.”

The pair maintains a disciplined work ethic and a humble approach to the business. Grateful for the success they’ve accumulated thus far, that independent spirit of continuing to push beyond boundaries is always in the background.

“We’ve got to go off the rails again,” adds Douberly. “We have to lose our shit from time to time and experiment. Some of the best times we’ve had are when we’ve gone completely nuts.”

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