Los Angeles based Strike Anywhere, the ingenious creative studio made up of filmmakers, thinkers and producers, adds to its firepower as they bring aboard animation studio extraordinaire AWESOME + modest.

"Sean and all the artists at AWESOME + modest continue to blow us away with their creative minds and show-stopping visual craft,” remarked Ryan Simon, co-founder of Strike Anywhere. “With AWESOME + modest joining, we're growing our collective ability to help brands, agencies, and streamers reach audiences with content they want to watch."

Raised in the off-beat, countercultural beachside town of Santa Cruz, CA, Sean Donnelly, lead director, writer, and animator at AWESOME + modest, founded the studio in New York after graduating from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Now based in Los Angeles, AWESOME + modest has defined itself as an animation studio that plays with color and form as it pushes the boundaries of reality. Mixing design styles like stop-motion, painted animation, and cut-out photos has made them a go-to as they inventively highlight the stories and messages of their clients like Netflix and Comedy Central, and entertainers such as Bo Burnham.

“I think initially I gravitated toward animation because it made anything seem possible,” said Donnelly. “Not only could I create whatever worlds I wanted, but I didn’t need a giant film set to bring the worlds to life.”

To date, AWESOME + modest’s most notable projects include the stop-motion, paper cut-out treatment for Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for Superman; the American adult sitcom Jeff & Some Aliens, which Donnelly co-created; and HBO’s docu-series The Lady and the Dale. After seeing the animation for the series, HBO tapped AWESOME + modest to create the Clio Award-winning promo. The creative features a yellow, space-aged car driving through a dynamic and collage-like desert as if each cactus and mountain were cut and pasted from a magazine.

Between entertainment projects, AWESOME + modest recently finished a wild spot for hometown Santa Cruz beverage brand West Peak Sparkling Spirits, featuring illustrated cowboy skeletons, a bull rider, and live-action surfers sharing the alcoholic coolers in a wacky, beachside-meets-desert environment.

“I always loved the raw feeling of drawing in a sketchbook or painting on a canvas, and we’ve always tried to preserve as much of that organic energy as possible while using the computer to bring things to life,” said Donnelly. “I’m passionate about playing around with different styles of animation, and trying to push beyond what I’ve done before or what is possible. A commercial is a perfect format for this, and I thrive on attempting to pack as much visual excitement as I can into a short spot.”

Previously represented by Anonymous Content early on in AWESOME + modest’s founding, the studio has crafted ads and music videos for Microsoft, SCION, Kirk Hammett from Metallica, and more. It was during this time years ago that Donnelly first met Ryan Simon. 

“Partners Ryan Simon and Mike Jacobs had AWESOME + modest handle design and animation for their documentary about Marvel for Disney+. That’s what got us talking about other ways to collaborate and when I got excited about joining forces officially with Strike Anywhere,” said Donnelly. “They know the commercial world very well, and I admire the content they’ve produced over the years.”

Donnelly sees a bright future that will allow AWESOME + modest to sharpen its craft and expand their audience. A new original animated show with Adult Swim and a slew of animations for upcoming documentaries for Hulu, HBO, and PBS are in process as the inventive studio joins Strike Anywhere.

As their mix of in-the-works projects suggests, AWESOME + modest has the fluid ability to work on formats of all scales and sizes. Ryan Simon summarizes: “Continuing to partner with the brilliant minds at AWESOME + modest, not only for original entertainment but direct to brand and with agencies is a representation of our intention to craft visual stories that spark curiosity, regardless of genre or platform.”

“We’re looking forward to having the freedom to experiment in both short and long-form projects with such a creative company,” said Donnelly. “There is a surprising but apt alignment between Strike Anywhere and AWESOME + modest - we share a passion for telling authentic stories in a visually dynamic way, and that makes us a great match.”