Witness the Natural Wonders of Love in These Animated & Educational Stories
Mike O'Donnell / Editor
WNW Member Justin Cassano is an illustrator, animator, and art director based in Brooklyn, and spends his days leading a team of animators at CNN’s Great Big Story. For Valentine’s Day, Justin and company have launched “Love, Animated,” a series of four shorts that are simultaneously educational and heartwarming. From gorillas matchmaking via algorithm to lesbian seagulls starting a home together in the seventies, this series manages to affirm the natural wonders of love in just four short clips. Scroll down for my interview with Justin about the optimism of the series, how it came together, and what makes him proudest.
What's Love, Animated all about?
Love, Animated is a special four-part series highlighting some of the unique, surprising, and fun love stories that have brought people (and animals!) together. The goal is to illustrate different forms of love and how they take shape. We hope viewers empathize with the stories through compassion, kindness, and whatever feelings they associate with love. I think it has a "feel good" vibe to it and, as with all Great Big Stories, there's that glimmer of optimism shining through.
How did the project come together?
We've animated some animal love stories in the past and the idea to package them into a series has come up from time to time. As the editorial team was thinking on how to program for Valentine's Day without making it lame or disingenuous, animation was front of mind. We finished production on the seagull story around the middle of December, and then all of January was a mad dash to get through the other three. *Medium-fun fact: All four stories have animal cameos in them, even the two about humans.
What are you proudest of?
For me, the coolest part was seeing the push from everyone in the company to make the series special. Our Publishing team came up with a slew of cool ways to promote it on social media. Video producers pitched, scripted and produced the videos, and we worked our booties off in the art department so that all these efforts weren't for naught. I'm also quite proud of the animal orgy scene in the seagull story.