Lumenas Animation Studios established a base of operations in downtown Salt Lake City to take advantage of lower operating costs and a large talent pool of digital artists residing within the state.
Housed within a 50,000 square foot studio, Lumenas provides a full-service solution for feature animation, visual effects, and film property development —from the basic concept to the final film print.
Formed in 2005 by Darin McDaniel, Lumenas Animation Studios established a base of operations in downtown Salt Lake City of those lower costs and the close proximity to two notable universities —
BYU and University of Utah (Uof U). Both institutions have long histories with the arts and sciences, specifically as pioneers in 3D graphics and computer animation. Darin McDaniel had seen notable success in the distribution division of MGM during the 90’s and joined a Utah-based film company to oversee production and distribution. While in Utah, he began collaborating with a consortium of local animation companies to produce feature films which promoted positive family values. During that time period, Darin produced the 45-minute proof-of-concept film, Davie & Golimyr, based on the story of David and Goliath. Davie & Golimyr has gone on to win several awards and continues to attract attention. Later, Darin began developing the animated feature, The Legend of Santa Claus (Part 1 is in pre-production, with parts 2 and 3 in development). Meanwhile, he continues to build a slate of animated and live-action feature films which include 1) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (in pre-production), based on the bestselling children’s book, 2) Circustyria, an animated musical about a traveling circus during World War I and 3) Roedo Bronx, a coming of age animated adventure. Housed within a 50,000 square foot studio, Lumenas provides a full-service solution for feature animation, visual effects, and film property development —from the basic concept to the final film print.
• By 2020 the American market will only account for around 25% of box office takings worldwide.
• Between 2017-2019, over 50% of the Top Five movies each year will have a “Chinese” connection.
• Over the next 10 years 75%+ of the Top Five Movies each year will be sequels, or at the very least
part of a franchise.
• Advertisers are being pushed out of television by TiVo, DVRs and VOD, and they are fighting back by
investing equity in films and TV series in order to integrate their product into the message in a way they can control.
• The successful “Veronica Mars” campaign on Kickstarter earlier this year, spawned a new trend in funding. In 2013
individuals have raised $5.1 billion on crowdfunding sites, which is nearly twice as much as in 2012. According to the
Crowdfunding Industry Report from MassSolution, this amount should double in the next year.
• Mothers: Moms control over $2.3 trillion in spending power. They control over 80% of household spending, making them
the “essential” consumer in America.
• The Unanticipated Audience: “Family friendly” no longer means “simple plot, no curse words”–the possibilities for
these films are infinite, and colleges students have become a more than willing audience for their (animated
films) artistic feats.
• Broadest Demographic: It stands to reason that to access the broadest demographic reduces the risk profile. Another
point to consider is the model that Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and Blue Sky follow, which has seen
consistently top grossing movies over the last 20 years. They accept that a family unit contains all of the brackets
created by the MPAA – and as such it is “Family Entertainment” that consistently produces the best results. With a tight
story, meaningful dialog and engaging visuals, you can consistently capture the best results for any given output. We
can think of no other industry that would attach 71% of its product to a limited market. Imagine Ford making most of its
cars to fit drivers below 5’ 3.
• The most reliable predictor of box-office success these days may not be a marquee name or a masked superhero.
It’s the PG-13 rating.
• As studios pour bigger budgets into fewer films, executives are insisting that filmmakers deliver movies that
won’t be rated R. And when their films do get R ratings, more directors are launching appeals for the PG-13.
• Even with raunchy R-rated comedies like “The Hangover Part II” and ”Bridesmaids” turning into monster hits in
recent years, R-rated films constituted only 21% of the overall U.S. box office, the lowest percentage in more than
30 years, according to Box Office Mojo.
• PG-13 films accounted for 35.1% of all movies rated in the U.S., but 54.4% of the box office.
• The average gross for a G-rate movie is nearly 3 times that of an R-rated film.
• 71% of all movies made compete for just the top two ratings – while a G-rated feature can access any part
of that demographic.
• Typically, 40 percent of movie merchandise is sold before a film is released.
• The producer/distributor typically receives an advance payment for each product, as well as royalty
payments, often between 5 and 10 percent of gross revenues from sales to retailers (in other words, the
wholesale price). If the movie does not succeed and the products do not sell, the manufacturer is
responsible for the loss.
• While the first Batman in 1989 grossed $250 million at the box-office and earned $50 million in
licensing fees, subsequent films have generated even more products and produced even more revenues.
• Over the span of Star Wars‘ lifetime, $20 billion and counting of licensed goods has been sold, this on
top of the $4.4 billion in tickets and $3.8 billion in home entertainment products. . .
• Today Star Wars is consistently among the top five licensed toy brands, bringing in retail sales of more
than $3 billion yearly.
• Disney’s consumer products division has made roughly $6 billion from Cars, making it the second-most
successful film merchandising franchise of all time – trailing only Star Wars.
• Currently, the Frozen has accumulated $5.3 billion in merchandise sales. With its great popularity as
the return of a classic Disney princess movie, Frozen caused a doll shortage last Christmas.
To Engaged, Entertain, and inspire global audiences through the art form of motion pictures
Make me like your character, and I will follow him to the center of the earth. I will fight with him in the trenches; I will slog through the bogs, brave tsunamis, and face down volcanoes for him. If I like your character, I won’t just read your book, I’ll ache when it’s over, buy it in hard cover just so I never have to say goodbye, re-read it until it’s dog-eared, and welcome that character to a permanent place in my heart. In short, I’ll love him forever – and you have at least one rabid fan for life.
— Author Unknown
Lumenas Creative Think-tank
To be human is to be part of a story-telling culture. Whether gathered beneath a canopy of stars by firelight, or sitting shoulder to shoulder in a modern theatre waiting for the projector to stir to life. In good times, and bad, stories hold the promise of escape, exhilaration, and the connecting of lives to something shared and universal. It is in the pursuit of such a promise that Lumenas Studios was formed. But that is only half the story. We view the filmmaking process to be like the proverbial kite: where some balk at being constrained or tied down, we know that without the string the kite can never soar. So we welcome restraint, due diligence, efficiency, and innovation. We believe such discipline only furthers our creative passion, and provides a tremendous opportunity for those who desire to take the journey with us.
Lumenas does not limit ourselves to just one technology or revenue stream. We have strict business principles and leverage them across many aspects of the Entertainment Industry. By assembling this dynamic and diverse group of industry leaders, we are uniquely positioned to bring many opportunities to market. Lumenas’ development group is a “creative think-tank” that seeks to tell enduring and meaningful stories, which will inspire and motivate patrons to see more films. We don’t limit ourselves to just one genre or story methodology. Our prime objective is to create franchise films, which will lead to sequels and strong product merchandising opportunities. Furthermore, we seek to leverage our intellectual properties across multiple verticals markets in the Content Licensing and Entertainment Industries. It is our desire to build creative bridges and prefer to foster long-lasting relationships versus quick fixes. By assembling dynamic and diverse groups of industry leaders, we are uniquely positioned to bring many opportunities to market. Telling the origin story of this great giver was a natural first choice for kicking off Lumenas’ animation films.
Over the years, we have observed studios develop films that are niche-specific (genre or R-ratings) and do not draw in a large audience demographic and thus are doomed from the start in gaining healthy box office revenue. As is discussed in in our Company Mission Statement, Lumenas’ product development philosophy targets a global appeal while focusing on the broadest age demographic possible.
The Golden Egg
Filmmakers, studios and distributors around the globe have long sought after the golden matrix to successfully guarantee audience appeal, worldwide allure and box office success of a feature film. Statistically, PG or PG-13 rated films have the greatest probability for blockbuster box office success as the whole family can see them. Also, quality animated features have consistently outperformed most live action films over the past two decades. The greatest financial gains come from capturing the broadest demographic such as parents, children, grandparents, and the young adult population. Licensing, merchandise and home entertainment are also tremendous revenue streams within this genre.
Having success securing studio contracts for both live-action and feature animated films, Lumenas has diversified its production slate to focus on 3 proven areas of revenue generation in the film industry: 1) Feature Animated Films (The Legend of Santa Claus & Bad Unicorn), 2) Children’s/Family Features (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever & Hallelujah Handel’s Messiah), and 3) Live Action Visual Effect films (TBA ).
What We Think Makes a Good Story
To consistently create a story which universally appeals to international audiences as well as all ages is a true science within the art of filmmaking. Very few filmmakers have repeatedly found such success. In order for a commercially popular film to have dramatic depth, strong pacing, humor, intrigue, adventure, and suspense it must typically:
Star Wars, Shrek, Toy Story, and How to Train your Dragon, are examples of international blockbusters that include all of these critical story elements.
All stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams and movies. There known collectively as the THE HERO’S JOURNEY. Understanding these elements and their use in the modern writing is the object of our quest. Used, wisely, these ancient tools of the storyteller’s craft still have tremendous power to heal people and to make our world a better place.
–Christopher Volger, Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters
Universal Appeal: The Most Important Element in an Animated Film is…
You said Story, right? You hear this rhetorical question all the time — what are the three most important things in an animated film? Story, story, story, goes the standard answer. Although we agree this is absolutely critical to a film’s success, we also believe there is something even more important to creating a Worldwide Blockbuster, something the audience doesn’t have to watch the entire film to appreciate. . .
There are many well-crafted critically acclaimed films which have brilliant story structure and have high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, but lack the broad audience appeal to be financially successful. Because of the larger budgets and specialized marketing required for animated films, general audience appeal is critical. There is no internationally known character more appealing, or loved, trusted, or celebrated than Santa Claus.
There are certain expectations and perceptions of Santa Claus that must be honored in order to deliver the familiar charm and timeless Appeal of this massive commercial brand.
Animation: A Global Language
The Animation Industry / A Global Language The animation industry continues to move beyond cultural and geographic boundaries as it captures the imaginations of viewers world-wide and bridges the cultural gap. Theatrical animated films consistently generate over a billion dollars in revenue, making this medium the most successful and opportunistic segment in the film industry. Animation is synonymous with storytelling. And, similar to the many colors from a paint pallet, this ever-varied method of sharing stories can be found the world over: from the great plains of the United States to the highlands of Scotland and from the jungled rainforest of the Amazon to the ancient cities of China. No matter where you go you are certain to find wondrous yarns, fascinating histories and the most culturally cherished parables passed along through the power of animation. It is a universal language by which all stories can be told, great and small, historical and fantastic. It is the vocabulary of young and old alike, an artistic medium of expression like no other.
In the early 1990’s Judith Moncrieff coined the term “Tradigital” defining it as art that combines both traditional and computer-based technologies to create an image. Some years later, DreamWorks Studio head, Jeffrey Katzenberg, adopted the term, “Tradigital Animation,” as the merging of traditional and digital animation techniques. He identified Toy Story, Antz, Shrek, Ice Age, and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron as early examples of this medium. As the CG animated film market matures, audiences will be looking for the next big thing. That fresh look, that new technique, or perhaps a new twist to a once popular medium.
Likewise, Lumenas has embraced “Tradigital” by determining which production medium or combination mediums will truly enhance and define the character of the film versus espousing a One-size-fits-all solution to a slate of properties. Consequently, Lumenas has been developing a hybrid technique that combines two of the most successful filmmaking processes in use today — computer generated (CG) animation and stop motion. People familiar with block buster films such as Frozen, Despicable Me, Ice Age, and Toy Story will already be familiar with CG animation. Likewise, those who are familiar with Box Trolls, Nightmare Before Christmas, or Wallace and Gromit will know the charm of stop-motion and miniature sets and props. However, it is their combination where the strengths of each medium are maximized, that Lumenas has developed a production technique that takes both mediums to a new level — both for cost, aesthetic uniqueness, and quality. We call this mixing of mediums ALL-MOTION.
However, in being faithful to our philosophy, there are certain films that are custom fit for one specific medium and that is equally important to our global vision for the future.
The Business Side
While the theatrical release provides a solid profit foundation, DVD, TV, and other areas (Internet, Airline, etc.) build the house. A DVDrelease realizes roughly half of the theatrical release. On an average animated film, this contributes an additional $110 million to total film revenue. TV and other venues add almost half again the DVD release. Animated films in particular attract repeat views, especially from children. It is this repeat viewing which is widely considered to bolster DVD sales, merchandising and even box office grosses.
Merchandising has long been considered a major profit center by the industry and statistics continue to reveal that children drive this sector. Adults will buy plastic cups with Pixar’s Cars on them for their children’s parties, but similarly, not many adults would buy plastic cups with Silence of the Lambs characters on them.
Animated children’s movies have provided a solid boost to gaming market profits. Many games based on animated films will sell over 600,000 copies at $50 a piece, leading to over $30 million in additional film revenue. A blockbuster movie like The Incredibles will sell over 8m copies, for $400m in additional revenue.
There are only a handful of animation studios in the world that are capable of producing theatrical-quality animation. Competition can be broken down into 3 classes namely, 1) Large Hollywood Animation Studios such as Pixar, Sony Imageworks, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky 2) US Independent Studios such as Reelfx, 3) International studios such as Arc, Animalogic, Framestore, Reel Effects , and 4) Third-world outsource studios such as Pirana in India.
On average, the large Hollywood animation studios produce at least 1 movie every other year, while the rest release 1 movie every 3-4 years. With the shortage of G and PG-rated films in theatres, there is space for Lumenas to thrive and compete for big box-office returns. In recent years, the small studios have proven capable of competing at the box-office and even winning the coveted Academy Award.
PG-13 rated films have their place in box office, especially when focusing on film franchises. Over the past decade franchise films have dominated the yearly top 10 Box Office list. Leading the list is Harry Potter, James Bond, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman, Transformers, TwiIight, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, X-men, etc. These franchises have common elements which include a PG-13 rating, strong visual effects component, and explosive action. Other than Transformers, James Bond, and Twilight, the majority of these films shy away from sexual content, relying on action, humor, and in some cases elements of heavy violence such as the Dark Knight or Die Hard Live Another Day. Traditionally, moderately violent films such as Indiana Jones, the Marvel films, and Harry Potter have had a broader appeal. Worldwide, Hollywood-made adventure films have been highly successful.
Consider the following statistics:
Lumenas continues to put a strong emphasis on visual design our films.
Lumenas currently has two films with Walden Media and Lionsgate.
These films are either in development or ready to go into production.
Lumenas has attracted a seasoned leadership team from from the Pixar, DreamWorks, Blue Sky, Disney and other major studios.
Former MGM Distribution Executive, Producer of The Legend of Santa Claus with Lionsgate and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with Walden Media. Co-developer of the All-Motion animation approach. Strong experience in film merchandising and creative development.
Former VP of Post Production at Disney for 10 years. His department earned 7 Academy Award nominations, 1 win, and 11 Emmy Nominations. Former head of Production at Cinesite and oversaw Disney owned Centro Digital Pictures in Hong Kong.
Co-owner & CFO of Shotgun Software, producer of asset management and production tracking technologies commonly used at VFX and animation studios. Production Controller at C.O.R.E Feature Animation, production accountant and finance manager at Pixar.
Co-Producer of The Legend of Santa Claus with Broadgreen. Currently overseeing the creative development of numerous Lumenas film properties. Specialty in business development and product marketing. Co-developer of the All-Motion animation approach.
VFX Producer for Luma Pictures. Oversaw operations and client management for vfx features (marvel films) and episodic animation. Founder/CEO of the Factory connect virtual production studio. VFX producer and Production manager at Speedshape and Digital Domain.
President of RCM Media marketing company. Delivered over 100 integrate in-theare campaigns for animated and live-action films,domestically and internationally. Developed strong working relationships with the major movie studios, film distributors and theatrical circuits.
Animation Director at Pixar. Direction of Everyone’s Hero. Ghost Director on TNMT. Animation Supervisor and Director at ILM, Pixomondo, Rollman Entertainment. Head of Story, Head of Animation Light Chaser Animation Studios. Creator of the All-Motion production technique.
Founder and Creative Executive for
Chaotik which specializes in Animation IP development. Director of Development for the Peregus Company. Well connected with studios such as Relativity and Walden Media. Strong ties into production finance. Co-Producer on Legend.
Senior Training VP turned novelist and screenwriter. Children’s author for Simon and Schuster, books included Bad Unicorn, Fluff Dragon. Ghost writer for New York Times best-selling writers. Screenwriter for Christmas Pageant, Legend, the Bad Unicorn series, Stormbringer, Circustyria.
Founder of General Lift and Encodacam. Partnered with Douglas Trumbull in Trumbull Ventures. Owns and provides hardware and services for Kuper Controls; the undisputed World Leader in Stop-Motion and Realtime Motion Control. Seasoned Virtual Studio Specialist.
Former traditional photographer turned cinematographer. Specialties includes High-speed filming, time-lapse, and stop-motion, having traveled the world as a technical production advisor award-winning DPs. Oversaw Lumenas’ R&D on the All-Motion pipeline on the stop-motion side.
Mr. Douglas has expanded Lumenas’ business strategy to focus on growing international market. His focus has been primarily in the quickly expanding Asian film market. He continues to establish strong international partnerships with major production investors. Along with Mr. Xing, and Mr. Seo, Richard is focused on establishing strategic production partnerships in China and South Korea feature animated films and high-concept visual effects features.
Mr. Seo, along with Mr. Xing have established professional ties with both government and reputable private companies throughout China and Korea. The dual’s knowledge of the culture and fluency in the language has led to distribution and production of films in both nations. Distribution of major films includes The Thieves, Chinese Ghost Story, Scandal Makers, and Painted Skin and presently producing Legend, My Other Self, Spotty 3D, and Piñata 3D.
Mr. Xing, along with Mr. Seo have established professional ties with both government and reputable private companies throughout China and Korea. The dual’s knowledge of the culture and fluency in the language has led to distribution and production of films in both nations. Distribution of major films includes The Thieves, Chinese Ghost Story, Scandal Makers, and Painted Skin and presently producing Legend, My Other Self, Spotty 3D, and Piñata 3D.
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