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If you’re involved with motion design, or any creative industry for that matter, you’re probably familiar with the work of MK12. They’re responsible for some of the most recognized work in the motion graphics world – from feature film titles to music videos and TV spots. However, outside of their commercial work they consistently raise the bar with their self-initiated short films. Giant Child had the opportunity to speak with Ben Radatz, one of the founding partners of MK12, about the studio, their films, and the process behind last years film Telephoneme.

Giant Child: First thing; Tell us about MK12. I realized that as long as I’ve know about you, I really don’t know anything about you. MK12 has always had a sort of mysterious/secretive thing about it. When did you form? Who started the company? How many people work at MK12?

MK12: We’d love to say that the mystery’s all intentional, but it’s probably due as much to our lack of self-promotion as it is to our late arrival to social media, which we’re only now getting our heads around. At the same time, though, we do like to keep our heads down and just put out work when it’s ready. And, we always credit the studio, not individuals – we’ve always just done it that way.

We got our start in ’99, right after graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute, where we four original partners (myself, Jed Carter, Tim Fisher, Matt Fraction) met while in the Photo/Video department, which at the time was sort of a catch-all major for anyone interested in modern imaging. We were some of the few animators there, and we’d collaborate often on short films and other oddball experiments. We came back together after we graduated to work on a big film project we’d been planning, and that accidentally morphed into MK12.

We got our start designing web sites and other random paraphernalia by day, and at night we’d work on our short films and personal projects. We didn’t think we’d be able to make a living at it, but our films started doing well on the festival circuit and online, and we started getting calls from scouts and producers. It just kind of grew from there.

We are five partners now – swapping out Fraction (who left to pursue comic writing) for Shaun Hamontree and Chad Perry. We’re also privileged to work with some really talented folk: Heather Brantman from KU, Shawn Burns from SCAD, and Teddy Dibble and James Ramirez from KCAI.

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