Maxwell Von der Horst is not your regular teenager by far. His story can certainly inspire and definitely gratifies Toon Boom with great joy and pride. Max is an eighth grader at Warwick Valley Middle School, Warwick, NY. He loves to draw any chance he gets. His talent is reflected not only in his drawings but also in music as he plays five instruments, namely guitar, viola, bass, drums and a bit of piano. In view of his keen interest in animation, Erin Kelly-Von der Horst, Max's mom, decided to get him Flip Boom All-Star in December 2013.
"I want to be a famous animator one day and have my own show. My main inspirations are the work of J.G. Quintel (The Regular Show) and Matt Groening (The Simpsons). I want to be like them. I'm thrilled to know The Simpsons movie and series were done using Toon Boom," shared Max.
Mrs. Heller, Max's Art teacher, encouraged him to enter the Scholastic Art Awards Competition in the Drawing category but Max discovered the Animation category and decided to go for both. Max had previously created an impressive drawing titled My House, which met the competition's requirements. However, he only had two weeks to create his animated entry using Flip Boom All-Star. Max opted for a more abstract approach calling his entry Trans-Morph-Ations. "I wanted to make it look like a dream and give it a surrealistic feel. I thought it would be really cool to have one object form into another. Animation gives me the freedom to have no limits on my imagination. I worked evening and weekends to complete it on time," shared Max.
Max's talent certainly got noticed. For Trans-Morph-Ations, he won the Gold Medal in the National American Visions Competition and a winner in the Regional Gold Key Competition. About 255,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students in grades 7-12 this year. Earning a National Medal places Max within the top 1% of all submissions.He is also the Silver Key Award winner for his My House drawing. This represents the highest level of achievement in technique, originality, and personal voice.
These impressive accomplishments represent a wonderful acknowledgement of Max's creative skills and fuel his ambition to become a professional animator. He is currently developing two projects. The first one is titled Road Trip and introduces four characters travelling the world and living different experiences. He plans to have thirty episodes and has already boarded the first two. His second project is more of a side one in which he will create a series of random events from his life. Max creates all his animations using Flip Boom All-Star, records the voices of the four characters himself, and adds weird sound effects from the sound library.
"Flip Boom All-Star is a great program for beginners. It's easy to use and understand. I love that it came with step-by-step instructions on how to use it. Flip Boom All-Star has everything you need to start and allows you to import pictures and sounds, which was critical for me. I use Garage Band's library and import my sound selection into All-Star to synchronize it with my animation. My favourite feature is how the bottom bar is laid out with the foreground and background, which was something I had never seen before. It is much more practical and I have a lot of fun animating," stated Max.
Since his teachers discovered his great talent, they'reasking him to create animations for his assignments instead of using PowerPoint or making a poster. "I plan on doing one animation for an upcoming Social Studies project to show how some dog food ingredients can be bad for your pet," specified Max.
Max understands the importance of being visible and making full use of the Internet to showcase his work. In 2013, he and his mom created his website and started sharing his creations. "I wanted to create an online portfolio to help me get a job someday," concluded Max.
His passion for animation is outstanding and his determination to have his own show exemplary. Max would love the opportunity to be an intern in an animation studio to gain experience and make his dream come true.
View Max's works