Jay Francis, Director of Original Series for DISNEY has lived the life of an independent artist/entrepreneur. He’s built a career, bit by bit, outside of the studio system. And he’s now in a position to bring great artists into the mainstream fold. He brings a deep understanding, love and appreciation for the independent artist to a position of great power within the studio system.
Boston native, Jay Francis graduated from the distinguished Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
In 1991, Jay and three partners formed Lil’ Gangster Entertainment, a boutique animation studio with offices in Los Angeles and Paris. The company produced traditional animation, live action, graphics, and designs for prestigious clients such as Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts, Interplay Productions, Sega, Canal Plus, MTV, Universal Cartoon Studios, and Warner Bros. Animation. In 1994 Lil’ Gangster merged with Strategic Visions to create Vortex Media Arts, a software development company that generated over four million dollars in revenue worldwide. Vortex clients included Hasbro Interactive, Fox Interactive, and Creative Wonders. Prior to this, he spent six years at DIC Entertainment, supervising such animated series as Dennis the Menace, Heathcliff, Inspector Gadget, Madeline, and The Real Ghostbusters.
In January 1997, Jay brought his animation production expertise to Film Roman as the Director of Talent Recruiting. He was responsible for placing the artistic talent behind such well-known programs as The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Mission Hill, The Oblongs, and X-Men as well as hiring staff for the studio’s development and digital art departments. During that time, he also established the company’s successful Internship program. In 1999, Jay was promoted to Vice-President and General Manager for LEVEL13.NET, Film Roman’s internet subsidiary where he acquired hundreds of animated short films for development into television series, direct-to-video features, video games, and internet programming. A co-producer of the 2001 and 2002 DIRECTV – LEVEL13.NET ANIMATED FILM FESTIVALS, Jay worked closely with satellite television giant DIRECTV to create two compelling 90-minute televised presentations.
In 2002, Jay co-founded Phuuz Entertainment. Phuuz focused on developing content for the internet, video/computer games, television, film, comic books, and other traditional and new media formats directed at a worldwide audience. phuuz also offered production supervision, consulting services, program distribution, artist management, and localization of Japanese content. Their clients included Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Home Video, TV Asahi, Toei Animation, Banpresto, Seoul Movie, TMS Entertainment, MTV, DPS/Film Roman, C2 Pictures, Geneon Entertainment USA, Mutant Enemy Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, Paramount Home Entertainment, Kids WB, and Cartoon Network.
Then in 2007, after more than 20 years as a force of nature in the ‘independent’ world, Jay stepped into his current position smack dab in the center of the animation world…at DISNEY. We’re proud and grateful to have Jay on board and sincerely hope that his perspective helps make this competition truly relevant to you and other content-creators.