Meet Mighty Oak, The All-Women Animation Team Breaking Barriers In Storytelling

"Our mission is to bring the human touch back into the picture." 

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

When inspired women come together, amazing things can happen. Just look at Mighty Oak - an animation studio that's changing the face of the game.

The Mighty Oak team is comprised of Jess Peterson, Emily Collins, and Michaela Olsen, three women with creative backgrounds that run the gamut from non-profit management to film. They've come together to create a full-service animation studio that puts a unique, hand-crafted spin on storytelling, whether they're working with AT&T and Samsung - or crafting original content. It's stop-motion animation and quirky illustration; it's ad campaigns and web shorts that are as visually captivating as they are informative and emotionally stimulating, and it's totally awesome, to put it simply.

"Our mission is to bring the human touch back into the picture," said Peterson.

Mighty Oak cultivates the "human touch" that makes their work stand out so much in a studio space above Peterson's Brooklyn apartment. The four-woman team is currently comprised of Peterson, CEO and Creative Producer; Collins, Director of Original Content, Olson, who directs commercial content, and one intern. It's an intimate, creative setting that fosters independence and creative thinking.

"As a woman in business, it's been really exciting to know that I'm in charge of certain things, and that my team - we are collaboratively in charge of this studio," Collins explained.

Peterson, who earned a BS in Music Industry and Business before getting her Master's in media studies from The New School, and Collins, who studied film and animation at the Rhode Island School of Design, met while working at the Children's Museum of the Arts in Manhattan. Peterson was in communications while Collins worked in animation, but they would later come to pool their resources together to create Mighty Oak. 

"It made sense for us to go into this world together," Peterson said in an interview with Mashable. "We both love to tell stories and love what you can do with animation."

It wasn't long before they began to attract the attention of national and even global brands, allowing them to do what they love: use animation to tell stories that empower women. Just consider their work with the Dream, Girl film: the Mighty Oak team was called in to animate flashback sequences of the women leaders profiled in the film, and the result - whimsical, emotionally stirring content - is a testament to the power of animation.

Their original work - like the upcoming HATCH Stories - utlilizes stop-motion animation to tell the origin (Instagram) stories of female entrepreneurs. It's the first of its kind. 

"Some people learn a lot by listening. Some learn by seeing, so I think that when you have visuals to go along with the story, you're giving people an opportunity to absorb an idea or a concept. It's more digestible for some people," Collins said. "With animation, you can break language barriers. We can see the story play out."

Mighty Oak's story is one that is, fortunately, becoming increasingly common; more and more women-led startups are finding success in fields previously or even currently dominated by men, and they're doing so by embracing what makes them stand out from the pack.

You can follow Mighty Oak's story by keeping up with them on Instagram, Vine, Vimeo, and Facebook

Bonus: learn how to make a Gif, courtesy of the Mighty Oak ladies!

[Photos & Gifs: Mighty Oak; Video: Sekiya Dorsett & Martyna Starosta]

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