Hi, my name’s Dani Bowman, I am a 17 year old high school girl with autism. I also have my own animation and illustration company, Powerlight Studios. I dreamed about starting Powerlight Studios at age 11, asking my aunt how to start a company, researching what she told me, and officially launching Powerlight Studios at age 14.
Shortly after that, I was introduced to Joey Travolta and I have been working with him on several projects ever since, including the Goliath Series of anti bullying books, Eeya’s Story, an award winning autism PSA, and his anti-bullying campaigns.
For the past two summers, I also taught animation at five of his summer camps for kids with autism including Jacksonville, Fl, Edgewater, NJ, Detroit, San Diego, and San Francisco, helping over 200 other kids with autism learn animation.
My first series was Gemstar & Friends (inspired by “Sonic Says”) at age 11, followed by “The Adventures of Captain Yuron” about a character that accidentally falls through a black hole and ends up in a new world where he defends his new friends from the pesky villain Malaria and his 16 minions. I now have 8 original series that I write, animate, voice, and score.
Additionally, I have been working professionally as an animator and illustrator since age 14, starting with the music video “The Cave” for the band Arrest My Sister produced by Joey Travolta. Since then, I have illustrated two anti-bullying books for Picalata Press, won several awards for the autism awareness short “Eeya’s Story” and completed several commercial projects including titles for “Power 1490, the Birth and Death of a Hip-Hop Radio Station in Tuscon, AZ”. “Vegan with Joy”, a vegan cooking show available on iTunes, and “Under the Dog House”, a web series produced by Bruce Nachsin.
I always enjoy working on commercial projects whether a book, music video, illustration, or animation with others as I get to meet new people and have new creative challenges to solve.
One of my goals is employ others with autism at Powerlight Studios and I have several other artists with autism that I collaborate with on projects, and I recently won a grant from Spark Action to help with my goal of employing others with autism.
I just returned from San Diego’s Comic-Con last weekend. It was crazy, and a lot of fun! I had two animated short films screening at Comic-Con, Mr Raindrop, which is about a cute little water drop that wants to be a rain drop, his wish comes true and he has a great adventure, and The Namazu, adapted from the Japanese folk tale about a cat fish that lives under Japan. In my story, his allergic to bullying and sneezes when people are mean to each other and causes an earthquake.
I am here today to show you that people with autism can do anything that they want to do with the love and support of family and friends. For my fellow artists, I suggest several ways to promote your business and generate a following.
There are a lot of art contests and programs that are always looking for entrants. My first contest was for Javamo Coffee in Florida where I designed a package for their cocoa product, it was fun, and I still try to do several contests a year to challenge my skills.
For animators and film makers, there are a huge number of film festivals around the country, and many are looking for special and unique content. Most of them are members of withoutabox.com, an online submission website.
Engage your community and participate in community events, your community is not only where you reside, but also groups that you have something in common with. I do a lot of work and speaking in the autism community. It helps me with my speech challenges and has built my confidence to do anything that I want to do.
We live in a wonderful time, everyone can have a voice due to technology and internet, just imagine the possibilities!