After spending two summers as an intern with the Jim Henson Company as a student, Myles Hunt ’11 is following in the footsteps of the late puppeteer with his company sMyles Creative, LLC, bringing to life his own cast of colorful creatures through animated videos.
“Much of Jim Henson’s legacy of optimism, the power of good and that sense of camaraderie among friends and colleagues matched with mine,” says Hunt. “I was in pure bliss working and learning alongside the immense creative energy these legends were unleashing out into the world.”
With the help of a concept designer and animation team, Hunt has written, produced and released two videos to date: one, a finalist in the GIPHY Film Fest, features a furry purple creature who plays ping pong; the other, part of a series of animated videos called Tune City, introduces members of a musical group, the Mac Ds, which includes a drummer who is deaf named J.W.
For Hunt, who is hearing impaired, J.W.’s character offers a natural opportunity to educate his audience about people with hearing impairments. “Being a hard of hearing person myself, I thought it made natural sense to diversify my character base,” he says. “It also was a way to show the world the relationship between the deaf community and the hearing world via Hen, who is J.W.’s best friend and interpreter.”
sMyles Creative is currently working on six more short videos to introduce other characters in the band. All feature original music by an array of independent musicians that Hunt has recruited to the project.
The arts and education major says he has always been interested in entertainment as an educational tool, particularly puppetry, animation and music. After graduation, he worked as a puppeteer at the Walt Disney Company, which fed his love of entertainment, but not his desire to teach. He returned to New York City and took a job as a content developer, where he created educational texts to aid students across the country via technology.
To fuse his two passions, Hunt founded sMyles Creatives in 2016 “to move forward with my dream, which manifested itself back when I was in high school, and create my own company and television series around the theme of music,” he says.
With hopes that the Tune City videos could be picked up for a web-based or streaming series, Hunt says, “We would love to tell the story of the band…and how their adventures help define their sound and blossoming friendships. It would be an absolute joy to show the relationships, struggles and joy each member and the expanded collective bring to the medium of music while also entertaining viewers.”