“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself” -Elanor Roosevelt
It’s about time that you meet Kelli Bixler, dear readers. Let me start out by telling you that Kelli is a very creative person. Her work in stop motion animation has been enjoyed by many, has been generously awarded, and that she (and everyone who works At Bix Pix Entertainment) has a great work ethic…. which is one reason why it’s such a pleasure to work with Bix Pix!
Kelli is the President and Executive Producer of Bix Pix Entertainment and the guiding force behind all of our productions that we create and produce here at the studio. Kelli has great integrity – the touchstone component in her work ethic. She’s also quite humble, so I’m going to stop crowing about her and post her bio here to give you a bit of background on Kelli and Bix Pix Entertainment.
The text that follows is her bio that goes out for public relations purposes.
Kelli Bixler Biography
Kelli Bixler, owner and executive producer of the award-winning Bix Pix Entertainment, was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree for Producing for the Electronic Media from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1981 and cut her teeth in live action films: producing, directing, writing, and editing training videos, industrials, music videos, commercials, and documentaries in Chicago.
In 1989, Kelli was the recipient of a directing fellowship from the American Film Institute and spent a year at AFI in Los Angeles. After the fellowship, Kelli returned to Chicago to direct a project for Playskool. When an animator, Greg Lontkowski, sculpted some clay figures during a lunch break, Kelli was bitten by the stop-motion bug and teamed up with him to produce “Ad Gab”, her original concept for a television show. “Ad Gab” caught the eye of Disney execs and paved the way for Kelli to create another original, “Dinner Time”, an interstitial series for the Disney Channel. This collaboration led to the creation of Bix Pix Entertainment in 1998.
From its beginning, the goal of Bix Pix was to shepherd in a diverse group of talented artists to create hand-made characters and worlds that further the aesthetic beauty of stop motion animation and tell a good story.
More projects followed for Bix Pix, including the Parents’ Choice Silver Award-winning “Miss Twiggley’s Tree” (2000), the Gold Hugo-winning commercial for “NBC’s 75th Anniversary” (2002), and SNL TV Funhouse’s, “Christmastime For The Jews” (2005).
In 2006, Kelli relocated Bix Pix from Chicago to Los Angeles, to produce the television special, “Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn’t Happen” and another original concept, Webby Award-winning series, “The Rodents” (2008).
From Miro to Fig - From Fig to Emmy
The Evolution of an Original Creation
In 2007, Kelli developed and produced a short called, “Miro” with animator Drew Hodges, who was first hired at Bix Pix in 2002. The titular character, a little blue boy, became the foundation for Fig the fox, the main character of “Tumble Leaf”, the first children’s series greenlit by Amazon Studios in 2013. Developed and produced by Bix Pix. The preschool series’ first 3 seasons have won a total of 11 Emmys, 3 Annies, 4 Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, and a Special Jury Award for Outstanding TV series from the 2014 Annecy International Film Festival.
Kelli’s stop-motion passion continues to thrive as Bix Pix Entertainment grows with each new creation, from the smallest service job to the largest original production. CLICK HERE and take a Virtual Tour of the creative process of this Original Programming.
An Interview with Kelli Bixler
I sat down with Kelli for a short interview so that you can get to know her a bit better.
Blogger: You had a basic knowledge of all facets of producing live action when you started your career. Was it a big adjustment to go from producing live action to producing animation?
Kelli Bixler: “Oh dear, it was so long ago, I can’t really remember!
I love creating and working with talented people. People with passion. Whether live action or stop motion – producing is producing - that being said, it’s the particulars that can be very different. For instance the talent is very different. Animation crew have very different skill sets than their counterparts in live action. I do remember that switching from one to the other wasn’t a big adjustment, it was more exciting than anything else… a new way to get my goods out into the world!
Stop Motion can bring anything to life… seeing an inanimate object not only come to life, but make you fall in love with it… it’s extraordinary!”
B: What advice would you give an animation newbie just starting their career? What would be a good ‘first job’ if they haven’t chosen a specialty?
KB: “Make your own short film and do EVERYTHING yourself. Ask advice from the pros if you can, but do every little thing yourself. You’ll learn a ton…”
B: Which aspect of producing is your favorite?
KB: “ Seeing young talent thrive and surprise even themselves with their brilliance.”
B: You’ve proven yourself in producing content for many different audience demographics. Do you have a favorite?
KB: “Nope. As long as it’s a good story and good for humanity in some small way… that’s my favorite.”
B: You’re a big proponent of Internships. Tell us why.
KB: “Because I got a lot of help along the way and I think that it’s a great way to give back. It’s also a fabulous way to get and keep the very best talent out there.”
B: Tell us about your Internship Program at Bix Pix.
KB: “We’re very proud of our Internship Program at Bix Pix. We get students and graduates from all over. We ask that the folks who apply, at least have a basic knowledge of stop motion animation. We give them the choice of which department that they want to Intern for. Animation. Puppets. Sets. VFX. Production. Each department head acts as mentor and makes up a curriculum/learning structure for their Interns. The Interns learn how to practice their craft in a professional atmosphere and our department heads teach them correct techniques and the specific way they want the job done. It’s a win-win situation.”
B: Were you creative as a kid?
KB: “Oh, I guess I was. I was always painting something that I shouldn’t have been painting, selling my mud pie creations to any and all family members, neighbors, and imaginary customers. I was always-always putting on shows in our barn. My parents and sisters would sit through every show that my friends and I would put on. Goodness, they were saints!”
B: Where did you get your inspiration?
KB: “At age ten I wanted to marry Fred Astaire, I watched a ton of TV, and in the Summertime I was always outdoors playing in the woods. My parents were there for me 100% of the time. Really, they were my inspiration. They never stifled me, just encouraged me whenever I took on a project, to give it my all. My parents grew up in the depression era, so my Dad worked really hard all his life. He grew up on a Dairy Farm and delivered everyone’s milk every day. Never missed a day. Sometimes his customers didn’t have the money to pay him. He delivered their milk anyway. My parents were the best people I have ever known… I had a wonderful childhood.”
B: Thanks Kelli.
KB: “ Thank You…”