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Special Agent Productions Opens Boutique Animation Studio in San Francisco

SPECIAL AGENT PRODUCTIONS has opened a new boutique animation studio in San Francisco offering a host of streamlined services to meet the production demands of the new economy and the digital age.

Press Release from Special Agent Productions

Editor's note: W!LDBRAIN closed its office in San Francisco last June and shifted its emphasis on W!LDBRAIN Animation Studios in Sherman Oaks, Calif., which focuses heavily on 3-D television series. The Sherman Oaks office is headed by Chris Staples and Michelle Papandrew.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, SPECIAL AGENT PRODUCTIONS has opened a new boutique animation studio in San Francisco offering a host of streamlined services to meet the production demands of the new economy and the digital age. Founded by the award-winning team of director Phil Robinson and producer Amy Capen, SPECIAL just wrapped its latest commercial for Esurance. The spot casts their client’s sexy, pink-haired pitchwoman “Erin” in a colorful, Bollywood-themed video that premiered on the IFC channel this week. The ubiquitous Esurance campaign has been the perfect platform to highlight SPECIAL’s versatile range of capabilities including 2D and 3D animation, and the blending of the two with live-action in several commercials.

Co-founder and former creative director of W!LDBRAIN Animation Studios, Robinson said of his inspiration for starting SPECIAL, “After building and running what became a big company, I missed the creative dynamic that exists in a smaller setting with more freedom to explore ideas – this is what we aim for at SPECIAL.”

Principally guided by the creative process, SPECIAL is Robinson and Capen’s deliberate marriage of proven production methods to fluid scalability – a key requirement of the new economy. Capen commented on the studio’s approach adding, "In order to thrive and remain relevant in today's changing advertising landscape, it's critical that creative concepts work across multiple delivery platforms. At SPECIAL we help our clients maximize their resources and implement campaigns that meet both creative and budgetary bottom lines."


Founded by director Phil Robinson and producer Amy Capen, SPECIAL AGENT PRODUCTIONS (SPECIAL) is a full-service animation studio offering the latest in 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics and design for all broadcast media. SPECIAL’s work includes the iconic commercial characters “Erin Esurance” (the sexy, pink-haired special agent), and Lamisil’s “Digger” (the yellow toe fungus guy). The founders’ long-standing relationships with talent in the Bay Area and beyond afford unique access to the best and the brightest in animation. SPECIAL is built on smart methods that serve creative and budgetary bottom lines in this era of “less is more.”


Director Phil Robinson’s storied career culminated in the birth of W!LDBRAIN Animation Studios, which he co-founded in 1992. As the company’s chief creative, Robinson watched W!LDBRAIN grow into a major animation studio producing TV, film, commercials, web, and interactive projects for the leaders in advertising and entertainment. Earlier work included a stint at Industrial Light + Magic and collaboration with the legendary Bill Hanna – who tapped him to launch Hanna-Barbera’s principal overseas studio. Robinson has received three coveted Annie awards, including one for his interactive take on Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham. He directed the feature film FernGully2 and the acclaimed CG short Hubert's Brain that won a host of awards around the globe.

Previous to SPECIAL, producer Amy Capen was head of production at W!LDBRAIN where she developed and launched the studio’s online entertainment channel and produced work for top clients including: Kraft, Microsoft, Honda, and Disney. Her industry tenure began at Colossal Pictures as senior producer working with clients including: Cartoon Network, the Disney Channel, Leo Burnett USA, and Ogilvy & Mather. She was associate producer on MTV’s Emmy-winning Liquid Television (Beavis and Butthead, Aeon Flux), and her work has been recognized by the Annies, the Broadcast Designers Association, and the International Animated Film Association.