Global creative company and award-winning animation studio BUCK (Netflix’s We the People, Love, Death & Robots) is expanding its Original Animation department. The studio has announced that Mike Rauch has joined the cutting-edge collective as head of Original Animation with Mike Bertino being named director, content & story. Both are working closely with BUCK’s head of content development Jay Brooker. The three new recruits are based in BUCK’s Los Angeles studio office.
“Finding the right fit for the original animation offering wasn’t easy; we needed personnel who are highly adaptable and who understand the full spectrum of possibilities that BUCK represents. “What we’ve found in this newly assembled group is a perfect blend of experience, artistry, and business-savvy. Everyone is a thoughtful team player with a global outlook and great taste – a perfect fit for BUCK and we couldn’t be more excited to have them with us!” said Jay Brooker.
Rauch said, “BUCK is home not just to some of the best creative talents on the globe, but also some of the world’s greatest collaborators. That potent mix of artistic excellence and true partnership is propelling us as we bring BUCK’s unique creative voice to TV and film.”
“BUCK is hands-down the most exciting independent studio in the world right now, a totally awesome playground for storytellers and creators looking to break the mould. It’s such a collaborative group, and I’m pumped to jump in with such a highly talented team,” added Bertino.
Rauch the creator of Peabody Award-winning animated shorts series StoryCorps, previously worked for Cartoon Network for five years as a series executive on shows like The Powerpuff Girls, Apple & Onion, and Victor and Valentino, as well as recently consulting on the development and production of Cartoon Network Latin America’s new Lucha libre series Rey Mysterio vs. The Darkness. Prior to that, Rauch formed and ran Rauch Bros Animation for nine years with clients including Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. Animation, Sesame Workshop, and the Olympic Channel.
Prior to BUCK, Bertino primarily worked in adult animation, directing shows such as Shion Takeuchi’s Inside Job for Netflix and J.G. Quintel’s Close Enough for HBO Max. Before that, he spent several years in the kids’ animation space, storyboarding and writing on shows such as Nickelodeon’s Sanjay And Craig and Aaron Springer’s B’illey Dilley Super-Duper Subterranean Summer for Disney.
Cassie Asta has joined BUCK as animation development coordinator, expanding the company’s staff as it extends its operations in key growth areas. Asta got her start in the industry at talent agencies ICM and CAA before joining the Green Eggs & Ham team at Warner Bros Animation for Netflix. She then worked for Cartoon Network’s current series team, where she covered shows including Victor & Valentino and The Fungies! for HBO Max. She also heads the women in animation mentorship circle, which provides advice and support to beginners in the industry.
The additions to the BUCK team come on the heels of a busy year for the studio that oversaw episodes on Chris Nee, Kenya Barris, and Higher Ground Productions’ award-winning We the People for Netflix. The short animated series landed an NAACP Image Award as well as two Annie Award nominations for BUCK. The team also wrote and directed the episode Night of the Mini Dead, from volume 3 of Netflix’s hit series Love, Death + Robots; the trailer for Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Otherside; and a series of shorts to help launch HBO Max’s Cartoonito programming block.
BUCK has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, and Amsterdam with around 400 full-time employees.