Michael Falk was a sailor on deployment in the desert 15 years ago when he was trying to find something edible in his meal ready-to-eat (MRE). But it would take nearly 13 years before he connected those MREs with a clever idea for an animated series.
The retired Navy veteran, who now lives in Jacksonville, has always been an artist. From early childhood, he dreamt of ways to be able to bring his talents to life.
But it was a little over two years ago that he decided to chase his childhood dreams.
“When I was a kid I really wanted to be a cartoonist,” Falk said. “I want to be an animator, a creator; I want to make shows that people can relate to and enjoy and really get a kick out of.”
And so, the animated series “MRE & a Movie” was born. The lone contributor to the project, Falk created an animated comedy about three retired navy veterans acclimating to civilian life.
Falk, a one-time intern at Nickelodeon, took advice from the individual who green lit “Ren and Stimpy,” a popular television show, and built a backstory for each character. The three main characters are based on six real-life retired military personnel.
The series will give insight into career military life and appeal to a wide variety of people — average citizens, military men and women returning home from deployment, veterans, retired personnel, family members — and give them a chance to laugh at the sometimes-humorous nature of the military and the hardships that go along with it.
The series will target the 18 to 49 demographic due to some of the content, primarily the type of often-questionable language sometimes used by military folk.
Falk hopes to be able to get the show on either FOXADHD, Adult Swim, Comedy Central or even made into a Netflix original series.
During the week of One Spark, Falk will showcase script samples, storyboards, script treatments, animatics, artwork and a splash page for those coming to his booth. He hopes to have a few of the individual inspirations for the characters there as well. The week that is One Spark has Falk extremely excited.
“The One Spark creator process has really allowed me to kick it into another gear, into the next level,” Falk said. “I can see this now coming into fruition.”
Falk hopes to raise $50,000 for his creator project. The money will be used to help buy a couple of computers for episode production and also hire two local animators to help contribute to the series.
One Spark funds can also provide the platform for Falk and “MRE & a Movie” to be able to test market the comedy. After One Spark, Falk wants to begin approaching networks to pitch his show. He believes there is a market for this type of animated comedy.
Through support from his wife and child, Falk is all but ready for the 150,000 estimated attendees of One Spark to give him the market feedback for which he is looking.
“This experience has been very exciting,” Falk said. “I want people to be entertained by it, I want people to come and see it.”
This story was reported by Ignite Media, an independent news bureau created by University of North Florida students.