A local animation studio known as an innovator in the industry announced on Wednesday that it is shutting down after more than 20 years in operation. Soup2Nuts Animation Studio, which will officially shut down at the end of the month, is best known for its pioneering work on “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist” and the use of its patented “Squigglevision” computer animation process.
Although the company was relatively small, Soup2Nuts had a large impact on many individuals and companies that make up the Boston creative community.
Started in 1993 as Tom Snyder Productions, the company was renamed Soup2Nuts in 2001. In addition to its work on “Dr. Katz,” the company produced the show “Home Movies” for Adult Swim, and most recently for the PBS Kids’ show “WordGirl” and the show “Astroblast” for Sprout/NBC Kids.
The company had just completed work on seasons 7 and 8 for “WordGirl” and the first season of “Astroblast” for Sprout.
In 2001, Soup2Nuts was acquired by Scholastic Inc. Since then, the Boston-based animation studio has served as an in-house production studio under its Scholastic Media children entertainment group.
According to multiple sources with knowledge of the company, Soup2Nuts had more than 60 employees as recently as six months ago; that number had dwindled down to nine, according to Kyle Good, the senior vice president of corporate communications for Scholastic. It seems that having an in-house animation shop such as Soup2Nuts was not cost effective for Scholastic, which can contract animation work from cheaper and smaller independent studios.
“We are realigning some of the operations from Scholastic Media,” Good said. “We are restructuring that part of the business closer to our core businesses which are children’s publishing and education. Good added that the decision was made to shut down Soup2Nuts as part of that restructuring.
“We have other options to continue television programming,” Good said. She added that Scholastic is not sure, as of yet, what the status of the “WordGirl” and “Astroblast” projects will be going forward.
More than anything, Soup2Nuts is best known locally as a training ground for animators. Dave Schlafman, the creative director for digital creative agency CloudKid, said that the closing of Soup2Nuts is a huge loss for the Boston creative community.
“A lot of amazing animation talent came through Soup2Nuts,” Schlafman said. “For years, it was an amazing place where animators get their first break.” Among the Boston-area studios that have connections to Soup2Nuts are CloudKid, Hero4Hire Creative, Clambake Animation, and Planet Nutshell.
“It’s a real shame for the Boston community,” Schlafman added.