Thriving Pioneers of the 3D industry

a little over 25 years ago...

Back in the early 90’s, even before Toy Story or Shrek hit the big screen, Mike Halsey, noticing the potential of computer graphics, started an animation company out of his garage. Joined with then 16 year old Don Culwell, Magnetic Dreams was born. This Nashville-based company (existing before Nashville was the urban-booming-cool Nashville), began with animation work requested by car dealerships and local advertisers. Soon after, with Nashville’s growth as well as the motion graphics and VFX market, Magnetic Dreams began landing higher profile work, eventually landing the key animation spot for the Nashville Predators home games. This key animation, which featured the Saber Tooth Tiger running through downtown Nashville, found its way to the evening news and was rated by fans as one of their favorite parts of home games. This provided tremendous city-wide exposure and as well as a regional Emmy.


Soon after, Kurt Hahn’s Film House needed major animation work for the American Forces Network. Magnetic Dreams landed this contract which ran continually for several years. Further, Magnetic Dreams added three key team members, award-winning artist Rhea Borzak (who came from Elite Post) and Rickey Boyd. Boyd, a puppeteer and artist for the Jim Henson company, had recently moved back to the south, and joined the Magnetic team. Shortly thereafter, at Magnetic Dreams, Boyd designed Traction Jackson and the Twiddlebugs for Sesame Street, both which were featured on PBS. Soon Magnetic began working Sesame Street's iconic characters. Eventually, Magnetic Dreams’ would land the effects work for Elmo the Musical, which would result in a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Opening Title. While these ongoing work with Sesame continued, new horizons emerged on the country music scene. 


Sesame Street: Daytime Emmy and More

Daytime Emmy - Elmo the Musical

Nashville Music Scene, VFX, and Independent Film

While the success with Sesame Street, other offers began pouring in. Some of the higher profile clients included DVD work with the Rolling Stones and Carrie Underwood, as well as effects for videos featuring Kenny Chesney, Five for Fighting, Shakira, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Josh Groban. With the country music and music video market on fire, Magnetic Dreams was tapped to do effects for Taylor Swift’s landmark video Fifteen. This video would go down as one of Swift’s best and receive a MTV’s Music Video of the year nomination.

MTV Music Award Nomination - Taylor Swift, Fifteen    With Don Culwell serving as Art Director, Magnetic Dreams delivered the iconic visuals to the modern classic 

MTV Music Award Nomination - Taylor Swift, Fifteen

With Don Culwell serving as Art Director, Magnetic Dreams delivered the iconic visuals to the modern classic 

Forefront of Innovation: Marvel Motion Comics

Magnetic Dreams' work also attracted the attention of the Marvel Entertainment Group, who contracted with Magnetic for two feature motion comics starring Iron Man and Thor and Loki. Under the direction of Joël Gibbs, these feature length films still remain popular as streaming series on Netflix.

Marvel's wildly popular streaming series

Marvel's wildly popular streaming series


Enterprise: COmmercials, Presentations, Custom Formats, More


While Magnetic was succeeding on the entertainment front, the company was also succeeding on the commercial and corporate front. Magnetic Dreams catalogue of leading brands rapidly expanded, participating in a longtime, direct partnership with Dell, and regular work across other partnerships including McDonald's and Chick-fil-A. This work expanded beyond standard commercial format, then including multiple custom formats, exhibits, and live productions. 


Today Magnetic Dreams continues on the same path of growth and diversified project type. Recently entertainment work includes pilots with Nickelodeon and Jim Henson productions, motion graphic work Highlights magazine and McDonalds, and exhibit and custom work with Crayola, Samsung, and Chick-Fil-A. The company has pipelines set up to affordably do small work, and enough manpower for ongoing larger-scale projects. The diversity of projects allows for excellent character work, motion graphics, and product design. With a broad catalogue of clients and project types, Magnetic Dreams continues to thrive.