We are excited to have collaborated to support DreamWorks Animation Television's all-new Netflix original series Spirit Riding Free.

"The series follows the adventures and misadventures of three friends and their horses in the Wild West, dealing with everything from bandits to blizzards to bake sales. Viewers can expect thrilling adventure, laughs, nail-biting cliff-hangers... and a whole lot of horsey fun! The show grew out of my life-long love of horse stories, and takes place in the made-up frontier town of Miradero," says Aury Wallington, executive producer of Spirit Riding Free.

Our two exclusive decorative throw pillows feature Lucky, the main character, and her horse, Spirit, and Lucky's best friends with their horses. The stylish, comfortable pillows feature the series’ bold and vibrant artwork like no other home decor item, accenting room design tones. We believe that families will be elated to display these pillows in their living rooms or bedrooms to revel in a special touch of Spirit Riding Free. 

Spirit Riding Free Pillows

 DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free Exclusive Pillows from Lamps Plus

As part of our collaboration with DreamWorks Animation Television, Spirit Riding Free executive producer Aury Wallington and co-executive producer Jim Schumann agreed to share some special insights into the all-new series.

Aury Wallington grew up in rural Pennsylvania where she spent the majority of her childhood reading books about horses. At Tufts University, she transformed her love of reading into a passion for writing.

Wallington’s writing portfolio includes television shows such as Sex in the City, Veronica Mars, Heroes, and Gravity Falls. She also penned the New York Times best-selling novel, Saving Charlie. Her life-long fascination with horses and horse fiction found a perfect fit when she signed on to adapt the Academy Award-nominated movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron into a television series.

Aury Wallington Executive Producer  DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free

Aury Wallington, Executive Producer, DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free

Does the series pick-up where Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron left off?

Not exactly. Spirit Riding Free follows the adventures of a new horse named Spirit, who is the son of Rain and Spirit from the movie, as he explores the frontier with a girl named Lucky who is just as strong-willed and hard-headed as he is! While the show features the next generation of characters for the next generation of viewers, it carries forward the themes of friendship, independence, courage, and adventure that resonated so strongly in the movie.

How did you cast the series and what should viewers expect from the voice talent?

It was a long process, but once we found our three main actresses, Amber Frank, Sydney Park, and Bailey Gambertoglio, we knew we had hit on something special.The actors became as good of friends in real life as their characters are on the show!  It makes for some amazing acting (and also a lot of giggling in the recording booth when they should be working!)

Are there any behind-the-scene stories that may surprise viewers? 

The eagle in the JP & Sons railroad logo in the opening shots of the pilot is an homage to the eagle in the opening shots of the feature.

For my bachelorette party (I got married a month before the show went into production), we went horseback riding, and the horse I rode coincidentally was a buckskin mustang named Spirit!  

 Jim Schumann, Co-Executive Producer, DreamWorks Spirit Riding FreeJim Schumann, Co-Executive Producer, DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free

Jim Schumann is a four-time Emmy nominated and two-time Emmy award winning animation director and producer, and is currently a Co-Executive Producer on Spirit Riding Free at DreamWorks Animation Television. He has spent the last 20+ years working in the television animation industry in both 2D and CG (computer graphic) animation on such shows as SpongeBob Square PantsThe Angry Beavers, Kung-Fu Panda Legends of Awesomeness, Tom and Jerry, Felix the CatJohnny Bravo, The Grimm Adventures of Billy and Mandy, The Batman, Fanboy and Chum-Chum, and Robot and Monster.

How important is lighting, or lighting effects, in animation?  How is lighting conveyed in animation?

Lighting/lighting effects are essential to any animated show, but particularly for DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free because our lighting/lighting effects really help set the visual style of the show as well as being used as a "character” in the show to help accentuate mood and emotions for characters and shots. Being a CG (computer graphic) show we use digital lighting rigs on our digital sets for lighting. Also being a hybrid period show, we researched lighting fixtures and their color temperature and luminance radius to get certain looks as accurate as possible.

How does the creative process of animation work? How and where does it start?  How long does the process take?

We start with a finished script and a voice track of the actor's performances. Designs are started along with the storyboard which is a visual representation of the entire episode, all of the shots, acting, posing, etc. A timed animatic (digital film of the storyboard) is then created and used by the CG animators to animate the show. CG textures, lighting, compositing is all done using the final animated edited shots. Sound effects and music are added and then mixed with dialogue to create a finished episode. The whole process from script to finished show takes 9 to11 months with revolving teams working on various episodes at the same time in order to make the schedule.

We want to thank Aury Wallington and Jim Schumann for sharing their insights into DreamWorks Animation's all-new Netflix original series Spirit Riding Free

And thanks to Dreamworks Animation for providing images of Aury Wallington  and Jim Schumann.