At 30 years old, Brandon James Scott has wasted no time in earning accolades. This year alone has brought an Emmy nomination, three Annie nominations and a Youth Media Alliance nomination for his pre-school animated series Justin Time.
They say luck is when opportunity meets preparation. For Scott, his “lucky break” came just after graduation, when he got to pitch an idea that he’d developed while in Sheridan College’s animation program to his employer, Guru Studios.
Guru was expanding into original content and Scott had a well-formed idea about a time-travelling kid named Mike and his friends. Mike became Justin, and Justin became Justin Time, an animated series for children aged three to six that airs on Disney Junior in Canada, PBS Kids Sprout, NBC and Netflix in the U.S. and in international markets. The show now employs around 50 people, has its own app and has also spawned several iOS games.
Scott has also written and illustrated two Justin Time children’s books – The Pancake Express and The Big Pet Story, which just came out in July.
As it turns out, Justin is just the first in a long line of characters that have been waiting to leap out of Scott’s imagination and onto the screen.
“I was always making pictures, creating characters and comics, and as I grew up I found a big love for movies. I decided to combine the two and learn animation,” he explains. “Animation is a wonderful medium for telling stories. You can bring pretty much whatever you want to life – your imagination is the only limit.”
Scott has also turned his creative talents to teaching, speaking, writing and illustrating other children’s books, working on commercial projects and developing other animation projects. He’s also directing a new series at Guru for Mattel called Ever After High.
Of Justin Time‘s success, Scott says the series’ pace is a big part of its allure.
“I think a lot of the shows kids get at this age are slow and safe and sleepy,” he says. “There’s certain things preschool television needs, certain standards and practices you have to follow – but you can still make it awesome. We tried to focus on the awesome.”