My name is Francesco Giroldini, I’m an artist working at Blue Sky Animation Studios. I previously worked at Dreamworks Animation Studios and Pixar. I am also the writer and co-director of the animated short film “The Monk and the Monkey“.
This blog is intended be a permanent home to the story of Adam and Antony Murphy’s Imaginears Animation Studio‘s scam, their disastrous attempt to crowd-fund a $250,000 short film based off my original art and storyboards, their failed and repeated attempts to threaten me with a $10,000,000 lawsuit and their subsequent efforts, with Ken Sullivan to reboot the project under a different name.
I intend for this blog to be a factual and unbiased report of their scam and its main intent is to share my story with the online community in hopes that no more artists or companies will get scammed by them, as they still continue to this day to contact artists around the world and have them produce work on their behalf.
The co-founders of Imaginears Animation Studio, Adam and Antony Murphy attempted an elaborate scam which involved taking some of my original art and storyboards, which I shared with them during an eight-months-long FREE mentorship, and attempting to pass it as their own in order to crowd-fund a short film through Kickstarter for $250,000 without my knowledge or permission, and without crediting me, in direct violation of US copyright laws.
I never signed any contract that would assign them copyrights to my art, I was never compensated for my work, nor I ever demanded to be. I agreed to their request to informally mentor them and they never received my permission to take my artwork and claim it as theirs.
The twins contacted several artists working at major animation studios such as Pixar Animation Studios, Dreamworks Animation, Sony Pictures Animation and asked them to collaborate and appear as testimonials on their Kickstarter campaign.
None of these professionals were told that the story and artwork pertaining to the short film belonged to me, and Adam and Antony Murphy lied to them, claiming that the work had been produced as work-for-hire by a contractor and that they retained a right to use it, and as a consequence of that, all of these artists unknowingly participated to the scam.
A lot of the people they scammed were former college classmates, good friends of mine, former-co-workers or professionals who were at the most one or two degrees of separation away from me.
Below I posted a graph of Adam and Antony Murphy‘s scam associates.
When their associates and testimonials found out about the scam and withdrew their support, Adam and Antony Murphy setup a now-defunct blog, with the intention to bypass Kickstarter and use PayPal in order to receive $110,000 in funds for the short film.
Their 2nd attempt to crowd-fund the short film failed as well within 24 hours of going live.
Below is an incriminating video that appeared on their now-defunct crowd-funding blog that features the two of them standing in front of prints of my original art and storyboards, as they pitch a short film idea that they refer to as “Steampunk-AL“.
A copy of their original video can be found here (click to open):
Below is photographic evidence that the images that appear behind them in their crowd-funding video are in fact my artwork as it first appeared on my blog on October of 2012 (a whole year prior to their attempts to crowd-fund the short film).
On April 25th 2014, the twins threatened to sue me for $10,000,000 (10 million dollars) and stated that the story and artwork pertaining to the short film are entirely theirs and that my art is an unauthorized reproduction of their original work. This is despite the overwhelming evidence against their claims, which includes their own statements admitting my responsibility in the original story, their admission that they can only draw stick figures and photographic evidence of my artwork appearing behind them in their crowd-funding video.
On June 23th 2014, I became aware that a former associate of the twins and former Pixar employee, Ken Sullivan, who had initially been approached by the twins in order to lead the “Steampunk AL” project and who had promised several times he was not going to work for them again, was in fact still working for them, after the “Steampunk AL” fiasco and managing a reboot of their short film, on their behalf. This is despite the fact that I had provided him with extensive evidence in order to support my claims that the twins were infringing my copyrights and despite being warned over and over about the risks of being associated with the twins.
He is currently the only person I am aware of, who is still collaborating with the twins despite being fully aware of their repeated acts of copyright infringement, defamation and legal attempts to bully me into silence. He chose to continue to work for them in spite of the possibility that it could affect his professional reputation.