The October 2021 Edition

Lipscomb University program helps make Nashville a destination for animation projects

By TOM WOOD / OCTOBER 22, 2021

I’ve lived in and written about Nashville for more than 40 years, but until recently I had no idea of how big Nashville’s reputation for animation had gotten.

Sure, I knew “VeggieTales” was done here. But I didn’t know that in 2015 Lipscomb University launched an animation program that was spearheaded by former Disney animator Tom Bancroft and other industry pros to teach their art to the next generation. You can read my story in the Oct. 22 edition of Main Street Nashville.

“I really feel like we’re at that point now where we have an animation industry here in Nashville,” says Bancroft, who recently launched Pencilish Studios.

“We’ve always had a couple of small studios (notably Nashville Magnetic Dreams Animation Studios, IV Animation and Fivestone Studios) but now we’re adding to that — about three or four more studios that have popped up just in this last year, all with major projects.”

“We’re at the point where we have an animation hub in Nashville,” says Tom Bancroft

Here is a look at some of my previous articles.

Lights, Cameras, Action for Nashville

These are exciting times for Tennessee’s evolving film and television industry, as evidenced by both the release of “Old Henry,” a Hideout Pictures film produced in partnership with Shout Studios and “game-changer” news that the Nashville and Memphis areas will likely see some sort of studio or film campus construction on the horizon. I have written about this for Main Street Nashville.

Filmed in Watertown in January, “Old Henry” was written and directed by Potsy Ponciroli and stars Tim Blake Nelson, Scott Haze and Gavin Lewis with Trace Adkins and Stephen Dorff. It is the first of a three-film Western deal for the companies. Producer Shannon Houchins said Hideout Pictures, a subsidiary of Average Joes Entertainment, will next film an untitled children’s horror story in November, then begin work on “Hardin,” the second in the Western trilogy.

It comes at a time of unparalleled growth for the state’s film industry, according to Bob Raines, executive director of the Tennessee Entertainment Commission.

Now on Video On Demand

Home Workouts or Go to the Gym?

Stay home or go to the gym for a workout? That’s a question people face daily as they try to stay in shape during the pandemic era.

Some have no qualms about heading to a fitness facility and working up a good sweat next to equally sweaty people while others choose to work out in the relative safety of their home gym.

I recently talked to owners and athletes at three Donelson-Hermitage fitness centers — Competitive Edge, CrossFit Donelson and the YMCA branch for the Sept. 24 edition of the Nashville Ledger and learned that the overused phrase “personal choice” really is the best answer.

The facilities are doing all they can as far as sanitizing equipment and making the environment a safe haven for gym rats. And if you still don’t think it’s safe enough for your standards, build a home gym or, better yet, try one of the online classes being offered by the new YMCA360 program.

“It just seems too risky to us right now, all that’s going on,” Nick Sullivan says of returning to the YMCA

-Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

Keeping Up With The Coaches

Tennessee’s Josh Heupel will be forever linked with Vanderbilt’s Clark Lea and Tennessee’s State’s Eddie George as the answer to this college football trivia question: Name three football coaches hired by universities in the state in 2021. I wrote about their hirings in the Aug. 27 edition of the Nashville Ledger.

Going into the Oct. 23 slate of games, Heupel is the leader in the clubhouse with a 4-3 record in his first season with the Vols while George is 3-3 and Lea is 2-5 going into conference action. In the pandemic-shortened 2020-2021 season, the three schools combined for just just 10 wins. They’ve already equaled that amount with five weeks left in the regular season.

Oct. 22 games: UT at Alabama; Vandy at Miss. State; and TSU at E. Illinois

-Ledger cover by Mike Hopey

Dollar General expands and expands

The past decade has taken a toll on some of America’s most recognizable company brands, a situation only made worse since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Dittman, the Haslam College of Business assistant department head for Supply Chain Management, says the “retail apocalypse” of store closings experienced during both the 2008 recession and the current pandemic doesn’t seem to have affected Dollar General.

The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-company boasts more retail locations — nearly 18,000 — than any other company in the United States and has long-range plans to have about 30,000 stores. I explore the past, present and future of Dollar General’s growth in the Nashville Ledger this week. Click here to read more.

Below, you’ll find information about my Harpeth RIver Writers friends. We are collective of local authors and there’s a lot going on these days.

Many stores have closed, but Dollar General has more U.S. locations than any company.

-Ledger cover by Leigh Melton Singleton

As always, thanks for reading.

Tom Wood

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