Director of 'The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story' Launches New Christmas IP and Brings Animated Holiday Short to YouTube

Using Real-Time Animation Techniques powered by Unreal Engine, director Chad Eikhoff creates Christmas Short for the 2020 Season

The Jolliest Elf

​​​​​​Director Chad Eikhoff, best-known for the holiday special-turned-classic “The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story,” is launching a new elf-themed IP and bringing a new holiday short to families this holiday – “The Jolliest Elf.” The short’s animation was produced by TRICK 3D studio using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and funded through an Epic Games MegaGrant.

Releasing Thanksgiving Day on YouTube, the short is the pilot to a series that will introduce viewers to The North Pole’s creative inhabitants for a first-of-its-kind animated talent competition titled “The Jolliest Elf.” Viewers will meet the North Pole’s flashy host, Mr. Jingles, and the show’s charismatic judges: Glo, Frosty and Tiny. The star of this first short will be Lil’ Rey, an adorable and hugely talented young reindeer rapper, voiced and performed by Macyn McMillian aka “Mac Sauce,” an eight-year-old artist from Kansas City. The Lil’ Rey episode short is a mood-lifting clip to be shared with friends and serves as a preview to the full series to come.

“Christmas specials have always inspired me because they have the power to bring the entire family together to watch and share,” says Chad Eikhoff. “Today, reality competition shows have that same power to engage whole families, while laughing and memory-making. I am excited to be combining the two and bringing the action from ‘The Jolliest Elf’ stage to families everywhere.”

The full competition will go into production in Q2 2021 with the aim of launching during the 2021 holiday season. Eikhoff and team are actively seeking broadcast and streaming partners for 2021. Eikhoff and TRICK 3D studio are developing the full line-up of episodes in partnership with Cookbook Media, the global IP agency led by industry executives Claudia Scott-Hansen and Rob Bencal. Cookbook Media will be working with the team to build “The Jolliest Elf” into a perennial holiday franchise through brand activation, content strategy, distribution, consumer products and more. Cookbook Media will be representing the project at upcoming 2021 market events with the goal of establishing strategic production and marketing partnerships.

The production began just as companies, including TRICK 3D Studio, began quarantining due to the pandemic. “It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions beginning production on ‘The Jolliest Elf’ due to COVID-19, but the fact that we were able to keep moving forward and create awesome energy and happiness along the way is a testament both to the people on this project and the technologies that are making remote production successful and actually a ton of fun,” remarks Eikhoff. Eikhoff and team have just released a behind-the-scenes video that showcases the technologies being used – viewers can see the story now on YouTube.

Visit to see the behind-the-scenes and activities.  


Source: TRICK 3D

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