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LOCAL VOICES: ‘Hub City,’ animated film coming soon

The animated film, “Hub City: A Real Life Cartoon,” is based on childhood friendships, experiences, and anecdotes of two guys from Compton

Compton Herald | Hub City
From “Hub City: A Real Life Cartoon

Two boyhood chums team-up to produce an animated film titled ‘Hub City: A Real-life Cartoon,’ which speaks broadly for urban communities everywhere

Editor’s Note: Though Compton has produced innumerable success stories down through the year in most every occupational category, the outsider is often left to believe that the only success stories in terms of money and fame involve rap music artists, sports stars, and actors. While there is nothing wrong with that — there just happens to be a glut of talent in these areas emanating from Compton — two childhood friends, Kevin Franklin and Adonis Morrison (the latter grew up at Palmer and Acacia), are well on the way to creating a entirely different image of Compton through an animated film titled, “Hub City: A Real Life Cartoon,” based on friendships, experiences, and anecdotes from their childhood. The two young men have made significant inroads since launching their vision in the production of a short reel and signing on with a management firm, Vesta Talent Agency of Manhattan Beach, Calif. after the agency reviewed the script and art and was wowed by the project.

Prior to “Hub City,” the boyhood chums already were carving a path to lifelong success—both won college athletic scholarships in baseball; Franklin to Arizona State University and Morrison to the University of California, Riverside in Riverside, Calif. Franklin, 21, would go on to be drafted No. 16 by the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball in 2013 and never entered Arizona State; Morrison, 20, went on to compete for UCR and earn a degree in business and marketing at.

What follows is more of their story and vision for “Hub City: A Real Life Cartoon,” in their own words:


(Left to right) Kevin Franklin and Adonis Morrison, producers and creators of "Hub City: A Real Cartoon." Courtesy hubcityla.org

(Left to right) Kevin Franklin and Adonis Morrison, producers and creators of “Hub City: A Real Cartoon.” Courtesy hubcityla.org

Kevin Franklin: Adonis Morrison and I have created an animated series titled, “Hub City: A Real Life Cartoon,” based on our childhood experiences.  We were best friends throughout high school, where we both played baseball. When they called my name for the 67th overall pick for the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft, I knew life would change forever for me. Adonis went on to play baseball at University of California, Riverside, where he continued his education in business and marketing.

Adonis and I always talked about doing something for our people and our community. In March of this year a couple weeks before spring training with the Reds, I visited Universal Studios and saw how people were in awe of all of all the movie sets and creativity we witnessed on the tour. That’s when it hit me. I reflected back to my childhood and how people’s reactions to things I did, brought me happiness. Seeing my single mother smile after a long day of work from a joke I told her made me happy.

On the drive home I called Adonis and the rest is history from there. That night we sat down and created our own world but this one wasn’t fake. This world is the world that millions of people live in today. We created “Hub City: A Real Life Cartoon,” to bring light to what’s going on in our community—not only in Compton but around the country.

Based in a high school setting, it starts with Compton, Calif. Our story is not a tragedy—that’s not what we want. Everyone is a diamond hidden in plain sight, We want to encourage those that look down on our people, to see the good as well, how our characters handle certain situations to save a life, stopping someone from retaliating violently against someone else.

Kevin Franklin. Courtesy Cincinnati Reds MLB

Kevin Franklin. Courtesy Cincinnati Reds MLB

“Hub City: A Real Life Cartoon,” is minority-based, funny, exciting, informative, and impacting, and every nationality will be represented even though it’s minority based. We are in the pre-production phase and do not have a timeline for the release of the film, but in the interim, as we move forward [seeking investors], we want to make sure that our vision is clearly understood, that our goal is the production of an impacting film.

This is a film for the people, which we plan to release on a network for television viewing and hopefully online, as well. Fans of “Hub City” will actually be able to interact with our characters via Twitter. We already have accounts previously made for each of our main characters so that people will be able to relate and interact with them on a daily basis.

We also have a clothing line in the works branded “Hub City” after our series. We decided to keep the old English style for our lettering because it takes us back in time to when Compton was first put on the map by NWA and others that followed suit. We want to make it affordable to those who want to represent “Hub City” and that way we don’t single one demographic out or the other.

We want to stretch this even further out to people in all fields of work around our country and get as many people involved because we all are “Hub City” in one way or another.

Adonis Morrison. Courtesy University of California, Riverside

Adonis Morrison. Courtesy University of California, Riverside

Adonis Morrison: Growing up in Compton, I know there is so much more to the city than meets the eye. My dad has been coaching football in the Compton Unified School District for 17 years at both Compton and Dominguez Senior High schools. I was exposed to the high school scene at a young age, which is why we chose to focus our animated film in a high school setting people of all ages can relate to, including high school experiences back in the day.

I grew up around athletes like Richard Sherman, Jerron Johnson, and Brandon Jennings from Dominguez High School. Baseball was always a sport I loved and was good at. I grew up playing at Gonzalez Park and more recently the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy at El Camino College Compton Center. Baseball is what brought me and Kevin together by fate and we were both very talented in the sport, and forged a brotherly connection off the field. With my story and his writing skills, we were able to put our vision into a reality.

We felt like there was always something more we could do and one day we came up with something that could impact a lot of people and we decided to turn our story into an animated cartoon. Kevin and I believe that we can be the voice of our generation in a positive way through something like this film, and [by extension] the story of our people with a comedic twist to it, something that a lot of people could relate to That’s why we called it “Hub City : A Real Life Cartoon.”

Our management firm, Vesta Talent Agency, of which Jane Schulman is the principal talent agent, entered “Hub City : A Real Life Cartoon.” into a festival called Women in Film, a truly awesome opportunity for our story to get before big-time Hollywood brass. We’ve already received a voicemail from Charlie Sheen talking about his love for our creation. It even went as far as a house visit before Spring Training early this year. To have someone like him reach out and tell us to keep pushing forward was huge and he’s even a huge Cincinnati Reds fan, the team Kevin plays for.

Our film entry in Women In Film will be judged by a committee in hopes of receiving content buyers that will finance the making of our film series.

For more information call (562) 481-2183, or visit Hub City L.A. on Twitter

Intro video

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

  • Michael Hill October 23, 2016

    I like this concept. Almost like cartoonist, Aaron McGruder’s, “Boondocks” success, only…better. Until one of the council members start complaining. And I’m sure there’s always one or two who just don’t get it.

    Go for it, guys! Godspeed! Compton’s not all bad, and media can start a new conversation, if they let it thrive. We have some small minds here, so best to ignore them and move forward. I used to hang out in the animation department for Sony on Apple Street, where they did the principle animation for “Boondocks”.

    Give it a chance, is all I’m saying here. Give it a chance, people. You might grow to like the project. Homegrown and maybe we can start moving in a different direction, developing media companies and even video game companies right here, in Compton, CA. Now’s the time for the city to trademark it’s name as well. They’ve never even looked into that, from my investigation awhile back.

    Missing opportunity is what we often do. So quick to criticize things we (some leaders) know little about nor want to learn about. I’ve been to a council meeting and from my perspective, we need to do better at expanding our horizons. It’s the electorate’s fault you get what you get, sometimes. Small thinking, not global. Nature of small thinking in a small town that has such potential. Compton’s a global name since the movie, “Straight Out of Compton” debuted.

    We need other media projects like this one, to inspire our younger generation to achieve the same greatness as these two baseball players who are making their vision a reality. And why not? It’s time…of course.

    For example our local internet speeds are terrible and there’s a couple of “dark fiber” spots in the city’s borders that could, if lit up, improve our local access speeds considerable. Infrastructure issues still plague our citizens here. And we cannot attract major industries, emerging tech industry to our city if we don’t have such provisions active in order to attract them to this area. When one learns about that aspect one sees the possibilities to give us all faster speeds so we can attract the types of enterprises that can grow out of Compton and reach the world. It is possible. I believe this to be very much possible, only we don’t have the “fat pipes” of a, say, Silicon Valley. But we could…just not with ATT. …we need to do better. And we certainly can. That’s the vision, really.

    Animation needs faster internet speeds and I know this to be fact, not fiction. Try to imagine the many businesses and enterprises one could attract to our area, Compton, if we could fix this need. Major corporations depend on adequate internet access and faster speeds these days.

    Not pot dispensaries, internet. And a trademark for our city’s name. To protect it from being used in negative ways. Did you know that Comptoncity.com is already registered to someone? But I could buy compton90220 dot com right now for only $12.99. What do you think I’m going to do, let it go? I’m not that stupid. I’ll buy it now. It’ll belong to me for that price. See where I’m coming from? I could do this all day…buy domains and hold on to them for the right buyer. Our city’s not that savvy, too busy in-fighting on the dais to even smell the coffee, some of them Clueless, basically. SMH

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