Following a successful stint in freelance animation, Osborne returned to CalArts as an instructor for advanced stop-motion filmmaking, but continued to pursue his own personal film projects. His animated short More was next, a compelling work examining mid-life crisis, reawakening the ‘fire in the belly' and the perils of seeking success. Funded as an independent project, More has the distinction of being the first fully animated, stop-motion film to be presented for exhibition in the IMAX giant screen format. The six-minute short not only was the first IMAX animation film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, it also ran with the film Everest in New York and London for six months. Thirty-five millimeter reduction prints of this film were utilized for more traditional venues, where it screened in more than 150 film festivals worldwide and garnered such prestigious awards as Best Short Film at the Sundance Film Festival (1999), The SXSW Best Animated Short (1999), the ResFest Grand Prize (1999), the Critics Week selection for Cannes (1999), and dozens of others.
In addition, More brought Osborne to the attention of the major studios, with DreamWorks enthusiastically bringing him aboard as a director interested in helming a feature-length animated film. While working to develop projects for the studio, Osborne came across the property Kung Fu Panda, and it resonated deeply for him since it had all the proper elements to be a great twist on the classic heroes journey. Osborne's development of the project led to his hiring as one of the directors three years ago. For the filmmaker: "It was the perfect opportunity to jump into feature animation filmmaking, and explore working with a larger crew and CG for the first time ever."
In between personal film projects, Osborne has designed and produced graphics and animation for television, including projects for TBS and E! Entertainment Television, the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon earning him several awards including a Gold Broadcast Design Association award and a Los Angeles Emmy. He also co-directed a fully animated music video for Weird Al Yankovic spoofing Jurassic Park, which garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video. Osborne also directed commercials and music videos for the commercial production company Satellite Films including a 2-D animated music video for Stina Nordenstam's Keen Yellow Planet.
Osborne's first independent live-action feature film, Dropping Out, starring Kent Osborne, David Koechner, John Stamos, Adam Arkin and Fred Willard, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. The low-budget film is a darkly satirical and comic work — lampooning both the Hollywood System and independent filmmaking —that follows a TV obsessed loner who accidentally orchestrates extreme attention by documenting his impending, self-motivated death. Written by and starring Mark's brother Kent, the film has found a devoted cult audience and won three Best of Festival Awards, including the Savannah Film Festival (2000) and the Sidewalk Film Festival (2000).
Osborne's additional directing credits include the majority of the live-action material for the popular animated TV series Spongebob Squarepants, as well as all of the live-action sequences for The Spongebob Squarepants Movie starring the legendary David Hasselhoff.
Currently, Osborne has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to help with the production of a new personal short film project entitled The Better Half.
Mark Osborne Facts