A CEO at 21, online animator from Raleigh has big clients and plans

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Caleb Farrell is just 21 years old, but he already has about 14 years of experience with online animation and has gained a substantial following on social media.

"I downloaded my first software when I was 7, and I started messing around," Farrell said. "I thought it was super cool. It wasn't that good, of course when I was 7, but later on I started progressing. Everything's self-taught."

To put that in perspective, he has a 5-year-old brother. So, when Farrell was just two years older, he was already working on projects that led to the creation of a viral video that resurfaces online annually for Star Wars Day.

The animation of Mary J. Blige dancing while brandishing a light saber got more than a million views soon after his original post back when he was a Sanderson High School student.

"Tenth grade in high school. That's when it came out and that's when things started really popping off for me, and people started recognizing me," Farrell said.

People like online gamer Funny Mike hired him to make a hilarious animation of The Hulk reacting to a guy who did not maintain social distance. That post has more than 34,000 views on Instagram.



When Farrell learned that 20-year-old animator and Georgia State University student Julian Bass had a TikTok video of creative work that got the attention of former Disney CEO Bob Iger, he got inspired.

"It gives me inspiration. I thought the video was amazing. It's the kind of thing that makes you think, 'wow, it's the same type of stuff that I'm doing,'" he said.

His work, posted on his Instagram page, includes a collaboration with Coach. Farrell said he thought someone was playing a joke on him when the call came from a representative of the luxury leather brand.

"They told me Michael B. Jordan actually reviewed my page beforehand. He watched my stuff and then confirmed that I could fly out. So, we did a whole photo shoot in New York City, for Comic Con," Farrell said.

Now, knowing his success at a relatively young age will inspire others, he has advice he calls the Three C's: "It's consistency, creativity and collaboration. Once you stick with those three things, then you can honestly make it anywhere."

Farrell told us one of his next projects is a feature film, and plans call for it to stream online. ABC11 will have an update as that production approaches opening day.
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