The Beginning

Like many children with autism, Dani Bowman had challenges with language and speech.  In her case, she didn’t speak until she was six years old and it was nearly impossible to carry on a conversation with her even at age eleven.  There were drawings of her original characters all over the house on every loose piece of paper she could find, and she was obsessed with drawing to the exclusion of nearly everything else.  When asked about the drawings, Dani would go on at length and in great detail about her characters, their world and the story arc for each of eight different series she’d created, yet she couldn’t string together a single sentence otherwise and had no interest in carrying on a conversation about anything else.  We quickly discovered that her characters and her stories became a way to reach her through common ground and bring her out of her self-imposed isolation so typical of children with autism.  We didn’t know it at the time, but we’d stumbled upon the concept of “Affinity Therapy”, meeting someone with ASD though their interests and using those interests to communicate and gain entrance into their world, wonderfully explained in the documentary Life, Animated.    More on Affinity Therapy here.

One day she presents a hand-made book held together with staples to Sandy and says that she wants to sell her books.  Sandy looks at the book and says, “While it’s a nice book, no one is going to buy it.”  Dani walks away, head down and dejected, saying “No one ever listens to me.”  We started listening and encouraged her interest in art and animation and Danimation Entertainment was born.


Growing the Mission.

At age 14, Dani lands her first commercial job, a music video for Joey Travolta, followed by illustrating two books in the Goliath series and performing animation demonstrations at Inclusion Films in Burbank and Bakersfield, CA.  Later in the year, Joey invites Dani to teach at his summer camps in Jacksonville, FL, Tenafly, NJ, and Detroit, MI, and Dani screens her first film at San Diego Comic Con.

In 2018, Dani graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in animation from Woodbury University and started the MBA program to prepare for the expansion of Danimation and it’s mission to provide skills training and employment for others with autism.  By 2019,  Danimation has screened eight short films at San Diego Comic Con, taught over 1000 kids and adults animation and launched a branch of Danimation Entertainment in England.

Official DaniMation Timeline