Ocean Springs consultants looking to make animated movie

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A pair of local retirement consultants are trying their hand at making an animated film. The idea has been more than a year in the making. Just after Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast in 2012, Stacey Maxted and Eddie Diaz began discussing a newspaper picture of a flamingo on Horn Island.

"She (Maxted) asked me how it got there, and I thought she meant how it got there in terms of a story," said Diaz.

That's when Diaz began telling Maxted an elaborate story about how the flamingo got to Horn Island.

"I just started really imagining this flamingo coming from Miami where I had lived, and he had this club and he was a really cool singer," said Diaz.

This flamingo, was soon given the name Juamingo, and the two knew they had a pretty cool story on their hands.

"Stacey was smart enough to go home and type it up, and then the next day she came into work, because this is not our everyday job, threw it on the desk, and said we need to do this movie."

Maxted and Diaz work together as President and Vice President of Diaz Retirement Consultants in Ocean Springs. Neither of them are from the South, but they feel their movie could shed some positive light on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"People have a lot of misconceptions about the area, and it's not necessarily shown in the most positive light. We wanted to do this animated feature to really show how beautiful it is here, how interesting and diversified the people are and doing it through these characters," said Diaz.

Right now, the film has more than 20 characters. Three of them are modeled after Diaz and Maxted's daughters, Sofia, Paige and Anna.

One of the most important aspects of the movie was bringing the characters to life. That's when they found illustrator Jason Robins.

"Once I came up with Juamingo, he took me a few different tries to get him right before they said that he was good. Once he came into the picture, it was a lot easier to do everybody else and know what the look is going to be," said Robins.

With characters modeled after stars like Bette Midler and Cheech and Chong, Robins feels this movie has great potential.

"I've always wanted to do something really big and I think this is going to be the thing," said Robins.

Right now, the creators are talking with production companies, and say it's moving along much quicker than they expected.

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