EXCLUSIVE: Former Rock the Bells and Paramount exec Rich Morris has been tapped for the newly created role of Senior Vice President of Content & Brands at Composition Media, the animation studio led by Hair Love producer Carl Reed.
Morris will be responsible for spearheading licensing and merchandising initiatives related to Composition Media’s wholly owned IP as well as its joint production ventures. Additionally, he will be tasked with recognizing potential collaborative opportunities, from both a traditional and non-traditional entertainment standpoint, helping to drive brand integrations into projects, and steering marketing efforts for the company and its portfolio.
More from Deadline
Also joining the company are Issac “Ike” Reed, an avid researcher of transmedia and digital media, and illustrator and artist Anthony Piper, who will serve respectively as Creative Director and Senior Art Director.
The additions come on the heels of a busy year for the company. Most recently, it announced an anime production partnership with Manuel and Geiszel Godoy’s Black Sands Entertainment, a leading force in Black comic book publishing. Their first project together will be an anime series adaptation of the comic Black Sands: The Seven Kingdoms. Others in development at Composition Media include the 2D animated adult-comedy Bad Grandmas, a feature co-produced alongside Steve Harvey’s East 112; Sky & Luna, the first movie in an eight-picture slate partnership with Labid Aziz’s People of Culture Studios and Man of Action Entertainment; and Catapult Feud, a TV series based on the critically acclaimed board game of the same name.
Stated company founder Reed on the hirings: “At Composition Media, we believe in the power of diverse voices coming together to create stories that resonate with a wide audience. We understand that a company is only as good as the talent it has. The addition of Rich, Ike, and Anthony’s profound expertise and seasoned backgrounds will amplify Composition Media’s tireless commitment to share innovative and inclusive narratives.”
Added Morris, “I am honored to join Composition Media and bring my unwavering passion and experience to this dynamic team. The profound vision held by Carl Reed harmonizes seamlessly with my steadfast dedication to fostering inclusive storytelling. I am thrilled to embark on this journey alongside a collective that not only crafts enthralling content but amplifies voices and inspires through its empowering narratives.”
Coming to Composition with nearly 20 years of expertise in marketing, branding, and strategic business solutions, Morris previously served as VP of Global Commerce for Rock the Bells, the entertainment brand led by LL Cool J. During his tenure, he built the brand’s licensing and merchandising vertical, restructured the ecommerce business, and built strategies for both areas that led to long-term growth. He’s also held multiple VP roles at Paramount, where he executed major global trade campaigns and events and transformed intellectual properties into revenue-generating franchise powerhouses, including the expansion of BET into the consumer products arena.
Reed began his career at Brainfreeze Interactive before going on to found the digital arm of Reed’s Lion Forge Comics, where he introduced tales like Quincredible and Trimaxx. Dedicated to nurturing emerging storytellers, he also established Big Fat Hero, which is described as “a Geektainment Developer merging geek culture with cutting-edge entertainment.”
Boasting over two decades of experience across television, digital platforms, and print media, Piper’s portfolio encompasses comic books, animated films, and campaigns for the likes of Netflix, Brisk and The New York Times. He’s been involved with such iconic Marvel IP as X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man, while doing animation work for Facebook, Warner Bros and Fox.
Prior to Composition Media, Reed co-founded Lion Forge Comics and Lion Forge Animation, there serving as President and Chief Creative Officer. While with Lion Forge, he produced Matthew Cherry’s Oscar-winning animated short Hair Love — which spurred the Max series Young Love, on which he’s also a producer. Other projects there included the Annie and NAACP Image Award-nominated animated musical series Rise Up, Sing Out and the Emmy-nominated animated musical series Rhymes Through Times. Reed won an Emmy for his work on the Nine PBS short series Drawn In earlier this year.
Best of Deadline