Who is Tink Tank Animate?

Tink Tank Animate is the brain child of Writer/Director/Producer/Animator TAWD b. DORENFELD. For the past number of years Dorenfeld has crafted, developed, empowered, and implemented a program specifically for the challenged community to bring value to their inner voices and their stories to our lives. Dorenfeld’s 25+ professional career has primarily been as a Writer/Director/Producer & Animator of Award Winning Feature Films, Music Videos, Commercials, Design, and Online Gaming. It is from the combination of all of these skills that has lead Dorenfeld to become first a special muse for the Artist on the Autism Spectrum, and now a muse for individuals across the spectrum of Neurodiversity through his creation of Tink Tank Animate LLC in Detroit, Michigan. Tink Tank Animate LLC has been a leader in Neurodiverse content creation, production, distribution, and growth for over 4 years and has grown to an employment force of talent, empathy, patience, skill, joy, and confidence of 10 Mentors & growing Internship department of 11+.

We wanted to take a minute to thank you for coming into Harry’s life.
We have not been this excited about a program since Harry was in kindergarten (13 years ago) and qualified for Music Therapy for his speech goals.
When you find a therapy program that truly benefits your child with autism, it’s like finding a pot of gold.

— Molly Schad, Mother of Harry Schad

TAWD B. DORENFELD
BFA NYU Tisch School of the Arts – Double Major Film & Animation, w/ Minors in Children’s Entertainment
Lead Mentor/Producer Dorenfeld focuses on the Renaissance of the Arts of Storytelling and will be the guy helping you find your superpower that will allow you to be a prolific storyteller. Dorenfeld oversees all Artists’ personal development & productions even as the myriad of Mentors implement those goals with the brilliance that are the Tink Tank Artists!

He is also the original founder of Tink Tank, of the Tink Tank Program, Techniques, Exercises, & Attitude, and now, after 6 years of building up a wonderful program, a fantastic roster of amazing artists, a portfolio to show the public these ideas are worthy of their attention, I have begun to transform it into what it so truly deserves; to be all of ours, a 501c. Now let’s tell some stories! All the stories!


DOUGLAS (DOUG) FREEL
BFA Art Center College of Design Pasadena – Major Film & Music Production
Mentor/Producer Freel has spent over 30 years in the Director’s seat, Writer’s chair, and Content Developer’s desk. Concept and Story has been at the heart of every decision Doug has made creatively throughout his career besides other co-conspirators of storytelling such as Spielberg, Fincher, Bay, Kerslake, and Dorenfeld. Doug’s solo and collaborative work includes literally hundreds of music videos, and multi-camera concert events that produced era-defining imagery on music video television.

As a Tink Tank Mentor/Producer Mr. Freel focuses on mentoring and producing Writing for the Screen, Conceptualizing Multiple Spots, Photography, Film, & Print along with running the Artist Development Program.


TAMARA FINLEY

2024 Honorary Grant Award Winner Kresgre Filmmakers Animation Grant
Tamara brings passion and devotion to the team of Tink Tank with her self-advocacy for her own ADHD diagnosis as a marginalized artist.


DARRELL WILLIAMS
BFA, Detroit’s College for Creative Studies – Major Animation
Animation Mentor Darrell Williams is a master of character animation capable of bringing fluidity and expression to anyone’s style. His direct experience with in home foster youths has shown his instinct for empathy and the value of instilling productivity and expression into marginalized communities. I love bringing ideas to life through the magic of animation. That is the core of what inspires me and I believe in sharing that passion with others.


We remember the great RICHARD (RICK) BROWNELL BFA NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Mentor/Producer Richard Brownell focused on the written word in narrative form, historical form, biographical, screenplays, teleplays, stage plays, journalism, and other forms of writing. As an award-winning writer, Richard (Rick) had published several books on American history and culture for young adult and general audiences. His historical commentary and essays have been published by numerous periodicals and websites. He blogged at MrRicksHistory.com and was beloved by his Tink Tank artists, John Pannozzi, Jenna Ruff, and Kevin Browne.

Another, longest creative collaborator of Mr. Dorenfeld’s creative career from their days at NYU to Mr. Brownell’s tragic demise.


TIMOTHY YOUNG
Music Mentor
Mentor/Producer Tim Young focuses on the composition of music in a myriad of forms, and what forms best suit you as an individual…this is not your average music program…this can use anything from the kitchen sink to your elbows, digital instruments to make musical sound and compose in Garageband and the likes. Currently you can find Tim writing music and playing guitar in the Reggie Watts band on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Timothy Young’s music can be found scattered throughout over 30+ years of professional showmanship of rocking out, and a soundtrack collaborator of Mr. Dorenfeld’s.


ALLEN MERCK
BFA Michigan State University – Digital Media Arts & Technology w/ Concentration in Film Studies

Animation Mentor Allen Merck is a visual storyteller by nature.  With over 19 years experience in broadcast media, and an extensive career in education, Merck has a wealth of knowledge and an overwhelming desire to bring life to creative machinations.

As an artist and storyteller, Merck’s love of character intersects.  His philosophy is to focus design and plot around persona, allowing individual motivation to drive a narrative.

As a proud father of a neurodiverse child, Merck strives to encourage individuality and self-confidence through art and creativity.


TIM SMYTH
Self-taught, Life long professional Stop-Motion Animator Tim Smyth started his professional stop-motion animation career on Mtv’s original “Celebrity Deathmatch,” yes before Digital Still Cameras, going on to LEGO commericials, Eddie Murphy’s PJs, Mattel Toys, and more, but is was near Bradford, MA, while in the 8’th grade, started making live action and stop motion animated films, being inspired by the movie “King Kong.” After years of Major Broadcast animated shows, Tim returned to the Boston area where he wanted to give back by teaching animation to neurodiverse artists at Public Libraries.

Although, Mr. Dorenfeld and Smyth had collaborated on a number of high-profile Dorenfeld Stop-Motion projects, their path to neurodiverse mentoring was never planned, never discussed, and now the fork in the road as lead us back onto the same path.


VENUS BANUELOS
Tink Tank Social Programming / Promotions Mentor
For 25 years Ms. Banuelos has been engulfed in the world of social media, digital content, & PR. Venus brings the modern voice of “social influence” and shaping your personal narrative through your Instagram, Tik Tok; your digital footprint.



ANDRES LERMA
Tink Tank Animate
Our newest mentor is a Tink Tank Animate artist. A writer, director, composer, Andres Lerma has learned to do it all with the guidance of Mr. Dorenfeld and the Professionals in Mr. Dorenfeld’s life. Andres Lerma is Tink Tank through and through and Tink Tank is Andres Lerma. We were inspired to become what we are because of him.


MARTIN OLSON
Guest Mentor – By Appointment Only
Mentor/Producer Martin Olson will be joining the Tink Tank Animate Team in a very special capacity. Based on an Application Process individuals will be able to take One-on-One Writing Sessions with one of the most sought-after Cartoon Writers in the Hollywood Industry. Martin Olson is best known for his tenure as a Staff Writer and Emmy Award Winner for Disney’s Phineas & Ferb and as the voice of Adventure Time‘s Marceline’s father Hunson Abadeer. Yes he is also Olivia Olson’s actual father.


DRYW LEE
Voice Actor & Mentor
Dryw Lee graduated from Delta College with a degree in Fine Arts. He is a Tink Tank Animate artist and a voice acting + sound design mentor, and budding feature film director. He’s known for his work on Mama’s Ducks as well as other creative projects. He loves to help aspiring artists find their passion, which he says is really just about helping people find their own unique voice.




FAITH ELIE, MA, MA, LPC, SEP

Clinical Director

Faith is a therapist that works part time for us as well as at her own private practice Somatic Psychotherapy Michigan. She is supervising our therapy intern.

MARY ANDALARO

Counseling Intern/ Animation Mentor

Mary is a graduate student at Central Michigan University working on her master’s in Mental Health Counseling. Mary also has a bachelor’s degree in animation from Columbia College Chicago and has worked for Adult Swim.

Mary is offering therapy under Faith Elie LPC’s supervision.