Fairfield native Jon Forsman was nominated this week for an Emmy for his work as animator on the title sequence of the cable drama “Masters of Sex.”

Forsman, who two years ago was fetching lunch and tidying the building for designers, credits the Maine International Film Festival and Lawrence High School with inspiring him to pursue a career in the arts.

When the Emmys were announced Thursday morning, Forsman was wrapping up a vacation in the Waterville area with his girlfriend. He didn’t know about the honor until that night, when he got a text from his father.

The Emmys, in their 66th year, recognize excellence in the television industry.

This year, the opening credit sequence of the Showtime program “Masters of Sex,” is one of five shows nominated for Outstanding Main Title Design. Forsman helped to create the piece.

The one-hour drama, about to begin its second season, is based on the work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who pioneered research into the human sex response and sexual disorders. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan play the main characters.

Forsman is one of four people from his company, Elastic TV, who are credited in the nomination.

The opening sequence for “Masters of Sex” is a series of quick-cut images that, subtly or overtly, are metaphors for sex: a key slides into a lock, a hand washes a cucumber, a train plunges into a tunnel. Near the end of the 44-second sequence, a Bingo sign flashes, a champagne cork pops and a volcano explodes.

Forsman’s animated sequence is the only recurring set of images in the credits; it includes four shots of less than one second apiece.

In them, a pair of cartoon characters, a young teen or pre-teen boy and a girl drawn in the style of the children’s reading primer characters Dick and Jane, sit on opposite ends of a bench, looking shyly at each other. In the second shot, they are holding hands; when they kiss in the third shot, their hair spikes as if with electricity and in the final shot, her legs are drawn up to bench height as she exhales from a cigarette while his legs are sprawled and his shirt untucked.

Forsman called the shots of the young couple, which were drawn by a coworker who is also nominated, “admittedly creepy.”

He said he also shot some of the live-action images and found other images for the sequence in archives of stock footage.


Forsman said that, growing up in central Maine, he found much to fuel his artistic aspirations.

He singled out Waterville’s Railroad Square Cinema and the Maine International Film Festival with opening his eyes to the idea of small independent films.

“This is something that a lot of people are doing even if it’s not through a big studio,” he said. “People are telling their stories. This is an avenue I could pursue.”

He said he learned the basics through a video class at the high school.

“It really sparked something in me and from then on I was looking at film school.”

Forsman’s parents still live in Fairfield, where they actively appreciate the local arts scene, sometimes volunteering at the Waterville Opera House. His father, Tim Forsman, works at Central Maine Toyota, but many know him as the longtime host of “Jigs, Hoedowns and Songs O’Tragedy,” a music program on Colby College radio.

His mother, Linda Ewing, is a guidance counselor at Lawrence High and also enjoys creating art.

Tim Forsman said he knew his son had artistic talent from a very young age, when his drawings of dinosaurs and other subjects literally extended off the pages he was working on.

“His drawings were not restricted by the paper,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘little kids don’t think like that unless they have some talent.'”

As a child, they took him to the Colby Museum of Art and bought him books that taught him more about drawing, filming, and other artistic interests, like origami.

As a guidance counselor, Ewing was well aware of career opportunities for the artistically inclined and so they actively encouraged Forsman to tour colleges with strong programs in the arts.

“We didn’t question it,” his father said. “He seemed to be quite talented at it. Why not help him to make it a career?”

Forsman wound up attending one of those schools, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.


After graduating, Forsman worked his way up from the bottom rungs of the Hollywood ladder quickly.

In 2010, Forsman moved to California in the hopes of breaking into the industry. He started out working in a movie rental store in Santa Monica and then got his foot in the door at Elastic TV as a production assistant.

“I was parking cars for people,” he said. “I was a gopher, so I was going to pick up people’s lunches, tidying up the building.”

In his spare time, he drew cartoonish caricatures of others who worked in the building. When executives started noticing his drawings pinned to the cubicle walls, they recognized his talent. They let him sit in on work sessions with their designers, paving the way for him to transition into a designer position himself, which happened in October.

In his short career, Forsman has done video work for the HBO show “Game of Thrones,” Jose Cuervo tequila, the Climate Reality Project and the navigation system OnStar, among others.

He also did the titles on a promotional trailer for a short film, “Premium Harmony,” based on a story by fellow Maine resident Stephen King.

Where he’ll go from here, he’s not yet sure. Forsman said he has no immediate plans to switch jobs, but that his long term goals include work as a film director.

In addition to the title sequence nomination, “Masters of Sex” was nominated for outstanding art direction. Three of its actors – Beau Bridges, Allison Janney and Kaplan – have also been nominated for acting Emmys.

The show is up against some stiff competition for the title of best title design; other nominees include “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” on Fox; “Black Sails” on Starz; “Silicon Valley” on HBO and “True Detective,” also on HBO.

The winner will be announced during a live telecast hosted by comedic personality Seth Meyers at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on Aug 25.