Artist Spotlight w/ Taylor Yontz
Oct 18, 2022
First, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a freelance animation director living in good ol’ Nashville, TN with my husband and our two cats, Felix and Cooper. I really love spending time with friends and family, traveling, and exploring outside. As for animation, I love working on content that tells a compelling story and is built upon dreamy visuals. I have a soft spot for playful motion and colorful designs. I feel committed to heartfelt storytelling in all corners of the animation industry: short films, advertisements, television, titles, movies. Each job I step into, I bring a short but sweet philosophy to my approach… treat people well, be my best, and make wonderful things.
I’ve found myself really leaning into the community as a freelancer, and really trying to be more-than-transactional with the people I work with. At the end of the day, sure, we all work in animation for money… but everyone is a real person with a real life.
Can you tell us about your experience and the role you are primarily filling?
I graduated from SCAD in 2013 with my BFA in 3D character animation. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to work for clients such as Netflix, Cartoon Network, Hulu, Logitech, Sesame Street, Google, Nike, and more, in both a director and an animator capacity. These days I primarily find myself in 3 roles: Creative Directing, Animation Directing, and slinging keyframes as a Senior Animator on 2D and 3D jobs alike.
If you could speak directly to the resourcing gods and powers that be, what would be your ideal project?
Two types of projects come to mind. In the narrative/tv/film world, my ideal project would be leading a team of animators to create the most beautiful and wonderful animation that helps support a larger film or show (think a cut-in sequence on a feature or a title sequence).
In the commercial world, my ideal project would be leading an animation team on a project geared towards an uplifting, funny, or well-intentioned message, that also has visuals and motion that really pack a punch. I want to make things that make your heart swell up and your eyes water a little. Alongside all of that, I really enjoy when I have a chance to jump in and animate on shots myself on a killer team, whether that be animating cubes in AE, characters in maya/cinema, or compositing big heavy cel jobs.
I feel much more energized and motivated by people and process than by the specific project “type,” and I think this allows me to use my skills in a generalist capacity.
Do you have any dream clients?
I think it would be really rad to dip my toes into the feature world, working with Sony Animation, Pixar, or LAIKA. Finding Nemo was the movie that made me realize I wanted to work in animation when I was younger. I think it sounds really fun and wholesome if I could somehow bring that childhood dream full circle.
Lastly, do you have any memorable stories, life lessons, or tall tales you can share from your adventures as a freelancer?
In the last two years that I’ve been freelance, I’ve been thinking a lot about the blending of business and personal relationships. Something I don’t take lightly is how supportive and tight-knit our industry is.
I’ve found myself really leaning into the community as a freelancer, and really trying to be more-than-transactional with the people I work with. At the end of the day, sure, we all work in animation for money… but everyone is a real person with a real life. I think remembering this makes so much of our jobs easier, more enjoyable, and more human. It makes receiving notes suck less, it makes giving notes more communicative, and it makes accepting or passing along new business a fun and community-oriented experience rather than a scary or isolated one.
As the industry grows and morphs, I think learning from and leaning on each other will be one of our greatest strengths.
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