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Artist Highlight - Ryan Johnson

This week we talked with Ryan about his love for Haunted Houses, making stuff, and Star Wars.

So Ryan, how do you feel about sharing your name with the guy who wrote and directed the new Star Wars movie: The Last Jedi? I like to brag that I did the Star Wars movie, like “Oh did you hear that I wrote and directed the new star wars movie? Yeah, check the credits, my name is clearly in there, it says ‘Ryan Johnson’!

What movie are you excited to see next and why? I’m not sure what movies are out! Star Wars was the only one on my list I was really happy to see. The next Star Wars I want to see.

The next Star Wars? You’re ready for May? I mean yeah! That’s where I’m at right now, I just saw the last one so now I’m like, in the Star Wars Hype? Well yeah, I’m ready to go for the next one now.

What do you like to do outside of work? Many may know, but I’m a haunted house enthusiast. I’m a scare actor at a haunted house as well and I like to dress up as a zombie or some kind of monster and scare the heck out of people and lurk in dark rooms *laughing* and being a general creepy weirdo. Right now I’m going on a Haunted House Tour because they are all coming out for the Christmas Season. There’s Krampus Haunted Houses and different Christmas themed haunted houses and I’m trying to go to all of them in the area. There’s one more I have to go to this weekend.

What got you started doing haunted houses? When I was younger, when I was 21 or so, I started doing a haunted house just because I thought it would be fun. I remember my first haunted house when I was a kid really freaked me out and it always stayed with me. When I was finally old enough to go to one I was like, “Well, why not work in one?” and it was an awesome experience and so I just ended up doing it every year since.

Can you tell me a bit about your role here at Reel Captivation? I do a little bit of everything. Kind of a “Jack-of-All-Trades”guy. I’m just able to pick up any part of a project and do it. Animation, motion graphics, graphic design, video editing, and also websites and coding and 3D. I’m not the best at anything, but I can do a little bit of everything. So that’s kind of where I’m at.

What inspired you to come into this field of work? I guess it just kind of fit naturally with what I liked doing. And I enjoyed working on computers and I ended up kind of just being good at it. Everything kind of connected and came together to make this happen. I like movies and things like that and I watch a lot of tv and so I was like, “Why don’t I make it?”

Was there a defining moment of “This is what I want to do?” I guess my first semester in college was the defining moment. My intro to film class was awesome and I loved it and I knew immediately this is what I wanted to do.

Did you go into college knowing that? No. I went into college because I knew I needed to do some college and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It’s actually funny because I took the film class, and I misunderstood what the class was even about. I thought I was analyzing movies and the art behind it, but it was actually about making the films. I was like, “Woah, this is pretty sweet. And I’m pretty good at it.”

What artists or people inspire you or that you look up to? I really like Beeple. He’s an awesome artist and I think he’s cool because he makes art EVERYDAY and he’s always dedicated. He shows that nobody has just raw talent, you have to build it over time and many many many hours and he’s proof of that which I like. It’s kind of an inspiration and just “keep working and you’ll get there”. Do it over and over and over and over forever. That’s it.

What is something that you would really like to improve at? I guess I would like to improve at 3D stuff. I think that’s probably my weakest talent right now. Maybe Character animation and character design.

What misconceptions do you think people have about the industry? Maybe that you need a lot of good and expensive school to be able do it or that you need a degree. Which you definitely don’t. It just requires knowing the right people and working really really hard and practicing over and over. People don’t realize that it’s just practice over and over forever. The other misconception is that it’s all going to be fun, awesome, artistic, short film kind of work. People come in thinking that they want to be this great director and direct movies, but they end up just doing corporate work. Which is mostly what this all is, the less exciting work and the really awesome work is far and few between.

How does your job affect the way you view the world? I look at things a little differently. I look at ordinary objects and just start thinking about how the light’s affecting them or how the materials work and look, things like that. I don’t think normal people look at the world like that. Try and find artistic beauty in things. I can never watch TV and or animation the same way or appreciate it like other people. I’ll be looking at it from an animators perspective.

What is your dream project? To direct the next Star Wars. Oh wait, I did that.

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