We had the good fortune of connecting with Talïn Tanielian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Talïn, what’s your definition for success?
Success for me is finding balance and happiness in your daily routine. It’s all about figuring out what you’re passionate about, and for me, that is storytelling and animation. If you’re working hard on something that just isn’t fulfilling to you, you owe it to yourself to pursue something that is going to change that for the better. If you’re overworking, you need to take breaks so that you can recharge and put out your absolute best work. It’s your life, you deserve to live it! I believe the only way you will be successful is through hard work and discipline, but it’s so important that you love what you’re doing every step of the way. Give yourself breaks and allow yourself to have fun.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am so proud of my Thesis film, Jinja, the story of Mango the Red Panda on his journey to find inner peace. It was my first time creating a film of this magnitude, and it was the first time I’ve ever submitted anything to a film festival. Jinja was accepted to several festivals across the country and worldwide. I’m most proud of receiving the award for Best Animated Short at Japan Web Fest, because the story is based on Japanese folklore and religion.
Working on Jinja taught me so much about discipline, and it really lit a fire under me to learn more fundamentals of drawing and painting, and to step out of my comfort zone. The entire film consists of fully rendered hand painted illustrations; each frame is a different painting, and the film runs about 6 minutes and 30 seconds. I didn’t let a single person help me with the visuals because I had a very specific way of painting and wanted to maintain absolute consistency throughout the film. I’m very proud of the final outcome, and I hope to continue the story some day when my schedule clears up!
The last year of production for Jinja was definitely a burn out moment for me , because I had just started working a very intense animation job. I learned how important it was to take breaks so that I could reenergize, and wouldn’t drown in the work that I had. It was definitely a moment that I had to find my own inner peace (and sanity), just like Mango. It was a tough lesson to learn, but I really needed to go through that so I would really understand how important it was to take burnout seriously.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m currently living in Salt Lake City, UT, and the city has some great sights to offer. If one of my best friends came in to town, I would definitely take them to Downtown Salt Lake where we’ll walk, grab some Tapas at Eva, and check out some great street art scattered all over the place. The Ave Maria mural is particularly hard to miss! We would grab some delectable Japanese desserts from Doki Doki and head to the State Capitol to watch the sunset and catch some great city views.
Salt Lake has no shortage of nature walks and hikes, one of my favorites being the hike to Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir. To hike up, you get the most beautiful views of the valley. The hike can be grueling when the sun is out and hot, but when you get to the lake, it’s an instant cool down. We would take advantage of the hikes, and of course, the camp sights scattered throughout each canyon.
Another day, we would spend some time in Holladay, where we would check out some gorgeous mansions, pretty drives, and have lunch at Taqueria 27, one of my all time favorites.
We can’t miss out on Sugarhouse park, where we can walk around the huge pond and feed the ducks and geese that like to hang out there, not to mention pet a ton of cute dogs that locals bring for their daily walks.
To wrap things up, we would go to the Little Sahara Sand Dunes passed Nephi. It’s like being on Mars. Just… sand everywhere…
Honestly, we would spend the entire week outside. There’s no better way to spend the days in Utah, especially when the weather warms up! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to shout out my incredibly supportive family who have done nothing but encourage me, provide me the best resources at their disposal, and cheered me on every step of the way throughout my animation career. They have taught me to be compassionate, strong, disciplined, and to live life freely. Without question, if I needed any tools, such as a drawing tablet, a computer, or some fancy software, my parents told me, as long as I promised to try my hardest, they would support me 100%.
Being a first generation Armenian American, I’m so blessed to make my mark in the animation world and share my story along the way. My parents have sacrificed so much for my brother, sister and I to have the best life they could possibly give us. Thanks to their selflessness, I was able to get my master’s degree, and I was able to find the most wonderful job!
My sister also plays a huge role in my success. She pushes me harder than anyone, and she always makes me question my decisions, and ask myself if what I’m doing is making me happy. It’s so important to have people in your life that want the best for you, and I’m very blessed to have that.
Illustrations by Talin Tanielian