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Government of New Brunswick

Tara Audibert

Tara Audibert is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker with 20+yrs experience in animation, comics and fine art. She combines Traditional First Nations Art and Storytelling with contemporary design and digital mediums. Tara is the creator/writer/director/producer of Lil Glooscap and the Legends of Turtle Island (2022), and currently in production of the feature film Qaqsoss naka Wahuntuhsis (Fox and the Tiny Demon) to be released in 2024. Award-winning works include animated short films I am the Warrior (2021), The Importance of Dreaming (2017), comics This Place: 150 Years Retold (2019), and Lost Innocence (2011) which has been placed in the Archives of Canada, Nitap: Legends of the First Nations a storytelling app. She is of hybrid Wolastoqey-French heritage residing in Sunny Corner, NB.

Tara is a member of the New Brunswick Filmmakers' Co-operative.

Who or what inspires you and why?

Inspiration for me comes from everyday life. I walk my dogs every morning and look at all these little details in the woods for instance. I take stories from my own life and make them into easily digestible animations and use characters inspired by people I know or have known. I like things that are simple and easily understood. Also circles. The best of the shapes.

What drew you to filmmaking?

I am a storyteller first and foremost, and filmmaking lends itself well to telling a story visually. I’ve always wanted to be an artist. At the age of 2, I was caught drawing windows on my pink puppy wall paper. I wanted to be an artist but I was told that artists don’t make a lot of money. I found an animation school and put 2+2 together that animation was on TV so someone was making money off of it! So I went into animation and worked on TV shows and commercials. I went on to teach animation and during that time, I’ve taught several students how to create their own animated shorts. They inspired me to tell my own stories and animated them as short films and feature films!

What do you enjoy most about filmmaking?

I am my own boss, for the most part. This works very well with my ADHD. I get to run my own schedule on my own time. Creativity can’t be forced. Being an entrepreneur allows me to set my own schedule and incorporate exercise and time to play the ukulele! I get to tell my own stories, design characters and animate in my own way. There are many hats to wear as a filmmaker, creator, writer, director, producer, cleaner upper of every mess, physical and emotional. Each day, I move from a variety of tasks that includes meetings, emails, drawing, animatics, storyboards, backgrounds, characters, animation, editing, music and sound design. This is perfect for my ADHD brain (most days) because I get bored easily! Everyday is different, and it’s not usually boring! I continue to learn on every project and get to work with amazing artists from all over the world!

What do you enjoy most about being an artist living in New Brunswick?

I grew up in Saint John and Quispamsis, and I moved back to NB to teach animation after I got severe tendonitis in my drawing arm. I couldn’t work on TV animation schedule of 14hrs/6 days a week anymore. When I moved back here, I was surprised to find that the reasons I had left, that it was secluded, not a lot of people and lots of woods, were now the reasons that I love being here. I get to live a relatively inexpensive lifestyle, while still being a part of the entertainment industry. I live in the woods and get to tube down a river in the summer. This is my early retirement after working in animation on that schedule. I enjoy being able to be on vacation whenever I want (or can). I just walk out my door and I’m at the “camp” by the river all year round! Freedom 35!

Describe what you are most proud of as an artist.

As an artist, I am most proud of creating Indigenous characters that I would have enjoyed seeing when I was a kid. When I’m doing commercial work, I actively put female characters in traditionally male roles, especially when the character is just listed as “judge”, “police”, “scientist”, whatever the role. If there’s no character description, she’s gonna be fun to create!

I am proud of the path I am creating so that future Indigenous and female artists can follow. We need more women telling stories, creating, directing, and producing in the entertainment Industry.

What is your artistic approach and/or philosophy to creating art?

Small Brain farts turn into Big Brain Farts! I’ve always wanted to do a comic of a person writing in their day planner and saying “I schedule all my epiphanies for Monday at 9:15 am”. Ideas and creativity come when they come, we have no control over that. But we must be ready. So when I have an idea, I have many books to write it down. Even if it’s just a brain fart, because sooner or later you will have more thoughts about that brain fart, or a person will be looking for exactly that brain fart! But the more you have written down and percolating in your brain, the easier it is each day to add to those ideas and make them bigger.

For me, I spend a long time thinking on projects, measured in years! I take on commercial work while the ideas come to fruition or while I wait on funding decisions, but one thing stays consistent, I am always working, and I am always thinking. Be ready for opportunity. When someone says, hey what idea do you have for a TV show, or a film, or here’s a grant for this-it’s amazing to be able to go, “OH I have an idea for that!” Sometimes it doesn’t get the funding, but now I have a pitch that I can improve on and add to or change up to fit a project. Like a short film becoming a feature film, or a short film becoming a TV show pitch idea.

I have a bit of an organization system, with folders and shelves, and places to put books and reference for that idea. Once an idea starts getting big it has its own shelf space. I also have online organization, like the ability to write scripts online, and google treatment docs, so I can access from anywhere I have an idea to add.

Who is your favourite artist(s) and why?

I love the works of Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Wolfwalkers), movies like The Last Unicorn, The Secret of NIHM, Watership Down, and works of Tim Burton (The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas). I am also inspired by Indigenous artist Norval Morriseau, and the Indigenous Group of Seven. I like to keep things simple, that helps with creating the message. The simpler the message the more it can be understood. You’re not watching it and going, “I wonder what that was all about?” The audience leaves with a message and thinking.

What advice would you give to young, emerging artists?

It’s always good to go to school and learn skills, especially if you are already talented. Having a broad skillset makes you more valuable as an artist and makes your art more valuable. Having one honed artistic subset also increases what you can charge. For me, that is Indigenous art in books, comics and animation. I have a friend who just does horses, and she is the best and everyone knows her if you want horse art in animation. When people I know hear anything about work for an “Indigenous artist” they tag me, email me, and think of me! This is a great place to be. And it can work with anything!

After formal school, you want to just keep learning. Don’t stop at formal education. Learn how to do your own taxes, learn how to renovate your house, learn how to do accounting, learn social media marketing, learn charisma if you don’t know how to talk to people. All the things you encounter that you don’t know about, learn it! Instead of watching TV or gaming, learn stuff and it will help you succeed in whatever you want in life!

MOST IMPORTANT - only do work with contracts, and make sure you have a lawyer look at anything before you sign it! I had to take the last company who were executive producers for the TV show I created to court as they refused to pay me over $30,000! All contracts are written ONLY for the benefit of the company or person presenting the contract. Make sure you protect yourself and your creations!

Lastly, don’t listen to anybody. Do what makes you happy, then do other things too if you want to switch it up. You only have one life, so use it how you want to be using it.

Where can people connect with you?
Twitter: @moxyfoxstudio
Instagram: @tara_the_moxyfox

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