Lisa Schatz: The No-Bullshit Approach

Vienna-born ADC Member is stepping out on the New York motion scene

Summer is here, and while that’s usually the time the creative industry slows down and takes a breather, we here at ADC intend to keep things moving — literally. Introducing Motion & Animation Month, where we will be featuring the small but mighty section of our community that brings art to life on projects from the serene to the bombastic. Whether they’re professionals, students or just keen amateurs, they’re all card-carrying ADC Members.

Next up: an Austrian motion artist who is new to the New York scene, but not to the challenges and joys of creating animation. 

Director, Motion Artist
New York, NY


Where did your interest in motion and animation begin? How did it grow into something you could see yourself doing professionally?

I started filming and editing at the age of 15, but soon realized that it was very important to me to be able to realize projects without having to look for or build sets, cast actors or hire a crew. In animation I found the freedom to just sit down and create. I got my first freelance job creating visuals for ‘Hollywood in Vienna’, a big annual film music gala. From there on my jobs have gotten bigger and bigger every year and my skills and responsibilities have been growing with my jobs. So now that my jobs are getting bigger and bigger, I find myself being dependent on other people again — but that’s ok.

How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?

Everything I know about motion design is either self taught or learned on the job. I have a BA in Theater, Film and Media Studies from the University of Vienna, and it was all about history, theory and analysis there — no hands-on experience.

How would you best describe your style? How did you foster that style?

I would say I have a no-bullshit-approach to everything I do. For my motion and direction work, it means less is more: knowledge about how and why film works, clever ideas and attention to detail is much more important to me than using big effects. ‘Just because I can’ should never be the reason to use a technique or effect – if it doesn’t make sense in the context or doesn’t add another level of meaning, it’s worthless to me. I found out that I feel comfortable in many different visual formats as long as I can stick to my principles.

“I would say I have a no-bullshit-approach to everything I do. For my motion and direction work, it means less is more…”

Tools of the trade: what items make your job a million times better? Types of pads, pens, tablets, programs etc.

I’m mostly working in After Effects, Premiere, Illustrator and Photoshop and I’m totally dependent on my Intuos pen tablet; no track pad, no mouse.

For my doodling, sketching and brainstorming I need the old pen and paper – various attempts to move that process to my iPad have failed miserably.

The one thing that has really, really made my job a lot easier has been Dropbox. Having everything synced and being able to share files with collaborators and clients on the go just with my phone has saved my professional life a lot of times.

Which project are you most proud of and why?

I’m maybe most proud of my stop-motion TV ads for Claro, an Austrian detergent company. I was hired by the ad agency Jung von Matt/Donau, but I had a lot of artistic freedom. I was not only able to create and direct the little plots, but also hire my own choice of photographers, come up with the paper idea and hire the paper artist, as well as doing the whole production and post production myself. I’m very proud of that, but next time I would love to give a few of those responsibilities to other people!

What’s the most challenging part of your career?

Networking. I suck at networking. I would rather have my work speak for itself.

“You can really make any type of illustration or characters work as long as you follow a few basic storytelling principles.”

How would you describe what you do to someone who has nothing to do with creativity?

I think of clever ways to beautifully visualize stories, messages or moods, and then animate/film/direct them so they entertain you (most of the time because somebody else wants you to buy their product).

Where do you go to find inspiration and motivation?

Art, design and illustration exhibitions, books and blogs, everyday life observations and conversations and endless dogwalks.

Which professionals in your field do you most admire? What is it about their work that moves you?

Saul Bass, Vallée Duhamel, Alfred Hitchcock and Stefan Sagmeister – most of them are not exactly from my field and some of them are already dead. But what I like in all of them is a clever simplicity.

At the end of the day, what do you love most about motion and animation?

That you can come up with the most weird, abstract and psychedelic ideas – and it still works. You can really make any type of illustration or characters work as long as you follow a few basic storytelling principles.



Are you an ADC Member with a story to tell? Drop us a line at Not yet an ADC Member? Join today!