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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Animation major practices ‘playing God’ in studies

Brianna Cook
Takota Jay, senior animation major, works on his coursework. Jay also does intramural sports and plays for the Shocker Sound Machine at Wichita State.

Animation major Takota Jay bears a unique connection to Disney’s 2003 film “Brother Bear.” His name is inspired by the little bear named Koda, which his mother adapted into Takoda. 

When deciding what to study in college, he had doubts, wanting to stick with the STEM field, such as engineering. Instead, Jay “trusted his gut” and pursued animation anyway. 

Jay describes his style as more simplified and less detailed, comparing it to “The Tom and Jerry Show.” 

“Ever since I was a kid, I loved doing art,” Jay said. “Over time, when I got to high school, I was like, ‘Digital art and filming is really becoming popular like Disney, Pixar and those other big-time companies.’ I was like, ‘I will try animation.’”

Jay chose this path after years of drawing and growing up with the styles of Disney and Universal Studios. 

“All in all, the reason why I chose animation is because, in a way, it feels like playing God,” Jay said. “You’re just controlling a motion of someone’s movement or emotions to tell a whole story.”

With an added graphic design minor in his sophomore year, Jay took classes at Shocker Studios and Art, Design and Creative Industries (ADCI) in McKnight. He has focused on classes that help him excel when creating short films.

“I helped with some short films and little stuff of my own with animation,” Jay said. “Right now, I am doing a practicum three (course), and I think I have to have 145 hours of just work, so it’s a lot.”

Beyond animation, Jay has many other interests. In high school, Jay played the trumpet in the band and participated in football, wrestling and track and field. He knew he wanted to continue extracurriculars in college, so he joined Shocker Sound Machine for Wichita State during his freshman year and will perform until his graduation in May. 

“I was skeptical at first, but after going throughout the years, it is really fun to do,” Jay said.

In addition to marching band, Jay plays two intramural sports, basketball and softball, with some of the band members of Shocker Sound Machine. 

“Imagining band kids playing sports … is not the best,” Jay said. 

After graduation, Jay said he hopes to put the short films and work he has done in school in film festivals to showcase all he’s learned in his four years at WSU.

“I am hoping to go somewhere in Texas because that is where there are bigger opportunities,” Jay said.

While his childhood dream was to work at Disney, as he got older, Jay realized his ideals didn’t align with the company. 

Jay said he wouldn’t mind working at Netflix, Amazon, Adult Swim or even the gaming industry.

“I would like to just go into the movies, look at the credits and see my name,” Jay said. “I think that is my goal now.”

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About the Contributors
Cheyanne Tull
Cheyanne Tull, Reporter
Cheyanne Tull is a first year reporter, photographer and illustrator for The Sunflower. Tull is double majoring in graphic design and journalism & media production. She hopes to work for outdoor publications in the future combining creativity, nature, and rock climbing. Tull uses she/her pronouns.
Brianna Cook
Brianna Cook, Photographer
Brianna Cook is a second-year photographer for The Sunflower. She is a sophomore biology major from Wichita, Kansas. When not taking photos, Cook enjoys leather working and after graduation, hopes to work for the park service. Cook uses she/her pronouns.

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