Utah Stories

Animation Studio Moves to Trolley Square

How does a local animation studio plan to breakthrough to mainstream success?


“Trolley Square even looks like a movie lot.” For founder and CEO Ian Johnston, that was a perfect reason to locate his Too Many Legs Animation Studios in the venerable complex and in the process help to bring a creative new purpose to the mall.

Johnston’s company focuses on creating cutting edge animation projects. “Nobody reads the internet anymore. They watch it,” he says. “Our animated videos help companies explain their products or make a complex idea easy to understand.”

Past animation required laboriously drawing each figure in a series of movements. Today, the computer simplifies and expands the process. In addition to corporate work, Too Many Legs has animated movies, computer games and music videos.

Too Many Legs Ian Johnston_Animation-1
Photo by Mike Jones

Johnston approaches these projects by using talented freelancers who he merges into teams. But what makes Too Many Legs really cool is his vision on how it happens—in full public view. The studio has display windows and a door opening onto the Trolley mezzanine. “I always knew the company would be downtown,” Johnston says. “I want the creative process visible to the public so they can see art being made.”

Like many animators, Johnston drew and drew as a child. “When I saw you could make a picture move, I was hooked,” he says.

Too Many Legs is a few computer clicks away from several breakthrough projects. At this year’s Sundance Festival, Johnston will be hosting the first animation summit.

Then there are the cartoon series. In February, Johnston will be traveling to New York to pitch Adam and the Octopus Club and Bimey. The latter involves animals with highly creative skills.

Cracking a network lineup would be a brilliant coup for Too Many Legs, but Johnston is confident. “Luck is one of my skills.”

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