Episode 374 – LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS Director Emily Dean


Episode 374 – LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS Director Emily Dean

Emily Dean is an Asian-Australian writer, director, and artist living in LA.

Emily holds a BA (Honours I), History and English Major, from the University of Sydney. Following her academic studies, Emily pursued a career in animation first at the Australian Film TV Radio School (AFTRS) and earned a Graduate Certificate in Animation Directing, then further at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Following training at Pixar in the Story Department, Emily has worked as a Story Artist and Visual Consultant for Warner Bros and Animal Logic on films such as THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (2017), THE LEGO MOVIE 2 (2019); Lionsgate’s sci fi thriller HOTEL ARTEMIS (2019) starring Jodie Foster; and on Sony Picture Animation’s Oscar Award winning HAIRLOVE (2019) from creator/director Matthew A. Cherry.

In 2012, Emily’s animated short film FORGET ME NOT was nominated for an Australian Academy Award (AACTA), and in 2018 her first live action sci fi short film ANDROMEDA played and was awarded at numerous genre fests including the Trieste Science Fiction Festival. 

In 2019, Emily was awarded Variety Magazine’s Top 10 Animators To Watch; and in 2021, Emily was named one of Piaget’s Extraordinary Women. Emily is also currently serving a term on the inaugural Alumni Advisory Committee for the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) for 2022-2023.

Emily recently directed THE VERY PULSE OF THE MACHINE, written by Philip Gelatt and based on the Hugo Award -winning short story by Michael Swanwick for Volume 3 of the Emmy-award winning Netflix R-rated animated series LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS, under the creative leadership team of Tim Miller, David Fincher, and Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

Emily currently writes, directs and executive produces content for film and television under her production banner Grade 8 Productions.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Director, Writer and Artist Emily Dean about her experiencing directing THE VERY PULSE OF THE MACHINE for LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS, directing her first short films, the lessons and mindsets for filmmakers, starting her own production company and importance of supporting up-and-coming artists.


Emily Dean’s Website: https://emilydean.net

Emily Dean on IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4254098/

Grade 8 Productions: https://grade8productions.com

Emily Dean on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deanemily

Emily Dean on IG: https://www.instagram.com/emilylimyundean/?hl=en

The Very Pulse of the Machine: Behind the Animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=943NIBTvRVg


EPISODE 374 – LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS Director Emily Dean

Hi, everyone! 

This is Allan McKay. Welcome to Episode 374! I’m speaking with Director, Writer and Artist Emily Dean about her experience directing The Very Pulse of the Machine for LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS, directing her first short films, the lessons and mindsets for filmmakers, starting her own production company and the importance of supporting up-and-coming artists.

I’m really excited about this Episode. We talk about a lot of different topic:

  • Growing Up to Be an Artist
  • Breaking Into the Industry
  • Whether Academic Training is Necessary for Artists 
  • Her Training at Pixar 
  • Working at Animalogic 
  • Making Her First Films – and the Filmmaking Lessons She Learned
  • Starting Her Own Company GRADE 8 PRODUCTIONS
  • Directing Her Episode of LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS
  • Mindsets and Lessons for Other Filmmakers
  • And the Importance of Giving Back and Supporting Up-and-Coming Artists

We get into a lot in this Episode.

Let’s dive in!



[01:17]  Have you ever sent in your reel and wondered why you didn’t get the callback or what the reason was you didn’t get the job? Over the past 20 years of working for studios like ILM, Blur Studio, Ubisoft, I’ve built hundreds of teams and hired hundreds of artists — and reviewed thousands of reels! That’s why I decided to write The Ultimate Demo Reel Guide from the perspective of someone who actually does the hiring. You can get this book for free right now at www.allanmckay.com/myreel!

[39:14] One of the biggest problems we face as artists is figuring out how much we’re worth. I’ve put together a website. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com! This is a chance for you to put in your level of experience, your discipline, your location — and it will give you an accurate idea what you and everyone else in your discipline should be charging. Check it out: www.VFXRates.com!


Okay, what did you think? I hope you got a lot from this Episode! I want to thank Emily for doing this interview. 

Next week, I’m interviewing VFX Artist and Deepfake Expert Chris Ume who is responsible for the viral TikToks of DeepTomCruise. We talk about the process, challenges and the future applications of Deepfakes, his experience working on SOUTH PARK and SASSY JUSTICE, as well as the ethics of this revolutionary technology.

Until then –

Rock on!


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