In celebrating 10 years since “Yuri The Only One” was released, we reconnected with the video animator Nathaniel Soria to answer questions about the project. Here is what he wrote!

Happy 10th Anniversary, LeetStreet Boy’s “Yuri The Only One!” When Matt told me we’d reach the ten year mark, I had a life-flashing-before-your-eyes moment, recalling the grueling beginnings of my directing career. Our animation was a byproduct of blood, sweat, and lots of Ouran High School Host Club, and therefore tears. So, when asked, I was honored and happy to answer a couple of questions Matt had. Let’s reflect on this momentous occasion together…

What was your job in 2008? Where were you living?

At the time I was illustrating placemats and making toys for places like Sonic Drive-Thru and Ruby Tuesdays, at a place called C3 in Kansas City, MO. After working there a couple of years, I was planning on going off on my own and becoming a freelance artist. In college I had dreams of doing 2D animation at Disney, but by the time I graduated, they axed that style and department. So when Matt and I connected on DeviantArt for this project, “Yuri The Only One” became one of my first freelancing gigs, and first full on animation project. It was a double-wamy dream come true.

What’s your job in 2018? Where do you live now?

After “Yuri The Only One,” I eventually quit my job and went on an artistic journey that led me to freelance galore, DIY art spaces, and then, New York City. I had a great steady job in Brooklyn, directing music videos of a different kind, educational hip-hop for the classroom, at a company called Flocabulary. But, after I married my dream-girl, I quit my job, and my wife and I opened our own film company. We recently moved to Bellingham, WA, to start a family and focus on filming horror and sci-fi films in the surrounding mountainous landscape. Most of my time right now is focused on our film company, Moriah Pictures.

What was most memorable about working on “Yuri The Only One?”

Most of the time I spent working on it was a blur. At the time I knew little about animation, so the way I built it was pretty rudimentary; I created images frame-by-frame using Photoshop & Illustrator, then stitched it together in iMovie. It was a lot of hours and a lot of work. Around the same time, I went through a terrible break-up, so that was a lot of the fuel for my creative fire. I remember my roommates telling me that they would come into my room and check-up on me, but would slowly walk backwards when they saw how in-the-zone I was. It must’ve been pretty intense.

One of my most memorable moments was after production- Matt had me on a panel at an Anime Convention and the place was packed with fans. It was fun to tell them about our creative process, and to hear people cheer us on. That was super gratifying.

What are some current projects you’re proud of?

I’m going to be a dad soon, so that’s a really amazing project we’ve been working on! Alongside that, my wife and I are currently writing a script for a family adventure horror film we hope to start production on later this year. The lead character is pretty awesome and we’re both excited about the story. I can’t say much more about it yet, but I can definitely say we’re planning to film at a haunted house in a port town here in Washington.

How long did it take you to learn flash and animation?

On this music video I didn’t use any flash. Like I said before, I created it in an unrealistically hard way, by illustrating it frame by frame. I eventually got into Flash afterwards, and meshed it with After Effects in videos like LSB’s “Guitar Hero Hero,” and Spruke’s “Natural Order,” which made the animation process a lot easier. I think I really started getting comfortable with animating after about 4 or 5 years of doing it. I was always learning something new though, so the learning never stopped. These days I don’t animate as much as I used to, and work with teams of artists on projects. I certainly feel more comfortable in my director’s chair.

How do you lip sync?

On “Yur…” I specifically built those scenes so there wasn’t much animation going on other than the lips, so when I heard the music on iMovie I kept cutting and pasting into it, matching the frames to the lyrics. Now I feel I’d do it way more different with way more animation involved, thanks to After Effects, but back then I was such a n00b.

Does Sephie’s Mom still got it going on?

As far as I know, yes. But I haven’t played FFXV yet, so I could be a little behind the times.

In closing, it was great remembering our work together. Matt Myers and I made something great together, and it was a bit of a dream project. I still remember that great sense of accomplishment we had after all was wrapped up and in motion. Equally so, it’s been a pleasure to see how much people enjoyed it and still do. It was the first full animation I ever did, and I’m proud it was.

Cheers to another ten years to the LeetStreet Boys and the rest of the fan-world. Thanks for rocking and laughing with us.

All the best,
Nathaniel S. Soria