I started at the Studio about 22 years ago on the feature film Dinosaur. I had just graduated college, but didn’t feel like my portfolio was strong enough for a job as a Disney animator. I thought if I could just get my foot in the door, then I could learn from all the amazing talented artists at the Studio. I took a job in a non-artistic role called Scene Set-Up. Every spare moment I could get (whether it was coming in on weekends, coming in early or staying late) I was creating animation tests, and reaching out to animators in the department to ask them for feedback to help me grow. It took me about four years, but on Chicken Little, Disney Animation started the trainee program again. I applied with my new portfolio and was lucky to get one of the positions. I’ve been animating ever since, learning and growing on each project. On Moana, I took my first leadership role as a Head of Animation. I’m now in that same role again on Raya and the Last Dragon.
What do you look for in a portfolio?
I'd say one of the most important things to showcase on your demo reel are tests that show great acting and entertaining choices. It's best to have at least a couple of animation tests that show a character with dialog, as well as tests showing a character full-body in some sort of action to show that you have an understanding of body mechanics, locomotion, weight, etc. Basically the principles of animation!
What's the most surprising part of working from home?
I've been surprised by how smoothly the transition went from being in the office to working from home, thanks to all the efforts of our Technology team. We are a very collaborative studio, and although it can be more challenging to work virtually, we've all found ways to connect online. For Animation, our most important meetings are Director dailies and Animation rounds, and they've all been running very smoothly, virtually. I do miss seeing all of my workmates in the Caffeine Patch, though.
What do you like about working at Disney Animation?
I love how collaborative our Studio is. I've been so fortunate to get the chance to work alongside some of the most talented filmmakers in the world -- I'm always learning and growing from them each day. My workmates are generous with their time - helping others out - which makes this process truly feel like a team effort. In addition, I'm so proud of the films our studio puts out into the world, and so grateful that I've gotten to be a part of many of them.
What's your favorite Bagel from Bagel Friday?
A salted bagel, toasted with butter and cream cheese.
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