Our People

Meet Samantha

Story Artist
How did you get started at Disney Animation?

Disney Animation was my first job out of college at University of Southern California! I started in the apprentice program for story and was mentored by a lot of brilliant generous people, and now I've been a Story Artist here for two years! 

What do you like about working at Disney Animation?

The best thing about working at Disney Animation is the people. I've made so many good friends at work because we're all bonded by the love, stress, and late nights it takes to make one of these films. I love feeling like my work is stronger because we work together, and that's the best environment to be in, but dangerous if you forget about a meeting because you've had too much fun at lunch with your coworkers!

What do you look for in a portfolio?

A point of view I think is essential to any portfolio. Don't try to be one of your heroes, because they already exist! The portfolios, especially the story ones that stand out to me are the ones I'm looking through and feel like I'm getting to know someone. Draw what you want to draw, talk about what you want to talk about, because that's the gold that we want in our story rooms -- your perspective!

Do you have any career advice?

My career advice would be to remind yourself: don't be afraid to ask for help. I've grown the most by letting go of my fear of being judged or not good enough, because the truth is, you're always going to be learning. Everyone else is in the same boat you're in and there's so much to be gained from leaning on other people if your inner artistic voice seems a little faint that day. I love what I do, and I still ascribe to the strategy - if you're not sure if something works, show it to someone! 

What's the most surprising part of working from home?

Oh man, for me it's how quickly time goes when you're in one place all the time. I feel like it was both yesterday and eight years ago that we came to work every day. I've got a very new appreciation for my apartment, but a big realization I really want a dog!

What Disney character do you connect with most?

I grew up on '90s Disney features so the first thought in my head was Mulan. I love her determination and resilience as she's fighting for her family. I also really identify with her trying to find herself when navigating all these society norms that she doesn't relate to in order to strike a balance. Also I think we'd all hope we'd be as cool under pressure to come up with that cannon-to-avalanche trick to wipe out an entire army. Also, I love her horse, Khan, those drawings are so stunning (beautifully supervised by animator Alex Kupershmidt, by the way!)

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