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“Master Shot” Pro Speaker Series

Amy Lawson Smeed, longtime Disney animator and the co-head of animation for the movie Raya and the Last Dragon, shares stories of her career path which started as a student at Kimball High School in Royal Oak, MI and evolved into being an animator at Disney. While talking to Amy during this Zoom interview, Royal Oak High School media teacher Mike Conrad also finds out some cool behind the scenes insight that took place during the making of the animated film Raya and the Last Dragon.

This interview can be shown anywhere. Play the interview from start to finish or use these runtime in-points to help play targeted key discussion topics.

  • :23 Mike asks Amy Lawson Smeed how it feels to see her name in the credits of a Disney film.
  • 1:21 Mike asks when and how cast members record voices for animated characters.
  • 2:14 Amy Lawson Smeed grew up in Royal Oak and talks about her path to an animation career.
  • 8:28 What kind of support did Amy Lawson Smeed get while working to become an animator?
  • 9:07 After college graduation, how did Amy make her way to Disney? How important is a demo reel?
  • 15:06 Behind the scenes in the making of the animated movie Raya and the Last Dragon.
  • 17:32 Does the animator ever drive a change in the story or character?
  • 21:30 As an animator, Amy Lawson Smeed reveals her favorite film she has worked on.
  • 23:29 How does a team collaborate on a Disney film?
  • 26:58 Mike asks Amy what her favorite cartoon was when she was young.
  • 27:53 Learn where Amy draws inspiration from.
  • 30:02 Mike talks with Amy about other successful animators who grew up in the metro Detroit area.
  • 32:08 Mike asks Amy how it feels to be in a leadership position on a Disney animated film.
  • 35:36 What would Amy tell her younger self knowing what she knows now?

Recorded March 18, 2021.

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