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“Master Shot” Pro Speaker Series

Zeke Anders, Dearborn, Michigan native and production director for North America for the oat milk company–Oatly–talks with Kathy Vander, DAFTs Co-Director of the Michigan Student Film Festival, about his career and the experiences that have made him an award-winning director, cinematographer, executive producer and all around creative!

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.

  • 00:38 Kathy Vander asks Zeke Anders to describe his current job as the North America Production Director for Oatly–the oatmilk company.
  • 01:18 Kathy Vander asks Zeke Anders about how he got interested in filmmaking.
  • 04:14 Zeke Anders talks about his experiences as a student of DAFT programs when he was a teenager.
  • 06:48 What did Zeke Anders do after high school?
  • 08:23 A discussion about Zeke Ander’s first job out of college.
  • 12:32 Making the move to Los Angeles.
  • 14:09 Producing a vlog series call American Seoul. Watch a clip from that series.
  • 20:27 What did Zeke Anders do when he came back to Detroit in 2018 to work.
  • 23:45 Watch the video Zeke Anders produced during the COVID outbreak. It was shown and talked about all over the world.
  • 26:11 Zeke Anders talks about the commercial he directed with gymnast Simone Biles. Watch the commercial.
  • 31:06 Zeke Anders discusses his Korean American background.
  • 34:33 What are the most important things students should be aware of when going into the business?
  • 37:44 Kathy Vander asks Zeke Anders where he believes the industry is going. 

Recorded March 25, 2022.


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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