Skip to main content
Straight Ahead Animation Podcast

Straight Ahead Animation Podcast

By Ray Mendoza Landa & Yuki Okamura-Wong
On the Straight Ahead Animation Podcast we interview and spotlight rising Black, Indigenous, and People of Color voices that are breaking into the Animation Industry. We want our guest to share their early experiences working at their first industry job and their transition from being a student to an industry professional. We want to spotlight these rising BIPOC voices because these are the voices that will shape the future of the Animation Industry.
Where to listen
Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


80 Straight Ahead w/ Daniela Rodriguez de la Peña: Learning the Ropes and Sailing the Seas!
Hispanic Heritage Month continues with Daniela Rodriguez de la Peña, a Hispanic Artist currently working as a Storyboard Artist at Nickelodeon! She didn't realize she wanted to do story until her final year of college. From there she honed her craft until she got her first break at Nickelodeon as a Revisionist and has been there ever since! Not too long after being a Revisionist, Daniela was promoted to Storyboard Artist, and recommends that if you have an interest in moving up in your position you need to make sure you express it!   Instagram: @danirodarts Twitter: @DaniRodArt Website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
September 27, 2022
79 Straight Ahead w/ Juan Montoya: Working Straight Out of Colombia!
Joining us today straight out of Colombia is Juan Montoya! Juan applied and applied to several job postings until he finally got his start at Awesome Incorporated. We also dive deep on the inner workings of the H-1B Visa and how residency could be achieved. Juan also shares what he enjoys about being a background artist and the little easter eggs he leaves when given the chance. Hope you enjoy as we continue celebrating Hispanic Heritage month! Instagram: @1montoya Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
September 22, 2022
78 Straight Ahead w/ Angélica Agélviz: Be the Batman of your own story!
Happy Hispanic Heritage month! We're starting out with the powerful Angélica Agélviz: a story artist from Puerto Rico. Her passion shines through everything she does, as she takes us through what it's like working on bumpers and boards. Angé has had such a full career in a short time: from animating for Adult Swim, to storyboarding for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, to directing the short film "Nuevo Rico". "Nuevo Rico" and her own project, Netflix Spark Grant recipient "Children of the Antilles", are both in the future indigenism genre, and we talk about the lack of both Latin-American and indigenous peoples in the sci-fi genre. We also have a serious talk about the state of boarding standards in the industry, and maintaining a healthy boundary within it. Instagram: @angelicaagelviz Website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
September 15, 2022
77 Straight Ahead w/ Ruby Wang: visual development for VR, AR, XR, MR... all the R's!
The optimistic Ruby Wang is a Visual Development artist at Skydance Animation. Ruby shares her experience growing-up in Taiwan, absorbing both Japanese and American animation and storytelling. At Flight School Studio she was designing for VR, AR, XR, and MR; and what those different media were like to work on. Ray and Ruby reminisce on their time at Tonko House, and how Dice Tsusumi and Robert Kondo's mentorship changed their art fundamentally. Ruby really gets into the different visas you can have in the USA, the pitfalls therein, and how the shift in our industry as a gig-based economy has made the status of an international worker that much more difficult. Through her preserverance, she has also come to a place where she can work on feature film and children's books like she has always dreamed of. Instagram: @rubywangart Website: TonkoCast Intern Episode: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
September 06, 2022
76 Straight Ahead w/ Karissa Valencia: Go, go, Spirit Rangers!
Rounding out our Special Speaker Series is Karissa Valencia: Executive Producer and Showrunner on Netflix Animation’s “Spirit Rangers”. Karissa shares what it's like being a show-runner for a children's series, how she gathered her all-indigenous writer's room, and the inspiration behind "Spirit Rangers". We also talk about how Karissa's past experience as a production intern led to her being a more mindful writer and well-rounded director. Karissa also takes us through her cultural experience as a multi-cultural Chumash-Mexican, how she connected with fellow native peoples in animation, and how they all brought their unique perspectives to broaden the idea of a modern indigenous family and reclaim the indigenous image from Hollywood. All this and so much more, so plug in to this very succinct and well-spoken episode featuring Karissa Valencia! Instagram: @karissavalencia__ If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
August 30, 2022
75 Straight Ahead w/ Servan Castillo: Animation to Storyboard, Making the Shift
Servan Castillo got his big break in 2013 as an intern for Titmouse Animation. Dive back with us into Servan's career as an animator, from working on Superjail and the Midnight Gospel, and how he saw the role of the animator evolve in the past decade. We talk about his shifted from animator to storyboard artist, and how even though he has such a rich history in this industry, how he feels green in this new role. We talk about his lucky break working on Vox Machina and Castlevania, and how he overcame that shift. Servan's positive attitude has given him a competitive edge in tackling new challenges like learning 3D programs to aid in storyboarding. So join us as we explore Servan's journey, and all the changes that come with experience. Instagram: @servankenyu Twitter: @Kenyu05 LinkedIn: Servan Castillo If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
August 16, 2022
74 Straight Ahead w/ Grace Han: VFX rigging
Continuing on our Special Speaker Series, Grace Han is a Korean-American working in Montreal, Canada as a rigging artist for the VFX industry. While the VFX and Animation industries are very closely related, and if you rig for 3D animation you can jump between both, we also talk about what's more often expected in VFX vs. Animation for a rigger. From Spiderman to octopi, we talk about what can be more interesting for a rigging artist to tackle, and how artistic flare can be brought into such a technical process. Grace originally went to the Savannah College of Art and Design wanting to do Animation and Storyboarding, but a required rigging class changed that. With a professor's sage words about how stable rigging jobs are, Grace turned to her current profession. We talk about her year break after graduating, and then how she took off another year between jobs without having to worry about her next gig! This and so much more on today's episode of Straight Ahead. Twitter: @Kurocodile If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
August 09, 2022
73 Straight Ahead w/ Jalysa Leva: Prioritizing your People
Starting out strong on our August Speaker series with Jalysa Leva: creator of the PBS kids show Jelly, Ben, and Pogo! We ask Jalysa how JBP first developed, and her journey leading-up to the opportunity for her to pitch a show. Jalysa values community and kindness, backed with her experience as an animation director, hear how she applied these to the production and what seemed to work to benefit the show. We talk about struggling with perfectionism, finding your own cultural connection, and strengthening your voice through art. Outside of animation, Jalysa also shares a bit about her brand, Toto-O, a celebration of fil-am culture, and what a positive impact having media made for your community can be. Please don't miss out on this week's episode as we make it Super Duper! Instagram: @jalysal Website: Toto-o instagram: @totoo_sarisari_store Toto-o website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
August 02, 2022
72 Straight Ahead w/ Jennifer Zavala Perez: Leading with Respect
From Muppet babies to Murder hobos on Harley Quinn, Jennifer shares her experience working in production at Warner Bros. Animation. We chat about how Jennifer brings her experience earning her BFA in Animation to production. Then how after graduation, she persevered for 2 years against the catch 22 of our industry: needing experience on the job to get the job before you have the job. Ray and Jennifer also share their experiences on a show suddenly being cancelled mid-production, and how that perspective differs from artist to production positions. Despite all this, we also talk about the great fortune Jennifer's had once landing her jobs, and the wonderful crews she's worked with along the way. Instagram: Jen's dog: @nami_the_pom If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
July 26, 2022
71 Straight Ahead w/ Michael Rodriguez: Bringing In Your Personal Story
This week we have Michael Rodriguez a Dominican-American writer currently working in animation! Michael has worked for a verity of different studios such as Nickelodeon, Disney and Warner Bros. He is also currently in development with Disney for an original animated series! Learn more about how you bring authenticity to your work and the stories you want to tell! Also learn more about to Tag POC Writers Committee! Portfolio: Twitter: @mrodrig94 TAG POC Writer's committee: @TAG_POCWriters If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
July 19, 2022
70 Straight Ahead w/ Kimmie King: Playing Off the Cards You're Dealt
Kick back and listen in to this knock-out episode with Kimmie King! First we dive into her latest job as a retake animator for Rick & Morty, and all the duties and expectations that come with it. Learn about the indie animation scene through Kimmie's experience working on Battu and Helluva Boss. Then jump into the world of Spongebob 360 through the eyes of an animator. Hear her story on how she became the director for the opening of Ziwe's late night show on Black Entertainment Television (BET). Kimmie jumps back just a few years to her graduation during the pandemic, how she jump-started her career during lockdown, what sparked her love of kickboxing, and the struggles of her final film. To top it all-off, Kimmie is a Toonboom Ambassador! Crazy? Well Kimmie tells us how that might not be as an unreachable title as one might think. Instagram: @theroyalkart Twitter: @TheRoyalK Website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
July 05, 2022
69 Straight Ahead w/ Shannon Parayil: Unlimited Growth
Meet Shannon Parayil, an Indian-American Visual Development artist. Currently working at Sony Animation, Shannon has also worked for a variety of studios including Nickelodeon, Disney, Warner Bros, and Netflix. We discuss what it's like being on such short contracts with studios, and where she was recruited for those projects in such a short time. We dive a lot into Shannon's experience as a student, and how putting aside her own art goals to fill production roles paused her growth as an artist. However, the same mindset lead to her love of color-design, and she talks about how she pulled herself up to create the portfolio she needed. On a more serious topic, both Shannon and Ray have recently experienced being on projects that were suddenly dissolved, and we talk a bit about their experiences receiving such news and the events that followed. Be uplifted by Shannon's journey, as we explore the highs and lows of such a wonderful artist. Twitter: @Shneenon Instagram: @shneenon LinkedIn: Shannon Parayil Website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
June 21, 2022
68 Straight Ahead w/ FIAPF and WIA: Stories x Women
This week is a bit of a special episode, as we were reached-out to by Women in Animaton to feature their new initiative: Stories x Women ("Stories by Women"). We talk with Marge Dean, President of WIA; Heather Kenyon, a mentor for the program; and Benoit Ginisty, Chief representative of FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations). We dive back into our animation roots with how WIA was first established, first-hand from Marge and Heather. We learn about how programs like Stories x Women come about in collaboration with organizations like FIAPF, and how this initiative is meant to empower international animation by BIPOC women and other underrepresented genders. Women in Animation Website: Instagram: @wia.animation If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
June 14, 2022
67 Straight Ahead w/ Aishwarya Chandramohan: From Comics to Characters, a Chaotic Path to Story
Aishwarya Chandramohan is a story revisionist lead at Wild Brain studios. We discuss her role directing and mentoring her revisionist team, and her experience working with Canadian and Australian studios. Originally from Dubai, Aishwarya talks about going to school in America, completing her master's degree in character design for games, and all the twists that came with being an international student before landing on story. We touch on starting rates, our experience in interviews, joining the WIA story circle, and how she diversified the boards in her portfolio. Worldly and hilarious, there's never a dull moment in this week's episode. Plus, if you like the inbetween segment, you'll love how much time we spend ruminating on jumpsuit outfits and monster labor benefits. Instagram: @shooboo22 Twitter: @shoo_boo Website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
June 07, 2022
66 Straight Ahead w/ Ferrari Duanghathai Sotthisaowaphak & Tanta Vorawatanakul: Lifting Each Other Up
Ferrari Duanghathai Sotthisaowaphak & Tanta Vorawatanakul who are Thai Concept Artist who recently got married to one another! They talk about how they met and why they decided to pursue a masters degree at Academy of Art. We dive into what it is like to be in a relationship with a fellow artist and how they support one another. They also talk about some of the pitfalls of being a relationship with an artist and they overcome it. Ferrari & Tanta are amazing artist and individuals and it was so wonderful having them on. We hope you enjoy this episode! Ferrari's Profile: Tanta's Profile: Instagram: @ferrari.illust, @tantav
May 31, 2022
65 Straight Ahead w/ Curie Lu: You Don't Always Need a Degree
Curie Lu is a Chinese-American, who is a Freelance Animator. She has not only worked as an animator for Powerhouse Animation's Castlevania but has also animated for Toei Animation's One Piece! In her off time, Curie is working on her own personal film Yaoguai where she talks a lot of inspiration from her own cultural background. Curie also talks about dropping out of CalArts and how she came to that decision. There is never a direct path to landing a job in this industry and we all ave to take our own journey to get there. Instagram: Twitter: Facbook: Youtube: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
May 24, 2022
64 Straight Ahead w/ Jeremy Vicentina: A Sure Bet
Jeremy Vicentina is an Asian-American 3D generalist working for Grover Gaming: an expansive studio that makes games for casinos. Jeremy talks about his many duties as a Generalist, the test and interview getting there, and why he chose to accept the position. There are many benefits in going into a less-mainstream facet of animation, such as job security, relocation funding, and learning on the job instead of jumping straight into a AAA company. On top of this, we have a blast reminiscing about many things, but most importantly, what it was like being a kid faking migraines to obtain super powers. Portfolio: Instagram: @sassmasterjerm Twitter: @Jermoph0be If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
May 17, 2022
63 Straight Ahead w/ Joon Chung: Write What You Know
Meet Joon Chung, script coordinator and absolute sweetheart. From the Sesame Workshop to his job at Nickelodeon, Joon is able to talk about his position as a Script Coordinator on the East coast of the US, and how that differs from the same position held in Los Angeles. Various other things have also helped Joon grow before breaking-in, like the Staten Island Art Grant, and the projects that can be funded by such organizations. We discuss importance of being seen in media whether that is a character who looks like you or a character who has made the same life choices as yourself. We also talk about the impact that improv and sketch comedy classes has had on Joon's skills as a writer. Join us as we enter the Jooniverse to learn more about what it's like being a writer in animation. Instagram: @thejooniverse Twitter: @thejooniverse Website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
May 12, 2022
62 Straight Ahead w/ Animasians: The First of Many Years to Come
We're kicking off our AAPI heritage month celebration with Asians in Animation! Alisha Syed (External Relations Chair) and Katie Dizon (External Relations Director) talk about the organization, its goals and accomplishments, and about its founding with a small quote from Lexie Chu. Meant as a safe-space, Animasians provides resources and events for its members, but the true strength of AIA is its community. Learn how you can be a part of it, and take advantage of the opportunities this wonderful organization is supplying. On top of that, we touch a little on Alisha's and Katie's day jobs as post-production coordinator and production assistant (respectively), and how their experiences inform their work ethic.  Instagram: @animasians Twitter: @AnimAsians Website: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
May 03, 2022
61 Straight Ahead w/ Ulises Alvarado Llamas: Health first, portfolio second
Finally, our episode with Ulises Alvarado Llamas is here! Character designer, Vis Dev artist, and former roommate to Ray, we get down to tacks on what Uli does as a Character Designer for a 3D show at Nickelodeon. Uli talks about "Packeting", and the technical nuances between designing for a 3D show and a 2D show. Despite having such a stylized approach, Uli actually prefers designing for 3D! Wonder why that may be? Listen in to find out! But even before is job at Nickelodeon, Uli was invited to intern for Tonko House, and even had a summer internship at UBER. We even dig into his experience freelancing while still in school, and how he wishes he knew how to better balance his self-worth, health, and workload. With such a variety in productions, from corporate to indie, there's no shortage of experiences Uli has to tell. Instagram: @ulisesalvaradollamas If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
April 26, 2022
60 Straight Ahead w/ Aerik Bertulfo: The first rule of Kaiju fight-club...
Aerik Bertulfo is a Filipino-American animator at Dream View. We talk about his experience as a student transitioning to professional during the full-swing of the pandemic, which comes with certain quirks like working on a Virtual Machine. Aerik was also the co-writer, and inspiration for his thesis film: First Born. We talk about the cultural pressures, and implications of being the first born son in an Asian family, and how it has influenced his work. Developing his soft-skills and coming out of his shell is something Aerik attributes to joining the improv club at San Jose State University. Alongside those soft-skills, he also hones his hard-skills animating outside of his professional work... by making Kaiju fist-fight each other. Portfolio: Instagram: @_a_erik If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
April 19, 2022
59 Straight Ahead w/ Kayleen Acosta Rodriguez: Shedding Light on the Beauty in Animation
Kayleen Acosta Rodriguez is a Dominican artist and our very first Lighting guest! Kayleen talks us through what her job entails, lighting and compositing as one of the final steps in the feature CG pipeline. But of course before that, we get to know how she got her start interning for three different studios: Bluesky, Hornet, and Disney! Kayleen talks about being a CG generalist, using Nuke and Toolkit. She also talks about the many things in lighting that gets her excited, and we get into the nuance of lighting for all skin types. She talks about her time at the School of Visual Arts... where she still lives! We get loud and proud of our art and our heritage (and our long last names), so get ready to party with us in this week's episode! Portfolio: Instagram: @k.lo.kay If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
April 12, 2022
58 Straight Ahead w/ Zilai Feng: Finding Home in a Far Away Land
Zilai Feng is an Asian Story Artist at Pixar. Originally from China, Zilai only began to explore her Chinese identity after moving to the United States. We explore the inspiration for their Cal Arts short film, and Z's inspirations for her abstract style. We also touch on her many internships including Dreamworks, Tonko House, and Illumination (just to name a few), and her extended studying at the University of Southern California before Cal Arts. Let your worries be washed away by the compelling dream-like state of Z's journey. Website: Instagram: @seafoodlailai If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
April 05, 2022
57 Straight Ahead w/ Shakira Pressley: The Original Sparkle Cadet
Meet the real life Sparkle Cadet, a character from Craig of the Creek whose story is directly pulled from writer Shakira Pressley's life. Kira takes us through her incredible journey from what inspired her writing as a child, how she dropped out of college and taught herself to write professionally, and how an unlikely series of events led to her first freelance working for Man of Action. This episode is absolutely packed with information on writing in the animation pipeline from pitch, freelance, staff, and even her experience as a lead Story Editor. We go in-depth to her experience working on My Dad the Bounty Hunter, and how having representation behind the screen, in major leadership, deeply affects how a show is made. Twitter: @ShakiraPressley Instagram: @ShakiraPressley If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
March 29, 2022
56 Straight Ahead w/ Roxy Simons: Puppets can't "smile fondly"
Roxy Simons is a black writer working for both live action and animated content! We go over the differences between a writer's room for live action and animation. Roxy even talks about her experience on a show with live-action puppets, and the challenges that come with that medium. Before her career really took off, she also attended the Sesame Street fellowship: a writer's program with the intent of diversifying children's content by giving those minorities the skills to enter the industry. Easygoing and bubbly, Roxy has no problem packing this episode with insights and tips that should help anyone interested in the writing process for entertainment! Website: Instagram: @RoxySimons26 Twitter: @RoxySimons26 If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
March 22, 2022
55 Straight Ahead w/ Marisa Torres: 2D Paint in a 3D World
Marisa Torres is a Cuban-American artist working for Nickelodeon! We dive into her day-to-day working as a background painter for Santiago of the Seas. Marisa works in 2d to ideate, design, and paint how the assets will look before they reach that 3D stage. Before that, she was selected for the Nick Artist's program. She talks about how even with no self-confidence, she built herself up to continue forward through the application process. An auspicious meeting with Adrienne Norman, and a persistent attitude, led to Marisa's work on a children's book for Disney Publishing. Website: Instagram: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
March 15, 2022
WE MADE IT TO EPISODE 50! Okay we know hit episode 50 a while ago so this is little late with this, but better late than never. Thank you to everyone who joined us live for our 50th Straight Ahead Episode Celebration Stream! We also want to thank our audience who have supported the podcast and has helped us create a platform to spotlight these rising BIPOC voices. In this episode we reflect back on how we started, what we have learned, and what the future holds. Learn some behind the scene inner-workings of how we run the podcast as well as how Ray's and Yuki's friendship developed over these 50 episodes.
March 08, 2022
54 Straight Ahead w/ Dashawn Mahone: A Valorous Tale
From board artist to supervising director, Jersey to California, listen in as Dashawn illustrates how his career took off. Learn about his time at OddBot, and afterwards his transition from revisionist to board artist at Cartoon Network. We even get to touch on Valorous Tales, a comic he drew for fun on his own that ultimately helped land him his first story job! Speaking of comics, Dashawn reveals more about his current project, The Brother's Boom. He also shares what it's like being a supervising director for Jessica's Little Big World, and the experience of working on a spinoff of Craig of the Creek, with characters he's very familiar with. If you're dreaming of moving past story and into directing, then look forward to what insights Dashawn has to say. Website: Instagram: @dashawn.mahone Twitter: @dashawnmahone Tumblr: dashawnmahone Comic: Valorous Tales
February 22, 2022
53 Straight Ahead w/ Angela Entzminger: 15 Year Journey To Overnight Success
This week we have the incredibly wonderful Angela Entzminger, a black artist who is currently working as a Story Artist and Writer. Everyone journey into animation is different and Angela is proof. Her animated journey took 15 years before landing her first job as a Pixar Development Intern. Since then Angela has worked on Nickelodeon's Santiago of the Seas as a Storyboard Artist and for Warner Bros. Animation's My Adventures with Superman as a Writer. She is just a wealth of amazing knowledge who is still so eager to keep learning and sharing what she has learned with others. She created and hosted two podcasted entitled The Animated Journey and Glitch Techs Rewatch Podcast, she is also currently a Rise Up Animation Mentor. We could honestly go on and on, but there is so much waiting for you in this jammed packed episode! Instagram: @sketchysoul Twitter: @sketchysoul Portfolio: The Animated Journey Podcast Glitch Techs Rewatch Podcast If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
February 15, 2022
52 Straight Ahead w/ Aaron Cobb: Evolve Your Style by Going With the Flow
Aaron Cobb is a cool and collected individual, and a background painter at Wild Canary. Already in his brief career, Aaron has worked for television, feature, and VR games in a variety of roles from Background Paint to freelance Character Design. Speaking of, we touch on the differences between Background Designers and Background Painters (small distinction we haven't really discussed before). Peer into Aaron's student days as we reminisce on his hands-on internship at Linden Labs, and how his positive thinking that made school work for him. Let Aaron's good energy start of your day, and carry that good vibe with you into your art. Instagram: @king__cobb If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
February 08, 2022
51 Straight Ahead w/ BNA: Strength in Visibility, Building a Community for Black Artists
Black 'N Animated is an organization that is focused on the empowerment of Black students and professionals in the animation industry. But before that, it was simply a podcast crated by Breana Williams and Waymond Singleton. On top of all the information revolving around BNA, we are also able to touch on Bre's own journey, and her aspirations to move from Production to Storyboarding. We talk about the auspicious meeting that made the podcast a reality, and how it was sparked by the anxiety that both Bre and Way felt as students not knowing about Black folks currently working in animation. We discuss some of the challenges BNA has faced, how preparedness has benefitted their membership, and also the victories and lessons from those tough times. Listen in, and support both the BNA podcast and their organization as they work to create diversity on screen and behind the scenes!  Black 'N Animated website: Twitter: @Blacknanimated Instagram: @blacknanimated Breana Williams Twitter: @breanimator Instagram: @breaanimator
February 01, 2022
49 Straight Ahead w/ Yuki Okamura-Wong: Transitioning From A Blob To A Fully Realized Human Being
No your eyes are not playing tricks on you, this week we have the wonderful other half of our whole host Yuki Okamura-Wong! If you don't know already, she is an Asian-American 2D Animator currently working at Global Mechanic. In this non-stop thrill ride of an episode, we dive into Yuki's career working as 2D animator for both adult and kids shows and how these experiences differed from one another. She also explains how she became a fully realized human being in her transition from community college to university. Yuki also shares how she never really knew what she wanted to do but how she just kept following her interest until she found the path the was right for her. Finally in this episode we uncover the origin story of Yuki's online username Chuudles. All of this is just scratches the surface of this amazing and we hope you all enjoy it! Instagram: @chuudles Twitter: @Chuudles Portfolio: LinkedIn: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
January 18, 2022
48 Straight Ahead w/ Ray Mendoza Landa: Scholar to Story Artist, Playing to your Strengths before Mileage
We're kicking off season 2 with a name you may find familiar: Ray Mendoza Landa! A story artist at Warner Bros. Animation and one of the co-hosts of Straight Ahead! Although Ray has only just started his career, he has a plethora of experiences: story artist on a 3D show with a blender-integrated pipeline, interning at Pixar, acting as President for the Shrunken Headman Club, and heading the ambitious animated graphic novel, Sol Naciente. We may have touched on these topics in the past, but Ray is able to go in-depth in a way we normally don't get the chance to when interviewing a guest. We also go into Ray's path into animation, how he was always more into theatre than art, and how his interest in his own culture as a Mexican-American has grown. Of course, we answer the most important question: would you rather attain power through hard work in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber from Dragonball Z or by instantly seeing the secret of the Universe like in Full Metal Alchemist? Find out in this episode... of Straight Ahead AP! Read Sol Naciente: The Animated Graphic Novel ! Instagram: @RaydioSilence Twitter: @RaydioSilence
January 11, 2022
47 Straight Ahead w/ Steph Rizo: Taking a Leap of Faith into Storyboarding
We are ending season one of the podcast with a banger with the one and only Steph Rizo, a Mexican-American Character Designer and Story Artist currently working at Sony Animation Studio! Learn how Steph tried to break into the industry as a character designer but instead broke in as a Story Intern for Walt Disney Animation! Her journey into story didn't stop there, as she soon got a job as a storyboard artist on Spider Verse 2! We also talk about her educational journey and her decision to study at a community college due to finical circumstances. She also talks about being more open about her sexuality and wanting to represent that more in her art moving forward. Steph journey into animation has been crazy, unorthodox and amazing! We hope you enjoy our final episode of season one of the Straight Ahead Animation Podcast! Instagram: @steph_rizo Twitter: @stephoble10 Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
November 30, 2021
46 Straight Ahead w/ Daniela Dwek: Character Technical Director Model/Rigger at Pixar
This week we are joined by the incredible Daniela Dwek, a Middle-Eastern artist currently working at Pixar. We learn what happens on the technical side of animation as Daniela explains her role in the animation pipeline as a Character TD Model/Rigger. We also discuss her progression from Pixar Intern, to Resident, to Full-time employee. Daniela has had an amazing career in animation, but it started way before Pixar when she produced and directed the Student Academy Award-winning short film Hamsa. Daniela is so multi-talented and has a hunger for knowledge, find out more as you listen to this weeks episode! Instagram: @mypassion4art Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
November 23, 2021
45 Straight Ahead w/ Derrick Malik Johnson: Loyalty, Respect, These Hands
Todays we are joined by Derrick Malik Johnson an African American Storyboard Revisionist currently working at Disney TVA. This episode gets a little heavy in certain subject matters than other episodes but it's still import to acknowledge and discuss these topics. Despite the difficult subject matters Derrick is an explosive wave of positivity and energy that you cant help but smile and laugh along with him. He talks about his amazing experience being the first black student from his alma mater to receive an animation internship. We also discuss the toxic school environment that certain professors created for him, causing him drop out for his own emotional and mental well being. Despite dropping out of art school, Derrick was able to land a full time position at Titmouse, and now he finds himself working on Disney's highly anticipated Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur as a Storyboard Revisionist. It is a very emotional journey in this weeks episode! Instagram: @derrickmalikjohnson Twitter: @DerrickMalikJo Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
November 16, 2021
44 Straight Ahead w/ Rae Huang: From Animation to Storyboards
In this week episode we are joined by Taiwanese Storyboard Revisionist Rae Huang! Is she a person? Is she a goat? Who knows?! You have to listen to find out! As you listen you will learn how Rae got her start in animation as a 2D Animation Intern at Moving Colour! Did you know that BuzzFeed has an animation department? Well neither did we until Rae told us her experience working there as an animator/story artist. We also learn more about what it is like looking for work and attending school as an international student and so much more! Instagram: @raehanim Twitter: @raehanim Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
November 09, 2021
43 Straight Ahead w/ Samia Khalaf: Directing a short film in VR
Today we have the wonderful Samia Khalaf a Palestinian/Lebanese Senior Concept Artist currently working at Funomena. Samia shares her experience attending school as an international student and the hurdles one has to go though when trying to get a work visa. We also talk about how Samia slowly started becoming more comfortable sharing her artistic voice and started creating art that she enjoyed and didn't worry so much about trying to cater her art to other people. Samia also talked about her amazing opportunity with Facebook/Oculus where she got to direct a short film titled Kteer Tayyeb about her love of food and the joy and memories that it created with friends and family. She talks more in depth about creating a story in VR and so much more! Sit back relax and get ready to expand you mind with Samia! Instagram: @samsoomfull Portfolio: Kteer Tayyeb Short Film LinkedIn: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
November 02, 2021
42 Straight Ahead w/ Andrew Arcilla: Geeking out about community, musicals in space, and Legos
Andrew Arcilla is a Filipino-American working as a Production Coordinator. Unlike most of our guests, Andrew knew about many positions in the animation industry since high school, and made his his goal to join the community in a production role. We get wrapped up in Andrew's many passions, and one of us earns the title of Lego destroyer. We also talk at length about Andrew's love of musicals, the importance of feeding your soul, and his Space-Musical Podcast The Romulus 5. He also teaches as his Alma Mater, Woodbury University, and we talk about his experience there as well as his reasons for teaching. Let Andrew's sweet stories put you at ease on this week's episode of Straight Ahead. LinkedIn: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
October 26, 2021
41 Straight Ahead w/ Grey Chen: Recovering from Burnout
Grey Chen is a Chinese-American Background Painter and Color Designer, currently working at Warner Bros. Animation! Hear how each of her past experiences prepared for the next, such as getting her start doing freelance color design work for PowerPuff Girls to becoming a full-time Color Designer on DreamWorks She-Ra! We also talk about Grey's tough decision of accepting a full-time PA job whilst still trying to complete her college degree at San Jose State University. The harsh reality of burnout also comes up and Grey talks to us on how she approached dealing with burnout. This episode is a super insightful and is a must needed listen! Twitter: @greychen_ Instagram: @its.greychen Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
October 19, 2021
40 Straight Ahead w/ Kristal Babich: Confidence in a Soft Spoken Voice
Kristal Babich is a Chilean-American story artist and WIA mentor who has worked on a variety of projects. Grab some tips on the differences between boarding for stop motion, CG feature films, and even how that all differs from a comics pipeline. Even before that, Kristal nearly finished her degree for Biology Education, and learn about her decision to pivot her career trajectory. If you're in a similar position, know that it's never too late to learn something new! Kristal's perspective as a Latinx person growing up in Florida is greatly different than a Latinx-American from California. Even though we group people by continent (ie. South America, Asia, etc), the countries within them have largely different cultures. Just something to keep in mind as we become aware of how diverse our world is. Twitter @pixie_punch Instagram @pixiepunch Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
October 12, 2021
39 Straight Ahead w/ Christian Alvarez: Making the Pipeline Work for You
We've talked a lot about working as an artist or production crew in a pipeline, but... ¿Por qué no los dos? Christian Alvarez is a Production Coordinator that freelances as a Character Designer on the side. We talk about how he fell in love with production, what it's been like working on Kamp Koral: Spongebob's Under Years, his goals for recruiting in the future. Aside from work we get into how he built his instagram brand, Ghostlyre, and his love of unique Pokémon cards. Twitter @GhostLyre Instagram @ghostlyre Portfolio: If you enjoy our podcast, please share it and rate us on Apple Podcasts. We want to expand our platform and amplify these BIPOC voices!
October 05, 2021
38 Straight Ahead w/ Janet Rodriguez: Translating Life Experience to Artistic Voice
Continuing on our Latinx celebration, Janet Rodriguez is a Mexican-American freelancer for character design and illustration. Understanding where your aesthetic tastes come from can be a real boon, and being able to share those inspirations is a way Janet communicates with her team. We talk about her experiences at California State Fullerton, and how wanting to make genuine friendships has lead her to a full network (and a full freelancing schedule)! On the fence about pursuing art? So was Janet! We talk so much about her journey into the industry, the different styles of her digital and traditional art, and so much more! Janet Rodriguez Instagram Twitter If you enjoy our podcast, please share it so we can expand our platform to share these BIPOC voices!
September 28, 2021
37 Straight Ahead w/ Juan Luis Bravo: Transitioning from Live-Action to Storyboarding
Our amazing guest this week is Juan Luis Bravo, a Mexican-American Storyboard Artist currently working at Pure Imagination Studios. Juan shares his amazing story of how he transitioned from working in Live-Action as a Digital Media Special at The Walt Disney Company to a Storyboard Revisionist at Wild Canary! We talk about how his film background was really beneficial in his transition as well as how it influences the way he works in animation now as a story artist. Not everyone’s journey into the Animation Industry is A to B, so it’s always interesting to see how people break in. If you like this episode please consider sharing it with your friends and family and help us give a bigger platform to BIPOC voices!  Instagram: @juanluisbravo_ Twitter: @JuanLuisBravo_ Portfolio:
September 21, 2021
36 Straight Ahead w/ LXiA: Empowering LatinX Voices
Latinx in Animation is an organization that empowers diversity in animation. We were incredibly honored to have co-founders Magdiela Duhamel and Bryan Dimas on to talk about LXiA. From founding to present, we explore the importance of inclusion and how LXiA is building a better future by supporting those currently in the industry and providing education to students as young as 4th grade! Madgiela and Bryan also share many anecdotes from their own experiences working in production. What better way to kick off Hispanic Heritage month than learning about an organization that celebrates their Latinidad all year round! Latinx in Animation Instagram Magdiela Duhamel Instagram Twitter Bryan Dimas Instagram Twitter Linkedin
September 14, 2021
35 Straight Ahead w/ Kaila Knight Tryal: Creating Opportunities
Today we are joined by the wonderful, the bubbly, and the kind Kaila Knight Tryal, she is an African American Prop Designer! Kaila infectious energy will brighten up your day in todays episode as you learn about all the hoops and ladders she had to go through to get her foot in the door at Awesome Inc. Not to mention all the opportunities Kaila created for herself while working at Awesome Inc. to transition from a PA to Prop Designer. We also talk about the letters Kaila makes to help empower and support women identifying individuals in the animation industry. We hope you enjoy and learn something new in this episode. Please consider sharing this episode with your friends and family and help us grow this platform for more voices of color! Instagram: @k_play Twitter: @KaiKni Portfolio:
September 07, 2021
34 Straight Ahead w/ Liz Luu: Building Databases, the Artist Hiring Tools of Today
Welcome to the final episode of our August Special Speaker Series! We're so excited to cap off this month with Liz Luu, a Talent Sourcer at Netflix Animation. At Netflix animation, the Sourcer is one of three parts to their recruiting team. Learn about the hiring process straight from Liz (and maybe learn a thing or two about portfolios!) Before recruiting, Liz worked for a long time at Cartoon Network as the Development Department Executive Assistant. We talk at length about stories and pitch bibles, some of the do's and don'ts and other various ins and outs. Getting warmed up to the idea of working a job like Liz? We also go into how she went from being a business/film major at University of Southern California to working at Cartoon Network in the first place. And for dessert, Liz has MEATY surprise... ;) LinkedIn Liz Luu Twitter @lizardluucifer Instagram @dreamscometruest If you like this episode please consider sharing it with your friends and help us create a larger platform for our BIPOC guests!
August 31, 2021
33 Straight Ahead w/ Jeff Trammell: From Inner-City Detroit to Nickelodeon Writer's Room
We're so psyched to introduce this week's guest, writer, wrestler, and fighting game extraordinaire: Jeff Trammell! If that wild list of titles isn't enough to entice you, then perhaps learning about Jeff's journey as a self-taught writer will. Learn about the Nick Writer's program, and how Jeff's skill coupled with this lucky break brought him from MI to CA. From life as a professional wrestler, to honing his wit through improvisational acting, this episode is filled with retrospections on how Jeff has filled his life with storytelling. Ray and Jeff get into important story techniques, some Dragonball Z, and uh... did I mention wrestling?  Instagram @mrjefftrammell Twitter @mrjefftrammell
August 24, 2021
32 Straight Ahead w/ Montse Hernandez: Being a Voice of Color in Animation
Round 3 of our Special Speaker Series! This week is the wonderful Montse Hernandez, a latina actress working both live action and voice over roles. She stars in the upcoming horror film Student Body, voices Qiyana from League of Legends, as well as Gwen in the latest Ben 10 reboot. Montse may be young, but she has been working as an actress since she was 4 years old! She has such a wealth of experience being a voice of color, and how that changes the way she carries herself during an audition. Hear her take on the unique challenges both acting and voice acting have to offer, and the controversial takes between those communities. This episode hits a lot of hard topics, where we reflect on the reality that our industry may be changing, but it still has a ways to go. If you like this episode please consider sharing it with your friends and help us create a larger platform for our BIPOC guests! Instagram: @IAm_Montse Twitter: @IAm_Montse
August 17, 2021
31 Straight Ahead w/ Crystal Cheng: Changing the Trajectory of your Career
Welcome to round 2 of our Special Speaker Series! Joining us this week is Crystal Cheng, she is a Chinese-American freelancer currently freelancing as a Graphics Artist for Watcher Entertainment. Crystal talks about how her career started in live-action behind the camera as a PA such as interning for Wong Fu Productions. She also talks about her aspirations in wanting to transition into front of the camera. However due to the pandemic her career has taken her to take opportunities she wouldn't have normally considered. With every experience she is learning and growing and has learned that we need to be honest what we want from our experiences. It is such an informative listen so sit back, relax, and enjoy the conversation! If you enjoy our podcast please consider recommending it to your friends, this helps us give a larger platform to the amazing guest we bring on! Instagram: @thecrystalcheng @kuriwanderland Youtube: Crystal Cheng, Kuri Wanderland Portfolio:
August 10, 2021
30 Straight Ahead w/ Daniel Rodier: Working as a Music Composer
Our special guest this week is the one and only Daniel Rodier, and if that name sounds familiar it should! We credit him at the end of every episode as he is the one who composed the intro and outro of our podcast! Daniel is a wonderful human being who has composed music for several animated short films such as Malinchista, First Born, and the Animated Graphic Novel Sol Naciente! His passion for music and working with fellow creative really shows is reflecting in the way he collaborates with others. He is certainly becoming a sought after composer and a rising voice in his field. Join us as we learn more about the what goes on when making music for films and share in all the laughter we have in this jammed packed episode! Instagram: @rodier_music Youtube: Daniel Rodier Website: Sol Naciente:
August 03, 2021
29 Straight Ahead w/ Kameelah (MeeMee) Costa: Cross-Country to Cartoon Network
Today's episode we interview Kameelah "MeeMee" Costa, an African-American Storyboard Revisionist at Cartoon Network and definitely not a pink bunny trying to disguise herself as a human! Sometimes students are faced with the difficult decision of jumping into an industry job or completing their degree. Find out what Mee Mee chose when faced with this exact dilemma! Stick around for her experience doing her first storyboard test, and what pitfalls to avoid. We also dive into Kameelah's personal project: The Apple Mage, which you can read now on Webtoons! Instagram @bunhearts Twitter @bunhearts Portfolio The Apple Mage If you like our podcast, please consider sharing this episode. We rely on word of mouth to help us expand this platform for other rising BIPOC voices!
July 27, 2021
28 Straight Ahead w/ Maneen Mehta: Pursing Animation instead of becoming a Doctor
Join us in today's thrilling episode with Indian-American 2D Animator Maneen Mehta! Listen in as Maneen talks about his first day jitters at Bento Box compared to how he feels day to day now. We also talk about the real life story of how he got bit by a monkey and how that inspired his short film MANKI. Finally we dive into how Maneen eventually wants to transition from animation into character design and what he envisions his future to be, spoiler alert it is not becoming a doctor! If you enjoyed this week's episode please consider sharing with your friends and helping us expand this platform for other rising BIPOC voices! Instagram Twitter Portfolio
July 20, 2021
27 Straight Ahead w/ Abelle Hayford: Freelance Illustrator, Character Designer, and Color Stylist
In today's wonderful episode we have the one of a kind Abelle Hayford! They are a Ghanaian American Freelance Illustrator, Character Designer, and Color Stylist. Abelle has worked for a multitude of companies and is constantly advocating for black stories and black artist. You might know them as the creator of the hashtag #DrawingWhileBlack, that was originally started as a way for them to connect to other black artist. The more you listen to this episode the more you will learn how alot of their success and choices in their animation journey is attributed to their sense of authenticity and genuineness.  Instagram Twitter Portfolio Drawing While Black Directory Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks
July 13, 2021
26 Straight Ahead w/ Marie Lum: From Storyboard Revisionist to Assistant Director at Disney TVA
Join us in todays JAMED PACKED episode with the amazing Marie Lum! She is a Chinese-American Story Artist currently working as an Assistant Director at Disney TVA. We talk about hey journey from being a Storyboard Revisionist on Craig of the Creek to her current position now and what she has learned along the way. We also dive into her role as the Co-Leader of the Deaf, Disabled, and Neurodiverse (DDNV) group within The Animation Guild 839. Marie also is not afraid to share her opinions about her experience attending Otis College of Art and Design. Finally we also talk about the importance of taking care of your health and how deadlines should not come before your well being. However, this is all just the surface, to find out more you're going to have to sit back, relax, and give it a listen! Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio: Signing Animation:
July 06, 2021
25 Straight Ahead w/ Bryan Bae: Designing an Inclusive Future
Bryan Bae is a Korean-American prop and character designer, and our first deaf/hard-of-hearing guest! ( Read the transcript of the episode here ) We dive into a bit of his experience on Aquaman: King of Atlantis, his experience job hunting for four years, and his personal project: Chromagik. We also, of course, chat about his background as a hoh artist, and how we can be vigilant and prepared to work with such amazing people. Short but sweet on this episode of Straight Ahead, so don't miss out, and be sure to follow Bryan! instagram: website: Baer and Lamb (shop): Bryan's part for the podcast recording was performed by voice actor Kenji Wong. You can follow him here: instagram: e-mail:
June 29, 2021
24 Straight Ahead w/ Emily Rodriguez: Life of an Animator in Adult Animation
What a wonderful day to be joined by Emily Rodriguez a Cuban-American 2D animator based in Atlanta, and Mandalorian enthusiast extraordinaire. She details her journey into the industry, how her homeschooling upbringing and can-do attitude helped her develop a good work ethic. We touch on her seemingly bottomless optimism, and how that is helped by her strong religious faith. This and much more on today's episode!! Check out bio for links on where you can listen.  Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio:
June 22, 2021
23 Straight Ahead w/ Revathi Kotni: Production Manager at Netflix Animation
Revathi Kotni is an Indian Production Manager currently working on Netflix Animation's Ghee Happy. In this episode we learn alot about the roles on the production side of the animation pipeline. Being in production was not even on Revathi's radar when she first started attending college studying animation but once she discovered this role excited she knew this was her calling in animation. Since getting her first start as a Production Intern at DreamWorks, she has steadily risen the ranks in animation production. There are other roles in animation besides the creative side, and we hope you discover that in todays insightful and informative episode! Instagram:
June 15, 2021
22 Straight Ahead w/ Stella Longfish: Coloring Kid Cosmic, a Spectrum of Creativity
Stella Longfish is a Native American (Seneca/Tuscarora) artist with a passion for color. Learn about the role of a color designer in a television pipeline, and how Stella discovered the position of her dreams. On top of working on Kid Cosmic and The Power Puff Girls, Stella has written and illustrated her own children's book. We touch on representation of Indigenous peoples in the animation industry, and mental health (anxiety), but there's no shortage of laughs throughout this jam-packed episode! Portfolio: Instagram: Twitter:
June 08, 2021
21 Straight Ahead w/ Li Cree: Morphinominal Story Artist!
Superstar Li Cree joins us today on Straight Ahead! Currently working as a Storyboard Revisionist for Titmouse on Vox Machina, Li has no shortage of stories her career has already given her. From her experience being in the Nickelodeon artist program, to even being Elmo for a day at the Sesame Street Workshop! We also talk about one of Li’s many passion projects: Power Rangers Go! Her experiences might inspire a change in you too, so get ready cause it’s Morphin’ Time! Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio:
June 01, 2021
20 Straight Ahead w/ Ivy Rain Jordan: The Nuance of Being Human
It’s our pleasure to have on the bubbly Ivy Rain Jordan: character designer, aquascaper, and human-watching gremlin. Her journey is as fluid as the waves she rides, from pursuing a story major to being a production assistant, to ultimately landing in character design. We ask about her experience being multi-racial, and how her new age upbringing influences the way she views the world. Portfolio: Instagram: Twitter:
May 25, 2021
19 Straight Ahead w/ Denise Chan: Retake Animator at Titmouse Inc.
Join us as we talk to Denise Chan, a Chinese/Taiwanese American artist currently working as a 2D Retake Animator and Compositor for Titmouse Inc. She talks about how she landed her current position at Titmouse Inc. and how her previous experiences has helped her on their animation journey. We also talk about her Award-Winning Short Film Kaeru, and where the inspiration for story came from. Denise also gets real and talks about her struggles with her art and her career, and how she tries to find the joy in what she does. Don't miss out, give it a listen! Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio: Kaeru Short Film: Instagram:
May 18, 2021
18 Straight Ahead w/ Katherine Nguyen: From Production to Story
Katherine Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American storyboard artist, currently working at DTVA on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. She talks about the different gigs she’s had from feature to television boarding, and the benefits of not only starting in a story revisionist role, but the benefits of being flexible between a storyboard and revisionist position. Kat dives deep and gets pretty real about her struggles and even bad work habits during her school years. Despite the downs, she focuses on the bright side, and never gives up (and neither should you)! Don’t miss out on this week’s wonderful episode! Instagram: Artfol: @katnguyen LinkedIn: Portfolio:
May 11, 2021
17 Straight Ahead w/ Grace Villaroman: 3D Character Animator at Sony Pictures Imageworks
Grace Villaroman is a filipino american animator currently working at Sony Pictures Imageworks! On this week's episode we get into the challenges of a 3D animator at a big studio like Sony and Pixar, but also the perks like relocating from the USA to Canada. We also get to touch on her experience working with Signing Animation, and much, much more! LinkedIn: Portfolio: Signing Animation Instagram: Twitter:
May 04, 2021
16 Straight Ahead w/ Maaike Scherff: Character Designer by Day, Revisionist by Night
Maaike Scherff is a jack of all trades, though currently a Character Designer, she has previously done work in prop/FX design, storyboard revisions, background paint, and even episode titlecards! She interned at multiple studios both in TV animation, and even in video games at Sony Playstation. However, don't let this intimidate you, Maaike is one of the sweetest people we've had the pleasure of interviewing. Laugh along with us in this episode packed with life lessons, particularly: if someone on DeviantArt tells you to go to a university art program you've never heard of, you should definitely do that without researching it at all. Website: Instagram: @yesmaaike Twitter: @yesmaaike Business Card
April 27, 2021
15 Straight Ahead w/ Kristine Lee: A Story Artist with an Electrical Engineering Degree
Mellow out with Kristine Lee on today’s episode of Straight Ahead. An enlightening journey, Kristine had to get creative finding classes that would fit the budget of a freshly graduated Electrical Engineer. Learn about the spark that led to her switch to the field of Animation, and about her rocketing success at Warner Brothers Animation. Instagram: Portfolio:
April 20, 2021
14 Straight Ahead w/ Brandon Jaisen Louie: 2D FX Animator
Phoning in from Sydney, Australia, it’s Brandon Jaisen Louie! Learn about his job as a 2D FX artist at Flying Bark Productions, what inspired him to become an effects animator, and maybe even inspire you! The industry will always be nomadic, but Brandon’s wanderlust took that literally, and he’s moved half a world away. Lots of good topics just jam packed into our little episode. Portfolio: Instagram: Twitter:
April 13, 2021
13 Straight Ahead w/ Giselle Grimaldo: From Live Action to Animation Production
Animation isn’t always about art, there’s entire teams that keep the production moving! Giselle Grimaldo is a Department Manager at Tonko House. We chat about her experience working in live-action films, what inspired her to pursue animation production, and how her unique perspective as a Person of Color gives her the drive for diversity. P.S. Remember to thank your production team! LinkedIn:
April 06, 2021
12 Straight Ahead w/ Flora Rees-Arredondo: Junior Art Director at FS Studio
Today’s episode features Flora Rees-Arredondo, a bi-racial Latinx artist working as a Junior Art Director! The position may entail being less hands-on the art, and more hands-on communication. We talk about the many rewards and excitement that comes with leadership, a role Flora is all too familiar with from directing her capstone short film Malinchista, to being president of the Shrunken Headman Club, to now junior directing at FS studios. Check it out today! Linktree: Malinchista:
March 30, 2021
11 Straight Ahead w/ Maya Mendonça: Student Academy Award-winning Animation Director
This week we are joined by the incredible Maya Mendonça, a black artist and freelance 3D animator. Previously she was the animation director for the Student Academy Award-winning short, "Hamsa". We talk about very important things such as her internship on Infinity Train at Cartoon Network, her time at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and her horoscopic compatibility with Miles Morales. Portfolio: Instagram: Twitter:
March 23, 2021
10 Straight Ahead w/ Justin Bruce Lee: From Padawan to Jedi at Lucasfilm Animation
This week we sit down with Justin Bruce Lee , a chinese-american artist working as an Associate Story Artist at Lucasfilm Animation. We talk about his experience on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the pre-vis style of boarding they used at Lucasfilm. This along with his passion for Kung Fu, his decision to come back to school instead of taking a job offer, and his love of all types of love. Give it a listen today! Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio:
March 16, 2021
09 Straight Ahead w/ Maddie Julyk: Worker-Owner at Wild Blue Studios
On this episode of Straight Ahead, we're joined by the wonderful Maddie Julyk, an illustrator, concept artist, and worker-owner at Wild Blue Studios. We talk about the unique structure of the Wild Blue co-op, and Maddie's journey to getting such an opportunity. Come for the tidbits of concept art advice, but stay for the mind-expanding ideas. Wild Blue Studios portfolio review application: Twitter: Wild Blue Studios streaming: Portfolio:
March 09, 2021
08 Straight Ahead w/ Marvin Madrid: Living Fast and Furious as a Storyboard Revisionist at DreamWorks
Marvin Madrid is our guest on Straight Ahead this week! He is a filipino artist that also attended San José State University. We talk about many things, including his experiences popping between action and comedy storyboards in DreamWorks TV’s unique environment. We hope you enjoy hanging out with Marvin as much as we did! Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio:
March 02, 2021
07 Straight Ahead w/ Latonya White: 2D Artist at an indie game company
This week we’re joined by Latonya White, a 2D artist at Serenity Forge in Boulder, Colorado. Learn about their job at a small indie game company, their stories about running away, and about their experience being a black-korean artist. It’s incredibly insightful. Give it a listen and let us know what you think! :) Instagram: Twitter: Tumblr: Portfolio:
February 23, 2021
06 Straight Ahead w/ Gloria Carolina Felix Orozco: Life as a Freelance Illustrator and Visual Development Artist
In today’s episode we interview Gloria Carolina Felix Orozco, a Mexican artist from currently based in Guadalajara, Mexico. We talk about the differences between the industry in Mexico as opposed to Los Angeles, her experiences being featured in art galleries, and much more!  Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio: LinkedIn:
February 16, 2021
05 Straight Ahead w/ Alex Pimwong: From Barista at the Luxo Cafe to Story Resident at Pixar
In this week’s episode we interview Alex Pimwong, he is a Korean/Thai artist working as a Story Artist Resident at Pixar. Don’t know what a Story Artist Resident is? Neither did we! Check out the episode to learn about Alex’s mysterious job title. Another exciting part about this interview is that Alex did not attend a traditional university/art school. We discuss these highlights and much more, so head on over to our bio to find links to our cast on Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcast, Apple podcast, or wherever you choose to listen! Instagram:
February 09, 2021
04 Straight Ahead w/ Sofia Guerra: 2D Animation is alive in Georgia
It's the exciting first of our regularly scheduled weeks! Tune into our interview of Sofia Guerra, a Mexican artist from SCAD working as a 2D animator at Awesome Inc. RWBY weapons, 24 hour animation challenges, and tennis are just a few of the exciting subjects we get into (aside from her day job, of course).  Instagram: Portfolio:
February 02, 2021
03 Straight Ahead w/ Rebecca Chan: From intern to full-time Visual Development Artist at Tonko House
In today's episode we interview Rebecca Chan, a mixed Chinese-White artist from SJSU working as a Visual Development Artist at Tonko House. We talk about her working experience at Tonko House both as an intern and full time, as well as being the visual development lead on the award winning short film Kaeru, and alot more! Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio:
January 26, 2021
02 Straight Ahead w/ Miguel Baltazar: Storyboard Revisionist at Netflix
In today's episode we interview Miguel Baltazar, a LatinX artist from CSUF working as a Storyboard Revisionist at Netflix Animation Studios. We talk about his role of a Storyboard Revisionist, his early internship experience at DreamWorks TV, and alot more! Instagram: Portfolio:
January 26, 2021
01 Straight Ahead w/ Trilina Mai: Freelance 3D Animator and Director of Award Winning Short Film
In today's episode we interview Trilina Mai, a Vietnamese/Chinese artist from CSULB working as a Freelance Animator. We talk about her internship experience at Pixar, her award winning short film Push, and a lot more!  Instagram: Twitter: Portfolio: LinkedIn:
January 26, 2021
00 Straight Ahead w/ Ray & Yuki: What is Straight Ahead?
Welcome to Straight Ahead Animation Podcast! This episode we explain what Straight Ahead is and the purpose/goal behind the podcast!
January 22, 2021