Animation Story Artist & Director (with Leo Matsuda)

I think all the experiences I’ve had in my life, they led to me drawing a certain way. That’s why I’m grateful for everything that has happened to me, even the bad things, because I feel that a lot of my great thoughts and ideas have come from that. It’s just embracing that and thinking ‘how can I make that into gold’.

I don’t know about you, but I sure do love animated movies.  The worlds that the artists and directors create are so full of wonder and magic.  Animation is also the modern day home of the allegorical tale.  Many live-action movies have forgone having a moral or some deeper story to tell, in favor of just being a straight shot of ‘action’ or ‘romance’.  Somehow, movies for “children” have become the best place for complex, deep stories that are deeply profound no matter your age.  Today’s guest, Leo Matsuda, is a director of one such very deep and profound Disney short, Inner Workings.  He has also worked as a story artist on many other big name films.  We’ll discuss the animation industry, the magic of Disney, and the philosophical messages in Inner Workings.

I think people want to be around people who are young and creative. As you get older the tendency is to stagnate. I think a lot of people like to be around people that are hungry to grow and learn.
As a director…if you lose your vision, if you don’t know what you’re trying to say, that’s when things go down hill.

Interview Contents

4:00 - Working on the Simpsons while he was still in school.
5:30 - Getting a job at Disney.
8:30 - Leo’s art.
10:45 - Training at Disney.
13:15 - The role of a story artist.
16:30 - Crafting your own art style.
20:00 - Getting Inner Workings made.
24:00 - The inspiration for and philosophy behind Inner workings.
37:00 - The role of an animation director.
39:45 - Being at the screening.
42:00 - Deciding to pursue directing.
47:00 - Advice.


Inner Workings

Leo's Blog

Leo's Tumblr


Marcus Batson


Michelle & Jim Wortner

Janelle Swanson

Jimmy Seymour


Blake Fletcher

Livin it up!