Eric: Hi, I’m Eric Conner senior instructor at New York Film Academy, and in this episode, we feature an animator who helped bring a number of Disney’s recent hits to colorful life, including Tangled, Big Hero Six, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frozen before she became head of animation for the terrific Moana. We are talking about Amy Smeed. Her discussion with our students focused on the nuts and bolts of animation, as well as her contribution to Moana. If you haven’t seen it, please try to. It’s really quite lovely. Here’s the trailer.
Clip: Maui, shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea. I am
Hero of men.
It’s actually Maui, shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, hero of men. I interrupted. From the top. Hero of men. Go.
I am not going on a mission with some little girl.
This is my canoe and you will journey to
I did not see that coming.
The ocean is a friend of mine.
First, we’ve got to go through a whole ocean of bad.
Eric: Before Miss Smeed was helping lead the charge on animating the world of Moana, she was just a college grad looking for a job, any job.
Amy Smeed: I came in a completely different way than most people come in. I graduated school and I didn’t think – my dream was to be a character animator. And I didn’t – my reel wasn’t strong enough to be a character animator at that time. So I basically took any job that I could get. I mean, that fit within my talents. But so they were hiring for this job called scene set up, which was kind of a job where, we did lots of different things, but it was basically to help scenes go down the pipeline. So I kind of went in a different way. And then I would take our character rigs, which at the time were from the film Dinosaur. So I’d take Dinosaur rigs and I would come in on weekends and stay late and I would just work on tests and get feedback from the other animators around me. And then it took me about four years. But then on Chicken Little, they started up a trainee program. Again, they, Disney has a great training program. At the time I was there, they stopped that training program for I want to say it was about three or four years because.
Craig: That’s a long time.
Amy Smeed: Yeah and they didn’t start it back up until Chicken Little. So then I applied for that and luckily I got the position.
Eric: Miss Smeed spent close to two decades with Disney Animation, where she learned to make sure her rough animation passes for her directors were never too rough.
Amy Smeed: I tend to go pose to pose to pose, and it’s the traditional way of thinking where you are taking all your key poses and then I tend to do all my keys and my breakdowns and then I’ll show it to the directors. We tend to show most scenes around three times to the director. We show a rough blocking pass, which are my key poses, and then we get notes from the director and then I’ll put it on ones and then I show it to the director again and then get more notes and then I polish everything up. One kind of tip, I would say, you need to make sure there’s enough information in that rough blocking pass for the directors and supervisors to know, acting-wise, where you’re going. So I always have all my facial expressions in there and my acting elements. I don’t want to put too much information because I could potentially be wasting a lot of time if they have massive notes and I’m, and I have to start over or start off a big chunk of it. And it is a fine line, but I definitely want to make sure I’m spending enough time on that rough blocking pass, because if I’m not, the director is not going to understand where I’m going with the scene and then I’m going to get even more notes. So, yeah, there’s that balance of what’s too much and what’s too little. Ultimately, you don’t want to be wasting time, but you do want to make sure that your acting passes are really clear and they know where you’re going.
Eric: Working for the most legendary animation studio in history means that Miss Smeed has learned how to contribute within a large, very well oiled creative machine.
Amy Smeed: At Disney the way it works is, they write it and then it goes to our story department and they storyboard out the entire film and then we screen it at the studio and then anybody can give notes. And then the screenwriter goes back, I believe, with also the story artists, the directors. And then they’ll talk about what changes do they want to make. The first iteration of Moana was very different from the film that you guys saw because they’re making so many changes at each story pitch, if you want to call it that. Typically, I want to say there’s probably 8 to 10 screenings before the film is made. And even as we’re animating it, they can still be writing. So John Lasseter will usually say, I really like this sequence, I really like this sequence, so we can start animating on those and then they can still be iterating on the first act or the last act or the middle. But yeah, basically after it goes to story and it’s about to go into animation, it goes into our layout department and they’re the cinematographers of the studio. During this time, the actors and actresses are reading those lines. I can’t start my scene until the line has been read because when you’re acting out a scene, you could say, Craig, I’m going to go to the store, or I could say, Craig, I’m going to go to the store. My acting is going to be completely different, so I can’t start until that line is there. So that’s kind of how that process works. And then we can start animating.
Eric: Amy Smeed’s animation passes includes the process of flipping, looking at the movement as if through a mirror to make sure it’s flowing organically and correctly.
Amy Smeed: So once I block out the scene, then I’ll go back to frame one and I’ll work it out in phrases. So if a phrase is 40 frames then I work on those first 40 frames and then I go to the next 40 frames, I flip, oh, this is useful – something I’m trying to think of all these things. This was something Byron did on Tangled. Actually I think he did it on Bolt, too, the first time. So sometimes your eye gets adjusted to a pose and you think it looks OK and then you flip it. And if it looks weird and awkward, it’s because it is. So I think sometimes and I mean, I used to do this like, wow, this just looks weird the other way. OK, I just won’t look at it that way. Well, it’s because the pose isn’t holding up. So if it looks weird from, you know, like a physical way then it probably, the weight is off or something is off there. So I’m constantly flipping my poses and then I flip it the way it should be. And then when I’m working on ones, I try not to flip it too much at the beginning because now my eye is going to start getting adjusted to the flipped way. So I’ll work it out on once and then once I’m fairly happy with it, then I’ll flip it and play it flipped and I’m doing that more for the timing sense of the scene. And there are some times where things will stand out to me like, oh, this is a little bit too slow or too fast. And then I’ll make adjustments, texture is something that’s really important in a scene. And what I mean by texture is, sometimes like if I’m talking to you and I’m acting out a scene and there’s no texture, I’m not doing anything. Yeah, right. Like, I’m going through.
Craig: This is like that independent activity that you’re doing while talking to me. Yeah.
Amy Smeed: Yeah. So I what I want to do is like there’s maybe something, it’s like music where you have the beats of something and there might be something a little bit quicker and slower and.
Craig: Like there’s a rhythm, yeah.
Amy Smeed: Yeah. So that’s something important to think about when you guys are blocking out your scenes and thinking about the acting and performance of something that I think is important, that sometimes gets overlooked. Entertainment in a scene and entertainment can be something funny, whether it’s a line, whether it’s a situation, but it can also be something that moves you in a different and an emotional way.
Eric: The philosopher Kierkegaard once said life can only be understood backwards. Well apparently the same is true for animation. Even in their wholly constructed universe, Miss Smeed and her fellow animators need to ground their storytelling in reality and emotion, including how to make the performances and characters shine.
Amy Smeed: We spend so much time on the acting and the performance of our characters when we are in studio time, which is sometimes a very short amount of time, which is between films, we often have actors and actresses come in. We have acting coaches come in and they teach us about acting. And one of the acting coaches, her name is La- Oh gosh I just said her name. Now, I think I’m a little nervous. Werner Laflin, Werner Laflin. She taught us about building the backstory of a character. And if you can build the backstory of a character. So, for instance, if you have a character that’s, you know, twenty one years old, think about what got her to her point in life. So what happened when she was five? Maybe she was left in a grocery store or whatever the thing is. But you make up stories for these characters. That way when you are creating a scene, you’ve built them up. And so you can naturally come to know what’s going on in their head and what they’re thinking.
Eric: Part of Amy Smeed’s job is becoming the character she’s animating. Even if that means only focusing on delivering one line.
Amy Smeed: I spend a ton of time planning out my scene because animation is so time consuming, so, you know, there’s twenty four frames per second. If you’re not spending the time up front planning your scene, you can potentially be wasting a ton of time. So it depends on the scene and how complicated it is. But I would say for an average scene, I spend close to a day prepping for it. And so for me personally, what I do is – I am given the line. We’re always given the line before we can animate it and I memorize it. So I say it over and over and over in my head, and then we have an acting room. So I go into our acting room and I act out the scene. Something I have to be careful of, though, is for Moana, for instance. Moana’s 16. Clearly I’m not 16, so I don’t want I want Moana to look like me, but something that I find when I’m acting out the scene is sometimes there’s maybe something my eyebrows do, maybe there is a hand gesture I’m doing. Sometimes with body mechanics, if I’m walking around doing something complicated, I want to study that and figure out what’s driving that action. And then I’m always caricaturing that performance. I never want to take my timing or my spacing or even really my poses, but I am analyzing it and trying to get acting beats that I like. So I will act it out, I would say at a minimum, probably 20, and it’s probably more like around 40-ish times. And then I go through all of that reference and I save out my favorites. And then I really dig through all of that. And I take notes and I’ll say, OK on take one I loved my eyebrows from frames forty to forty five. On take two, I really loved this little hand girly thing I did or whatever. So I take those notes and then I refer back to it as I’m animating.
Eric: According to Miss Smeed, an education in animation without acting training is incomplete.
Amy Smeed: Our studio at Disney, we spend so much time on performance. When I went to school, we didn’t have acting classes, which kind of blows me away why they didn’t teach that. So everything I’ve learned acting wise has been through people at work that I’ve learned from or just studying film. We’re constantly watching films and studying actors and actresses that we love. And what is it that we love about that? And for me, my – I love animating emotional scenes. So I would you know, years ago, I like stepping through and seeing like, what is it in a facial performance? Subtle scenes, a lot of it is coming from the face. So I would kind of step through and I would do that with a lot of live action films. I try to push myself a bit when I’m in the acting room, but I’m also trying to be natural to my myself who I am.
Craig: Remain truthful. Yeah.
Amy Smeed: Yes. So then what I do is I’m, even though I’m analyzing that footage, when I’m posing out my scene, I’m always pushing my poses always. So if I’m acting out a scene and I’m sitting like this, depending on who the character is, I’m going to add more rhythm and twist.
Eric: Tilt, rhythm and twist only becomes more complicated when designing the character’s body mechanics in the action filled Big Hero Six.
Amy Smeed: Body mechanics are so hard, it’s hard for almost everybody. There were shots I was doing on, I think it was a Big Hero Six where, and we were in preproduction, we were doing some character test and I think I was doing some stuff with Wasabi. And they wanted his style to be Kata movement, which is kind of like a karate and kung fu. I don’t know a lot about martial arts, but it was called Kata. And so I, you know thank goodness for YouTube. So you just look up, you know, I would Google that and then I would find all sorts of different things would come up from, you know, world champions and stuff like that. So I would study what they were doing and their body mechanics. So if it’s something action oriented, I remember studying parkour for something. I’m trying to remember what scene that was for. That might have also been Big Hero Six. So if I can’t physically do it, then I will search for it somewhere else. But yeah, body mechanics. Don’t feel bad about that because it’s hard for everybody. Most of our department, if you ask most animators, do you want to work on action or acting? Almost all of them will say acting. And obviously there’s body mechanics in acting as well. But full body scenes are definitely more complicated and take a lot longer than waist up shots.
Eric: This appreciation of performance helps animators visualize the actor’s unique personalities in their characters and, well, they don’t come much more unique than Dwayne the Rock Johnson in Moana.
Clip: I’m here because you stole the heart of Te Fiti and you will board my boat and sail across the sea and put it back.
Yeah, it almost sounded like you don’t like me, which is impossible because I got stuck here for a thousand years trying to get the heart as a gift for you mortals so you can have the power to create life itself. Yeah. So what I believe you were trying to say is thank you.
Amy Smeed: I will say something that we did take from Dwayne Johnson was the eyebrow, the people’s eyebrow. Right isn’t that what they call it? Yeah, like it’s funny because I don’t know, he’s amazing, but I don’t follow, I think did that come from wrestling? OK, I was with Hyrum and he’s like, you know, the people’s eyebrow. I’m like, oh is that what that’s called. But so that eyebrow thing we did take from him. But there’s, we didn’t want to overdo it and put it in too many times, but there’s I can’t remember how many times, four or five times. When the actors come in, that’s all recorded. We have access to all of that. And so we can look at that and say, oh, Dwayne did this thing or Auli’i did this thing and try to put that into our animation. For me, my favorite part is coming up with the performance and acting myself, even if I’m doing a male character, because I’ve done lots of male characters as well, it’s still a really fun thing for me to do. Not to say I never look at the reference because I do just to see if there’s something in there. I don’t always for every scene, but some I definitely do, especially the beginning of the film when you’re figuring out the characters, but I think a lot of it we are so detailed and so frame by frame and where I was saying we don’t typically let the computers give us any in-betweens. There’s always something like the timing of a blink or something that we’re art directing. And the lashes. We’re dragging the lashes typically as they blink. So we’re art directing everything.
Craig: Right down to the lashes. Yeah. Wow. Yeah.
Eric: Besides working with The Rock, Miss Smeed was so appreciative of animating this movie since it had a strong female lead, beautifully played by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho.
Amy Smeed: I have a daughter, she’s nine. So for me as a parent, it inspired me on that level as well to get to work with a character that is so brave and courageous. And Auli’i was amazing. I don’t know how many of you have seen anything from her, but just her as a person, what she brought to the character was really great. She’s just such a nice, sweet person. And she came to talk to our entire animation department and we found that reference. So like I was saying earlier, with the Dwayne stuff, we could frame by that. She’s very expressive with her hands and her face, she has awesome facial expression. So but yeah, getting to work on a film with a female character that is so brave and courageous like that was really special and it meant a lot to me. We do tons and tons of research for all of our films. It’s something that John Lasseter deeply, deeply believes in. So our directors and producer and production designer, they went to the Pacific Islands many times meeting the people and finding out more about the culture. And we had a lot of people come into the studio. There’s a man named Nainoa Thompson who came in talking about navigating and wayfinding and what that means to him. And so there’s scenes where they’re doing this. And what they’re doing is they’re measuring the distance here. And so if you do a hand gesture like that, that’s not right. You’re lining this up with the horizon line. So having people come in and I wouldn’t have known that. I don’t know anything about wayfinding or navigation, but it’s something that I think makes it more special for us getting to work on a film like that, because we’re learning about another culture and hopefully we’re representing it well.
Eric: Miss Smeed is also a symbol of representation herself, becoming the first woman in Disney history to be the lead animator of the lead character.
Amy Smeed: I have been at the studio for about 19 years. And the interesting thing with taking this position was, I love animating. I love sitting at my desk behind my computer and just animating. So I was fine animating the rest of my life and I was happy with that. And then I had some people ask me, you know, this position’s coming up. You should think about putting your name in the hat for that. So I ended up interviewing with the directors, Ron and John, John Musker and Ron Clements. They directed films like Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Princess and the Frog. They’ve done a ton of films. So for me to work that closely with them was just a huge dream come true. But also, I was very nervous about that because I thought, I don’t want to screw up their movie. So yeah I ended up interviewing for it and my title was co-head of animation on the film. My partner was Hyrum Osmond. Hyrum came to the studio, I think it was on Bolt. So I’m not sure if you remember Hyrum, but he and I, we bring different things to the table and he was a great partner to have. And it was just such an amazing experience. And I’m I’m so glad that I did put my name in the hat for it and that I went for it. But it was a big deal for me to do. For myself, it was hard for me.
Eric: Amy Smeed noted that animation tends to have fewer women behind the scenes, which she hopes her students could help change.
Amy Smeed: There’s not many female animators at the studio. There’s actually not many female animators that are even applying. So all of you female character animators, make sure you apply. I have been really fortunate because since I’ve been at the studio, I’ve had really good leadership that has always treated us all the same in my opinion. So I myself have not run into anything and I feel really fortunate and really lucky for that. So it’s interesting to me because when I go talk to animation schools, I see lots of females. But then when I’m in reel reviews, there’s not very many women applying. And so I don’t know why that is. I’m trying to figure that out a little bit. But there have been other female supervising animators. Not many, but I remember traditionally Ellen Woodbury was a supe on one of the traditional films, I’m not sure which one. My friend Becky, you know Becky. Yeah, she was a character supervisor on Anna. So there have been females that have been character supervisors. But for the title head of animation, that’s one where there haven’t. But like I said, I don’t know that there’s ever been any that have ever put their name in the hat for it because there are so few females in our department.
Eric: Once Amy Smeed became the head of animation for Moana, her big challenge was managing a large, talented group of designers to stay on the same digital page.
Amy Smeed: So on Moana, we had close to one hundred animators and we do something at the very beginning. So all of the animators had rolled off of Zootopia. And then coming onto Moana, we do something, we call them chalk talks, where we sit with everybody and we go over Moana. How would she sit? How would she stand? What is her acting? We have the character rig, so we’ll bring the character rig up and we have something called the picker page which has all the controls. And so the supervisors can say, you know what, I really love this control for getting a band in her spine. I don’t use this one too often because it gives her a hunchback or whatever the thing is. So they kind of go over all of those controls and also acting. And we do several of those before we start animating or up front in production to try to keep her, we call on model, the character on model, so that Moana looks like Moana no matter who’s animating her. And then that’s part of the job of the head of animation and the character supes. And then for me, one of my fun meetings I got to go to was seeing all the character design work. So they would basically put up a bunch of drawings on these boards and show them to the directors. And the directors would say, oh, I really like this one. I like this one, maybe not this one because I don’t like this. And then they show more drawings and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands of drawings were done of Moana. And every character is slightly different because sometimes they might just get there quicker. The directors might gravitate towards it for some reason much quicker. But once it goes into the modeling phase, typically the character design doesn’t change too much. With Hei Hei on Moana, his design changed a bit because he, at the start of the film, was very ornery and kind of an angry bird. And he almost got taken out of the film. I don’t know if you guys know that part. He almost completely got taken out of the film.
Craig: Wow, that would be criminal.
Amy Smeed: Yeah. And then Jared, the screenwriter, got sick for like three or four days. But it was his, like he was going to write him out of the film. And then Adam Green, who is our character supe, and then some of the story artists were like, no, we have to find a way to keep Hei Hei in this film. So they brought his IQ level, way, way, way, way down. And they storyboarded out that Kakamora sequence where she snatches him up, puts him in her mouth and that whole action thing. And John Lasseter loved that. And then Hei Hei got put back in the film, and the reason is because he makes Moana’s journey more complicated.
Eric: I, for one, am thrilled that Hei Hei made the cut. Just as important as finding the perfect animal sidekick, Miss Smeed also had to ensure that Moana was dressed for success.
Amy Smeed: So, for instance, like Moana skirt, we knew she’s going to be doing some high action stuff and they were still working on story so we weren’t exactly sure what, but we knew it was an adventure and they were showing designs of different types of skirts. And so then for me, in animation part of my job is to say, this skirt is not going to work for her to be – she can’t jump off cliffs in a pencil skirt. So, not that a pencil skirt was ever one of the options, but it is like we do have to look out for stuff like that or like.
Craig: You have to keep things functional.
Amy Smeed: Yeah, we have to think about what is going to restrict the characters from doing some sort of action or and in some cases, you can use that as a challenge to make it something interesting that the character has to.
Craig: Push yourself even further.
Amy Smeed: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it depends on what the character is and what they’re doing.
Eric: Getting Moana’s hair to work was an additional challenge, even for an animator who had previously tangled with Rapunzel.
Amy Smeed: Hair is so difficult to do in CG animation. Yes, it is so hard and interacting with hair is a different level, right.
Craig: Even worse.
Amy Smeed: But on Moana, we’re like she’s a teenager and she needs a touch her hair and, you know, she has long hair and there’s times where she needs to it get out of the way or put it up in a bun or whatever. So if she’s interacting with the hair then we will pose it. We actually worked on some software to be able to do that more easily on Moana. So we will pose out that hair and then we give it to our tech anim department, who is amazing. And then they will actually do all the magic part of sometimes the in-betweens and that sort of thing and get it to go down the pipeline. If the character is not interacting at all and it’s just, you know, me sitting and it’s is blowing in the wind or whatnot, we sometimes will do draw overs if there’s something specific that we’re looking for. But generally tech anim takes care of all the hair and the cloth. But there are times where, to plus a pose, where we want the hair posed a specific way. We will do draw overs for tech anim.
Eric: The perfect dress, the hairdo, the comedic sidekick chicken. They’re all there to help service the same thing, the story and to make sure the audience believes in and emotionally connects with Moana.
Amy Smeed: When you are in a supervising position, we don’t get to animate a whole lot because we’re spending so much time with the directors and with the animators on the floor helping them with their scenes. But the grandmother Tala stuff right before her death. Those scenes are so subtle and it’s, you have to kind of get to the core of that emotion. And that’s where, like for me I study a lot of live action film of those moments to try to get to what is it about them that makes the character cry or makes me cry when I’m watching that and I try to learn from that. And for me, when I’m acting out a scene, I try to get myself to that point. Sometimes I watch something really sad, a movie that’s really sad and I cry really easy, so it’s not that hard. Or I think of a moment in my life that was sad. So I try to put myself into that and then I act it out. So on Tangled I was doing some of the stuff where Flynn was dying, well he was dead and then she’s singing over him. There’s a long scene where she’s singing over him.
Clip: Heal what has been hurt. Change the fate’s design. Save what has been lost. Bring back what once was mine.
Amy Smeed: And I wanted that scene so bad and I was so lucky that I got to do it, so when I went into the acting room, I had a grandfather that had passed away like a year before that, and the way everything happened was not the best. So I was thinking about that. So then I was acting it out and I was seeing what was happening in my throat as you’re crying and seeing some of the things that happened in your eyes and then I was taking that and putting that into my scene. So I try to get to that point, if I can. There’s times, too, where you can’t force it. And that’s where I’m like, OK, what is what’s a movie that I cry at every time? And so I try to watch that little part. Anything you can do to kind of get yourself to that spot.
Eric: It seems that Miss Smeed’s only issue with working on Moana, like working on all her films, was at some point she had to say goodbye.
Amy Smeed: On Frozen, I mostly animated on Anna. And I loved her character. I loved everything about Anna. And at the end of it, it’s hard because it’s it’s kind of like you’re losing your friend to the same thing with Rapunzel, same thing with Moana, where you towards the end of the film, you know what they would do in every single situation. You know how they would stand. You know how they would move their feet or whatever it is. So it’s a weird feeling because you’re excited about the next project and you’ve probably most likely worked a lot of hours to finish the film. But then, yeah, you’re not getting to work on them or see them until they’re on the big screen. So it’s kind of weird because you do get to know them so well.
Eric: Though before Miss Smeed said goodbye to our students, she gave some great practical advice for starting a career in animation.
Amy Smeed: So, reels. Sometimes people feel like I have to have a three minute long reel and I’m going to put everything in there. You don’t need to do that. Don’t worry about how long your real is. It is important to have a couple performance tests that are showing acting with dialogue. And it’s also important to make sure there’s some sort of full body test or whatnot that’s showing a character going through some sort of body mechanics physics, because we need to make sure that you guys have an understanding of body mechanics and physics and all of that. So I would say at least a couple full body or action, something that’s showing full body, and then at least a couple acting tests. And I would say be happy with what you’re putting on there. We don’t always know where people are at in their career or in their studies. So sometimes people will want to put everything on there and they might have three or four really strong pieces and they might have two or three that are not so great. And we don’t know, oh, is that their latest? Is that what they started out with? So it’s good to have stuff on your reel that you are happy with and putting your best foot forward, I would say. But like I said, it doesn’t have to be really long. It’s it’s.
Craig: It’s quality over quantity.
Amy Smeed: Exactly. Thank you. We look for performance. So acting tests, that’s super important to have on your reel. We put so much importance on performance and acting. So I think that’s the most important thing you can have on your reel. And then full body tests. But really, we just look at a reel so I mean, people submit a resume. But really the most important thing is your reel. Your reel of animation tests. We don’t care if it’s lit. We don’t care if it’s, you know, fancy paint textures.
Craig: Play blasts?
Amy Smeed: Yeah. I mean, a lot of people are they are showing play blasts and that’s totally fine.
Craig: Does it matter?
Amy Smeed: No, not at all. Yeah. I mean, I would say people coming out of school, they’re always play blasts or most of the time play blasts. Yeah, it’s people that have been at other studios where they’ll tend to show what’s.
Craig: More rendered things. Yeah. It doesn’t make any difference to you guys because you’re looking at performance, not render quality.
Amy Smeed: Totally. Yeah, we’re purely looking at the performance of the characters. Yeah. So that’s the most important thing, is your reel.
Eric: So for those looking to work in animation, start animating. We want to thank Amy Smeed for bringing so many wonderful films to the screen and to my kids Bluray collections and for sharing her story. And thanks to all of you for listening.
This episode was based on the Q&A, moderated by our animation department chair, Craig Caton-Largent. He’s worked on such films as Jurassic Park, and Terminator 2 and a whole bunch others. And you can hear his interview on another episode of The Backlot podcast. He is fantastic. To watch the full interview or to see our other Q&As check out our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/NewYorkFilm Academy. This episode was written by me Eric Conner. Edited and mixed by Kristian Heydon. Produced by Kristian Heydon and myself. Executive produced by Jean Sherlock and Dan Mackler. A special thanks to all our staff and crew who made this possible. To learn more about our programs, check us out at NYFA.edu. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next time.