Samantha Vilfort

Samantha Vilfort most recently served as a storyboard artist on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ acclaimed 2021 animated feature, “Encanto,” where she was part of the team that shaped the story and defined the character of Mirabel and the other members of the Madrigal family. Born and raised in the Bay Area city of Danville, California (along with her twin brother), Samantha started drawing as a kid, consuming reams of printer paper which her parents steadily supplied, and capturing everything in view (from images on VHS tapes and movies on TV; “Oceans 11” was a favorite subject). Another big influence on her early ambitions was a “Mulan” how-to-draw book, which provided detailed model sheets and lots of inspiration. At age 16, while attending art classes at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, she first realized that a career in animation was a possibility, and discovered an interest in story from a variety of blogs by working story artists at Pixar and Disney. Their digital sketchbooks inspired her to get out and draw, and she fell in love with the process of shaping stories and characters. She printed out hundreds of animation drawings from these sources, and made a huge collage on her dorm wall. Samantha went on to a four year program at USC, from which she received a BA in Animation and Digital Arts in 2017. Her experience during this time included a 2016 summer internship working at Laika on story for the stop-motion animated film,” Missing Link,” and several freelance pr

Participant Schedule

Friday 10/14


Your Best Shot: Storyboarding Your Way Toward Disney Animation

Friday 10/14 1:50PM - 2:50PM Room 107

Walt Disney Animation Studios, Samantha Vilfort, Tyler McKim, Tyre Jones

No two journeys are alike! Story Artists Samantha Vilfort and Tyre Jones share each of their roads into Disney Animation and give insights on how to showcase your skills to stand out. Tyler McKim, Associate Manager for Talent Development, will moderate the conversation and speak to current opportunities, intern and trainee programs, and how to prepare for and navigate the application process. Bring your questions!