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Twenty Something Director Talks Working At Pixar, Being Part Of Its First Black-Led Animated Film

The jazz band from Soul the movie

Aphton Corbin, writer and director of the new Pixar Animated Short Twenty Something, has had quite the journey at Pixar. Twenty Something is her first project as a director and she created the most relatable story. Corbin recently spoke about working at Pixar and being a part of Soul, Pixar’s first Black-led animated film.

As a life-long movie fan, I’ve always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes. In film school, it was really interesting to learn the hierarchy of a set, all of the different jobs available, and how one moves up in the industry. I got the chance to speak with Pixar director Aphton Corbin for an interview with CinemaBlend, and was very excited to learn about her background and journey to becoming a director. Here’s what she shared:

I was an intern in 2016 and from there I got hired on to work on Toy Story 4. It was my first job and that was basically learning the ropes, how to direct, and because I came on when we were only a year away [from releasing Toy Story 4] I think it helped propel me to speak up and try to get things moving as fast as possible so that we could produce a good film under the timeline that we had. And then working with Pete Docter on Soul after that, I did know that it was the product that I wanted to go onto after Toy Story, being the first Black animated film, and really wanted to showcase and utilize as much of my talents as possible for that. So just really trying to work with Pete Docter to make it feel authentic, while at the same time, this is a great experience to show my creative side because it's the world of souls and it's so open and free form.

Imagine getting to work on Toy Story 4 as your first job! And then getting to work with Pete Docter on oscar-winning Soul, a literal dream come true. I’m so excited Aphton Corbin was able to be a part of Pixar’s first Black animated film. Coming from someone who loves Soul and has watched it over fifteen times, I definitely feel it’s authentic both to the Black experience and culture and to lovers of music and animation. Corbin also shared the following:

It was so cool coming from a show that was very structured and legacy-based to ‘what's the meaning of life?’ And so I guess somewhere in between those two things, [I got] a good grasp one on how to convey some of my own personality and thoughts and do this story.

Aphton Corbin mentioned learning the ropes as a director and working with tight deadlines and authentic storytelling on Soul before directing her own project, Twenty Something. This is a relatable Pixar Animation Studios Original Short that you need to check out. Twenty Something follows Gia on a night out for her 21st birthday, and things don’t go as planned with all the emotions battling inside her because she doesn’t feel like an adult yet. Corbin incorporated her own personality when writing for Gia (as well as Gia’s younger selves, which you’ll see in the short) and it absolutely shines!

For all who struggle with #adulting, this is for you. Twenty Something is available now, exclusively on Disney+.

Samantha LaBat

Obsessed with Hamilton and most things Disney. Gets too attached to TV show characters. Loves a good thriller, but will only tolerate so much blood.