Aphton Corbin Animates Adult Imposter Syndrome on Disney+ Pixar Short “Twenty Something” Wednesday 08 September, 2021

When did it click to you that you were a “grown up“? Did you honestly feel at eighteen you were an adult because that is the legal age of adulthood, or did you have to experience your way into adulthood. I am sure many of us in several ages of our adulthood, we didn’t feel like true adults. We play a “role” because age forces us to do so. Graduating high school, going to school and getting your first real job are all “signs” we are adults right? Is twenty-one a real indicator of adulthood because you can finally have a alcoholic beverage legally?

Aphton Corbin, a Disney/Pixar story artist, made her directorial debut on her SparkShorts film “Twenty Something,” which will debut on Disney+ on September 10th explores the topic of adult imposter syndrome.

Twenty Something from Disney/Pixar Synopsis

Adulting can be hard. Some days you’re nailing it, while other days, you’re just a stack of kids hiding in a trench coat hoping no one notices. Gia finds herself in this exact scenario the night of her 21st birthday. This is a story about the insecurities of adulting and how we’re all just faking it till we make it.

How did you initially feel when they told you that you could create your own Pixar Short?

I panicked. [She thought] “What were they thinking? Were they choosing the right person?” After hyperventilating for what felt like months, I decided to dig deeper into my imposter syndrome. I am constantly dealing with this feeling of not being mature enough, old enough, to do my work. And feeling like someone’s made a giant mistake and let a child into the office. And I thought this would be such a fun way to explore and dramatize my imposter syndrome.

Where did you get the idea to create the concept of Twenty Something?

The original idea stems from me being a 20-something entering the workforce for the first time at Pixar and feeling all of the inadequacies that are coming at you all at once. Am I a successful adult or am I bunch of kids running around to make it work? This was fun to visualize [adulting] as a short, and this comes from a comic I drew on my 26th or 27th birthday. It was just this feeling I had that I’m hiding the fact that I’m really several kids in here. And every birthday, I get another kid, and we’re all in this trench coat. That’s what’s really going on when I come up with a bad suggestion or something in the office. I’m like, where did that come from? It’s because I’m a kid and I’m blurting out random stuff and hoping nobody notices.

Why did you choose to make Twenty Something in a 2-D animation?

2D was the route to go. And it’s honestly my first love. I got into animation because I loved drawings. And to see those drawings come to life is a super special moment … I was encouraged by seeing amazing 2D SparkShorts that had come out before, like Burrow and Kitbull, and I knew it was the path for me.

What was some of the challenges when creating the storyline? 

The hardest part was figuring out the number of kids inside the coat along with their ages. I tried to simplify it down with a core of three kids. Sixteen is a very clear age when you should be more kind and confident, and instead you snap at someone and that [teenager] rears its ugly head. And then the fun of a one-year-old and being hungry, tired, and sleepy, and every once in a while an outburst of that primal baby version of you will come out. And then that confidence of a 10-year old where you know everything. So it was fun and daunting to figure out how all three interact with each other in the trench coat.

Any struggles with creating in the 2-D concept?

The biggest struggle working in 2D is we didn’t have a crowds team, like you have in CG,” Corbin explains. “So we had to find creative ways to make it feel like a packed club without having to have animators hand draw all of these background characters. So we had some animated loops going, and then we recycled the heck out of them. We ‘mushroomified’ them, as we call it – we lumped them all together, put a fill layer over the top, and colored it blue. It was a way to strategically fill up this space to make it look bigger. We kind of got away with murder on that.

How did you decide to have the setting in an adult nightclub?

The film was originally going to be set in an office, with Gia and her friends then decamping to a club, where the shenanigans would continue, but something about the story didn’t feel right. It felt like it didn’t really take off until Gia entered the club. And given my more introverted personality, the awkwardness of going out to the club felt so relatable. So I scrapped my boards, which was a hard thing to do, and started with this new location in mind. And it finally felt right.

It is beautiful to see Disney/Pixar to continue to be inclusive to their animations and the creators who imagine them! It is a joy to know Aphton Corbin is a black woman millennial creator who are able to bring inclusive voices, stories and narration that appeals to all. I related to Twenty-Something as I was growing into my adulthood, and even today I feel I have adult imposter syndrome. This is a great short for children and adults to watch and relate to!

Disney+ is the exclusive home of SparkShorts, the Pixar Animation Studios short film series designed to discover new storytellers and explore new storytelling techniques from across the studio.

Aphton Corbin began at Pixar Animation Studios in 2016 as a story artist on the Academy Award®-winning feature “Toy Story 4.” She also worked as a story artist for Pixar’s latest feature film “Soul,” which is now streaming on Disney+. Corbin most recently made her directorial debut on her SparkShorts film “Twenty Something,” which will debut on Disney+ this Fall. As a story artist, Corbin helps the director visualize their film in storyboard form. The artists provide the first representation of the movie to determine if the story elements are working well. Raised in Richmond and Sacramento, CA, Corbin attended Pleasant Grove High School and graduated from California Institute of the Arts. She currently resides in Albany, CA.

Twenty Something streams on Disney+ starting September 10th.


About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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