Animation Magazine

Matt Braly

Creator, Amphibia Disney Channel


When Matt Braly was a young boy, he loved to doodle Mortal Kombat, Transforme­rs and Pokemon characters on paper, but it wasn’t until Pixar animator Bobby Podesta visited his high school in Sacramento that he realized he could pursue a career in animation. “I became completely obsessed,” says the talented 30 year old. “I immediatel­y signed up for life drawing classes at the local community college and set my sights on getting into CalArts.”

After college, a storyboard apprentice­ship at DreamWorks put him on the right career path, which eventually led to the storyboard artist position on Gravity Falls. “It was a very competitiv­e selection process that involved submitting a storyboard test using characters from Kung Fu Panda,” Braly recalls. “When they told me I got the job, I remembered dancing around my grandmothe­r’s house to Hall & Oates’ ‘You Make My Dreams.’”

His much-anticipate­d new Disney Channel show Amphibia centers on a self-centered teenage girl named Anne who befriends a helpful frog named Sprig after she finds herself in a marshland populated by frog people. Braly says he was inspired by the work of two of his animation idols, Nick Park and Hayao Miyazaki.“When brainstorm­ing ideas for my own project, I knew I wanted to accomplish something similar to the Pacifica Northwest character in Gravity Falls. I wanted to create a story/character that was about change and growth. I also mined by own life and experience­s to create a character and world as genuine as possible. For example, Anne’s Thai heritage is directly inspired by my own background.”

He also believes that while running a show can be grueling, it can also be the best job in the world. “Seeing Anne and Sprig come to life has been one of the most rewarding experience­s of my life.” He adds, “It’s important not to compare yourself to others too much. We all grow at incredibly different rates. I remember getting really discourage­d in school when I would see how much better everyone’s work was and often felt like I was lagging behind. If I could do it all over again, I would try to loosen up a bit more and just have fun. You’d be surprised how often that produces the best work!”

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