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From MUIC to Disney: An Animated Journey with Patradol Kitcharoen

1000-Alumni Story #Chapter16
AlumniAlumni Stories

From MUIC to Disney: An Animated Journey with Patradol Kitcharoen

  • Please introduce yourself and briefly explain what you currently do.

My name is Patradol Kitcharoen or “Dodo” as my friends call me. I am a storyboard artist and animator based in Los Angeles, California and currently working full-time at Disney Television Animation. My role mostly involves creating storyboards from the given ideas or scripts to communicate and visualize the stories as parts of the production process for animated feature films or TV shows. My past credits include, Netflix Special “Alien Xmas (2019),” Apple TV’s original “Wolfboy and the Everything Factory (2021-2022),” Fox’s “HouseBroken (2022-2023)” and the upcoming new seasons of Disney’s original “Phineas and Ferb.”

  • When did you become interested in art?
    Growing up as a kid who loved drawing and watching cartoons, art has always been my comfort and joyful way to express my creativity and imaginative thoughts. I always enjoy drawing characters and telling stories, especially with supportive and encouraging audiences like my family and friends. I feel like art can be much more than just a way to express yourself, but also a great medium to spread joy and positive inspiration to others as well.

  • What did you do after graduation? How did you map out your career path?
    I had the pleasure of joining The Monk Studios, one of the top leading animation studios in Thailand as an intern and later as a full-time storyboard artist right after graduation. For almost 2 years, I had the opportunity to be trained and hone my skills, as well as getting inspired by my talented coworkers and mentors. The experience helped me understand more about animation production in general and enabled me to plan out how to improve myself and keep growing as a professional artist and storyteller. In order to do that, I always knew I had to broaden my horizon and learn more about the world so I went to the School of Cinematics Arts at University of Southern California for its graduate program, not only to continue exploring the world of animation and filmmaking, but also putting myself in the right place, and opening up for more life and career opportunities.

  • What parts of your job do you find most challenging and how do you overcome them?
    Working with so many talented and professional artists in professional studio environments is very fun and inspirational, but at the same time can be challenging and stressful. It can be hard to not compare yourself with others and fall under the pressure of whether or not your works meet the expectation. It is pretty common for artists to eventually get “burned out” when they fall under that kind of pressure and find that the thing that they used to enjoy becomes stressful and forced. Art is very much passion-oriented and if an artist runs out of passion, it would be very hard for them to keep going.

I believe that work-life balance is very important. Having hobbies or other interests are great ways to recharge and maintain mental wellness. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by a very healthy and supportive circle or peers, including my family, friends and coworkers. I’ve always felt that my works are appreciated and I have never been alone.

  • How do you stay updated on industry trends and continue learning in your role?

I have been very lucky that I get to do what I enjoy for a living, therefore I get to be on both creator and consumer ends. Also being in Los Angeles, the very center of the animation industry, allows me to keep up with what is going on in the industry in general. Animation production is a very collaborative work environment that enables me to connect with people both from the same and different departments, learn from their perspectives as well as voicing my own opinions and takes. I find it not too hard to stay up to date and adapt when you bring yourself to the right place and understand how to handle the information properly.

  • How did your time at MUIC prepare you for a career in animation?
    I started off as a student who just liked to draw. Enrolling in the animation program at MUIC introduced me to the art of filmmaking, with animation as my focus. Even though the program was relatively new at the time, the offered courses covered enough topics to get students introduced to different roles in animation and the overall production process early on. We were supported and encouraged to do internships with professional animation companies to gain more hands-on experiences and focus on the actual skill that we took interest in.   We also had opportunities to work on projects that can be used as portfolios, as well as creating short films, which is a great and fast way to gain experience in filmmaking.

  • Can you share any specific courses or projects that had a significant impact on your skill development?
    I discovered my interest in storyboarding for animation through my first Storyboarding class during my sophomore year at MUIC. The professor was very insightful and encouraging. I could say that the class ignited my passion in storyboarding. My skill developed further during the Senior year’s Thesis class where we had to make an entire animated short film. That was when we put all of the skills that we had learned to test. It was definitely the most challenging but also most rewarding class that significantly impacted my skill and mindset in filmmaking.

  • What is the most inspiring memory in MUIC that shaped your journey?

In 2014, we, as the whole Entertainment Media Production major, had the opportunity to host and run our very own thesis screening exhibition event at Siam Pavalai Royal Grand Theater, Siam Paragon. It was such a valuable experience that we got to work together and run a film screening event for the first time. Not only did the three EMP programs (Film, TV and Animation) collaborate together, the event was a huge success and we received very satisfying feedback. It was also one of my very early experiences to screen my own short films to the public and seeing live audience reactions, which drew me more towards the world of filmmaking.

I would also like to shout out to my 528 EMP friends who were a huge part of my college life and who made our years at MUIC unforgettable.

  • What advice do you have for current students who would like to enter the industry?

When your passion becomes your job, it will most likely become less enjoyable because jobs come with deadlines, responsibility and pressure but that does not mean you have to stop enjoying or having fun. Keep yourself inspired and motivated, be professional and kind to others, and most importantly, don’t forget to take breaks and reward yourself every once in a while!

  • Motto

“Life is hard but we have ice creams.”

Name: Mr. Patradol “Dodo” Kitcharoen
MUIC Class of 2014
Major: Animation Production
Position: Storyboard Artist at Disney Television Animation

Below is a PDF file to view.

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