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From Rejection to Resilience: Saul Blinkoff's Inspiring Journey to Becoming a Disney Animator

In a world where dreams often seem out of reach, stories of perseverance serve as beacons of hope. Saul Blinkoff, a Hollywood filmmaker, exemplifies the power of resilience and determination. From working on Disney classics like "Pocahontas," "Mulan," and "Tarzan" to directing award-winning series for DreamWorks, Netflix, and Amazon, Saul's journey to becoming a Disney animator is a testament to the mantra: never give up

Saul Blinkoff’s Early Life and Inspiration

Saul's story began in New York, far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. His exposure to the world of animation started at 11 years old when he saw Steven Spielberg's "E.T." in the theater. Captivated by the magic of filmmaking, young Saul declared to his mother that he wanted to make movies. He started making films with his siblings, setting the foundation for his future career.

Overcoming Early Challenges

However, like many, Saul faced significant challenges. In high school, a casual comment from a peer made him doubt his dream of becoming a filmmaker, steering him back to his first love: drawing. With supportive parents, Saul honed his skills under the guidance of an exceptional art teacher who taught him to see the world through a unique lens. This lesson in perspective would become a cornerstone of his success.

The College Years: Facing Reality

In college, Saul's determination was put to the test. Surrounded by talented peers at the Columbus College of Art and Design, he faced the daunting reality of breaking into Disney, a dream he held dear. Rejected the first time he applied, Saul chose to view this setback as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block. Encouraged by the story of Rudy, a film about an underdog who achieved his dream through sheer perseverance, Saul vowed never to give up again.

Becoming a Disney Animator: The Turning Point

Saul's second attempt at Disney was marked by intense preparation and hard work. He learned from his initial rejection, focusing on improving his portfolio with dynamic perspectives. His dedication paid off when he received the long-awaited call: he had been accepted into Disney's internship program.

Beyond Disney: Expanding Horizons

Saul's journey didn't end there. He continued to push boundaries, working on numerous projects across major studios and eventually discovering a new calling in public speaking. Today, Saul shares his story and practical tools for success, inspiring others to pursue their dreams with the same tenacity that has defined his career.

Key Takeaways from Saul Blinkoff’s Journey

  • Perseverance Pays Off: Persistence and hard work can overcome even the most daunting obstacles.

  • Value of Mentorship: A mentor or coach can provide invaluable guidance and support.

  • Growth Through Pain: Embrace challenges as opportunities to grow rather than obstacles to avoid.

  • Surround Yourself with the Right People: The company we keep influences our values and success.

  • Focus on Meaning: Pursue a life of meaning rather than mere happiness for deeper fulfillment.

Join the Conversation

I recently had the privilege of speaking to Saul Blinkoff on my podcast, where he shared his incredible journey of perseverance and mindset shifts that made the impossible possible. I invite you to watch this episode and share your thoughts on making your career dream a reality.

How important is “making your career dream a reality” in your life? I would love to hear some of your comments and the things you are really battling with.

If you found this article interesting, please subscribe, like, or comment. Feel free to share this post with anyone who might need help taking action toward their dreams.


The Leap Academy Podcast with Ilana Golan is all about honest and inspiring conversations about what it really takes to leap to bigger things, amazing careers, and craft the life you want. Stories and tips you won't find anywhere else. Ilana Golan is the Founder & CEO of Leap Academy, a groundbreaking platform that guides driven professionals through career transitions, leadership, personal branding, and growth. She is a well-known Silicon Valley Growth Strategist and has helped thousands of driven professionals land their next leadership role, start a business or become thought leaders in their space. An award-winning international keynote speaker, entrepreneur, board director & investor (in over 100 companies) with numerous recognitions including: Startup of the year 2023, Titan Gold Winner for Best Coaching Program, Selected top 40 women to watch, Business Insider Silicon Valley Women of Influence , CEO World Award


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