The Heroine’s Journey of Zeina Masri


Photo Credit: Josh Janousky

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I consider myself very lucky and blessed to do what I love for a living. The best thing that I love about my work is when the CG character comes to life creating the illusion of thought, emotion and personality to tell a story.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

Retiring in good health to live a simple modest life, in a place I am proud to call my own. Somewhere where it’s warm and sunny, with no stress or financial worries. Days spent traveling and socializing with friends and family.

What is my greatest fear?

Nothing scares me but from time to time I have concerns about my mental and physical health when I’ve been working overtime for long periods. These ‘crunch’ times are almost inevitable in the Film industry so it helps to have an ergonomic setup. It’s also really important to make time for your hobbies away from work. Give yourself a break and a chance to recover.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Over complicating or analyzing simple matters. Stressing about things I will surely not remember in the future.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

So many but to name a few: Glen Keane, Jorge Vigara, Jason Ryan, Raymond Ross, Jude Brownbill, Aaron Hartline, James Baxter, Mickael Coedel, Eric Goldberg, Kevan Shorey, Victor Navone, Erik Morgansen, Andrew Gordon, David Silverman, Pascal Blais, Ken Fountain, Jean-Denis Haas, Michal Makarewicz, Catherine Hicks, Omar Morsy, Greg Butler, Shawn Kelly, and Glenn Vilppu.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Some might say I have an excessive amount of shoes. I collect rare limited edition Vans, Converses, Timberland, Jordan, and Kyrie Irving shoes. All feature cartoon characters that I enjoyed watching from my childhood.

On what occasion would I lie?

Richard Branson is famous for saying ‘If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!’ In the past I’d been asked if I knew how to use certain software, I said I did then in the 2 weeks before starting I trained myself how to use it and had no problems.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Sometimes on amazing projects the client’s main objective is money from merchandising and sales. Since they are financing the project, they have final say. Often this limits creativity and technical advancements.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

I’ve been fortunate to work at several studios with very talented teams. I’m happiest when I am trusted to experiment and really push my ideas. It feels great when I make my colleagues laugh and they tell me I did a really good job on my shot too.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Nothing, I try my best in all aspects and if I fail I learn from my mistakes.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

I was a proud member of the MPC ‘1917’ Team. This challenging film won the OSCAR, BAFTA and several prestigious awards for Best VFX.

Where would I most like to live?

Again somewhere warm and sunny.

What is my most treasured possession?

My mind, senses, and health. I wake up grateful to be alive and able bodied.

What is my most marked characteristic?

Definitely the passion I have for Film and Animation. I have wanted to be an Animator since I was 8 years old. I work really hard for my career, sacrifice a lot; and don’t consider the journey over yet!

What is my most inspirational location in my city?

The studio. I find working with people who are better than me inspirational.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Nothing compares to Mum’s cooking so I’d have to say the best place to eat or drink is back home.

What books influenced my life and how?

I attended public schools in South West London which 20 years ago did not have Animation courses. Since I knew this was the career I wanted to pursue, I frequented the library as often as possible to learn independently. Some of these books are older than I am, others are more recent; but all have helped solidify my goals and inspired me to never stop learning.

  • Richard Williams: The Animator’s Survival Kit
  • The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
  • Character Animation Crash Course! By Eric Goldberg
  • Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair
  • Acting for Animators by Ed Hooks
  • Cartoon Character Animation with Maya: Mastering the Art of Exaggerated Animation by Keith Osbourne

Who are my favorite writers?

Ed Catmull wrote ‘Creativity Inc’, he is the Chief Technical Officer at Pixar. The book tells of his humble beginnings idolising Walt Disney as a child and later going on to study under Ivan Sutherland, the first pioneer of CG.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen to on my last day?

Best of 90s Hip Hop, Rap, and R&B. Cookout summer jams that would make my last day a happy one full of singing and dancing.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Xena The Warrior Princess because she kicks butt and my parents named me after her. Close second is Lara Croft.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

For work ethic, Michael Jordan. For grace and compassion Princess Diana. For humanitarian efforts Angelina Jolie. For their patience and fight for equality Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Movies like ‘Gone Gone’. I really enjoy suspense and plot twists. Above all I think it’s imperative to have films that represent strong female Leads, and to connect women through storytelling.

What role does Art play in my life and work?

Despite not having formal education in Animation until I was 18, I was lucky to attend the best Art school in the borough. There I met Mr Ben Keeble who would be my first creative Mentor for 7 years. I went to museums, studied historical art movements, experimented with color theory, learned anatomy, etc. This foundation helped me become a better observer. A lot of my work is observation; whether it be body mechanics or picking up quirks from people to put in character animation later. Art has also given me a more critical eye for posing, line of action, and silhouette.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Definitely my parents and sister. They have been supportive of my ambitions from day one.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019/2020?

The Animation industry is full of fun and friendly people. As long as I’m invited to work on an exciting project, I know I’ll be in great company and learning from everyone around me.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019/2020?

I was lucky to be invited to a video call with Carlos Fernandez Puertolas, but I think I’d learn more from him in person. He is the Head of Animation at Dreamwork for ‘Trolls World Tour’ and ‘Boss Baby’. Carlos has a great sense for comedic timing, and his acting choices are really cartoony and entertaining.

What project, in 2019/2020, am I looking forward to working on?

I work at Mikros and I’m animating for ‘Paw Patrol, The Movie’. It’s Directed by Cal Brunker, and fantastically Anim Supervised by Trevor Hunter. The team and I will be busy working on that for the rest of the year and I’m looking forward to seeing how these amazing sequences turn out.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020?

Unfortunately due to covid-19 and social distancing I think meeting people at events like CTN will be cancelled. Also several animated movie release dates are pushed back for an intended theatrical release. Because of this, I am not sure when you might see films I worked on. Keep an eye out as they might be on demand.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Accepting that there’s always more to learn no matter your experience level. I encourage everyone to re-read their books, do personal projects in spare time, and always attend Masterclasses to stay inspired. I was not an overnight success, I received hundreds of rejection emails. For years I took every job I could and worked in fields ranging from Architectural Visualization, Advertising, Augmented Reality, Medical, TV, and VFX; until finally reaching my goal of specializing in Feature Animation. Passion never retires means never giving up.

How can you contact me?

Linkedin or Vimeo are the best professional networks should anyone like to get in touch.

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

  • tick

    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

  • tick

    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

  • tick

    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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