Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter
Joined: April 1992
||Posted: June 16, 2006, 6:53 pm
Imagineering is a wholly separate part of Disney. What you're expressing interest in spans several departments: Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV animation, and concept and execution art for things such as designs on souvenirs. Disney also has high end art created by a lot of people. Some started as the original artists who worked on Walt Disney's short cartoons and feature length animated pictures. Some do background art for these movies, against which the animated characters move.
In Imagineering they need certain types of artists, such as sculptors, costumers, hairdressers, set designers, colorists.
Somewhere on the Internet floats a list of the art schools Disney tends to hire from. I know two of them are the Ringling School of Art in Florida near Tampa and CalArts right there in California, where you are.
If you Google these schools, you can check their admissions requirements and curriculum.
It might be that Disney Feature Animation has an internship program for college students. You might want to check online to see if that's so or not.
You might be interested in joining the National Fantasy Fan Club, The Club for Disneyana Enthusiasts. They are an international non-profit club of Disney collectors. They have an annual convention each July in Anaheim, and a smaller mini-con each January. If their July convention isn't booked up and full, you might enjoy attending this year, or make plans to go next year. They have speakers from Disney, such as from Feature Animation and Imagineering, Consumer Products and other departments. You can hear directly from them how their careers go, and perhaps in a question and answer period ask how they got their start, what to major in college, what personal and professional backgrounds Disney is looking for when they hire, etc. On the Show and Sale Floor you'll want to find books about Disney, Disney Imagineering and the art of Disney. Soak these up, they offer insights not only into how Disney created what it has over teh decades, but a glimpse into Disney culture as it was under Walt Disney. Changes internally at Disney mean that Disney will likely be moving back to traditional "Walt Disney" culture but with modern twists. So you'll want to be "up" on what that means so that you can fit in there.
Another convention you might be interested in attending when you hit college is SIGGRAPH. This is a convention of those in any aspect of professional computer graphics, and this can include those in designing fanciful buildings and those in computer animation in movies, TV and commercials. They have a college aspect to it, and they do professional recruiting and job hunting there. It's expensive to attend. However, you might learn a lot there especially if the college you choose in the future has a chapter of SIGGRAPH there. Joe Rohde, the Imagineer who most recently designed Expedition Everest, will be the keynote speaker at this year's SIGGRAPH convention in Boston in late July.
As Pixar merges with Dinsey Disney CEO Robert Iger has asked Pixar's Ed Catmull, their president, to come over and help reform and revitalize Disney Feature Animation. There is an article in the Disney News Forum here on Disney Echo from the Los Angeles Times which lays out Catmull's background and hints at the changes he might do over at Disney. Although Pixar mainly does Computer Graphic Imaging (CGI) Catmull is not adverse to "traditional" animation, including hand drawn with ink and paint. Likely, to work at Disney you may be asked to be very good at traditional drawing as well as working with computers, which means you'll need familiarity with coding, software, techniques and so on.
Just as a lot of people with engineering and design backgrounds may aspire to work for Disney Imagineering, others with art backgrounds aspire to work for Disney Feature Animation or one of the other agencies within Disney. So the competition is tough, not that many people leave, and changes are coming now that Pixar and Disney are merging that mean Disney will become more desirable a place to work. This means Disney can be very very selective in their hiring processes. People do get hired, however they may have competitive edges regarding education and background and the ability to interpret stories and characters and emotions into art vs. people who like to draw and have a knack for it.
So as I mentioned to you in an earlier thread about Imagineering, education and grades will be important, the passion you bring to a career choice, the college you select, how you do there, and how you take advantages of opportunities to grow and develop in the field will mean the difference between getting a degree and a job or getting a degree and a dream job of a life time.
You have to look into it on your own, I've given you a lot of clues and avenues to travel down using Google or Yahoo!
You can be an artist and still work for Disney Imagineering, yes, but art talents can be utilized in many aspects of Disney, their parks, their marketing and promotion, their merchandising, their movies, their TV shows, their direct to video home videos and more.
Check out the leads, above. Good luck, and I hope this helps.