All information here does not guarantee acceptance to Disney Animation, yet it provides a guideline for all who are interested in applying.
General Information on Applying to Disney Feature Animation
While it is not possible for Disney to personally interview the hundreds
of people a year who apply for positions to the Disney Studio and the Disney
Studio in California, Disney feels that it is important to give everyone
an opportunity to have their serious artistic work evaluated. To that end,
Walt Disney Animation has internship semesters for people in their senior
year of art school or who have graduated from a college level art program.
In order to enter the program, candidates must submit portfolios to the
Disney Review Board, who then carefully look over the work and make recommendations
and evaluations of each candidate. Disney also hires people with previous
animation experience on an as needed basis. Many people submit portfolios,
but only a very few have the appropriate drawing skills to be chosen.
TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR DISNEY ANIMATORS
To become a Disney animator requires many years of art training and animation experience. First, you must possess a very strong, natural, artistic talent, with emphasis on good drawing mechanics. Animators are primarily creative draftsmen ; they must be able to express their ideas clearly, forcibly and quickly with a pencil or pen. In order to do this, they must know thoroughly the skills of linear drawing. Great emphasis is placed on the ability to draw animals and figures in action, to express these actions convincingly and originally in one gesture; not only in facial expressions but in emotion and situation. It is helpful to get a strong art education that will develop your talent, teaching the proper principles and techniques, with classes in life drawing, human and animal anatomy, perspective, composition and quick sketching.
But, school can only teach the knowledge. The individual artist must spend
many long hours practicing in order to build consistency in their drawings.
Animators are really actors and actresses with pencils. Their stage is a
blank piece of paper, and their performance must not only make a character
move , but also bring that character to life.
ARTISTIC REVIEW BOARD
All portfolios are received by the Professional Staffing Office and initially
reviewed by Disney's Animation Training Department. Those that meet the
general artistic requirements are sent on to the Animation Artistic Review
Board, which is made up of key animation artistic personnel. The Review
Board meets periodically to then evaluate all portfolios presented. At that
time, the Board will recommend for training or hire, based on the needs
of the Studio, any applicants whose abilities meet the Disney Artistic Standards.
Some applicants may be required to take additional tests, either in studio or by mail. Further testing, however, does not guarantee employment. All applicants, accepted or not, will receive a letter of response, which will usually take from 6 to 8 weeks.
STUDIO POSITIONS (PRODUCTION AREAS)
There are three basic categories for the personnel in our Studio: Artistic, Production Support and Technologies. Artistic areas include Animators, Assistants, In - Betweeners, Special Effects Animators, Computer Animators, Background Artists and Layout Artists. Production Support includes Animation Check, Photocopy Team, Inkers and Painters. Finally, Production Camera Operators and Editorial would be in the area of Technologies.
Internships are offered for Artistic positions only, with the exception
of an occasional Editorial internship, normally recruited from film school
A portfolio that is submitted to Disney Animation should display the fundamental skills our Studio looks for in prospective interns, trainees and experienced artists.
In general, Disney is interested in artists who demonstrate an awareness of movement, mood and attitude in their observational sketches and detailed studies of humans and animals. In other words, artists who can "think with a pencil."
A portfolio should include life drawings -- both finished line and gesture
sketches in pen, pencil or felt-tip markers -- of human and animal figures.
Paintings, especially from applicants interested in background, will also be considered. For those individuals who are applying for layout work, landscape
sketches set in natural and man-made environments, both interior and exterior, are a must.
A professional presentation of the artwork is important. You are requested to apply for one position, submitting portfolio samples aimed at showing your ability for that position. If you have had extensive experience in more than one area of production, we will accept portfolios for two positions, but you must have samples for both. Disney cannot consider an applicant who specifies three or more positions or "anything available."
Individuals with previous animation experience may wish to submit portfolios
for open positions on the production floor.
SUBMITTED PORTFOLIOS MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:
(Portfolios not meeting the physical and content requirements listed in the guidelines maybe rejected without review)
* All work must be submitted in a traditional portfolio or other easily managed case. No rolled samples, please! Portfolios must be no more than 24 x 30 inches.
* All work should be mounted on heavy paper or behind plastic on standard portfolio pages. Mounting on illustration board or matting is not necessary or recommended.
* If pastel, chalk or charcoal works are presented, they must be fixed and/or mounted behind plastic.
* The artist's name or initials must be on each page or sample.
* Portfolios should not exceed 25 pages of work. A sketch book, short video tape or portfolio page with several drawings are considered one page.
* Please do not send stretched and/or framed work.
* Slides and/or photocopies are acceptable, especially for color work. Whenever possible, life drawings should be presented in original medium.
* Video tapes should be clear and no longer than four minutes. A table of contents identifying each sequence and what role you had in the creation of the scene (i.e., animator [which character], background, layout, etc.)
Example: 1:00-1:45 Animated Goofy character, "Disney Afternoon"-- Bumper
(NTSC standard, please. VHS or 3/4" format tapes are fine).
PORTFOLIO CONTENT GUIDELINES:
All portfolios (except those submitted for Background, Story and Visual Development positions) should contain the following, not exceeding 25 samples for the entire submission.
* A resume is absolutely essential. Portfolios will be returned if a resume is not submitted at the same time. A brief letter outlining your area of interest (character animation, background, layout, etc.) is also important.
* A good selection of carefully rendered figure drawings using line to emphasize volume and structure. Also include sketch books or loose sketches (mounted) of animals and humans in motion done in quick gesture style.
* Samples of your color and design sense (watercolors, character design or whatever you feel appropriate)
* Samples that show your imagination
* Generally, drawings should be from live subjects. Do not copy photographs.
* Recent work is a must. We should be able to evaluate your current skill level. (We prefer not to see student work unless you are currently enrolled in an art program or have recently graduated.)
* If interested in story, sketch, layout, background or effects, approximately half of the portfolio should reflect appropriate art.
THINGS WE PREFER NOT TO SEE:
* Copies of Disney (or other studios') characters
* Comic strip or comic book work (the exception being portfolios for layout).
* Super hero and science/fantasy illustrations.
* Graphic, poster, industrial and advertising design.
* Clay animation models or sculpture
* Textile, jewelry of three-dimensional design work.
CONTENT REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIFIC ARTISTIC AREAS:
* Basic Portfolio as outlined plus:
* A video tape (1/2" VHS, 3/4" U-matic, either NTSC or PAL) showing scenes you've animated, with an index specifying work on the tape done by you.
* At least two sets of "flippable" drawings done by you. These can be photocopies.
* 6 pieces of any work that shows your imagination and drawing ability.
* Basic Portfolio as outlined plus:
* Two sets of rough animation "keys" over which you super-imposed your clean-up drawings (the animation drawings can be photocopies).
In-between or Trainee:
* Basic Portfolio as outlined plus:
* Any additional material demonstrating your drawing ability.
* If you are applying as a trainee in any area other than character animation, you should review the guidelines (below) and submit appropriate work or conceptual samples.
* A tape displaying your animation effects work with a description of what
you did in each scene (no longer than 4 minutes; see above)
* Effects drawing showing a variety of designs and approaches.
* Strong drawing skills, evidenced with samples of perspective (very important) and life drawing.
* In your resume or cover letter, please indicate what technical training or experience you may have (e.g., film study, matting, optical work, etc.)
* Basic Portfolio as outlined, plus:
* Between 5 and 15 layout drawing that show your sense of dramatic staging, design, lighting and knowledge of perspective.
* Your character drawings for the layouts.
* You must indicate whether your work is from your own "roughs " or is cleaned - up from someone else's layouts.
* We would be interested in seeing one or two examples of published, professional comic strip/comic book art that displays your sense of staging (optional).
* You should be very aware of the styles and techniques used in Disney
Feature Animation backgrounds and have samples geared to our approach. Usually,
this department sees work from experienced painters only.
Please do not send stretched canvases.
* Original background paintings or good color print copies or transparencies from productions on which you've worked (12 to 15 pieces, plus samples of drawings).
* Paintings should show your sense of color, flexibility in rendering skills, dramatic lighting, etc.
* Examples of your drawing ability: layout drawings, life drawings, etc.
Story Sketch Artist:
* Include one or two storyboard sets. Feature animation or live action
film storyboards preferred (color or black and white photocopies are okay).
* Several samples of character designs/model sheets
* Several pages of life drawings (see Basic Portfolio description)
* Quick sketches, sketch books.
* Some quick black and white story sketch samples showing dramatic (light vs. dark) settings, demonstrating staging.
Visual Development Artist:
* Artwork that shows a good sense of imagination in color and design.
* Anything that shows a sense of caricature.
* Several inspirational color sketches, rendered in any medium, for the purpose of dramatizing a story. These should demonstrate:
- Setting, atmospheric lighting, staging, stage design, basic layout and character interaction.
* Samples from any experience you've had in story illustration would be helpful, but not mandatory.
* 10 to 12 life drawings (see Basic Portfolio description)
Character Design Artist:
* Character design samples, including the following:
- Hero/Heroine types
- "Funny animals"
- Incidental characters (i.e., "movie extras")
- Realistic animals
- Anthropomorphised objects
* Clothing/costuming examples, both serious and comic, for a single character type
* Demonstrate an ability to manipulate a single character with consistency, i.e., model sheets, series of poses, characters in environments, etc.
* Quick gesture sketches of two or three characters
* Have several variations on one character, or the "casting" of a character, e.g.,., tall dark and handsome, short and squat, evil, benevolent (the kind of character and his/her variations is up to you).
Portfolios should be carefully packaged and submitted to:
Walt Disney World Professional Staffing
Attention: Animation Division
P.O. Box 10,090
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Make sure a resume and short cover letter are included in your portfolio
each time you submit. Your portfolios will be with us for 4 to 6 weeks.
If it is not practical to send original work, good photocopies of your work
is preferred. Your portfolio will be evaluated by our Animation Staff.
Professional Staffing will return the portfolio to you, along with information on how you may receive an individual critique of your work.
WE CANNOT ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE TO ANY MATERIALS.
Generally, people who are employed by Walt Disney Animation are American
citizens, or have been granted or have pending United States permanent residence
status. Without these qualifications, we cannot hire individuals to work
for us on an extended basis. Since training programs may result in permanent
hiring, this is also applicable for interns and other trainees.
Therefore, in order to qualify for a position on the Intern Program, or for other staff positions, and individual would have to first establish their ability to continue working in the United States on a permanent basis.
Occasionally, immigration arrangements can be secured for persons with production experience who can firmly document pre-eminent achievement in the animation field