2011 Ryman Arts Sklar Intern at the Walt Disney Animation Studios
My passion for Disney Animated Films awoke three years ago after having viewed Glen Keane’s artwork. He gave life to Aladdin, Beast, Tarzan, Ariel, and Pocahontas but in short he pretty much animated my childhood. What struck me about his art was that the viewer could really feel whatever emotion that character was feeling and the drawings were so bold and believable that you couldn’t help but get goosebumps! So from that point on I put on my “tunnel vision” goggles and said to myself that one day I was going to be an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Over the years I turned into a sponge and I would soak up everything I could find and I would constantly search, draw, observe, search, draw, observe, search (etc.). I just knew that someday my dream would come true and that day finally came!
After having applied for the internship, I received a call from Matt Roberts a couple weeks later while I was in the car, telling me that all the art directors liked my website and that I was accepted into the program! My mom and I were ecstatic! I was hired as a visual development intern which is the same thing as character design. Over the course of the eight weeks I worked alongside with thirteen other amazing interns to create a thirty second short about the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
To me the best part of the whole experience was being assigned two mentors that are my biggest inspirations, and the top talents in their field and they were Shiyoon Kim for Character Design and Bruce Smith for Animation! Shiyoon told me that learning animation not only brings my characters to life but also strengthens the design as a whole because I would have to think around the form rather than just putting the lines down that didn’t have a purpose. I not only learned character design but I was fortunate to be taught animation for the first time by Bruce Smith. He is the creator of the Proud Family, he also was the supervising animator for Kerchack in Tarzan and the villain in Princess and the Frog named Dr. Facilier. The first assignment I was given under Bruce was to animate my favorite Disney character in a walk cycle. I decided to be bold and choose Robin Hood because of his confident stride and he just looked like a fun, appealing character to animate.
Another bonus was being able to see Glen Keane’s work that was displayed in a hallway near our work area. To finally be able to see his work in person left me dumbfounded but also left me filled with inspiration! At the end of the program we were able to complete our short film and the studio enjoyed it! I learned so much from this whole experience that my head might explode from all the knowledge and wisdom I gained! Thank you so much Ryman for making my dream come true!