2010 Ryman Arts Sklar Intern at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI)
It happens every year. You come back from summer break, dive back into the school routine, and catch up with your classmates. The questions are simple and to the point: “How was your summer? What did you do?” For me, the answer this past year was epic. That’s right. Epic. “Oh, no big deal, I was an Imagineer.” That’s how you could tell if people were listening to you or not.
If they were, the logical response is, “What did you do?!” This is where I could sound really important, with an exhale followed by, “I’m not really at liberty to say. They haven’t announced the project yet.” Then maybe a slight brush of the shoulder… That might be a bit over the line, but when my friends were coming back from working at small architectural firms, I came back from working for Walt Disney Imagineering. Most of them spent their time at work sitting in front of computers and drawing on CAD or editing in Photoshop, which is typical for an intern. I, however, was able to work in a way that I loved – through hand-drawing. At WDI, they gave me the opportunity to take what I knew and do it as my job. I was able to design facades using pencils, vellum, trace paper, colored pencils, all on a drafting table that they had put in my cubicle (which was actually pretty rare in the Environmental Design & Engineering department, I hear). People would stop by my desk, amazed that kids my age still knew how to “draw with a pencil” or “analog draw.” Also, our site visits were at Disneyland. Enough said.
I was extremely fortunate to have gotten this internship through Ryman. Because of it, I was able to see that there are more to jobs than punching in and out and staring at a screen in a dimly-lit cubicle. It’s cliché, but I’ll admit it – jobs can be fun, not only in terms of the work, but the environment itself. There’s something about working with people who love what they do that makes you love what you do even more. After graduation, I can only hope I’ll be lucky enough to return to my seat at that drafting table. And you can bet I’d be wearing mouse ears.