Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Mullet Rockin' Summer of Pixar!

The summer is coming to a close and before school kicks off in a few weeks, I thought I’d make a little post about the opportunity I had of being one of the summer ‘10 animation interns at Pixar, which is sadly wrapping up on Friday---though the interns are definitely going out with a bang(more like a lip-synced high note? ha).

It was definitely an all-around amazing experience, and also some of the most challenging weeks I’ve faced and tried my best to fight through. Film crunch-time was a pretty good warm-up for this summer. My expectations were pretty high prior to the internship and now at the end, they’ve definitely been surpassed in the best ways imaginable. It’s impossible to describe exactly what it’s like working under the Pixar crew. Every time I’d walk down the pathway and open the front door, I was always pretty dazed that I was even there. A lot of “pinch me” moments that’s for sure. We’d have regular intern dailies where we’d show our latest pass at an assignment and get thoroughly critiqued, which was always one of my favorite activities even if I got a little uneasy about watching an assignment of mine play on the big screen(the problems are always magnetized times 100 when being viewed on anything other than a computer monitor. Can’t. Hide. Anything. But at the same time, saw things from a completely new angle. ). Everyone has a very precise and critical eye—usually 1-2 viewings and they’d zero in on what was/wasn’t working and what could be done to make the shot better---whether technically or if a problem was coming from an acting standpoint. It was always an inspiring reminder of how much I’ve got to work on—I will say that my eye is that much sharper than it was in June. I learned truckloads from being fully immersed in the animation department environment; the wide-range of studio lectures were also a great daily-dose of knowledge. It was pretty incredible being in a studio environment for the first time and meeting the animators who have animated so many of my favorite/inspiring scenes(this certainly happens at CalArts, but it still made this internship very special getting to constantly visit with people on such a personal basis). Andrew, Adam, my mentor Don, and the entire team of mentors were always a motivating, hilarious tour de force that helped make this experience so memorable. My daily schedule certainly included many hours behind my ol’ computer screen working on a really nice range of assignments. However, the Bosses of the animation interns definitely found ways to schedule in the fun and I definitely have some hilarious memories—of the 80’s hard rock variety. :) The epic dodgeball game that took place last week which basically turned the atrium into an all out battlefield, is something I won't forget. It’s really hard to believe that it’s ending on Friday, just feels like last week was Day One. I’m sure I’ll be a little studio-sick(the industry equivalent of home-sick? I don’t know. Just made it up.) for a good while afterwards. The other interns as well have been a great bunch(“What is it!?!?!”) and I'll miss hanging out with them(story, TD, etc. Not just the anim crew) I’m certainly excited to be returning to CalArts though and couldn’t be happier that I got to spend my summer in the trenches of Pixar animating away! Certainly can’t say I’m rusty like in the past. Haha. So it looks like I’m now an official fourth year and I have just one semester left---graduating in December! Woo hoo, coming up pretty fast! Anyways, farewell NorCal, and hello again, SoCal….


Daniel Caylor said...

Sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing the experience here and on fb! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the ultimate intern experience! Hope it all goes well for you!

Jennifer Harlow said...

Thank you guys! Really appreciate it. :)