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Academy Student Brett Magnuson Lands Internship at Disney

Getting a behind-the-scenes look at Walt Disney Animation Studios is something few people experience. If you’re a motivated Academy of Art University Animation student, however, you can obtain an internship that would give you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually work alongside Disney animators.  This past summer, Brett Magnuson spent two months in Burbank, CA at a paid internship for Walt Disney Studios.
 
Brett had always been a fan of movies, both live action and animation. He saw a potential career in animation and decided to study computer arts at a university in his native state of Nebraska. While he developed various design skills, he didn’t have the opportunity to take any animation classes.
 
After seeing some Academy of Art University Animation students’ work online, Brett decided to enroll in the Graduate School of Animation. Within his classes, he found an inspirational environment made up of supportive instructors and peers.
 
“One of the great things about animation is that you learn from the people around you,” Brett said.
 
Academy Animation students have the unique chance to take classes taught by Pixar animators and Brett found all of these classes to be incredibly beneficial. Additionally, he learned that acting is a crucial element to animation through Michael Carroll’s Acting for Animators class.
 
“If you’re going to be a good animator, you have to be a good actor,” Brett advised. “Acting and artistry are going to set you apart.”
 
Brett discovered the Disney internship from a flyer posted on campus. A representative from Disney came to the Academy to give a presentation and look over a few student reels. Brett had the luck of being one of the few whose reel was reviewed. Soon after, he got a call back and he was off to Burbank.
 
As an intern, Brett couldn’t actually work on features, but he could do acting tests on characters that were never fully developed. He also had a chance to observe the Disney pipeline and work with a mentor. He also collaborated with the other interns who were from different animation schools. Working with the other interns gave Brett some insight into other animation philosophies.
 
“You come back and feel like you have an extra bag of tricks with you,” he said. 
 
Brett encourages other animation students to take control of their education at the Academy and seek knowledge wherever they can. He also advocates fellow students to show their work as much as possible.
 
“I think Academy students should really put themselves out there because you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “The worst is that you don’t get a callback!”

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