The Animation Career Trek: A Journey through the Animation Industry of LA

April 25 2017

By Guest Writer: Rachel Luebbert

The lifespan of a student is quick and fleeting. Within a few short years, a student soaks in a breadth of knowledge and is then released into the free air of the professional world. This transition is exciting and can provoke many questions regarding the navigation of the professional world.

In a partnership with Career Services, the College of Fine Arts and the Department of Film and Media Arts, ten animation students explored these very questions during spring break. With help from students leaders Taylor Mott and Daniel Stergios, Career Coach Eric Bloomquist and Academic Advisor Jennifer McLaurin, the Animation Career Trek traveled to Los Angeles where students gained insights to the Animation Industry. Career Treks are trips hosted by Career Services that surround talking to current employees about their professional experiences. This is the first Animation Career Trek and the first to travel outside of the Utah.

The trip lasted four days and was a diverse compilation of visits to large and small studios as well as intimate Q & A sessions with animation professionals. On the first day, students took a tour of DreamWorks Animation Studios and heard from the CEO of Eric Miller Animation Studios. David Sainz described their tour of 6-Point Harness, a smaller animation studio: “During our visit they gave us a detailed breakdown of what the pipe line looks like to fully create an animated film—from starting a project to the final product. This is something I could never really imagine until this tour.” At a networking dinner later in the trip, the students talked to individuals in all different roles of animation; from an intern to a production coordinator to a storyboard artist, each individual offered a unique perspective on the path to enter the film industry. Sainz explained, “During this dinner, I talked to Alejandro Melendez who works as a creative executive at Film 45. He gave me suggestions to stand out in such a competitive industry.” Students heard firsthand the importance of building their network.

The last day of the trip included a tour of Warner Brothers where students met with Carlos Sanchez, a sound producer, Emmy winner, and an alumni from the U’s Film and Media Arts program. Emma Eastman, a junior, commented, “After all of these tours, I could really imagine what my life would be like in this industry.” But the conversation doesn’t stop here. If you are an animation student, check out the Animation Crew every Wednesday night from 5:30-7 pm. This new student group on campus was founded as a place for animation students to collaborate, get feedback, and network with peers.

Senior, Lorena Mendoza wants other students to know, “Don’t be discouraged when you realize the challenges to work in the animation industry. If you are working hard and are passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll end up where you are supposed to be.” Every emerging artist will embark on a trek to establish footing in their respective industry. It may take hard work and strong networking, but there are opportunities ready for you.







Emerging Leader Rachel Luebbert