Internship Advice

How do I get an animation internship at a company like Pixar?

Want to work as an animator at a big-league company like Pixar? Check out some of our tips on how to approach the process!

Will Ballenger Michael Yan
Published: (Updated: ) - 3 min read
Student at UNC Chapel Hill

Photo by Ion Şipilov / Unsplash

Are you an aspiring animator? Or just grew up watching Disney movies and want to learn more about the field? Either way, keep reading to learn about landing an animation internship at a company like Pixar!

Setting your sights

Before you set your eyes on a top studio like Pixar or DreamWorks, you should first aim to get the experience that these studios look for with a smaller studio. A “smaller” studio can be different for everyone, and you can look into local opportunities as a starting point!

Building the right profile

A first step in presenting yourself as the right candidate is creating a portfolio of your own animation work to bolster your resume. This will give studios an idea of your style and capabilities.

You will also want to tailor your resume. For animation especially, you want to do this because of the varying nature of roles in animation and how studios typically have a somewhat focused theme in their content.

In other words, most studios aren’t going to go from animating an R-rated horror movie to a kids movie, so you should tailor your resume to the studio’s focus as well as your own applicable strengths.

Crafting the right cover letter

The cover letter is a big aspect of the application process. You will definitely want to research your potential employer. This will help you be able to describe how your unique work style fits with the style of the company.

Another thing you should do in the first part of your cover letter is emphasize the skills you have that pertain to the duties listed for the internship position.

Finish it up by highlighting your qualifications and accomplishments, being as concise as possible without leaving out anything important.

Apply apply apply!

Lastly, when applying to animation internships, there are often specific positions that are being offered. Something important to consider is not applying to every role: while it is good practice to apply to as many actual internships as possible, when it comes to positions for the same company, you should pick 2-3 roles that you are most interested in and stick with those.

It can be a red flag to apply to every single role offered at a company! Instead, choose a few roles you're the best fit for!

As recruiters can see how many positions you apply for, it’s not a great look if you are tailoring your resume and cover letter to one general type of role and then applying to all of them, especially if you are applying to ones that become increasingly different.

The interview process

Preparing for an interview by an animation studio is similar to preparing for an interview in other fields, with the added nuance of on-site interviews. Here, the studio will typically have you come to the studio and meet with employees from different productions.

In animation, personality is important, as the animator’s personality can influence their animation style and production strength. Don’t try to be someone you’re not - just be yourself, keeping things consistent with your cover letter and you will end up in the right department!

Here are some interview questions you might be asked to help you practice and prepare, broken into sections:

Operational/behavioral questions

  • If you were working on a project for an animation studio and the deadline suddenly changed, how would you handle it?
  • Have you ever fallen behind schedule on a project? If so, how did you handle it?

Problem solving questions

  • How do you go about creating storyboards?
  • What would you do if a client kept rejecting your designs?

Role-specific questions

  • What attracts you to our company/studio?
  • What animation types/methods are you most familiar/best at?
  • What software do you use most?
  • What inspires you when animating?

Now that you have some tips on how to go about the process, the team at Simplify wishes you the best of luck!

Don't know where to apply? Browse through hundreds of animation roles on Simplify!