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Being animator at Disney - Sad Reality

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For those who dream of working at Disney, well think twice. I often dreamed of working in the games industry then I realised it is pretty much an early death sentence due to the amount of stress it generates. Simply not worth it! Very sad to see this girl's dreams being shattered just because of corporate business.



| MAXON Quality Assurance Specialist | 3D Asset Creator | C4D Cafe Manager |

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Okay....I am a hobbyist and not in the animation/DCC industry at all.  But I do work for an extremely large global corporation that has also topped the list as one of the best places to work in the US and globally.   As great as that company is (and it is a great place to work), there are politics where I work.  NEWS FLASH: Work politics are EVERYWHERE!  In many cases, people misread the "inner circles" that get formed around management as office politics.  But in reality, inner circles are natural.  "Inner circles" get formed because people naturally gravitate to those who they trust, have worked with in the past and who have proven themselves.  No one can succeed alone and we all need help along the way.  Those that help you become part of  your inner circle.  It is pure human nature to have them and not some part of a subversive clique that she makes out.  So everyone has them. She just doesn't know how to identify them and navigate them successfully and that has to do with how you manage your career.  If you manage you career poorly, then you will find yourself on the outside looking in because you have not become part of other people's "inner circles". So it comes down to how you manage your career.  There are people that I mentor where I work and I tell them that every career has 3 main phases:


Phase 1: Build your name brand.  When people hear your name, how do you want to be thought of?  Do you step up when asked?  Do you step up without being asked?  Do you get things done on time and meet your commitments.  Do you focus more on the issue than on the personality (little minds talk about people, big minds talk about the issue).  Can you be trusted? Are you kind and polite (that still counts).  When you speak up, do you speak with facts or do you speak with emotion.   People are more likely to misread emotion than misread facts and misreading emotion can hurt your name brand (in short, better to be quiet if your position is more emotionally driven than fact driven).  Do you put the company first or do you put yourself first (trust me - people can spot the difference).  Do you have other people's backs?  If you can show that you are looking out for others more than just yourself, your name brand grows tremendously.    No one get's promoted based on the recommendation of a single person.  Usually, it is a peer discussion among the management team. I have been in those discussions trying to get my person promoted and as long as at least one other manager agrees with my assessment, then the promotion goes through.  So worry about other teams as well.  Build your name brand with integrity and hard work and pretty soon you will be part of  other people's inner circles.  The more inner circles you belong to, the more opportunity will come your way.   Phase 1 requires you to "pay your dues" because it requires years of hard work.  No one said it will be easy.  Also be patient because no matter where you go, everyone pays their dues. 


Phase 2:  You have paid your dues in Phase 1.  You have built a name brand within your company you can be proud of.  Now comes the phase when you can trade on that name brand to get where you want to be in your career.   With each inner circle you have worked your way into with hard work, your network grows.  Use that network to look for and/or ask for opportunity.  Remember, you have proven yourself at this point.  So now when you ask for what you want in your career, people will listen.  But in that discussion, you don't demand.  You don't threaten.  You ask.  The answer may be "no" but accept that answer with grace because doing otherwise would threaten your name brand.  If you continue to preserve your name brand in this phase, your opportunity will come.  Now, if all you hear is "no" then you must go back to Phase 1.  But you may want to restart Phase 1 with another company.  That is a tough choice but one that may need to be made.  But before you make that decision, ask for honest feedback as to why you keep hearing "no".   You could blame others for having to go back to Phase 1.  That may make you feel better but it is more destructive than constructive.  Better to "own it" --- use the experience, no matter how bad it was, to improve yourself.  Experience is a hard teacher and simply blaming others does not help you get the most from a bad experience.


Phase 3: Staying Relevant.  If you thought Phase  1 and 2 were tough, they are nothing compared to Phase 3.  You have built your career to where you want it to be but at some point it is going to stagnate.  In Phase 1 and 2, you have developed some level of expertise that the company depends on but over time, things change.  That expertise may no longer be relevant or can be obtain cheaper somewhere else.   At this point, you may start to wonder about job security because being stagnant is never healthy to anyone.  So it is here that must throw yourself completely out of your comfort zone.   It can be a completely different role - one that you were not "officially" trained to do.  You could also step up once again to take on a BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  Trust me, no matter what you choose to stay relevant, you will be drinking from the fire hose in this phase.  If managed properly, it will be a period of tremendous growth where you prove to yourself and to others that you can do other things.  It is also quite liberating once you get through it.  But what you have done is proven to others that you are valuable, capable of taking on any assignment -- and therefore, still relevant.  Note that throwing yourself out of your comfort zone is not a one time event in Phase 3.  It is something you must continually do whenever you feel stagnant in this final phase of your career.


So does any of this sound easy?  NO!  It is NOT easy.  Success at any career requires hard work....tons of hard work in fact.  That's why they people ask you what do you do for "work".  It is called "work" for a reason.  To expect anything else is setting yourself up for failure.


To get back to this women's video, there is nothing she has said that is not unique to the animation industry or Disney.  Even if you become self-employed, unless you are completely free of providing a service for others, there will always be politics and deadlines.  So while she pursues her own business, if she has a client, then she is still not working for herself --- she is working for a client.  Trust me, the politics of gathering and then working with clients will be no different than what she thinks she is running away from at Disney and building your name brand is more critical when you are self-employed. 

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Ha! Yep - sounds like work in almost every industry! Big companies are bureaucratic. Sociopaths and self promoters get to wield the power. But hey, I’d rather be doing this than working down a coal mine 😂

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Poor girl.  I give her a 0.1% chance of not going to work for someone else in the future.  I only put it that high because she has talent and a good youtube personality.  Between Disney owning 75% of the market with their shows designed to brainwash people into only liking Disney and the advent of streaming services that give too much content available to everyone it's almost impossible to make a money with content from your own new business.  It's hard to have people watch your stuff even if it's a great piece of art and you give it away.  Cattle to the slaughter all to make the wealthiest people in the world richer.


7 hours ago, 3D-Pangel said:

To get back to this women's video, there is nothing she has said that is not unique to the animation industry or Disney.

I am surprised your work also told you about not drawing mad faces.  Really though, I get what you are saying, but I think her point was the work place should not be like that.  If nothing else you should feel bad for the slave wadges that Disney pays.  For climbing the ladder you get paid little more, but you do get more power.  So who climbs the ladder?  People who want power and are obsessed with Disney because they have been brainwashed by them their whole life.  It all works out though because the Disney machine surveys make the shows into what people want.  Nothing new or innovative. 

Do you think the industry should be like it is?

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17 hours ago, Fastbee said:

I am surprised your work also told you about not drawing mad faces. 

Well....they do frown on tagging a managers car with a sad face using a can of spray paint...but that was long ago and I don't like to talk about it.  😀


If there was a complete and uniform culture of unhappy people working long hours at low pay and abusive conditions, it would ultimately show in the work.  And right now, Disney (as a corporation) does produce some (not all) work that I do enjoy.  Personally, I am not a fan of Disney but I will admit that I do enjoy the Marvel movies and the work of Pixar.   I do hear that there are a lot of politics at ILM (now owned by Disney) and within the management team handling the Star Wars franchise.   Fortunately, ILM's work is still outstanding but as for Star Wars.....well....let's just say you won't find me in the movie theater for those movies and leave it at that.


I think what it comes down to is management.  Management drives the culture and as there are many different management teams within any large corporation, there are many different cultures within those companies.  Maybe the Marvel management team drives a much more collaborative culture with less politics than does the Star Wars team - maybe that's why the Marvel movies are more enjoyable to watch (at least to me).  


But all culture starts with the management team and its leaders.  Leadership changes always bring with it some apprehension too and for good reason.   A new leader can really change life at work.  Also, people do (and should) have a "show me" attitude concerning what type of culture he/she wants to create within the group.  The leader could give the most impressive introductory speech or the warmest handshake when you first meet him or her, but it comes down to whether they show they "walk the talk" on a consistent basis.  Until then, the jury is still out until actions speak louder than words.





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news flash young lady if you work in any industry you ARE A COG IN THE MACHINE, it is their goal to make money some are less brutal about it, but nonetheless, generally speaking,you don't really matter in their grand scheme. most recruiters or interviewers will not let you in on the dirty side of work.  you mention doctors, lawyers and such. entry level they get the sh** hours and jobs. so get over it and welcome to the real work-a-day world.  if you don't like it go free lance then you are your own boss.

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