Pixar Animation Studios

Location: Emeryville, CA

Founded: 1986

Website: http://www.pixar.com/

Luxo, Jr. was once just an unremarkable gray desk lamp. In 1986, the creative team at Pixar Animation Studios imprinted a personality onto a lamp and audiences marveled. In 1987, Pixar and Luxo were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short, and it made Pixar a name in the industry.

Notable Products

  • Toy Story
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Finding Nemo
  • The Incredibles
  • WALL•E
  • Up


What to Expect

Born as the computer graphics division of Lucasfilms under the leadership of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, Pixar was purchased and re-established as an independent animation studio by Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs. In 2010, Pixar Canada opened in Vancouver, British Columbia. Most recently, the Walt Disney company purchased Pixar.

Positions with the studio include animator, technical director, quality assurance engineer, software engineer, and business-related careers. Additionally, there is a need for specialists like laser camera operators and staging artists. The demo reel is the most important element of your application; this should show only your best and most original work, while also displaying your level and depth of skill. Animators must prove acting ability through characterization, demonstrate strong understanding of movement, and imbue the objects or people on screen with real and relatable emotions—what Pixar is known for. Two-dimensional animations are perfectly acceptable if that’s your sweet spot; stop-motion and claymation are also welcome. The supervising animators who will review your reel are more interested in your storytelling and artistic abilities than your computer skills.

College students can take advantage of the internship and residency programs in production management, story, marketing, editorial, engineering, animation, and technical direction. These opportunities are available on a limited basis according to Pixar’s production schedule and the needs of the studio, but students and recent graduates will actively contribute to feature films and related projects under the mentorship of senior staff. There are also some impressive perks: paid housing, subsidized gourmet café, seminars with visiting artists, and an activity areas for sports, gaming, and exercise. The wall of free cereal dispensers in the lounge is a morning and late-night favorite.

Lasseter is adamant that “quality is the best business model,” and for Pixar, that has certainly held true. The studio’s films have seen both critical and financial success, with more than 205 awards and $5 billion in box office returns. 


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