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Walt Disney Studios Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

If you could take any tech related coursework, what would you choose?

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Walt Disney Studios Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    If you could take any tech related coursework, what would you choose?

      Many universities and colleges offer coursework for those who want to continue their education without committing to a full course load. Alternatively, there are a plethora of options for online coursework which allow you to gain or strengthen skills on your own time. It's vital to Walt Disney Studios that you have an interest in developing yourself and continuing your education. Share what area you would focus on, for continued education, should you be given the opportunity.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have always had a sincere interest in philosophy and how human nature works when it comes to technology. If I could take any course, I would take one that touches on technology's impact on society. I would also like to take a course in Ethical Issues in Computing."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I could continue my education in any way, I would choose to take even more coursework on 3D animation. The technologies are always changing as are the professional techniques. My goal is to always be on the cusp of changes and trends in this industry."

  2. 2.

    Walt Disney Studios has a legacy of touching audiences through memorable characters and emotional stories. How will you contribute to this legacy, if hired?

      When Walt Disney Studios chooses a new hire, they want to see a fit for skills as well as culture and vision. Talk about the vision and mission of Walt Disney Studios and how your own professional goals fit in nicely with this vision. It's essential that you focus your answer on both hard and soft skills; showing the interviewer your well-roundedness. Show that you care about the legacy of Walt Disney Studios and where they are headed in years to come.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "One of the reasons I applied to Walt Disney Studios is because of the vision and mission that you uphold as a company. You have a keen focus on combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology and are responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. I plan to contribute to this by continually adding to my industry knowledge and sharing that knowledge with my peers. I am a hard worker who is kind, inclusive, and curious; all characteristics that Walt Disney Studios is known for."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Walt Disney Studios is responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made, including the first fully-animated feature film, 1937's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Your legacy here is built on ethics, imagination, and ingenuity; all characteristics which align very well with my professional goals. I will keep these goals and characteristics top of mind in everything that I do."

  3. 3.

    What experience do you have using team-based messaging applications?

      Walt Disney Studios believes in utilizing tech at every opportunity. Give the interviewer a brief overview of the communication tools you are accustomed to using. Assure the interviewer that you can learn their internal system, should they be new to you.

      This question is an excellent opportunity to ask what programs you will be using in this new role. When the hiring authority divulges this information, ask if there are resources available for you to get a head start. This initiative will impress the interviewer and show them that you are not afraid to put a bit of hard work in before you even know if the job is yours!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have worked for two media agencies who have both used Microsoft Teams and Cisco Spark. Also, I have experience with Slack and Wrike. I would consider myself an advanced user in each. Could you share with me which team based apps you use here at Walt Disney Studios?"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Being a recent university graduate, I have limited experience with team-based messaging apps in the workplace. However, I have used them for extracurricular activity and volunteer planning and enjoy them. It would be great to have a simple and quick messaging system at work. If you would like to share with me the programs or applications used at Walt Disney Studios, I would be happy to get a head start in learning these systems."

  4. 4.

    This role requires a Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in Computer Science or similar field. How does your education background apply?

      The interviewer will have an idea of your education background from your resume. What they are asking is for you to take a few minutes to bring the experience to life for them! What was your major? Did you receive any special academic recognition? Discuss the strengths gained during your post-secondary training and how those skills will help in your new position with Walt Disney Studios.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Media Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. During that time, I specialized in digital media, human-computer interaction, computer graphics, natural language processing, and digital networks; all skills required to succeed here at Walt Disney Studios. I graduated with a 3.99 GPA, one of the top students in my class."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Computer Science for Digital Media is the degree that I recently completed. I chose this direction because I knew that to work in a film and television production environment, I would need to have a fundamental understanding of computer graphics, virtual reality and visualization, and R&D."

  5. 5.

    How do you transition between the creative and analytical sides of working in the creative entertainment industry?

      Wearing multiple hats is the name of the game when it comes to the creative entertainment industry. One moment you could be discussing the analytics of a past project where the next you could be giving your opinion on the design of a new character or storyboard. It's essential that you show the interviewer your ability to be flexible on the job by pivoting tasks regularly. If possible, give an example of a time when you were able to flip between creative and analytical.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that I transition quite well between the creative and analytical. Generally speaking, I am more of a creative minded individual; however, my experience in business has allowed me to see the data and analytics behind a successful project. So, in addition to my creative approach, I also ask myself or my team how our decisions will impact the company's bottom line. If hired, I will deliver a nice balance between analytical thinking and creative mindedness."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My educational background was initially in data analytics. This coursework means that I am naturally inclined to look at data such as numbers, results, spend, account activity, and ROI. With that said, I spend my spare time in creative writing, designing new characters, and other activities that relax and entertain me. I believe that I will pivot well between the creative and analytical requirements of this role."

  6. 6.

    Walt Disney Studios requires fluency in C++ and/or C#. Please rate your skill level from beginner to expert.

      When rating your skill level in a particular tool, software, or language, you can discuss your level of expertise in terms of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. This ranking allows the interviewer to gain a quick understanding of where your skill level currently sits. Of course, in the film production and services industry, knowledge of common languages such as C++ and C# will often be a requirement; depending on the job title for which you are interviewing.

      If you are not familiar, C++ is often used in developing different games or in gaming engines. C++ is excellent for developing the suites of a game tool. C#, on the other hand, is a bit newer, arguably more comfortable to understand, and is considered general-purpose. Discuss your fluency in each and give yourself a skill rating.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am fluent in C# and would rate my skills as an expert level. I use C# daily for a range of projects, including website application development. I am familiar with C++; although rank myself a touch lower - perhaps as an intermediate user. I completely understand this language but do not use it as frequently."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am a beginner level in both C++ and C#. I did take a small amount of coursework in each while completing my Computer Science degree; however, I have a lot to learn. I will dedicate myself to new online coursework so that when I join the Walt Disney Studios team; my skill level will be beyond beginner."

  7. 7.

    How deep is your knowledge in animation terminology?

      Since Walt Disney Studios works on very high-profile animation projects; they want to know that you understand the animation terminology that you will hear around the workplace regularly. If you are more seasoned in your career, you should have no issues answering this question. If you are newer to your profession, or a recent graduate, assure the interviewer that you fully understand the language in the job description, and the Walt Disney Studios website. Express the fact that you are continually learning and growing.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Being in the animation industry for so many years, I have heard the language and terminology change and shift over time. I am up to date on most terminology and, if I am not familiar, I will research until I have a full understanding."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am familiar with most animation terminology, from my post-secondary education and the online learning that I do in my spare time. When reading your job description, and combing through the Walt Disney Studios website, I was pleased with the fact that I had a full understanding of the terminology and requirements listed. With that said, I know that technology, tools, and approaches change all the time in this industry. I am ready to learn more and broaden my knowledge every day."

  8. 8.

    At Walt Disney Studios, we strive to be on the cusp of innovation in artistry and technology. What does the word 'innovation' mean to you?

      Walt Disney Studios boasts award-winning artistry and innovation. The term 'innovation' is often overused in business these days and has now become a buzzword that many people don't fully understand. The interviewer would like to know what you feel innovation indeed is. Include an example of a time when you have witnessed an innovative change in the workplace, or when you have exercised creativity.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I encourage my team to be innovative by asking the impossible of themselves, and their coworkers. We will get together once per week and bring up situations that we think are out of our scope and then reverse engineer these ideas to see how we could go about putting them into action. To me, this is being innovative in the workplace."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "To me, innovation means presenting a new idea or making an existing idea better. It's important to be innovative in the workplace, but often it's a misunderstood concept. A time when I have been innovative was when I built a new tracking system for my projects while attending university. I wanted to create a more accurate way to track my deadlines as my schedule became busier. My fellow students loved the idea, and soon, I was sharing the system with my friends and classmates."

  9. 9.

    Which career development goals have you set for yourself this year?

      The interviewer would like to know that you are motivated to better yourself personally and professionally. Career development can come in many forms:

      - Conferences
      - Trade Shows
      - Seminars & workshops
      - Reading
      - Podcasts
      - Online coursework
      - Finding a mentor

      Discuss with the interviewer how you plan to develop yourself professionally this year and be sure to tie it into how this goal will benefit their company, should they choose to hire you.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The career development goal that I have set for myself this year is to learn Python on a deeper level. I believe the use of this programming language will grow in the next few years, and I want to know everything that I can, to be even better at my job."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The professional goal that I set for myself recently was to find a mentor to assist me in my career. Being newer to my professional career, I felt it was important to consult and meet with someone more seasoned than I. This move to have a mentor can only benefit me and, down the road, I hope to return the favor to someone else who needs a mentor."

  10. 10.

    How do you push and inspire your teammates to solve creative problems?

      The interviewer wants to see that you are a team player, a natural leader, and also that you push a positive and collaborative mindset in the workplace. Show off your teamwork skills by discussing how you inspire your team to solve challenging issues or tackle complicated projects. Be sure to demonstrate how you communicate your thoughts or opinions.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I push and inspire through collaboration. I am a strong collaborator. I am always eager to listen to others' opinions, hear their perspective, and work together to build a highly creative solution. I am always looking to draw from others' experience and expertise when working on a new project or facing a problem. When drafting a pitch or storyboard, I bring my team into the thought process. These multiple perspectives always bring us to our best creative work."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In marketing, it is imperative to collaborate and gain different sides of the story, and new opinions for maximum creative output. When faced with a project or problem that needs a creative solution, I plan to seek out my team's opinion and thoughts based on their expertise. Everyone has something unique to contribute, and when we collaborate, the outcome is always premium."

  11. 11.

    What is your experience collaborating directly with Directors, Heads of Story, and other artists across departments to brainstorm ideas, shape our films through visual sequences, and develop cinematography, staging, and cutting?

      Walt Disney Studios needs to know that you can handle the collaborative and cross-departmental work required of you in this role. Discuss your experience when it comes to cross-departmental and cross-functional collaboration. In production and media, it takes many passes through many hands to complete a project so, it's essential to Walt Disney Studios that you can work well with other people through a variety of departments. Give an example of how you collaborate with a diverse team in your current role.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In my current role we have a staff of 450 people within ten departments. Any given week, I will collaborate with Directors, Heads of Story, and Animators. These are the departments with which I collaborate most often. Most of the time, the tasks that I collaborate on include brainstorming ideas and tweaking sequences. I believe that everyone has a great deal of value to offer, so, for that reason, I embrace every opportunity to collaborate cross-departmentally and cross-functionally."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I love having impromptu brainstorm sessions with my group when working on collaborative projects in school. The high-level ideas that come from group collaboration keep me on my toes. Being a recent graduate and new to my career in production, I am eager and willing to work with and learn from a variety of Walt Disney Studios talent, throughout multiple job functions and departments."

  12. 12.

    Walt Disney Studios is seeking someone with in-depth knowledge of FX techniques, workflow, and software. Are you familiar with tools such as Houdini, Maya, and RealFlow?

      Most animation and creation studios will use Houdini, Maya, and RealFlow so the interviewer will want to know how familiar you are with these standard industry tools. If you are not familiar:

      - Houdini is a 3D animation software application
      - Maya is a 3D computer graphics application
      - RealFlow is a simulation tool for the 3D and visual effects industry

      Be prepared to discuss how familiar you are with these tools. You can tell the interviewer, on a scale of 1-10 how well versed you are, or you can rate yourself from beginner, all the way to expert. Discuss the projects you have worked on that required these tools. You can also mention how many hours you believe you have spent working with these tools and applications.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am very familiar with Houdini, Maya, and RealFlow. I have worked with these applications, and similar tools, for the past eight years of my career in production and animation. I would rate myself an expert level user in Houdini, and I lean on it daily to create multiple iterations and rapidly share workflows with my team members. I use Maya daily, for modeling, simulation, and rendering in animation, motion graphics, virtual reality, and character creation. I am an intermediate user in Maya. Although I have just one year of experience with RealFlow, I did pick up on it quickly. I appreciate how fast and easy it is to use and the fact that its compatible with nearly all 3D platforms."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am a 3D and Experimental Animation student, ready to graduate just two months from now. At this point in my education, I have completed a variety of modules using Houdini and Maya. Although the experience is somewhat limited, I do have a basic understanding of how to use these tools for animation and motion graphics. I am eager to learn even more from the team at Walt Disney Studios."

  13. 13.

    Do you have experience with NUKE?

      Most major animation studios will require experience with NUKE or NUKEX. NUKE is a node-based digital compositing application used for television and film post-production. NUKE is known to be a go-to tool for studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures Animation, Double Negative, and, of course, Walt Disney Animation Studios. Without going into too many details on how NUKE works, discuss your level of experience with this application. If you are newer to your career, or inexperienced, be sure to mention your willingness to learn.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "While working at Sony Pictures Animation, I used NUKE daily. I taught our newer team members how to navigate the application as well. Over time you could say that I became the subject-matter expert in NUKE. Most of my teammates would come to me first with questions on the applications' features."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have heard of NUKE and am eager for the opportunity to be introduced to it and trained in it, officially. I know that most major studios use this application so, to prepare myself, I have spent a few hours watching online tutorials. I look forward to mastering this application over time."

  14. 14.

    Do you consider yourself more analytical or technically savvy? Why?

      In your answer, be sure to highlight your strengths in both areas as this career path is heavily analytical and technical at the same time. Since they're asking you to choose one, tell them about how you've leveraged your analytical and technical skills. To close out your answer, tell your interviewer about the area you are strongest and explain how that helps you in your job.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I consider myself to be highly analytical and very technically savvy. I feel that having strong traits in both areas has contributed to my success. Analytically, I'm able to evaluate data and come up with creative recommendations which help our teams be more productive and successful. Technically, I'm able to configure and implement those ideas to create a working, user-friendly product. If I had to choose one, I'd say I'm more analytical, but that contributes to my technical savviness as it allows me to understand the inner workings of things to make things better for my clients and company."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am both analytical and technically savvy; however, if I had to choose just one, I would say that I am more technical. Coming fresh out of university, I have learned a lot of programs in a short amount of time, which requires a lot of technical thinking."

  15. 15.

    Give me a recent example of a valuable lesson you learned from a problem you faced at work.

      One of the best aspects of problem-solving is that you always have the opportunity to learn from the experience. Seeing problems as opportunities to grow is what makes you an excellent employee! Show the interviewer that you can learn valuable lessons when there is a problem at hand. Use a work-related example, if you can. If you are new to your career, think about a time when you learned a valuable lesson in university, or while volunteering, or while playing a team sport.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I recently had an employee express their disinterest in the job and the company. Rather than coach them out, I selfishly wanted to 'save' the employee. I put in extra hours mentoring and training her only to see her quit anyways. It's a valuable lesson as a manager to put your energy into those who want to be there. Other efforts are often just a temporary fix for the inevitable."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My university courseload is always shifting, so I often learn new, valuable lessons when it comes to organization and prioritization. One lesson I recently learned was to double check my schedule for changes and updates. I accidentally handed in an assignment two days late because I dropped the ball on double checking deadlines. My lack of attention to detail at that moment was a bit embarrassing, but I did learn a valuable lesson."

  16. 16.

    When planning, how often do you create alternative scenarios to help you adjust to changing situations?

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  17. 17.

    What will you accomplish in the first 90 days of working for Walt Disney Studios?

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  18. 18.

    Are you more comfortable in a startup environment, or with an established company?

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  19. 19.

    Walt Disney Studios employees often work overtime to meet deadlines. How do you feel about crunching?

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  20. 20.

    Talk to me about the most creative or innovative project you have worked on.

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  21. 21.

    Tell me about a time when you improved communication between yourself and a co-worker or client.

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  22. 22.

    Which character animation systems have you used in the past?

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  23. 23.

    Have you worked directly with technical artists, animators, and gameplay engineers?

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  24. 24.

    Walt Disney Studios hires and develops the best, most globally diverse talent. Do you have experience working with those different from you?

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  25. 25.

    Do you have more experience working on feature films, television shows, comics, or games? With which focus are you most comfortable?

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  26. 26.

    At Walt Disney Studios, you will be handling multiple projects at a time. When have you nearly missed a production timeline due to disorganization?

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  27. 27.

    Walt Disney Studios juggles many significant projects simultaneously. How do you prioritize multiple projects when they all seem equally important?

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  28. 28.

    Tell me about an error or mistake you made because of a breakdown in communication from you or one of your team members.

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  29. 29.

    How do you establish relationships with the creative community in our area?

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  30. 30.

    Walk me through your understanding of CG. Which CG technologies and tools do you lean on the most in your current role?

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