Jessalyn Johnson is a senior at Grand Canyon University, completing the final year of her BA in English Literature. Originally from Melbourne, FL, Jessalyn has come to enjoy living in the desert of Arizona. Since freshman year she has occupied several different positions on the editorial board of GCU’s literary review, StartleBloom, which is approaching its third volume. In her free time, Jessalyn enjoys creative writing, photography, writing music and participating in the plays and musicals put on by GCU’s Ethington Theatre.
Grand Canyon University recently had the pleasure of hosting two speakers involved with Disney. In November 2015, Rob Thompson, an animator with Disney Pixar, came and spoke about “The Good Dinosaur,” giving fine arts students the opportunity to get a sneak peek look at the film, as well as the animation and production process.
More recently, producer Clark Spencer from Walt Disney Animation Studios came to speak about “Zootopia.” In addition to “Zootopia,” Spencer has also produced other Walt Disney Animation Studios films, including “Lilo & Stitch,” “Bolt” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”
His firsthand experience helped shine light on what GCU students in degree programs like digital animation and film production can expect from a career in the field. Students got the inside scoop on how animators at Disney are able to bring characters to life and put them on the silver screen for people of all ages to enjoy.
After the presentation, Spencer participated in a Q&A session with students, who asked questions on anything from the animation process itself, to how to get started in the industry.
Spencer began working for Disney after quitting his job on Wall Street. He took a job in finance, hoping one day he would have the opportunity to move to producing. He was asked to move to Orlando from Los Angeles to produce “Lilo & Stitch,” and knew what he wanted to do from that moment on.
Spencer explained that having passion for your chosen career is incredibly important. He also said that impacting others through your work and creating characters that people fall in love with are both amazing aspects of what filmmakers get to do.
He encouraged students to not only find their passion, but to also believe in it.