Tag Archives: Disney careers

Performers Seize the Day as Disney’s “Newsies” Cast Members

Two cast members of Disney’s award-winning hit Broadway musical “Newsies” visited Kent State University Nov. 7, 2014, to teach a master dance class and answer student questions about their professional performing experiences. Because I go to Kent State, I was able to sneak in and watch a little bit of the class and participate in the Q&A to ask the guys a little bit about their experience working for Disney.

Heimbrock teaches students a tap combination.

Heimbrock teaches students a tap combination.

Jeff Heimbrock, who plays Elmer, Spot Conlon and a member of the ensemble, and Chaz Wolcott, who plays Scab and a member of the ensemble, talked about how Disney differs from other performing arts companies.

“They’re a tight ship,” Heimbrock said. “You’re thinking, ‘Oh, I get to create this character, and I get to do this,’ and it’s like, ‘Alright, you go to (there’s a number line on the front of the stage) right six on this line, then left three on this line. The reading of this line is too this, that and blah, blah, blah.’ They know exactly what they want, but that’s ‘Book of Mormon’ and Disney which are both very, you know, corporate theatre.”

Heimbrock explained that smaller productions allow for more creativity on the part of the actor; he can make a character his own by making changes in the way he speaks or reacts to other characters. Disney has a very specific idea of what it wants each character to be, Heimbrock said. But Disney’s corporate theatre isn’t a bad thing.

“The good side of it is the corporate-ness of [Disney] makes it so we have sold out houses every week,” Wolcott said. “If you’re doing that fun, avant-garde downtown musical, it’s going to probably close in a month because no one’s coming. The creative things are fun for you, but you might not get paid anything or the show closes, whereas ‘Newsies’ is selling out in Cleveland. We may have a little less creativity, but we have a kind of selling machine on our hands which is fun for us.”

Wolcott looks on in his "Newsies" hat as Heimbrock teaches.

Wolcott looks on in his “Newsies” hat as Heimbrock teaches.

Wolcott said the “Newsies” fandom is also much more hands-on than that of other productions. Calling themselves “Fansies,” the show’s following is very active on social media.

“[Fansies] immediately comment on things,” Wolcott said. “Like last night, I posted a picture. I go to bed around 2 every night […] Some girl was like, ‘You should be asleep! You have a show tomorrow!’ They kind of invade. It’s cool, it’s nice, but you do definitely have to think about the things you post.”

Heimbrock later added that a Disney social media expert coached the cast about what the actors and actresses should and should not post to uphold the integrity of the show and its characters before they kicked off the tour in October.

At the end of the day, though, both Heimbrock and Wolcott said they are pleased with their experience working for Disney thus far. “They treat us very, very well,” Heimbrock said.

 

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The Dos and Don’ts of receiving a NLIC

NLICDisney’s deadline for sending out job offers for Professional Internships has come and gone, and a lot of us are out there with a big, fat “No Longer In Consideration” on our dashboards. But guess what? THAT’S OKAY.

Yes, you read that right. It’s okay that we didn’t get offers. That goes for everyone out there who has ever applied for a Disney position, whether it’s full-time, part-time or seasonal work, a Disney College Program or a Disney Professional Internship. An NLIC is not the end of the world. You know why? Because Disney will always be there. You can always apply again, and you have the opportunity to beef up your resume so you have a better chance next time.

I’m looking forward to applying for more Disney positions in the future! As such, I’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for those of us who are trying to work through our NLIC.

Do

  • Keep your chin up
  • Apply again next time
  • Congratulate others who have received offers
  • Try to contact a recruiter to see what you can do to improve
  • Gain more relevant experience to better your chances
  • Network with Disney employees in the area you’re interested in

Don’t

  • Be too gloomy
  • Give up on your dream to work for Disney
  • Complain about your NLIC on social media
  • Bring others down or make them feel bad for receiving an offer

At the end of the day, you’re still awesome! Don’t let your NLIC get you down. Share any of your dos and don’ts in the comment section below.

How To Turn Your Summer Vacation Into a Disney Networking Opportunity

Newsies billboardOkay, I know what you’re thinking: Why in the world would I want to take time out of my vacation to network? My answer: Your Disney networking opportunity might just be the highlight of your trip.

I’ve wanted to work in performing arts and entertainment public relations for as long as I’ve known my major. I also really love the Walt Disney Company. Put those two together and you get Disney Theatrical Group (DTG), the performing arts arm of the company located in New York City.

As some of you might know, I participated in the Disney College Program last year. While attending a special networking event for CPs, I asked professionals if they knew anyone who worked with the company at DTG. Lo and behold, one of the social media gurus knew the social media manager at DTG, and he introduced us via email.

After setting up a phone call and talking to the social media manager, he told me to let him know if I was ever in NYC so he could take me on a tour of DTG’s facilities. Luckily, my family plans a vacation to NYC every summer, so I was able to meet up with him only a few months later.

I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it was to see DTG’s office space. It was like stepping onto a Broadway stage! I was able to see storyboards for Aladdin, costume pieces from retired DTG shows and even the empty New Amsterdam theater as it was being prepared for a show. It was incredible and definitely the coolest part of my summer vacation (other than talking to Santino Fontana, the voice of Hans, about “Frozen”…but that’s another story).

So how can you have an amazing summer networking experience, too? Here are some of my tips:

  • Do your research. Figure Meghan Newsiesout what aspect of the company you’re most interested in, and figure out where that branch is headquartered. Next, find an employee who currently holds the position you’re interested in and network with him or her. Read my previous blog about Disney networking for more tips.
  • Maintain a relationship with a Disney employee. You don’t want to come on too strong by asking to visit right off the bat. Get to know someone from the company well enough that you feel comfortable asking him or her to go out of their way to meet up with you.
  • Try to plan vacations near Disney hubs. If you’re interested in working for one of Disney’s parks and resorts, plan your vacations near Orlando or Anaheim. Interested in being an animator for Pixar? Try to vacation near Emeryville.
  • ASK! If you’d like to spend a day shadowing a Disney employee, ask him or her. You’ll never know until you ask. The worst they can say is no.

So go forth and network! Use your summer vacations to your advantage! I’d love to hear any of your vacation networking success stories. Tell me all about them in the comment section below!

The Look Book: Creating Your Own Disney Look

When you’re offered a job in a Disney park or resort, you’re not only signing a contract to show up to work; you’re also signing a contract to adhere to the Disney Look. The Disney Look is a compilation of the company’s dress guidelines so that all cast members maintain a clean, classic appearance.

When you’re working in the parks and resorts, you are given your costume, so you don’t have to worry about putting a Disney Look outfit together on a day-to-day basis (unless you have a non-costumed role). Even though you don’t have to worry about your clothes, you do have to worry about your appearance in general. Here are a few of the most common Disney Look rules in terms of general appearance.

  • You can’t have any visible tattoos.
  • Ladies, only one piercing per ear. Guys, no piercings allowed.
  • Glasses and sunglasses have to be a conservative color and style without any logos.
  • No wacky hair colors or styles. Classic only!
  • Guys, if you choose to have facial hair, beards and mustaches must by fully grown and look neat. But no Duck Dynasty beards! Facial hair can’t be more than quarter of an inch long.
  • Ladies, makeup has to be neutral and conservative. Also, nails have to be short and neutral-colored.

At your Disney orientation – Traditions – or any other Disney professional workshop that allows you to ditch your costume for the day, you’ll have to abide be the above rules and more. Disney College Program participants, this means you if you take any classes; you’re required to dress in Disney Look when you go to class.

When it comes to Disney Look clothing, ask yourself this question: Would I wear this article of clothing to a job interview? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t wear it. Now we’ll explore the next set Disney Look rules for company-approved clothing.

  • Always have a blazer or sports coat at the ready; some jobs require them on occasion, but they’re always acceptable.
  • No sandals, no exceptions.
  • Khakis are okay as long as they’re ironed.
  • Polo shirts are a no-no.
  • Ladies, you can wear sleeveless dresses or tops as long as the straps are at least 3 inches wide.
  • Skirts and dresses can’t be any shorter than three inches above the knee.
  • Got a thing for paisley? Leave it at home. Patterns can’t have any large graphics or logos.

Now that you’ve read the rules, I have some unsolicited advice for you: Don’t let the Disney Look bust your chops. Yes, the rules seem restrictive, but there’s actually a lot of leeway if you’re willing to get creative. Show your style with your clothing. Ever heard of DisneyBound? It’s when you dress up like a Disney character using every-day clothes. Here are two of my favorite Disney Look-appropriate DisneyBounds (sans hat in the second Bound).

Photo courtesy of outrageousdoughnutlevy.tumblr.com

Mary Poppins DisneyBound courtesy of outrageousdoughnutlevy.tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of Duy at cafeduy.tumblr.com

Aladdin DisneyBound courtesy of cafeduy.tumblr.com

For more information about the Disney Look, visit the Disney College Program’s Disney Look guidelines for males and females. If you’re still struggling and looking for ideas, visit the Disney Internships and Programs official blog to see some outfit examples. (Shout out to Jesi, one of my DCP roommates who is in the photo at the top! She’s the young lady in tan. Read Jesi’s blog about her adventures as a communication student.)

Application Tips for Disney Professional Internships

As some of you may know, I participated in the Disney College Program (DCP) last spring. There’s one question I always heard from friends, professors and advisors because of it: Why? Why would I want to take a semester off from school to work as a front-line employee at a Disney resort? What was that going to do for my future?

The DCP is only one half of Disney’s programs for college students, and I participated in the DCP so that I would have a better chance of participating in the second half: Disney Professional Internships (PIs). PIs allow college students or recent college graduates to work in their career fields with The Walt Disney Company. For example, as a public relations major, I could work in PR at Disneyland through the PI program.

I recently applied for two different PIs: publicity with Disney Theatrical Group in New York and field marketing and publicity with Disney Studios in California. At this point, I’m still in consideration for both internships, so fingers crossed!

I joined a group of PI hopefuls on Facebook, and that’s where I met Rebecca Muck, a costume design major at Columbia College Chicago. She applied for a few costuming PIs at Disney, and she’s going through the interview process now. This past weekend, I met up with Rebecca on Google Hangout to talk about things we wish we would have known before applying and while we were applying for PIs. Watch the video below to learn some of our tips and tricks for the application and interview process!

If you’re looking for some more PI advice, search through the official Disney Internships and Programs blog; they have a great post on application anxiety that I read through at least once a week to calm my nerves!

Five Companies You Didn’t Know Were Owned By Disney

When people think about The Walt Disney Company, they think of two things: movies and theme parks. And that’s great! Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are two of the company’s biggest assets. But Disney is much, much bigger than that.

Thanks to some smart business acquisitions, Disney now owns and operates some of the biggest brand names in entertainment. Working for Disney is no longer just for animators or engineers; it’s for journalists, historians, zoologists and more.

Don’t believe me? Read on to see the top five companies you may not have known were owned by Disney.

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
Good Morning America (Creative Commons)Ever wonder why ABC gets away with using Disney characters and plot lines in its hit show “Once Upon A Time”? It’s because Disney is running the show behind the scenes. ABC is an American media company that offers both news and entertainment programming. From “Good Morning America” to “Dancing with the Stars,” Disney has been financing the entertainment franchise since its acquisition in 1996.

Disney didn’t stop with television at ABC, either. Do you remember “The Proposal” with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds? How about “The Social Network” with Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake? Those were ABC movies.

If you’re interested in working in the entertainment industry with Disney, consider searching for a career at ABC.

ESPN
Are you a huge sports fanatic? Do you love the Walt Disney Company? Well, you’re in luck; when Disney acquired ABC, it also acquired ESPN. In case you aren’t familiar with ESPN, it is a sports broadcasting network that covers everything from professional football to professional poker. ESPN is the ideal place to work in the sports broadcast industry, so make sure you check out any employment opportunities at ESPN.

Marvel Entertainment
There’s a reason superhero movies are making a comeback, and it’s partially because Disney bought Marvel, a company that produces everything from superhero films to comic books to action figures, in 2009 for more than $4 billion. It was a smart move by Disney, too; according to examiner.com, “The Avengers,” Marvel’s 2012 box office sensation, brought in more than $1.2 million to the company, making it Disney’s biggest hit in history.

Want to work with Iron Man and Thor on a daily basis? Consider working for Disney at Marvel.

LucasfilmYoda (Creative Commons)
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…Okay, so it was not so long ago and not far, far away. It was 2011 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when George Lucas, founder of Lucasfilm, told Disney CEO Bob Iger that he was considering retirement and was interested in selling his company. By 2012, the deal was done and Disney officially acquired the studio that produced such classic films as “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.”

According to Scified, Disney plans to create a new Star Wars sequel – Star Wars Episode VII – that will be released in 2015. Want to be a part of this new era of light sabers and Wookiees? A Disney career might just be for you.

A+E Networks
Even though Disney didn’t completely acquire A+E Networks, it does own 50 percent of the company, sharing it with the Hearst Corporation. A+E is another entertainment powerhouse, home to more 10 cable television channels. These channels include:

  • A&E
  • History
  • Lifetime
  • LMN

If you work with A+E Network, you won’t officially be working for Disney, but you’ll still kind of be part of the Disney family.

Visit the Disney Careers website to search for positions that are currently open.