As the Talent Development Manager at DreamWorks Animation, Grazia Como spearheads the company’s Talent Development Program. The Program concentrates on college level scouting and recruiting, internship and training programs, to support departments across the studio, including Feature Film, Television, Technology, and Production Management. A USV alumna, Grazia here offers career advice for current students, graduates, and those looking to get their education started.
Q: What skills and experience does DreamWorks look for in college grads?
Grazia: It depends! I get asked this questions all the time and the answer will vary depending on what college grads are interested in pursuing. Essentially, we are looking for students who have a great blend of tech and art. Meaning they have great design sensibilities to create beautiful, fantastical, believable worlds and can also get under the hood to problem solve technical challenges or program tools that will be used by the hundreds of artist who build the amazing worlds and characters that live within them. We want people who have a passion for the animated film making process and want to be a part of a collaborate team of artists that tell fun, entertaining stories.
Q: What advice do you have for college students interested in working for DreamWorks?
Grazia: First, educate yourself on the types of films and television programs we produce. I can’t tell you how many students say they want to work for DreamWorks but don’t know what we produce.
Secondly, do lots of research. Research the types of jobs that we offer to ensure that you are on target for what you are learning in your academic program. The animated film industry is very competitive and the bar is very high for the types of artistic and technical skillsets we look for.
Lastly, prepare a really strong demo reel or portfolio. You may have more than one version depending on your area of interest and the industry you want to pursue. At DreamWorks we look for very specialized skillsets, and let’s be real, it’s hard to be an expert at every single job. Hopefully, at the mid-point of your academic career you have a strong foundation and a good sense of what you want to be doing, at which point you can start honing in on your skills and focus on projects that will show off your depth of knowledge in a particular discipline.
For example, if you are interested in Modeling then we expect to see a really great reel showcasing a variety of examples that not only showcase your design sensibilities but that also demonstrate that you understand the technical aspects of building a model and how it will be used in the rest of the pipeline.
Q: Is there anything unique about your application process? Anything that applicants find particularly challenging?
Grazia: I don’t feel there is anything unique about DreamWorks application process. If students have done their research and believe they are ready to apply either for internships or full-time opportunities then they can simply go to our career page and apply for openings where they think they may be a good fit. What it really comes down to is how well they prepare their resume and demo reel/portfolio. A strong resume and demo reel will help you stand out as well as strong communication skills and passion for working in the industry.