By: Patrick L. Smith
Scott Armstrong and Trent Correy, animation program graduates and Disney employees, followed different paths to get into animation.
But that hasn’t stopped them from taking similar career trajectories.
“I was always good in art class and I always had good art teachers who pushed me in that direction,” said Armstrong. “Animation is kind of like a field that an artist can do, and it’s practical.”
Correy, on the other hand, viewed it as more of a program of convenience at first.
“I was coming here to play volleyball, anyways, for the varsity team,” he said. “Animation just seemed like it would be kind of easy, to be honest.”
Someone forgot to tell members of the industry that it was supposed to be easy, though.
Years of dedication led them to working on a feature film with one of the world’s largest and best-known studios, but neither former student had an easy time.
“It took us many years after graduation, almost three or four years, of working in the field and constantly working on personal projects to break through to futures,” said Correy. “It was a struggle and an uphill climb all the way.”
Years of working in Ottawa, moving across the country to wherever the next job was and determination towards improving their craft finally paid off.
Correy, now an apprentice animator at Disney, and Armstrong, now a layout apprentice, were both selected to participate in an apprenticeship in October 2012.
The highly-competitive position at Disney, which saw over 1,200 animation applicants and a fair amount of layout applicants, gave the graduates a launching pad.
“I think we both recognize the training program at Disney was the best way to get into the studio because you get personally mentored,” said Correy. “It’s a nice way to ease in; you’re not just thrown into the deep end.”
For Armstrong and Correy, who work in Burbank, Calif., moving to the United States was an unexpected flurry of insurance, work visas and moving woes.
Since then, though, the two have been involved in movie animation, with their latest work being released on Nov. 27.
Frozen, a feature film starring Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, is Disney’s newest 3D-animated movie.
Despite a self-admitted bias, Correy believes the film could be remembered as a Disney classic in the same vein as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
“Disney’s latest efforts – Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph – have that Disney charm and I think Disney’s in a renaissance right now,” he said. “I really think that Frozen will hold up as a great film.”
Hard work is what has gotten the two graduates where they are but, according to Armstrong, that’s only half of the equation for success.
“The networking skill is so important,” he said. “Getting to know these people . . . on a face-to-face basis is so important.”
“I think that’s probably one of the big reasons that I finally got in (to Disney),” he added.
Walt Disney is quoted as saying: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
This sentiment rang strongly with the Algonquin alumni.
“It’s just about determination,” said Armstrong. “Do you want that job? Do you want to work on those projects? How determined are you to work that hard and go that far? To me, it’s more than just having the passion and having the work ethic. It’s really just setting that goal and working for it.”
And work, they did.