My Placement with The Walt Disney Company – Emily Haysom, Media Studies and Entertainment Technology

Emily Haysom, a Media Studies and Entertainment Technology student is undertaking her placement year with The Walt Disney Company.  Emily talks to us about her experience with working on different projects and what it is like working for the Mouse himself!

What and where?

I am the Production Intern (Live Action) with The Walt Disney Company working in Hammersmith, London!

How did you find your placement role?

I found my placement through my own personal search, and applied using ratemyplacement.com.

How many applications did you make?

I was really lucky and made only 2 applications – both for The Walt Disney Company.

How did Creative Careers support you in your placement search?

The Creative Careers office really supported me at the end of my placement search, helping contact Disney to get my placement confirmed and assisting in the preparation to start the placement.

Tell us more about the company you are working with!

The Walt Disney Company is one of the world’s largest entertainment companies, with enterprises spread across leisure, film, video games, television, merchandising, publishing, stage productions, and music. Founded by the Disney brothers in 1923, Disney has since become a household name, producing films such as Frozen, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Thor: Ragnarok.

Which department do you work in?  

I work in the Disney Channel, primarily for the Production Management team.

Tell us more about your role!

Within Disney, I work for the Production Management team of the Disney Channel, assisting with the Production and Development of various Disney Channel shows, organising calendars and offices, and generally doing odd jobs that are required. No two days are the same!

There are over 100 interns working for Disney in London, and we are treated like an integral part of the company, being allowed many of the same benefits as permanent staff members, including Disney Store discounts, park tickets, and a pension plan!

That sounds amazing! Tell us, how is your placement related to your university degree?

My placement gives me more of an idea of what it means to be part of the entertainment industry, and I have been able to apply knowledge of Transmedia Franchises, Production and the general media industries learnt at University.

How have you benefited from your placement with The Walt Disney Company?

There are so many benefits of doing a placement with Disney, including getting contacts in the industry, getting far better job prospects for when I graduate, and generally developing myself as a person. I feel like I have matured a lot since starting my placement in July, and it has taught me some life-long skills.

What is the best and worst thing about being on Placement?

The best things about working for Disney have to be being able to work on the shows and have a genuine input in the development phases of the shows, and being able to see your work on the big (little) screen. And of course, working for the mouse himself!

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Did you have any concerns when you started your placement?

When I first started at the company I was terrified I wouldn’t be good enough, wouldn’t get on with the people I was working with, and wouldn’t know how to do the job. All these fears came to be a waste of time. At Disney, they don’t expect their interns to be perfect when starting out, they teach and train you to do the job, and are all so lovely and welcoming!

What advice would you give to someone concerned about doing a placement?

If I were to give some advice to people thinking about doing a placement, it would be: go for it! Don’t worry about not being good enough or not having the experience needed – it’s a great experience and you would regret it if you didn’t at least try!

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Now onto some of the exciting bit – What new skills have you developed?

I’ve developed so many new (and old) skills it’s hard to list them all! Communication skills, organisational skills, time management, film-making, creativity, professionalism, and lots more!

Have you applied anything you learned at university?

I’ve applied some of the practical skills I learnt on my course, as well as making call sheets, risk assessments, and much more.

You sound like you’ve had a great experience so far! What have been the highlights?

Highlights so far have to include being involved in new TV shows, and even getting a chance to help shoot some scene’s, getting to brainstorm ideas for new content, and just generally the whole experience. Oh and meeting Kenny Ortega, director and choreographer of High School Musical, and other films, going to the Thor Ragnarok press screening, and getting to volunteer at Comic-con for Marvel!

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Has the placement helped you with your career decisions? How?

My placement has confirmed my desire to work in Production of TV and Film. Watching what the more senior people do at work, I would definitely like more of a creative role.

What are your plans for your final year?

For my final year I plan on getting some more experience in TV whilst I complete my studies, in order to improve my CV even further and improve my job prospects when I graduate.

What are your plans for after your degree?

I would love to come back to Disney for a full-time job!

What advice would you give to students who aren’t sure whether to do a placement or not?

Just do it! I almost decided not to try because I was sure I wasn’t good enough, but my friends at uni pushed me to try, and here I am! Make sure you do your research into the roles you are applying for, and spend some time going over your interview techniques, and researching what sort of questions you may be asked. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

What advice would you give to your fellow students in year 1 and year 2 regarding their placement search?

Look on the company websites as well as placement websites. The placement I got wasn’t actually on Ratemyplacement.com, but thankfully I got recommended through another department!

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Thanks Emily!

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