- Sony Imageworks – Ken Maruyama
- Disney – Dawn Rivera-Ernst
- LMU professor (formerly Rhythm & Hues Outreach) – Shish Aikat
- Mirada – Andy Cochrane
By special request of P.O.V., we will have a distinguished panel of experts covering the “do’s and don’ts” of demo reels, websites, hiring, and internships. They will answer such questions as:
- How common is it that you hire people from their reels? What other avenues are you hiring people from?
- What advice would you offer for portfolio websites?
- Do you give internships to out-of-state and international students? Do you offer paid internships?
- Is your studio looking for entry-level generalists or specialists with one or two highly-refined skills?
Shish Aikat was the Manager-Education and head of Global Learning at Rhythm & Hues (R&H) Studios in Los Angeles where he oversaw the knowledge management/dissemination and global learning for the studio’s operations in the U.S., Canada, India, Malaysia, and Taiwan. While at R&H, he co-founded Rhythm & Hues University (RHU) to create and foster a global learning eco-system for R&H.
Originally trained as a mechanical engineer from Jadavpur University (JU), Calcutta, Shish received his M.F.A. from the Division of Animation and Digital Arts, School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), University of Southern California (USC) in 2002. He was a Nickelodeon Fellow from 2001-2002 at SCA. He also earned an M.A. in Communication Management from the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism in 1990.
During the period, 2005-present, Shish has taught as Lecturer in the Master of Professional Writing (MPW)Program at USC and in the School of Film and Television (SFTV), Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.
Here are Shish’s tips on a public site:
Andrew is a Special Projects Lead and Digital Creative Director at Mirada. In addition to leading post teams, he also has extensive experience in computer graphics and developing fluid simulations.
Andrew serves as a key leader of New Media and Special Projects at Mirada. His interest and experience in the use of technology in new media narrative experiences makes him uniquely suited for discovering new interactive and nonlinear storytelling techniques. Andy was the VFX Lead on the THINK experiential project as well as the App. He was the Mirada lead on the ro.me project (a real time interactive music video), for Google and Chris Milk, and a key Creative leader of the Mirrorwold App project here at Mirada, as well as the upcoming Dragon Rider App.Joining the YouTube Partners program in 2007, Andrew was one of its founding 100 directors, and has since directed web series and ad campaigns for 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Geffen Records, Fox TVS, and Babelgum.
Before Mirada, Andy served as a CG artist and 3D animator at Asylum, Digiscope, and Pixel Playground. His production credits include Friday the 13th, directed by Marcus Nispel, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed by David Fincher, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, directed by Jon Turteltaub, and Spider-Man 3, directed by Sam Raimi.
Andrew holds a BA in Film Production from the University of Southern California. In 2002, Andrew founded The AV Club Productions, a collaborative venture to advance the art of improv comedy using technology, and create new media content, web videos, and interactive and large-scale transmedia projects. He’s also worked with the Fluid Dynamics team and consulted for Real Flow development.
Dawn Rivera-Ernster, Director of Talent Development and Outreach, works closely with the filmmakers to source and identify creative talent for Walt Disney AnimationStudios. Dawn leads outreach efforts and the studio’s production student programs including Summer Internships and the Apprentice Program, a new opportunity for graduates of film, art and computer science. The Talent Development programs have supported Frozen, Wreck-it Ralph, Paperman, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Princess and the Frog, Bolt, Prep and Landing, Tick Tock Tale and future films in development.
Rivera-Ernster majored in Advertising and Design from the American Academy of Art, Chicago, Illinois.
Ken Maruyama is the Vice President of Recruiting and Academic Relations at Sony Imageworks
In this role, Maruyama oversees the management of Imageworks’ recruiting efforts in sourcing, attracting, assessing and hiring the talent needed to work on highly regarded films as The Amazing Spiderman, Hotel Transylvania and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Maruyama and his team also strengthens SPIs stature as an Industry leader through “evangelizing” SPDP’s achievements, initiatives and successes through presentations, presence at festivals and conferences, school visits and industry events
Maruyama also guides the Academic Relations program by building strong relationships with participating schools to nurture the next generations of digital talent. Academic Relations emphasizes training standards developed from real-world production issues and helps member schools better prepare their graduates for potential employment both at Imageworks and the industry at large. Key components of the Academic Relations program are the Internship program, Fellowships, Scholarships and on campus visits. +
Prior to Imageworks, Maruyama was the Director of Digital Animation and Creature Development group at Industrial Light & Magic. This department was comprised of animators and artists who created and brought to life the digital creatures and characters featured in CASPER, DRAGONHEART, MEN IN BLACK, MARS ATTACKS!, THE LOST WORLD, JURASSIC PARK, and STARWARS: EPISODE I.
Maruyama also served as manager of special projects where he oversaw CG recruiting activities and was the principal organizer of the ILM Education Symposium. He also founded ILM’s Diversity Outreach Program. Prior to ILM, Maruyama was the vice president and executive producer at Interface Video in Washington, D.C, where he managed the graphics and animation division. Interface was one of the few post-production facilities with in-house capabilities of producing 35mm motion control combined with 3D and 2D digital effects.Maruyama has a master’s degree in graphic design from the University of California Los Angeles and is on the Board of Directors of the Visual Effects Society.