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Degrees... too many choices!!

 
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:08 pm    Post subject: Degrees... too many choices!! Reply with quote

Ok, my goal is to be a show producer for a company like Disney or Universal. I plan to do a 2-year program at my local community college in Mechanical Engineering Design Technology Specializing in Design. I know it is best to have a 4 year degree, but what would be the best degree for show producing? The 2 year program includes the basic studies, so I can transfer into another field without much lost. I figure a technical background will be good, but what is another strong suit I should have? Like a managing type degree, or something more artistic?
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What exactly do you want to do as a "producer?"

I don't think anyone gets a degree and is suddenly qualified to be a producer, you start elsewhere (some other related position) and work your way up.

So - what would you want to do to reach the level of producer?

Maybe i'm misunderstanding the job title, but aren't producers mostly money people who hire creative people to work under them?
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icandrawem2



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would imagine that just about any person in a themed design position would be able to make it to a producers position given the right amount of experience, talent and knowledge. I mean you could start out as a writer, a CAD technician, an illustrator, so on and so forth...And any of these positions could stem from a number of college majors...But i would think that related fields of study (art, engineering, theater) would give you a better opportunity at reaching that goal. Just as an example, I spoke with the senior VP of attraction development at Universal Creative a couple months ago and he graduated with a civil engineering degree, as did I. So that gave me more hope that not only art and theater and business majors land the cool jobs...Most of all, go to school for something you would enjoy and if you do that and pursue your career goal effortlessly, you will get there. But it sounds like youre starting off on the right foot with the mechanical engineering degree, youll probably get plenty of CAD and Solidworks experience/training. Nate or Holly may have some better advice, but thats my $0.02!
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Silito



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 24
Location: Dixie! (tha South)

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lol yea, Loric's right hehh, producers are the physical engineers of entertainment productions, so would any one degree be near decisive? Mebbeeeee, but the central capabilities are logistics, vision and most of all, imagination, if nuthin else ;P. Heehh N' when they ARE taught, it is certainly not product of any ONE major Cool .


Education is a valued pursuit of any aspiring professional. However, academia and art, though superior in a continuum of applications, are not entirely suitable for use in affairs of the imagination (at least for the subjective Smile ). A far greater asset resides in that seemingly far off land, illusive and obscured from normal intuition. Although initially existing in only brief (most often, a few second) encounters for the most part, TRUE imagination can be accessed for ..somewhat.. prolonged durations, almost as if to envoke a portal to such a place (far off the trodden paths of cognizance). As attempts continue, capability improves, quietly influencing a perpetual increase in perception availed toward the use of insight created through experiencial efforts, produced in thoughts that are intended to foresee that which does not yet exist (optimally Very Happy). But, as any absolute, the seperate entity that is imagination, requires its own realm of attention, free of the approaches found in the account of activities familiar to us. Possess it, and success (under any title) will be as a foregone conclusion.

Perhaps imagination is a destination, but due to state N' federal regulations, we kn' only visit fer short periods, take advantage Smile Razz Cool .
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Imagineer I had lunch with last month is a show producer. They act more like a movie director, making decisions and organizing people, but also have the creative vision.

Maybe logistics, or business management, or psychology, or...
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Silito



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 24
Location: Dixie! (tha South)

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Logistics is not a major but a term that describes the process of organizing the efforts of others and just as important, the needed materials / equipment /services necessary to acheive the end. This is a capability that is acquired primarily through experience, although, a novice can potentially perform in such a capacity provided they fully understand the scope of the project along with a reasonable knowledge of dealing with service and equipment providers (i.e. it's not rocket science,.... per se Razz ).

Business management and psych are also great tools, but again, I should stress, the greatest (and therefore least common) skill is profound vision and an adept command of imagination. And when it comes to the entertainment industry, these are meerly augmented by a good education as opposed to non-creative industies in which imagination and vision meerly augment the education. The teaching/acquisition of exceptional imagination and vision are typically absent from most educational institutions. As a result, these must be acquired through continuous effort, practice and most of all, defining (at least tentative) goals and direction for yourself to act as a guiding light toward success. While goals and direction can change as you go and your skills develop, it is important that they (in whatever form most suits your ambitions for the moment) be present throughout your ongoing efforts.

The primary reason to define your goals, direction and chosen skill persuit is to have ambitions to which critical thought can be applied. Without critical thought, and this is a fact, the possible success of all projects in which we all endeavor can only be a roll of the dice. The presence, Smile , of critical thought provides everyone with the luxury of Knowing their efforts will produce success, it's absense Sad brings the uncertainty of simply Hoping they will succeed. While education is a vast and important tool, in the entertainment industry, it is not absolute or definitive in effective creation.

Innovations can't be constructed less' theyr first imagined Surprised .
GL Smile
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, been away for a while.
Look into Theater programs (or possibly TV or Film) for experience. Be prepared to work your way up, but get as much practical experience as possible in school and during those years. Look for internship possibilities in your area. Be as well rounded as possible, but try as much as you can to specialize in the management side of things. Also, write, to work on and show the creative side. Theater usually seems to be open to more moving around and trying different things, but some local TV or production companies may, too.
Hope that helps a little. I'm trying to figure out some of this myself - showing the benefits of years of experience doing all of the crew positions, as well as building up a writing portfolio.
From what you've shown on these boards, you're well on your way and should do fine.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is what I've figured out to do. UCF has a theater program, so here's my tentative plan, as of now:

2 year program in Mechanical Engineering Design
Disney's CareerStart program
1 year at UCF
Disney's College Program
1 semester UCF
Disney's Professional Internship at Imagineering
Final semster and graudate form UCF with a degree in Theater.
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icandrawem2



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well it sounds like you got it all figured out! Do those internships because those can oftentimes lead to great jobs and meeting alot of good people
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a great plan. Make the most of those internships and ask lots of questions. Get to know as many people as you can. You're gonna do alright!
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's no way you're going to get a theater degree at UCF in that amount of time.

I goto USF and UCF is very similar and our professors sometimes have us show portfolios to each other at luncheons to compare and take notes on other ways of doing things.

Theater curriculum is very time intensive. There's a set process and you cant just take courses - you have to take them in sequence. It's a long sequence and several people who started when I did with 2-year degrees had to take the same 4 years as everyone else to earn the degree.

They dont offer all classes at all times and nearly every class has a prerequisite, so they go sequentially and purposely.

In 1 year and 1 semester you might make it out of Intro level, but you'd not be in any position to be considered qualified for many design jobs. The credits you have from your first degree with cover the university core requirements and but will not count for anything in the theater core.

At USF you have to work 4 shows minimum (2 as crew, 2 as build/design - though they fudge it to one side or the other depending on skills and desired real world job) and that would take 4 semesters. Working on two shows at once is sometimes allowed but is not for anyone who is serious - it's fluff to get actors through the program and they have trivial tasks.

You dont want to be the throw-away person if you want to get anywhere in design.

I'm not some education snob - I quit the BFA program and became a BA so i could explore architecture and art more intensively - but i can tell you that plan wont work out if you want to take theater design skills seriously.

You cant even take classes like Lighting Theory and Practice without several prerequisites. That's stuff like Into to Design, Intro to theater, Intro to Tech 1 and 2, etc..
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad news from the UCF course catalog:

"Due to the conservatory nature, the BFA demands a closely integrated four-year curriculum. Although the BFA program is not designed for transfer students, transfer students may audition and be admitted, but they should consult with the Theatre Departmentís Undergraduate Coordinator to evaluate their transfer credits and to determine the length of their program of study. We encourage any student wishing to transfer to complete the General Education Program and the Common Program Prerequisites before transferring within the Florida Public University/ Community College System."

And UCF says you must complete 5 shows to graduate in their program.

You do not want to be a general "theater studies" student. USF happens to offer a BA in design - i would not have left the BFA if it did not.
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, what WDI internship do you intend to do...?

They dont offer them every year or semester. The last one i saw was for interior design, which is a bit different then theatrical design.

If you're thinking o the Imagination competition, be forewarned that if you worked for Disney you cant be in the competition.

Also, Career Start and College Program are the same thing essentially. Entry-level roles with housing deducted from your paycheck. There's no reason to do Career Start if you intend to do college program.

I do think working at a park will give you insight and experience, but i'm not really a fan of the College Program. They might stick you in parking or at a resort, which will make you an expert on parking or that resort - not really the experience you want.

If you're going to UCF you can work a summer at Disney and/or get a part time role.
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah! Found it!

You must complete 93 credit hours in theater to get the BFA at UCF.

Even at 15 hours a semester (5 classes, which is a lot), that's 6+ semesters.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a difference between the BFA and the BA in theater. (Trust me, I checked!) The BA is actually Theater Studies, but I'm pretty sure it's similar. The link to it's description is here: http://www.catalog.sdes.ucf.edu/current/degree_programs/theatre_studies/

I do plan to live in Orlando so I can work on Disney property. I didn't realize the College program and CareerStart were that similar. The internship is this one: http://disney.go.com/disneycareers/internships/walt_disney_imagineering.html
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's not "an internship" but rather Disney's general page about their internships for imagineering. The internships have specific roles and are offered sporadicly and unpredictably.

The first one mentioned on that page is the Imaginations competition which you cannot enter if you work for Disney at all - aka, if you do career start or CP or even get a part time job then you cannot do the Imaginations competition.

As for the college classes and such - i'm not trying to be a negative nancy, but you need to rethink the way you're looking at it. All classes aren't offered all of the time, they wont let you take them out of sequence, and i think you're underestimating the course load.

I know there's a difference between the BA and BFA - i switched between the programs when i only had 2 classes left that were different between them.

What i'm trying to convey to you is that neither should be expected to be completed in 2 years. You can contact the department advisor at that school or any other you might be interested in - they can send you a listing of courses to be taken broken down by semester. Ask for a course sequence, not just a course listing.

Classes have to be taken in order.
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two internships WDI is taking applications for right now:

Finance - requires you be seeking a degree in finance/business.

Software Engineer - requires you be seeking a degree in software engineering.

You wouldn't qualify for either of the above as a mechanical engineer who then pursues theater design. You cant just put that internship in your life schedule as if it's going to be there and waiting for you. If an opportunity arises, go for it, but there's no guarantee any position will be offered at any time.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know, this is just a vague and general wouldn't-this-be-nice plan. I know nothing is set, and that I'm probably underestimating. But I won't know til I get there, so I just have to keep moving forward.

I got a flyer for the local theater group, and it mentioned backstage stuff. Maybe I can start building my resume there.
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That local theater thing could be great.
Another thought came to me: a friend of mine (attending at the same time I did) made up his own major, with some theater and some tv classes (best of each). He ended up doing special effects make-up. Some departments will let you do something like that - especially when you know so well what you intend to do. If it falls under the same "school" especially, like School of Arts... Could be something else to look into.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is something I've thought about. I figure the Mechanical Engineering Design 2-year program is a good start, and the tuition's like $2500 a year, which is really good! And I'll live at home, which means I don't pay utilities, food, or rent. Very Happy
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lightguy



Joined: 30 Mar 2008
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My suggestion, the life experiences gained by living at college are as important as any degree. A lot of those people will be your peers and network in the industry.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got registered for my classes today!! Very Happy And counselor said I was the first person to want to go into theme park design she had ever worked with. Is it really that rare? I'm right next to Busch Gardens! Rolling Eyes
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Holly
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot of people would love to do it, but very few have the guts and perseverence to pursue it... Most people, if you asked them what they would choose for a career would tell you something practical, like dentistry, legal or psychology... even if in their deepest heart they really wanted to do something bold, beautiful and rare with their life, like write novels, build an orphan home in Africa or... you know... design fantasy worlds for a living.

I would bet that she has met other people who have thought about how they would love to be an imagineer, but that they have squashed that dream beneath a more "practical" career choice (or, at least, something that their friends and parents would see as an "acceptable" choice) or they decided that they probably weren't "good enough" (which is a terrible label to put yourself under and usually very untrue). When you're young and saying, "I want to be an imagineer", people think you are just another head-in-the-clouds dreamer... But if you actually make it, then they say, "Oh, I wish I had your job!" Very Happy
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icandrawem2



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point Holly! I think it also helps to associate with people that want the same things for their career, like even jabbering on these message boards to all you guys and girls really keeps me motivated sometimes. And Im so thankful that my wife has been so supportive of me to pursue this, she hasnt killed me yet! Very Happy But I used to be that person that wanted to get the job everyone expected of me, then one day I woke up and realized "Im gonna go do what I love to do"...If any of you have ever watched Big Idea on CNBC, seeing those people on that show can really set a fire in you to go and do what you love. Its usually folks that have invented something or started a business and are making lots of money, but the idea behind that is still the same.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's funny to realise I've been thinking this way for a long time. I found a bunch of papers with a ride track laid out, roller coaster designs that are over 10 years old! Or trying to make a hanging coaster with pipe cleaners, didn't go so well... Both of my parents grew up right next to Disney parks, my dad in Florida and my mom in California, so it's not a foreign concept to them. Even if my dad thinks I should be a healthcare administrator. Confused
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long live jabbering dreamers!
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I've found another option. UCF offers a BA or BS in Interdisciplinary Studies. Would someone hiring into a theme park company take that degree seriously? Is it a good idea to have a diverse degree, or do I need to focus more on one area in depth?
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Holly
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
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Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no recommendation... Everyone I know was hired based on who they know, and their portfolio, rather than specific academic qualifications.

Keep in mind that UCF and Disney are at opposite ends of town (45 min. commute in good traffic). Summer semesters are usually a good time to internship or work for companies. From the theatre students I know, the program gets pretty intense. They can sometimes spend almost a whole week constructing, painting or setting up a show (late into the nights and every spare moment). Keep positive, but also make contacts and find out what the story is so that you can make sure that your expectations are based in reality. Universities and internship programs can sometimes have some inflexible rules (for example, that you need to get credit from your degree program in order to have an internship... and some colleges limit how much internship credit you can get). You may not need to spend so much time at Disney. I would recommend interning, rather than the College Program (unless you just want to get some experience out in the parks learning how they are run, what questions guests have, etc.)... I have talked to a lot of College Program people, and they seemed to have had a lot of fun, but didn't get a lot of career value out of the experience. Maybe it depends on the person, though..


Last edited by Holly on Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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lightguy



Joined: 30 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know one person who's very successful in the field who did a combined theater/entertainment technology degree. He worked with Landmark Entertainment Group before striking out on his own.

A lot of college is what you do while you're there, in terms of personal growth, professional growth, and networking. That will have more to do with success than just getting the two or three letters after your name.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! Looking into the Interdisciplinary Studies, I can do a focus on, say, Physics and Engineering, and a minor in Theater. The Theater Minor is an 18 credit hour program, which means I wouldn't be in to over my head.
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lightguy



Joined: 30 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should mention is that 18 credits is little more than an introduction, especially in thater programs that are designed as conservatory training, so if the theatrical part of it is important to you, you might want to find an option that lets you expand those skills a little more.
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blackchristian888



Joined: 01 Jan 2010
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:56 am    Post subject: hi hellow Reply with quote

I'm Cesar and I'm new here, just browsing for some good stuff and informative posts..
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Holly
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
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Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Cesar! Feel free to ask questions, or post thoughts and opinions about what's out there at the theme parks. I hope that you enjoy your time here Smile
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